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Comms vNext Thanks!

June 11, 2018 Leave a comment

By the time you read this, it will be Monday morning. I wanted to take just a moment to thank everyone who made Comms vNext 2018 possible.

First and foremost, I want to thank the community and everyone who showed up. Without the community and folks desiring an event like this, we would never have attempted it.

Second, I want to thank the speakers and the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the day so special. In no particular order:

  • Jamie Stark
  • Doug Lawty
  • Jens Madsen
  • Alan Shen
  • Heidi Gloudemans
  • Kevin Peters
  • Brian Ricks
  • Anthony Caragol
  • Nick Smith
  • Laurie Pottmeyer
  • Allen Wat

I also want to thank Allison and Darphene at Microsoft who run the Denver office. They were amazing and so helpful for making sure we had what we needed for the event space.

Next, our sponsors. These folks stepped up to the plate and believed in what we were doing and helped bring the event to life. Many of them flew in straight from another conference and just kept going even though they were tired and worn-out. We never knew it because they brought a ton of energy and knowledge to the day.

Last and not least, my co-organizers. Josh, Pat, Jonathan, you guys were amazing. Everyone contributed and the creativity that flowed from all of you was fantastic. I believe all four of us were needed to pull this off. The way everyone helped and put forth ideas and made sure things got done while we all did our day jobs just showed what can be done as a Team.

Speaking of Teams, this entire event was planned via Microsoft Teams. Yes, you read that right. We met and discussed the event in Teams. There were probably 50+ iterations of the logo and shirts posted in threads. Teams made this event possible.

I thought the event was amazing. I hope if you attended, you do too. If you didn’t or couldn’t attend, please stay involved in the community and make sure your desire to see an event like this happen again is heard. We are listening and so is Microsoft.

If I forgot someone, please pardon me. So many people contributed. There was lots of advice given to us in the background and if I had to name everyone, it would be an endless list.

Thank you.

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Categories: Uncategorized

The end of the road for Lync Phone Edition (LPE)

May 22, 2018 1 comment

Not sure if you noticed, but Microsoft made an announcement back around the Ignite time frame that they were going to disable TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in Office 365. Originally, they stated they were going to do this in March of 2018. Many of us wondered what impact this would have on Lync Phone Edition. Well, Microsoft thought about it, then decided to delay implementing the change until October 31st. When they moved the date, they confirmed that Lync Phone Edition would not be updated to support TLS 1.2 and that after that date, it would no longer work with Office 365.

Why would Microsoft do this? In the ever increasing world of threats, TLS 1.0 and 1.1 have known flaws. Many organizations (such as those in regulated industries such as securities) have policies stating that TLS 1.0 and 1.1 be disabled. Currently, Microsoft has said there are no known vulnerabilities in their implementation of TLS but it could be just a matter of time. Therefore, Microsoft is being proactive by disabling TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in Office 365. You can find out more about how to prepare for TLS 1.2 in Office 365 here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4057306/preparing-for-tls-1-2-in-office-365.

At this point, you may be wondering, does this affect me? You can ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do I have Lync Phone Edition devices?
  2. Do I use Office 365 (Such as Exchange Online or Skype for Business Online)?

If the answer to both of these questions is no, you are safe, for now. If you answered yes to the first question and no the second, you are ok unless your organization implements a similar strategy and disables TLS 1.0 and 1.1 and/or you need to call people from your Lync Phone Edition who utilize Skype for Business Online.

So, what can you do? Great question. You can upgrade your device to a Microsoft 3rd Party Interop Partner (3PIP) device. These devices are certified to work with Skype for Business and Skype for Business Online. Due to this certification, they will continue to work after Microsoft implements their change. Some of the partners are offering trade-ins.

My friends at AudioCodes are doing a “Trade-up” progam. You can find out more about at http://online.audiocodes.com/lpeupgradeprogram. I’ve been a big fan of the AudioCodes handsets. AudioCodes handsets have all the modern features such as Boss/Admin, resiliency, hot-desk support, and more. In addition, AudioCodes has their IP Phone Manager (IPPM) to manage the phones. IPPM gives you a lot more control over settings and firmware than we have in the native tools today.

As we look to the future, it’s good to know that the 3PIP certified phones will also continue to work after the change over to Microsoft Teams. These devices will be able to place calls and join Teams meetings.

