Session recording of my Skype for Business voice in the cloud talk is online

I had the great honour to talk about Skype for Business and the new voice features this year at Nordic Infrastructure Conference 2016 in Oslo Spectrum. The event seemed like a great success and I look forward to next year.

Abstract: Microsoft has released the Cloud PBX, PSTN conferencing and PSTN calling readily available in Office 365. This session looks at what it means, how to configure it and how to succeed with it including automating number administration.

The crowd at NIC

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Change the Acano welcome screen using PowerShell

powershellAcano is one of the providers out there that closes the gap between video conferencing endpoints and Skype for Business that includes featuers such as integration with the Skype for Business meeting invite and enables application sharing accross platforms.

Acano has made available a REST api to configure Acano deployments further than just setting it up with the default configuration. My colleague Tom-Inge Larsen has made a PowerShell module so that you can use PowerShell to work with Acano deployments. This is great stuff! Now I can use my existing skill set coming from a Microsoft background to tune the Acano deployments I work with. In this example I want to change the branding of the meeting you are joining with custom welcome screen for SIP and Skype for Business clients

Here is how you do it

  1. Download the latest version of the module
  2. Unzip it and navigate in PowerShell ISE to the location where you unzipped the .psm1 file
    • cd c:\acano\
  3. Import the module, you may need to set the execution policy to unrestricted
    • Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted
    • Import-Module .\PsAcano.psm1
  4. Get all the cmdlets available in the module
    • Get-Module PsAcano | Select-Object -ExpandProperty exportedcommands
    • At the time of writing there are 161 cmdlets available
    • You will find that the name of the cmdlets matches the names from the API so you can look up the properties and what you need to set in order to configure this
  5. Connect to the Acano environment
    • New-AcanoSession -APIAddress Vc-nocore1.contoso.com –Port 445 -Credential (Get-Credential)
  6. To create the custom branded welcome screen you need the following
    • A JPEG picture called background.jpg
    • A web server that hosts the picture, if you use IIS you need to enable directory browsing since you are sharing the directory root
    • The webserver only needs to be available to the Acano server, and not the client joining the meeting
    • The picture needs to be less than 500kb and have the dimensions 1920×1200
    • Progressive JPEG is not supported
  7. Use the AcanoCallBrandingProfile to create the customization profile
    • New-AcanoCallBrandingProfile
    • Which returns a GUID that you can add a URL to
  8. Add a ResourceLocation to the call branding profile
  9. Now you are done! You have now created a global Call Branding Profile
    • You can also create a call branding profile and assign it at the tenant level or at the coSpace level
    • You only need to create one callbranding profile per cluster, since all servers in the cluster will share the same configuration
  10. In order for this to work, make sure the license allows for customization, not all licenses from Acano allows for customization. Make sure it is assigned to all servers in the deployment

Resources

Custom presence states in Skype for Business

custpresenceUpdate: Check out the Pomodoro Windows App that makes it easier to set custom presence states

I love custom presence states. Being able to tell my peers what exactly I am doing is something I find valuable. You can be busy in so many ways, during workshops being available for short chats, but not phone calls. During Pomodoro sprints where I want to be unavailable, but tell everyone that I am focusing so please don’t call me.

I wanted to set this in my Skype for Business installed through Office 2016. Turns out that the registry settings has changed and the new path is

HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Lync

I have updated my script at Technet Gallery to set custom presence state registry settings for Office 2013 and Office 2016. Check out my latest blogpost on how to use it here

Get the updated version here

Is your next productivity headset the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC?

I say, yes!

Why?voyager-focus-uc-system

  • It is optimized for Skype for Business
  • It is wireless using bluetooth, connection to up to eight devices, two at the same time
  • It has noise cancelling, removing the white noise but keeps voices voyager-focus-in-standwhen people are talking to you
  • It has really good music quality, can be compared to the best music headsets on the market
  • By installing the Plantronics Hub software it will set your Skype for Business status to “In a Call” when you answer the call on your cellphone
  • It can easily be charged using MicroUSB or the charging stand

Check out my thoughts on the headset on YouTube

Also check out the video review by MVP Matt Landis

Link to the product page: http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/voyager-focus-uc?skuId=sku7140027#fndtn-overview

Get started with the Call Quality Methodology (CQM)

The Microsoft Call Quality Methodology (CQM) is a systematical approach to not only troubleshoot and fix problems in your Lync and Skype for Business infrastructure, but also establish a methodology that is used proactively maintain call quality over time in your deployment.

The information highlighted by CQM is generated from the lcsCDR and lcsQoE databases and is real actionable content when looking for call quality issues and performance.

Check out my video on why you should implement CQM in your deployment

CQM summed up in five bullet points

  1. Server performance is the first thing you should look at using Key Health Indicators (KHI) collected over 14 days
    • New in the june 1 update is that you now can automatically import the counters in to an excel spreadsheet to get max and average values with thresholds
    • Sorting on the Burst Frequency for Sub-Optmial counters does a great job on highlighting underperfoming counters
  2. The AudioMicGlitchRate helps to highlight endpoints that have performance issues even though they are using the correct hardware.
  3. The Rate my Call feature introduced in Skype for Business is highlighted in the CQM report
    • This is great for getting actual feedback from users on how they experienced the call
  4. The Call Quality Dashoard (CQD) introduced in Skype for Business Server highlights media stream quality and media paths in realtime
  5. CQM is not something you do once, but a systematical approach over the entire lifespan of your deployment where you focus on
    • creating a baseline
    • prioritizing the most obvious and easiest fix first
    • fix one issue at a time and retest
    • maintain the solution over time as the deployment evolves

Getting started resources

Ppt and video is now available from my talk at Microsoft Ignite

May 2015 I had the honor to talk at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago. That was great fun and 300 showed up at my session about how to save time by automating phone number management in Skype for Business Server. Before this talk I released a new scritp called Get-SfBNumbers.ps1 which you can download and find more information about at http://SfBNumbers.net. Look for more Enterprise Voice tips and scripts at that site, and I will in time blog about examples for how to use the script.

I had a great time attending Microsoft Ignite, lots of networking and I got to attend some great sessions with interesting content. We also did a live recording of The UC Architects podcast with Jamie Stark joining us. Check out some images at the bottom of this blogpost

Download the ppt here: http://video.ch9.ms/sessions/ignite/2015/decks/BRK4112_Hansen.pptx

Download or view the session at Channel 9

video

Some images from the conference

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Speaking at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago

I am proud to announce that I am speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago! I am talking about  often neglected, but very important topic, which is how operations should handle phone numbers in Skype for Business. You can find most of the tips, scripts and tools talked about in this session at http://skypenumbers.net Continue reading