In case you missed it, AudioCodes just became the latest phone vendor to become certified for Skype for Business Online, meaning that the 440HD phones can be used both on-premises and online. Other phones in the series including the 420HD and 450HD should follow shortly.
AudioCodes phones are a very compelling addition to the Skype ecosystem in my opinion due to several factors.
- They have the ability to leverage the SILK protocol right on the phone.
- The single-vendor aspect for phones, management, and SBC/ATA/Gateway hardware.
- The very competitive price-point.
- Their IP phone management suite, which is even available free for up to 500 phones.
You can check out the official press release here for more info: http://www.audiocodes.com/press-releases/audiocodes-ip-phone-achieves-microsoft-skype-for-business-online-certification
I’ve had this request from a client and it’s hit TechNet forums as well so I wanted to drop this workaround here.
Issue: When you click Meet Now from the Lync or Skype client, it takes you into a new meeting space, the user would prefer to use their dedicated meeting space.
As the issue states, some people have their dedicated meeting space PSTN conference IDs memorized. If they want to quickly join a meeting using the IDs they’ve already handed out, rather than whatever method they were using before, they just want a menu item in their client.
The trick I’ve given out is as follows:
- Figure out the conference conf: link.
- Add the link to a reg key.
- Exit and restart the client.
The solution looks like this:
To get that menu item, paste the following reg key into Notepad and replace the conf: url with the user’s. Also note that if you’re using Office 2013, replace Office\16.0 with Office\15.0. To figure out the conf url, just swap out my sip address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your user’s, then replace 055VM3JB (my conference ID) with your user’s. To find your user’s conference ID, you can edit the hyperlink in a new meeting invite (for the dedicated meeting space) and use the alphanumeric ID past the last /. You can also use my tool here to get this info for all users at once: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Lync-2013-Get-External-deab4539
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
“Name”=”Meet Now (Dedicated)”
There are other options too, such as scheduling a recurring meeting at a time that’s not intrusive so it’s always in the meetings section of the client for a quick join. Comment below if you have a better way or improvement as I imagine there are better methods.
Recently on the TechNet forums, someone was attempting to disable a response group queue time-out and overflow programatically within a PowerShell script. In the control panel, there is an obvious check box, but in the PowerShell object, there is no obvious Boolean equivalent to enable/disable.
The simple trick is to set the TimeoutThreshold and OverflowThreshold values to $null instead of a numeric seconds value.
The following simple method will clear both of these checkboxes for you.
$My_RSG_Queue = Get-CSRGSQueue -identity [Your-Queue-Identity]
$My_RSG_Queue.TimeoutThreshold = $null
$My_RSG_Queue.OverflowTheshold = $null
This has come up on TechNet uncountable times. I’ve seen it in deployments large and small. I’ve seen it so much that I feel it needs a large font.
TECHNET DOES NOT SUGGEST YOU PUT YOUR EDGE ON THE INTERNAL LAN. PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.
Every edge server should have two interfaces, one internal facing and one external facing. I realize that the TechNet documentation doesn’t always use the clearest language and we see articles like this that states “On your internal interface, configure one static IP on the internal perimeter network subnet”.
However, that does not mean your internal network. A perimeter network is also often called a DMZ. This is a separate network firewalled from all other networks.
PUTTING YOUR EDGE SERVER WITH ONE LEG IN A DMZ AND ANOTHER ON YOUR INTERNAL LAN BYPASSES YOUR FIREWALL AND IS BAD SECURITY PRACTICE.
Instead, TechNet is suggesting two separate perimeter networks (or DMZs). An external facing one that can communicate with the Internet via a firewall or with access control, and a separate internal facing one that communicate with internal servers and workstations via a firewall. These two networks should not be able to route to each other and only necessary ports should be opened.
Spoiler: You can’t.
This one has been asked a thousand times on TechNet, and occasionally someone thinks they’ve found it, but they’re wrong.
Many companies want to generate lists of the numeric conference ID found in Skype for Business or Lync meeting invites for the dedicated or private meeting space. The trick is that although the alphanumeric conference ID can be found in the database (you can see this ID in the URL string generated in the meeting invite), the numerical/DTMF one isn’t stored anywhere. It’s calculated by an algorithm known only to Microsoft and mapped within the conference directory. Have I asked for it? Yes. Did I get it? No. I’ve been told by those within the Microsoft inner circle that the formula cannot be shared publicly, even under NDA.
The format of the actual number is as follows and documented here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398802%28v=ocs.15%29.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396
<housekeeping digit (1 digit)><conference directory (usually 1-2 digits)><conference number (variable number of digits><check digit (1 digit)>
It is NOT the ConfID stored in the database (although this may well be part of the formula along with PSTN Local ID and PSTN Authority ID).
If someone manages to figure it out using some method, please let me know. I’ve used DBAnalyze a few times to try to pull it, but I haven’t received consistent results. My only thought would be a complex EWS scan of calendar directories for the information.
Finally, a feature I’ve been dying to see in CloudPBX, the ability to add consumption billing for international calling, and with it toll free numbers for conferencing.
Up until this announcement, those in the US who wanted to make domestic and international calls needed to use the $24/month plan vs. the $12/month domestic only plan. While I was happy that international calling was an option, many of my clients need the ability to make international calls, yet rarely actually make them. The extra $12 per-user per-month for maybe 1-2 international calls a month per person was affecting adoption. We had workarounds in place like scheduling a conference room to make international calls and only assigning the international plan to conference rooms. Well, happy to say that’s no longer a workaround we need. 🙂
What hasn’t been announced, and I’ve heard no plans (but I will continue to suggest it), is a lighter domestic plan. There are also many clients who have users who almost never use the phone but still require a phone number. Allowing them to have a lighter PSTN Calling plan with consumption billing for overages would also be a welcome addition.
