Microsoft Teams Essentials designed for small business

Microsoft Teams Essentials designed for small business

Completely more focused on a chat interface, meetings, and video calls, Microsoft Teams Essentials is designed especially for small businesses.

The difference between this new version and Microsoft 365 Business Basic is mainly centered around the functionalities of Teams and cloud storage. Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage. Among its special functions, specially designed for small businesses, the following functions stand out:

  • No time limit: you won’t have to worry about the time in your meetings anymore. This version has up to 30 hours, so time will no longer be a limit in both private and group meetings.
  • More capacity: Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring up to 300 people together in the same virtual room.
  • Calendar integration: you can use your exsisting calendar to control your meetings and times. This version will allow you to integrate your Outlook Calendar and soon also your Google Calendar.
  • Easy invitations: the function of inviting people to your meetings is much simpler in this version. You can simply invite them by adding their email address. They will receive a link to join yout meeting. Also, if participants don’t have Teams, they can open the meeting in their browser. No more installations or user creations will be necessary.
  • More interactivity: virtual backgrounds, together mode, live closed captions, live reactions, and more. Everything you need to make your meetings much more interactive.
  • Ongoing chat: chat conversations will continue even if the meeting is over.
  • Small business group chats template: quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub, taking productivity to the next level.
  • Mobile chat: you can have access to all the content of your meetings and organize them by locations, photos, files, etc. The main objective of all these improvements is to facilitate the us of applications and simplify into a single app that meets all the needs that small businesses need in their day-to-day.

When it comes to pricing Microsoft Teams Essentials could look appealing at just $4 per user per month, against the Zoom Pro license is $14.99 per month. Microsoft Teams Essentials is now available.

Would you like to try it? What functionality would you add to this version of Teams for Small Business?

New Features in Microsoft Teams

New Features in Microsoft Teams

With the massive growth in video conferencing in 2020, Microsoft have added some useful features to Teams, with the promise of more to come. Let’s take a look at some of the new functionality.

Together Mode

Instead of seeing all the users in a square or rectangular grid separately, you can see all of them together in a virtual space. This feature is the new “Together Mode” which is designed to build a virtual live avatar of all members of the team and negate their backgrounds.

Raise Your Hand

During a Microsoft Teams meeting, a participant can use the Raise Your Hand option to get the speaker’s and moderator’s attention.

Thanks to this feature, participants can signal that they want to talk without disrupting the meeting, and the moderator or speaker can see if anyone in the meeting wants to talk.

Raise Your Hand makes meetings more inclusive by encouraging participation from participants, and provides a simple, quick way to take a poll of participants.

Third Party Meeting Join for Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR)

Microsoft Teams Rooms devices support a one-touch experience for joining third-party online meetings. When enabled, you can use a Teams Rooms device to join meetings hosted on Cisco WebEx and Zoom just as easily as you can join meetings hosted in Microsoft Teams.

Before you can join third-party meetings from a Teams Rooms device, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Configure the Teams Rooms device’s Exchange Online room mailbox to process invites for third-party meetings
  • Make sure your organization doesn’t have any policies that would prevent you from connecting to third-party meeting services
  • Configure your Teams Rooms devices to allow third-party meetings

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting.

Custom layouts (coming soon)
Coming later this year or early 2021, custom layouts allow for a more dynamic content viewing experience and enable presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. For example, when a presenter is showing a PowerPoint slide, participants will be able to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the slide they’re showing.

Teams is rapidly adding useful functionality to maintain its place as one of the leading videoconferencing solutions, while maintaining interoperability with other platforms. If your business is looking for such a solution, now might be a good time to hop on the Teams train.

Windows 7 RIP

Windows 7 RIP

RIP Windows. Long Live Windows!

When windows 7 launched in 2009 it was lauded as the successor to XP that Vista should have been but wasn’t.

Windows 7 was in effect a modernized Windows XP that cut back on many of the frivolous features and interactions of Vista. Many of you might even still be on Windows 7 if you’ve been using the computer you’re on for more than a few years.

That said, It’s definitely time to think about moving on.

Microsoft ended extended support for Windows 7 this January, so if something goes wrong with, you’re pretty much on your own. As good as it is, Windows 7 relies heavily on third party tools to monitor system security.

The good news is that Windows 10 is very much a worthy upgrade, especially with its capable inbuilt virus and malware protections. It has the same ease of use as Windows 7 and won’t use vastly more system resources.

You might be able to download, install and activate Windows 10 on your Windows 7 machines using their original licenses, but if you’d rather be safe than sorry, we at Key Comm have experience managing IT for businesses. Just message us.

Just for kicks, and to appreciate how good you’ve had it all these years, here’s TechRadar’s raving review of Windows 7.

Why migrate to office 365

Why migrate to office 365

Office 365

Five Reasons to Migrate to Office 365

Office 365 has gained quite a lot of popularity of late, with small and large businesses coming to know the benefits of using a cloud based platform to drive simplified collaborative work at a straightforward cost.