Take the call to action and look for outdated devices on your network. I’ve been surprised at how many organizations I’ve spoken to recently that are still utilizing these devices. It’s awesome to know that they have had such a long life. Time to look to the future!

Categories: Uncategorized

Teams and Scheduled Channel Meeting Invites

April 17, 2018 Leave a comment

This blog came from a situation where I noticed I got an invite for a meeting from a Team where I am a guest member. When I reached out to the person who sent the invite, they said they didn’t invite me and that no one else from their team had received the invite. This caused me to dive deep into the behavior of invites with Teams.

 

HT to Bryan Nyce for pointing me to Matt Soseman’s article about this very topic: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/skypehybridguy/2018/01/06/why-do-i-receive-invites-to-channel-meetings-in-microsoft-teams-mystery-solved/

 

After reading through Matt’s blog, I understood a few basic things:

  1. By default, if a user is not following the Office 365 Group, they will not get an invite for a meeting that is scheduled in a Channel.
  2. By default (and this is something that can’t be changed from what I can tell), a Guest in a Team will ALWAYS receive an invite to a meeting scheduled in a Channel because they cannot sign-in in order to follow the Office 365 group.

Now, these basic two ideas are fine and Matt goes on to describe what a Channel meeting is:


A Channel Meeting is a meeting that occurs within a channel in a team in Microsoft Teams and is out in the open, visible (and open) for anyone that is a member of the team to join (it’s “public”). For example, this can be a recurring team status meeting. When browsing the channel in my team, I can immediately see a meeting is occurring and can join and leave as I wish. This might also be useful if I want people to have awareness that a meeting is occurring, and based on the agenda they can choose whether or not there is value in them attending (similar to the meeting title and brief description on a monitor outside a physical meeting room). There are two types of channel meetings: scheduled and non-scheduled (meet now). For purposes of this blog, I’ll only address scheduled but see this blog here for more information on meet now.

Below is an example of what a channel meeting looks like if you were to browse the channel and see it. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening here:

  • On the right of the channel name (Go To Market Plan) the 

 icon, indicating there is a meeting currently in-progress.

  • In the conversation feed, I can see the meeting name (Weekly Team Meeting) a button to join, the date/time it is scheduled for, and who the original organizer is.
  • Notice the two photos to the right of the meeting name? That’s indicating there’s two people currently in the meeting and who they are (in this case Alex and Adele).
  • Notice I can also see the chat that is occurring in the meeting, in real time. In this case, Megan has placed today’s agenda in the chat which I can see even though I’m not in the meeting! This helps me decide if I want to join.
  • Lastly, I can see the meeting timer for how long the meeting’s duration is thus far. In this case, the meeting has been going on for 9 minutes.

From <https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/skypehybridguy/2018/01/06/why-do-i-receive-invites-to-channel-meetings-in-microsoft-teams-mystery-solved/>

Now, for anyone who knows me, they know that if they want me to attend a meeting, it has to be on my calendar. In Matt’s description above, what appears to be the design is that users are paying attention to a Channel, will see the meeting and decide if they need to join. This is great in theory but I know for myself, it would never happen.

 

To continue this thought, what if you have a daily status call (as he describes above), and I as the boss want to make sure that everyone on Team has it? Well, I can simply invite everyone. That’s simple, except not really. I can’t just invite the Team, I have to select everyone individually. This is cumbersome and has the potential to miss someone on accident.

 

So, the question you may be asking yourself is, is there a better way? The answer to that is yes and no. Yes, in that there is a solution but no in the fact that it requires a change to the underlying group that can only be made by someone with Powershell access.

 

To answer the question though, we can use Powershell to look at the properties on our UnifiedGroup (which is created when we create a Team) by using “Get-UnifiedGroup GroupName” (where GroupName is the name of the Team you created).

You’ll get a bunch of data back but the important piece here is “AlwaysSubscribeMembersToCalendarEvents”. By default this is False. If you set this to True, every time you schedule a Channel meeting all members of the Team will get a Meeting invite.

 

Here’s my issue though, I wish I had the ability to choose between whether or not I want everyone to get a meeting invite or just specific people. This could be accomplished in at least two ways. First, we could simply be able to Invite a Group to the meeting (remember, as of today, we can only invite Individuals). Second, there could simply be a check box that says “Send Meeting Invite to All Members of the Team” (or something to that affect). Either way, this would allow the most flexibility for users while minimizing impact on the administrators.