Read more about the announcement here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/What-is-PSTN-consumption-billing-524dbea7-117f-493d-8005-6461f7f10059
Toll Free Numbers
Toll Free numbers weren’t initially available, and I understand that. The reality of the situation is that many these days don’t pay additional (or at least very little) for long distance calls and they are losing relevance. That said, a bigger reality is that it’s a courtesy the vast majority of companies extend and consumers expect it. Well, with the arrival of PSTN consumption billing, we’ve got ’em now. 🙂
What I wasn’t expecting with this announcement, is all of the countries where toll free numbers are available right out of the gate! It looks like there may be over 30 countries available if I’m reading this right (full disclosure, I haven’t attempted to obtain a toll free number as of yet).
Read more here:
Where can I get toll free numbers? – https://support.office.com/en-US/article/Where-can-I-get-toll-free-numbers-448bb563-c122-48ce-aab9-a97157a17bd3
Skype for Business toll free number limits and restrictions – https://support.office.com/en-US/article/Skype-for-Business-toll-free-number-limits-and-restrictions-d0b9c232-2970-41cb-adf3-df91f03347c1
“Presence is the kindness users provide in engaged communication.” –Thomas Poett
Presence isn’t dead or dying, and with Skype for Business it can be one of the most impactful features added by a deployment. However, any time a new tool such as Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business has been deployed, user adoption planning and training is key. One component of this that must not be overlooked is simple etiquette, especially when it comes to presence. Microsoft does an excellent job of providing automated presence information based upon your Exchange calendar, keyboard idle time, phone use, etc. But, like any IM platform, these can be overridden. When they are overridden with false values to avoid contact, the impact can be lost. Educating your users on why this is an important feature, how to properly use it, and why it impacts others is critical.
If you are not including Etiquete as part of your adoption package, it’s time to include it. Microsoft has recognized this and have been pushing this since the days of Live Communications Server as well as in more recent RASK kits…
This one confounded me for a while as it comes up on the occasional RFP and other PBX vendors are known to handle it well.
The scenario is as follows: You’ve answered your call on your mobile device using VoIP, but you’re now back at your desk and want to use your Lync or Skype for Business desk phone.
If it’s a conference call, you can just rejoin the conference from another endpoint, but for a one-on-one call, I didn’t think this was possible as you can’t easily park the call and there’s no obvious other way to accomplish it.
Thanks to Habib Mankal (http://blog.wavecoreit.com/) Office Server and Services MVP (formerly Skype MVP) for pointing out a solution!
Simply transfer the call to your own Skype user. The mobile client will notify you that it’s transferring the call, and you can pick up the call on another endpoint. The calling party may potentially hear hold music so it’s not seamless, but it’s an option.
If the call is not a VoIP call and you’ve answered the call using your cell service, this functionality does not appear to work that same at this point, at least from an iPhone. If you can transfer the call from your cell phone, that would be your option there.
If you’d like to see this feature more properly implemented; please vote for it here: http://www.skypefeedback.com/forums/299913-generally-available/suggestions/13798731-move-audio-from-any-endpoint-to-another-seamlessly
There are other feedback requests that say similar things, but with few votes or not quite the same. Please vote it up, this feature would be huge.
The long awaited color phone from AudioCodes is going to be hitting us very soon. For those who have deployed color phones, you know that AudioCodes phones for Lync and Skype for Business are solid and packed with features, but until now there hasn’t be a color screen available. There’s not a lot of public information just yet, but I managed to snag a pic or two (some I can’t show you yet) and some details.
Unofficially a few features:
- 5’’ high res Color Touch + expansion module support
- Integrated Bluetooth (for wireless headsets and mobile HFP (hands-free profile)
- Ability to connect up to 3 expansion modules – maybe not available at release
However, as you know, this isn’t GA yet and details are slim. Everything could change by the time it’s released, but I couldn’t resist sharing the bits I’ve found so far, enjoy!
Recently, a lot of our clients and people out on the Internet are dipping their toes in the water of Skype for Business Online Cloud PBX. This is included with E5, but if you don’t need the full E5 suite, you can add it as an add-on to the E3 licensing level in Office 365. But what if it’s not there? Or perhaps you have E5 but PSTN Calling isn’t there (assuming your tenant is in a country it’s currently sold). You might ask, “How do I find Cloud PBX?” when it’s not an option in the add subscriptions portion of your tenant?
Typically you would navigate to Billing->Subscriptions->Add subscriptions or just click the Purchase Services link in the left pane.
However, once there Cloud PBX, PSTN Calling, and PSTN Conferencing do not exist as options. We had this same issue and after a call with Microsoft, we’ve learned that the portal website isn’t “fully updated” and it doesn’t recognize E3 licenses purchased through volume licensing, enterprise agreements (EA), or internal user licenses. The trick to get these options to appear at the time of this blog writing is to purchase a single annual E3 license through the portal, and call Microsoft to refund it. This should be a short term workaround, so I would ask you to call Microsoft before you begin this procedure.
Once you’ve added this single E3 (or E5 or whatever you have chosen), the flag should be set in the portal and you should now see the options to continue.
Now that we see it, we can add it and select PSTN Calling on the way.
All that’s left is to assign the licenses to your users and dive into Cloud PBX!