Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Teams’

Review: Yealink VC210 Collaboration Bar

June 5th, 2020 No comments

I had the opportunity lately to play with one of these in my office. Check out the video below to see my thoughts on this new form factor solution for Microsoft Teams. This is my first attempt at a video review.

Ethics Statement: Companies may send software, hardware, or other products or samples to me in order for me to review such samples and determine whether I will provide a review of the product on I do not accept any samples on any preconditions, such as, that I will agree to provide a review simply because the company sent me a sample, or that I will only provide a positive review. Please note that companies may provide these samples before the product is commercially available, in which case, I may agree to an embargo with the company or its PR firm. This means I agree not to publish the review or associated news until a given time.

New-MtrWallpaper – Automatically Change Wallpaper on Teams Room System Every Day

January 19th, 2020 5 comments


In playing with setting a custom wallpaper on some Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) systems, I wondered how hard it would be to have a new wallpaper everyday. I looked up the official documentation, as well as chatted with Eric Marsi (@EricMarsi) about how custom wallpaper is handled on MTRs. Eric has written an article, Configuring Custom Themes for Microsoft Teams/Skype Room Systems, on the basics of how to set a custom theme for an MTR, which includes a custom wallpaper. Check out his article. My article focuses on using the same core process, but automating it and having it run daily, randomly picking a new wallpaper each day.

My first theory was to just copy a wallpaper and generic SkypeSettings.xml file to the folder each day, then send a reboot command to the computer to implement the change. I had it all figured out, but then a coincidence made life easier. I was working at my PC on an unrelated project late one night (about 2:30am), when I heard the Rally camera behind me start it’s initialization process. When I checked, the Intel Nuc that serves as the compute for my Logitech Tap, was rebooting. I added “figure out what’s wrong with the Tap” to my task list. Anyways, next night, not having gotten that far down my task list yet, same thing happened, and I noticed it was at the exact same time. Time to roll up my sleeves. What I determined was there was a scheduled task called ‘NightlyReboot’ that runs at 2:00AM daily on MTRs. Drilling down, I discovered that a BUNCH of PowerShell scripts run as a result, including some that do Windows Updates, and some routine cleanup. At the end of this ~30 minute process was a Restart-Computer -Force command. I figured that makes life easier for my wallpaper idea. So, I came up with a function that looks into a folder full of wallpaper .jpg files, randomly selects one, and copies it to the appropriate folder. Next, the script writes a new XML file that includes ONLY the elements required for a custom theme. That’s all that’s done. I thought about just adding my function to one of these existing PowerShell scripts, but then opted not to do that to ensure it survives any upgrades and updates to the MTR software. The script is executed daily with a dedicated scheduled task. We then leverage the daily reboot that’s already in place to implement the changes. Presto – daily wallpaper change. I think I spent more time looking for cool wallpaper images than writing the code. One of my favorites is the Spy vs. Spy image shown above on one of the MTRs in my home office.

There is nothing fancy about my method, and it could easily be customized to use, say, an XML file full of dates and wallpaper names to use specific wallpaper images on certain days, such as holidays or company events and announcements.


Log onto the MTR as admin

Life is much easier if you use RDP to do all of this. RDP isn’t enabled by default on MTRs, but just enabling it Windows 10 is straight forward. Click ‘Settings’ on the touch screen, enter the password, then go to Windows settings. Enter the admin password and you’re in Windows 10. A quick search for ‘remote desktop’ gets you there. Everything configured here is done so while logged in as Admin.

Create folder

  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to ‘C:\Users\Skype\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.SkypeRoomSystem_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState’. Create a folder there called ‘Wallpapers’.

Copy script to the Wallpapers folder.

  • Download the New-MtrWallpaper.ps1 script file from the link below, and copy it to the folder created above.

Upload wallpaper images

  • Copy all of your wallpaper files to that same folder. The script is written for .jpg files. You should now have a folder with the script and wallpapers in it.

Create scheduled task

Open Task Scheduler

  • Navigate to Task Scheduler Library>Microsoft>Skype
  • Create a new Basic Task called ‘Rotate Wallpaper’

On the ‘General’ tab:

  • Ensure that the admin account is specified under ‘When running the task, use the following user account’.
  • Select ‘Run whether user is logged on or not’
  • Select ‘Run with highest privileges’

On the ‘Triggers’ tab, create a trigger:

  • ‘Begin the task’ set to ‘On a schedule’
  • Set the ‘Settings’ to ‘Daily’
  • Set the time to any time before 2:00am. I use 10:15:00 PM. Set the recurrence to every 1 days (or whatever schedule you’d like, keeping in mind that the scheduled reboot only happens once a day).
  • All other check boxes except ‘Enabled’ should NOT be checked.