A trend that started in fortune 500 companies is now being picked up by smaller startups and has now been adopted by approximately 80% fortune 500s. This is because a cloud based, constantly evolving software suite is well placed to meet most companies unique and ever changing needs.

Office 365 migrations offer myriad business advantages

For any business, an Office 365 migration is a momentous occasion. Not only will your IT staff breathe a sigh of relief, but your business will reap the benefits of new tools, rolling no-stress updates, and bolstered productivity with routines and workflows. In sum, productivity and effectiveness will skyrocket.

Although the most commonly cited benefit of migrating to Office 365 is the substantial cost reductions, the advantages go far beyond that. Case and point, here are 5 reasons below!

1) Certainty in costs

No nasty surprises for your carefully planned budget. What you see is what you get.

With a fixed rate, subscription plans for Office 365 allow certainty in software expenses that is otherwise hard to come by. This is incredibly important when planning your budget and business operations expenses. On a related note, Microsoft manages Office 365 upgrades and additional functions, so you needn’t worry about expensive migration projects that were once the norm for an enterprise level microsoft customer.

Fortunately, once all is said and done you can compare the respective prices of Office 365 and your current software suite by analysing your past spendings on microsoft products and management. From this you can easily compare what the flat rate would be for Office 365 over that period. Disclaimer, you may be annoyed you didn’t migrate sooner.

2) Synchonise business operations and collaboration across locations

In today’s global economy and interconnected world, it is becoming more and more common place for employees, contractors and others to work together from different locations. Without an appropriate cloud based software suite, businesses in such positions are left with the options of expanding their current on the premises IT infrastructure of build additional data centers in order to support collaborative work between additional locations. Globalisation can certainly entail some headaches for IT professionals.

Enter, Office 365…

Scaling your business up or down over multiple locations becomes a simple matter with a cloud based software suite. According to your requirements, you can adjust the number of licenses you need for Office 365 without the logistical issues usually associated with such expansion.

3) Improve inter- and intra-organisational communication

Not only can physical separation cause headaches for traditional on the premises software suites, inter-departmental and project separation can severely affect the cohesiveness and efficiency of strategic business unit operations. Sadly, separation between departments and strategic business units can often diminish communication which in-turn makes overall business objectives less likely to be achieved.

Such worries are a figment of the past with Office 365’s collaboration and communication functionalities. The suite features such as Exchange Online, Yammer, Office Groups, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business and more! You can utilise that to streamline communication and cultivate collaboration, whereby staff can seamlessly share ideas and files between departments, projects, devices and locations.

4) Boost productivity

All the previous benefits add up to one very important objective. That is, to stramline business operations and make every second of work more productive! But Office 365 isn’t just about helping you get stuff done faster. It’s purpose is to reinvent how you do it!

In a globally interconnected world where productivity is key. It is imperative to have your familiar offoce applications on a range of devices that you can have, wherever you are. Whether you catch up with work whilst waiting for a friend, work on a project with a coffee catch-up with a colleague, use your morning commute or a conference call with a client for maximum efficiency, Office 365 will help you make it happen.

5) Supercharge IT operations

If you work in IT then you’ll probably know the pain involved in expanding and maintaining an on the premises Office suite. The layers upon layers of technical requirements, unmet dependencies, and other moving parts, there’s a whole lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. Implementing one update can trigger a domino effect of linked upgrades and incompatibilities occur. Migrating to Office 365 takes the stress out of keeping software up to date, and speeds up IT operations. Leaving Microsoft Office configuration to Microsoft means you can turn your attention to other important tasks that you may need to do.

And wait for Office 365 to be set up

So call KeyTech today, and wait for all this to be set up!

For help with outlook setup, click here: IT support Brisbane

Microsoft 3D research goes touchy feely

Microsoft 3D research goes touchy feely

Now if this is not indicating where 3D virtualisation is going, I don’t know what  is. We found this article very interesting and want to hear your ideas for Virtual Reality.

Microsoft Research has demonstrated a new mechanically-actuated hand-held controllers that render the shape of virtual objects through physical shape displacement, enabling users to feel 3D surfaces, textures, and forces that match the visual rendering.

They have published the results of their investigations in the Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology and demonstrate two such controllers, NormalTouch and TextureTouch, which are tracked in 3D and produce spatially-registered haptic feedback to a user’s finger.

NormalTouch haptically renders object surfaces and provides force feedback using a tiltable and extrudable platform. TextureTouch renders the shape of virtual objects including detailed surface structure through a 4×4 matrix of actuated pins.

By moving the  controllers around while keeping your  finger on the actuated platform, users are able to obtain the impression of a much larger 3D shape.

MSR found their controllers significantly increases the accuracy of VR interaction compared to the two de-facto standards in Virtual Reality controllers: device vibration and visual feedback only.


NormalTouch and TextureTouch: High-fidelity 3D Haptic Shape Rendering on Handheld Virtual Reality Controllers