Categories: Uncategorized

ICYMI: Skype for Business Server 2015 – January 2018 Update

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment

In this episode of ICYMI: Skype for Business Server 2015 – January 2018 Update

If you were overwhelmed in late January by the rapid release of a bunch of Skype for Business and Teams features, you weren’t alone. I wanted to take a minute to highlight some key things that came out with the January 2018 Update:

  • Support of Location Based Routing with the Mac Client
  • Location Based Routing fixes where LBR users can be connected to non-LBR users
  • Support for Disclaimers on the Mac Client

Couple of things to note, first, with the Mac Client, you should have the latest deployed. LBR and E911 support came to the client back in November but we needed the December and/or the January updates to get the backend pieces.

Second, deploy the December version of the update (linked on the article) first. Then, if you are having one of the issues specified in the link, update to the January update. The January update is very specific to fix those issues.

Categories: Uncategorized

ICYMI: Microsoft Teams App Studio

February 13, 2018 Leave a comment

In this episode of ICYMI, I wanted to highlight the Microsoft Teams App Studio:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Microsoft-Teams-App-Studio-Preview/bc-p/151540#M629

Here is the link to the “Getting Started with Teams App Studio”: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/platform/get-started/get-started-app-studio

While I am not a developer, I really think Teams App Studio is exciting. I can see a lot of potential for how organizations could use this to create simple (or complex) Apps that can be embedded into Microsoft Teams to help streamline their co-workers tasks.

If you are a developer and start to play with Teams App Studio, I’d love to hear what you are doing with it!

Categories: Uncategorized

With Microsoft Teams, has Microsoft turned a corner with UC?

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

If you have been paying attention lately, there have been quite a few articles, tweets, blog posts, etc. talking about Teams. As I utilize Teams every day and read these articles, a few thoughts have come to me.

First, just to give background, I’ve been using what is now Skype for Business since Office Communications Server RTM (circa 2007). Ever since I got my start with it, the biggest questions I have been asked about the product(s) have been around Conferencing and PSTN connectivity. Specifically, folks have looked to Office Communications Server, Lync, and/or Skype for Business as a replacement for their PBX in addition to the UC functions such as Instant Messaging and Presence. Most of the folks that I know that are deploying Skype for Business have had similar conversations.

I believe that with Microsoft Teams, we are seeing a giant change in the way Microsoft is approaching UC though. For in the past, UC was focused on the PBX. If we could add features and have PBX parity, we would have the ultimate UC solution, at least that was the way many people (myself included) thought.

What I believe has changed is that Microsoft has decided to push forward with the idea that the PBX is just a branch of UC, it is not the core of UC. This is a big change because as we move forward into the future, the way we communicate and collaborate is changing. Products like Slack, Hipchat, Zoom, etc. are being developed based on these changes. Microsoft is, in my opinion, being forward thinking with the changes they are making to their products. They are connecting with the younger generations and pushing forward.

The ability to think of Unified Communications as different branches of equal strength and not one key component with value-adds around it is a significant change.

While Teams is not perfect (far from it actually), it is a step in the right direction. I’m excited to see where Microsoft takes it and how they help Teams (pun intended) create and collaborate in the future.

Categories: Uncategorized

Microsoft Teams – Teams Meeting Outlook plug-in not showing

August 4, 2017 1 comment

This is just a quick tip on how I fixed an issue with the Microsoft Teams “Teams Meeting” Outlook plug-in not showing up. If you have the Teams client installed, then in Outlook, you should get “Teams Meeting” under the New Items list.

Here is what I was seeing:

What I should have seen is:

After ensuring the Teams Meeting plugin was installed by looking in %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\TeamsMeetingAddin, I uninstalled and re-installed the desktop client (also closed and re-opened Outlook after this) but this had no affect.

I then realized that the Teams account I was signed into (my work account) was not the same account as the primary email account (my personal O365 account) in Outlook. I signed out of Teams and closed Outlook. Then I signed into Teams as the same account as my primary Outlook email account. Opened Outlook and boom, Teams Meeting was showing up. I then repeated the process: closed Outlook, signed out of Teams (as my personal O365 account), signed back into Teams (as my work account), re-opened Outlook. The Teams Meeting plug-in was still there and working as it should.

If you are having issues seeing the Teams Meeting option in Outlook, maybe this will help you out.

Categories: Uncategorized