On the ‘Actions’ tab:

  • Set ‘Action’ to ‘Start a program’.
  • For Program/script, use ‘Powershell’.
  • For ‘Add arguments (optional)’, paste the following single line:

-NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy bypass -file C:\Users\Skype\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.SkypeRoomSystem_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\Wallpapers\New-MtrWallpaper.ps1

  • For ‘Start in (optional), paste the following single line:


On the ‘Conditions’ tab

  • Leave all blank except the first two under ‘Power’.

On the ‘Settings’ tab:

  • Select ‘Allow task to be run on demand’
  • Select ‘Stop the task if it runs longer than 1 hour’
  • Select ‘If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop’.

Save the task, entering the password for the admin account when prompted. Now, right-click the task in the list, and select ‘Run’. Wait a few seconds and refresh, and the ‘Last Run Result’ field should say ‘The operation completed successfully. (0x0)’. Verify that both the SkypeSettings.xml and wallpaper.jpg now exist in the ‘C:\Users\Skype\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.SkypeRoomSystem_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState’ folder. Restart Windows. The MTR will boot accordingly, and you’ll have a new wallpaper. If you look into that folder now, the XML and wallpaper files will no longer be there.

Known Issues

There is a strange occurrence where I’ve manually run the script, then manually rebooted one of my MTRs and the new wallpaper wasn’t incorporated. However, every time the schedule task runs, and the MTR restarts as part of its nightly maintenance, it’s worked fine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What resolution do my wallpaper files need to be?

A. They need to be exactly 3840×1080, regardless of whether you have a single or dual screen Teams Room System.

Q. How many wallpaper images can I have?

A. As many as you like, keeping in mind that the more you have, the less likely you’ll have consecutive days with the same image.

Q. Does this impact performance?

A. This script does NOT impact performance in any way. It can easily run while the MTR is connected to a meeting. The reboot occurs regardless, so no added impact there.


This script is available in my GitHub repo at Feel free to grab it from there, and contribute any updates or improvements.

If you’re looking for wallpaper, Bing search yields a ton of them.


See the changelog for information on what’s changed/included in each version.

Review: Yealink T55A Phone for Microsoft Teams

November 22nd, 2019 No comments


The Yealink T55A is designed as a mid-level Teams compatible endpoint. It’s unobtrusive 4.3″ 480 x 272 pixel screen paired with simple overall design is a great device for the Teams enabled organization. I recently added one in my home office and have had a chance to put it through its paces during my normal work day. The device itself has a simple key layout, with the typical 11 digit keypad, voicemail, headset, mute, speakerphone and volume buttons.

Setup and login

Nothing complicated about setting up this device. Install the stand, handset & cord, and plug the Ethernet cable into a POE port. No POE? Use a standard power adapter or POE injector. Pretty straightforward. As soon as the device was plugged into my POE switch, it powered right up. We get the typical Teams login prompt. In my case, I also use Cisco’s Duo for 2FA, and the Duo options did show up correctly on the screen. If you’re going to use a headset, there is a USB port for a wired headset, and the device supports Bluetooth as well. A GB network pass-through port is also on the device.


The T55A has the Company Portal for enrollment via InTune. When I first booted the phone, it went into the Company Portal screen to check for enrollment. As I don’t use InTune, I manually configured any preferences from the screen itself through the intuitive interface.

Updating the firmware was straightforward enough using the device’s built-in web admin feature. But admittedly took a few minutes. The IP address isn’t listed on the network settings screen, where one would first look. It’s listed on the ‘about’ screen (‘Phone Settings>About’, not to be confused with the ‘about’ screen that shows Teams specific version info. Once I found the address, I used a web browser on my PC to access the device’s web interface.

I upgraded the firmware when I first received the device, and then again recently as I noticed a new version ( available. Recent firmware updates have added support for Hybrid configuration, where the device can be logged into a SIP solution and Teams at the same time. This is useful in migration scenarios. Other features added include dark mode (yay!), support for more phone policies, and importantly, support for use as a Common Area Phone (CAP). When configured as a CAP, voicemail, meetings and locking are not available. Use as a CAP makes this device an even more viable solution for organizations that want a common area phone that’s a bit nicer than some other offerings. While I didn’t need that feature, I always try to run the latest version of any firmware just to be current. Both times I upgraded the firmware were uneventful, and the device updated successfully, then rebooted. The web interface has a considerable number of settings and options, including importing configuration file, Bluetooth, power settings, logging, and security. Power settings were the only real setting that caused me some frustration. The phone has idle timeout settings, which cause the screen to timeout and shut off. I’ve never been a fan of that. I like to have the screen on all the time – otherwise it just looks like a dead phone until you push a button the device, lift the handset, receive a call, or touch the screen. I like to see the time/date on the phone, and the screen saver does move the time and date around the screen while it’s on. There is apparently no set of settings that allow for the screen to always be on. The longest I was able to configure was 4 hours of idle.

