As reported in Redmond Magazine on March 9th of this year, Microsoft announced a major shift for its hardware partners building equipment that integrates with Skype for Business – an effort code-named “Project Rigel,” believed to refer to the brightest star in the Orion constellation named Rigel. This was announced officially during Enterprise Connect by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Zig Serafin at the end of his keynote, and the aim was to better integrate Skype for Business with meeting rooms currently found in organizations which might have lacked the latest equipment. The announcement promised that Project Rigel would bring the Skype for Business experience, as with the Microsoft Surface Hub (which had also around that time just began to ship), to nearly any meeting room with a display or projector. It was also announced that Microsoft partner Polycom was currently building Project Rigel-type products and that delivery of those products could occur in the second half of this year.
Polycom, in an August blog Microsoft’s Project Rigel and Cloud Video Interoperability Service now on SkypePreview.com, discussed Microsoft’s Enterprise Connect 2016 Project Rigel announcement expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings for customers of all sizes who would be able to leverage existing video investments. News of certifying Polycom RealPresence® Group Series as well as the Polycom line-up of room solutions being purpose built for Skype for Business to support Project Rigel was also announced.
With Microsoft Ignite taking place in Atlanta, GA – Polycom announced:
- New cloud video interoperability service for Office 365 will seamlessly connect standards-based video endpoints into a Skype for Business video call within Office 365
- New Microsoft Skype Room Systems (Project Rigel), Polycom MSR Series, will extend familiar Skype for Business meeting experience into any sized conference room
The new cloud interop service for Office 365 will be available for public preview before the end of the year and will be named Polycom RealConnect Service for Office 365, showing different end points calling in. The service is hosted in Microsoft Azure.
The MSR Series 100, 200 and 300 (formerly known as Project Rigel) will be available in North America in Q1 of 2017. Pre-reservation of these systems will begin Monday. The new website page is here.
Additionally, Polycom will be putting Skype for Business UI on their RealPresence Trio, VVX Business Media phones, and Group Series end points.
“Many organizations across the globe are moving toward consolidating their UC environments into a single interface to drive a consistent user experience and ease of use,” says Irwin Lazar, Vice President and Service Director, Nemertes Research. “The desire to enable a consistent method of scheduling collaboration sessions and a single-click to join meetings from any application and any location is a top priority. Polycom’s Group Series, VVX phones, and RealPresence Trio conference phone solutions with a familiar Skype for Business user interface will enable an integrated meeting experience, and improved collaboration for Skype for Business customers.”
Polycom’s “Workplace of the Future” focuses on the user experience, workspace and workflow, and therefore the Polycom RealPresence Group Series, MSR Series and Polycom® RealConnect™ in the cloud in turn delivers a strategy for customer success.
Redmond Magazine: Skype for Business Cloud Connector and New Tools Coming This Year
Here is the Polycom press release.