Power of Screen Sharing at your fingertips…. literally!

“Paul:   Hey Robin, can you take a quick look at this slide deck for our presentation tomorrow?

Robin:   Sure. Have you emailed it to me already?
 
Paul:     No. It’s on our team’s intranet site.
 
Robin:   Sorry Paul – I am at a customer’s. I don’t have access to corporate network right now.

Paul:     No problem. Let me email it to you.
I hope it lets me send a 7 MB file. OK – I just sent.
 
(Paul and Robin wait for some time; discuss the weather and what they did in the weekend etc)
 
Paul:     Have you received it yet?
 
Robin:   Nope. Not yet.

Paul:     Hmm.
 
(Paul hums a tune to fill the void.)
 
Robin:   Ah there it is – I got it!

Paul:     Okay – can you go to slide 4?
 
Robin:   Wait, it is still opening.

  Yes – I am on slide 4.

Paul:     So what do you think of this graph on slide 4?
 
Robin:   What graph? Slide 4 only has text.
 
Paul:     Darn!! I emailed you an older version…..”
 
Sounds familiar? The Microsoft Office Communicator team believes that Robin and Paul should not have to take so long to get to the same page; the Communicator team believes that Robin and Paul should not have to use multiple disconnected tools to collaborate effectively; the Communicator team believes that Robin and Paul deserve a much better experience.

With this vision in mind, Microsoft Office Communicator R2 combines the power of screen sharing with the ease of use of an instant message/ phone call – bringing you a complete communication and collaboration tool. By adding instant desktop sharing to your very own IM and Voice client, Communicator R2 becomes a one stop shop for all your collaboration needs – one of its kinds in the industry today. Read the following article to understand what the brand new capability enables, how you can enhance your experience and some tips and tricks!

Desktop Sharing and Remote Control: What can it do for me?

Simply put, desktop sharing gives you the ability to send a live view of your desktop. Desktop sharing can be used for demonstrations, presentations, trainings – any situation when you want someone to look at your desktop over your shoulder. Further, it gives you the ability to give control of your desktop to anyone you trust. Remote control can be used to collaborate actively by letting a trusted party make edits into your document(s); it can be used to enable helpdesk to remotely work on your desktop. All of this from the very client you use for your IM.

Desktop Sharing Simplified

If you can send an IM, you can share!

Enabling you to share if you can IM has been our key theme through the development of this feature – be it availability of the functionality or ease of use. From the moment you login to your communicator, sharing is always available to you at your fingertips.

  • Corporate Access not required: You don’t need to be connected to corporate network to be able to view or share desktop.
  • Everyone can share: You don’t have to be a leader or presenter to be able to share. There are no nasty roles and permissions involved in sharing. Everyone in the conversation can share.
  • Ad-hoc Conference: You can start to show your desktop to just one person; and invite more people into the conversation. Adding more people into the conversation is as easy as dragging their contact into the conversation.
  • Scheduled Conference Call: You have joined a scheduled conference call; showing your desktop to everyone in the conference is just a click away!
  • Web Access: If your enterprise has deployed Communicator Web Access, desktop sharing will be available to you and your colleagues using a browser. Users on communicator web access can both share and view as well.  You can easily invite those who may not have Communicator installed.

  • Inviting outside corporate users to your sharing sessions: You can invite just about anybody by scheduling an anonymous conference using the Outlook Add-in. You can also create a new meeting space called “Meet Now” and invite outside corporate users to the same.

Enhancing your Sharing Experience:

Here are some feature additions that we think will make you love your sharing experience.

  • Multi-monitor Support: If you use multiple monitors, you can choose which monitor to share. You can also choose to share your entire desktop. The following menu will automatically show up if you have multiple monitors.

  • Green Glow and Host’s controls: When your desktop is on air, there is a subtle green glow around the desktop to give you constant feedback. You can use the controls on the top for granting control and to stop sharing. These controls can be dragged around the horizontal axis – in case it is hiding any important part of your screen.


  • Control Workflows: You can either grant control to a specific person in a conversation. Or you can allow anyone in the conversation to take control. The latter option will not require host’s approval every time and can be ideal for small collaborative sessions. At any time you can take back control (Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Space)

  • Viewer experience: Once the viewer accepts to view a shared desktop, the window increases size to accommodate the same. By default, the viewer sees scaled view of the shared desktop. Viewer can easily increase the viewing area by hiding the conversation window, switching to full screen, maximizing window or by switching to 1:1 viewing mode.

FAQ

Q: Are there any settings users need to know about regarding sharing?

A: No! There are no settings at all. We would like to keep things simple.
 
Q: How is the performance?

A: We do believe that the performance of the application is highly usable; although we do recommend the sharers to update their video drivers for best performance.
 
Q: Are there any policies to ensure security and privacy?
 
A: Yes, Absolutely. You can prevent your users from sharing, from giving control, or from sharing/ giving control to outside users.

Q: How can the viewer be the sharer and vice versa?
 
A: It is as simple as viewer initiating the sharing. Viewer is not prevented from initiating sharing – this is to enable swift change of sharers.

Secret Tip for the Blog readers

If you really love the Microsoft Terminal services experience and wanted to see the full screen without any controls on top, you can use the keyboard combo: Ctrl+Alt+Break.

Tell us how desktop sharing has been useful for you?

It will be great to know how you use desktop sharing. Do share your experiences and feedback.

Stuti Jain

Published Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:10 PM by octeam