The screen size is sufficient for pretty much everything you need to do on a standard Teams phone, including reading the transcription of voicemail messages. The on-screen keyboard is pretty small, but usable even for my big meat hook hands. I was able to enter in passwords and other details with only the occasional backspace required. Other typical options on the main calls screen include parked call pickup, searching, meetings, voicemail.


Simple to set up and use

Great sound via handset and speakerphone

Web interface offers a plethora of options


Power Saving feature cannot be disabled – idle timeout maxes to 4 hours


The phone works great. It doesn’t take a lot of desktop real estate and the screen is easy to read. It’s quick and easy to deploy. It’s nothing fancy, but doesn’t look or feel cheap, either. Great HD sound makes it easy to hear others on a call, and easy for them to hear you. As a phone for the average worker, the T55A is a great fit. The fact it supports both the Skype for Business or Teams firmware gives an organization some flexibility about rolling them out during a migration.

Ethics Statement: Companies may send software, hardware, or other products or samples to me in order for me to review such samples and determine whether I will provide a review of the product on I do not accept any samples on any preconditions, such as, that I will agree to provide a review simply because the company sent me a sample, or that I will only provide a positive review. Please note that companies may provide these samples before the product is commercially available, in which case, I may agree to an embargo with the company or its PR firm. This means I agree not to publish the review or associated news until a given time.

UC Inside Track: Episode 8: Dial Plans, Normalization Rules, and the Skype Optimizer with Special Guest Ken Lasko

June 6th, 2018 No comments

In this episode with MVP Ken Lasko of Nectar, we look at core enterprise voice configuration feature in Skype for Business and Lync. This includes dial plans and normalization rules: What they are, and how they work. And we chat about Ken’s Skype Optimizer, a free solution to help build the requisite dial plan configuration for a Skype for Business environment. Why spend hours (or more) figured everything out when the Skype Optimizer will have it done for you in minutes. Work smarter, not harder!

Episode 08:

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, TuneIn, Google Music Play, and Podcast Addict.

Community Driven Conference Seeks to Fill Void

April 11th, 2018 1 comment

Several years ago, the first Lync Conference was held in Coronado. Maxed out at just under 1000 attendees, this was a great event for those in the Lync space. Networking, technical content, vendors, and a great location. The following year, the event was held at the Aria in Las Vegas, mainly because it could hold a lot more people. And it did. A bigger conference meant more vendors and more room for technical sessions. Another fun event. But soon after that, Microsoft stopped having the dedicated event, and rolling everything into the Microsoft Ignite event. First held in Chicago, then Atlanta, then Orlando. Monster sized events for sure – the Orlando location was eight million square feet. But this was a combined event across all of the Microsoft solutions. It was easy to get lost in the shuffle, and it felt less ‘personable’. Those dedicated to Lync/Skype for Business, or at least heavily focused on them, really wanted to go back to the days of the dedicated events. Well, we’re going to try to do just that. Four MVPs including myself decided to take the bull by the horns and do it ourselves! Introducing the Comms vNext Conference. We’re starting off as a one day, FREE event in Denver, Colorado. If you’ve attended or at least heard of the SQL Saturday events, this is very similar, with our event being on Saturday, June 9th, 2018. We’ll have a keynote speaker (Jamie Stark of Microsoft), along with eight one-hour technical sessions by some of the top Skype for Business and Teams folks around, including MVPs, Masters, and more. Topics will include Skype for Business, Teams, and related technologies. We’ll have vendors there, too! The event is being held at the BRAND NEW Microsoft MTC, and we’re expecting at least 100 people. If this works out well, we’ll expand it further at future events located elsewhere in the country, with the hopes we can eventually get to a regular, multi-day conference. There will also be a social event the evening before, where you can socialize with everyone and enjoy some good food and adult beverages. We’re ecstatic to announce that sponsors include Microsoft, AudioCodes, Landis Technologies, Jabra, Anynode, Pexip, and Plantronics.

Fore more information, and to register, see the website at, and follow the conference on Twitter @CommsvNext. If you’d like to submit a speaker session for consideration, go to the website, as all of the details are there. We hope to see you there!

UC Inside Track: Episode 6: Development with Special Guest Tom Morgan

March 9th, 2018 No comments

Our first remote episode using new gear, instead of using Skype for Business. This time, Tom Morgan and I took time out of our busy scheduled at the annual MVP Global Summit on campus in Redmond, WA to discuss the basics of development for the UC stack.

In this episode, we look at the following:

1. Tom’s role at Modality
2. Bots in Teams
3. UCMA development
4. Differences between developing for Skype for Business on-prem vs online
5. What tools are needed

Episode 06:

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, TuneIn, Google Music Play, and Podcast Addict.

UC Inside Track: Episode 5: All Things Teams with Special Guest Jamie Stark

February 12th, 2018 No comments

Our first Microsoft staffer guest with Jamie Stark. Jamie and I chatted about a bunch of stuff, including:

In this episode, we look at the following:

  1. Jamie’s role at Microsoft
  2. IT Pro Tools program
  3. Microsoft Ready
  4. Enterprise Connect
  5. The Teams road map and new features in January
  6. The TAP program

Episode 5:

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, TuneIn, Google Music Play, and Podcast Addict.

UC Inside Track: Episode 3: Huge Teams Features Release with special guest Matt Landis

January 5th, 2018 No comments

In this first episode of the new year, special guest Matt Landis and I discuss the whopper release of new features for Microsoft Teams, and how they relate to Skype for Business. They include:

New Calling Roadmap Features

  1. Simultaneous Ringing
  2. Speed dial
  3. Suggested Contacts
  4. Voicemail
  5. Translate user input to standard format phone number
  6. Call Quality Diagnostic Portal
  7. TTY Support
  8. Skype for Business-Teams Calling
  9. Blind Transfer
  10. Call Blocking
  11. Call Forwarding
  12. Caller ID masking
  13. e911 Support
  14. Extension Dialing
  15. Hold
  16. Multi-call Handling
  17. Enable Existing Calling Plan Support

New Meetings Roadmap Features

  1. Edge, Chrome Browser Support for meetings
  2. Interactive Troubleshooting
  3. Audio Conferencing in over 90 countries
  4. Mute Other Participants
  5. Application Sharing

New Messaging Roadmap Features

  1. Contact Groups
  2. Unified Presence

New IT Pro Roadmap Features

  1. Messaging Policies
  2. Teams Interop Policies
  3. Client Support

Delayed Features

  1. Enable Call Quality Analytics
  2. Lobby Support
  3. Anonymous Join
  4. Give and Take control in sharing

Episode 3:

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, TuneIn, Google Music Play, and Podcast Addict.

UC Inside Track: Episode 2: Skype for Business vs Teams, and Assessing Your Network with special guess Tom Arbuthnot

December 13th, 2017 No comments

In this episode, my special guest Tom Arbuthnot and I look at Skype for Business updates, new tools from Microsoft, and Teams, and more. This includes:

– What to expect in Teams vs what’s already in Skype for Business
– Updated Network Assessment Tools
– .NET 4.7 support for Skype for Business
– CCE 2.1
– Skype for Business and Teams feature comparisons table and Teams roadmap
– Automating your workflows using Connectors in Microsoft Teams

Episode 2:

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, and now, TuneIn.

New Podcast: UC Inside Track Takes a Look at Microsoft UC Stack – First episode with special guest Jonathan McKinney

November 22nd, 2017 No comments

Earlier this year, the podcast I had been involved in since its inception, The UC Architects, ended its five-year run. It was a lot of fun, but the format was difficult to maintain. So, I’ve started a new podcast dealing with the Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) stack, with just a single guest on each episode. Guests will be tech luminaries such as fellow MVPs, MCMs/MCSMs, and/or Microsoft staff. The podcast is designed to deliver regular insight into the Microsoft UC market as an easy-to-consume audio file. Each episode will be in a shorter format than the UCA was, making it easier to listen to while driving to work or doing other tasks. We’ll tackle fewer topics, but each in further depth.

Listeners can listen to the podcasts in any of the following ways:
– Subscribe to the UC Inside Track podcast series on iTunes or via your favorite RSS client.
– Listen on TuneIn.
– Listen to the podcast directly via the link below.

In the first podcast, I’m joined by Jonathan McKinney (@ucomsgeek), MVP and MCM, to discuss the recently released Skype for Business to Teams capabilities roadmap. Both Jonathan and I are on the Microsoft Elite Teams for both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, and have collaborated for many years. The exchange is lively and informative. The recording was made available to download from iTunes on Friday, November 17.

Episode 1:

Look for more episodes at least monthly. In episode 2, I’ll be joined by fellow MVP and MCM Tom Arbuthnot (@tomarbuthnot).