Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Skype for Business’

UC Inside Track: Episode 2: Skype for Business vs Teams, and Assessing Your Network

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: http://www.voss-solutions.com/media/podcast/podcast_002.mp3

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

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: http://www.voss-solutions.com/media/podcast/podcast_001.mp3

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

Review: BounSky – Configure Multiple Accounts to Easily Switch Between With Your Skype for Business Client!

October 23rd, 2017 No comments

Description

Anyone working in Skype for Business consulting or support knows what a pain it is to test various accounts in an environment. Whether it’s testing an account in a new environment you’ve deployed, or troubleshooting an issue for a user, the process isn’t as easy as it could be. The Lync and Skype for Business clients only allow you to configure a single account. Well, once again, the community comes to the rescue!

Office Servers and Services (Skype for Business) MVP Greig Sheridan (@GreigInSydney) has come up with a solution with his clever BounSky application. The successor to ‘Profiles for Lync’, BounSky allows you to configure up to, wait for it, EIGHTY different Lync and Skype for Business accounts, and switch between them at the click of the mouse or hotkey combo. Each account can be configured with the typical sign-in address, user name, password, and alias. But each can also be manually configured to use specified internal and external server names, which is key in testing out scenarios where DNS is either not yet configured, or you’re attempting to bypass current configuration. Passwords are stored encrypted in the configuration file. The configuration can be exported and imported, which makes moving between machines or reloading workstations less troublesome.

BounSky menu

Once configured a simple click on the taskbar/system tray icon brings up the menu and allows you to quickly click on a button next to each listed account. Presto, the client signs out of the current account and signs into the chosen account.

A nice feature is the new Auto-Home feature, which will automatically log you back into a default account after a configured number of hours and minutes. This is great in case you forget that you’re logged into a test account. A little stopwatch icon shows in the lower left corner to show the timer, and allows you to disable/suspend the Auto-Home feature. Click the image below for a view of the various options available.

BounSky options screen

BounSky also has the ability to be utilized to change sites by a command line interface.

Greig has informative user guide about the product on the BounSky website that breaks down every feature in detail. There’s also great troubleshooting and FAQ sections, although I don’t think I’ve ever had to use them. The tool just plainly works.

Installation

Download the MSI installer and run through it. Once launched, you can set the accounts and various application settings. Click the image below to see what the account setup screen looks like.

BounSky Account Setup screen

Conclusion

This is a phenomenal solution for those who must log-in to various Lync/SfB accounts. I use it often on deployments to test accounts in new pools, or those in Office 365 for hybrid scenarios. I also have work and personal tenants that I switch between. I can’t recommend this solution enough. Greig’s done an awesome job at filling a gap in the Skype for Business client space.

Review: UC Extend – Set Your Skype for Business Presence Based On Time of Day!

May 1st, 2017 No comments

Description

A common request from Lync and Skype for Business users over the years is to be able to set Lync/Skype for Business presence based on rules. And a common rule is time. So, set my presence to ‘away’ at 5pm every weekday. Well, as is usually the case, the community was listening, and Andrew Morpeth (@AndrewMorpeth), fellow Skype for Business MVP, released a free solution called UC Extend.

UC Extend allows you to set various time of day presence and personal note changes. For example, you can set a presence of ‘Off work’ to start at 5:30pm until 8:00am. And the personal note can be something like ‘It’s currently outside my normal work hours so I may not respond’. UC Extend forces the configured presence and personal note during this time. So, even if you’re working on your computer, which would normally cause a presence of ‘available’, UC Extend will keep it as ‘Off work’. There are 4 standard ‘rules’ that can be enabled and configured, and they apply to every day. There is also a weekend rule that matches based on the day. So, if your weekend is Saturday and Sunday, from Midnight Friday till midnight Sunday, the configured rule will apply, and takes priority over the other rules. See the screenshot below to see how the application lays out the rules and their settings.

UC Extend has several other options as well, including forcing one UI (Skype for Business/Lync), and automatic ‘away’ settings. Andrew has done some work around also adding configuration of unanswered calls, but those features are not yet available. The right-click context menu for the application also supports custom options and custom URLs that are configured in the applications XML file. I did play around with those, but haven’t really found a need for them yet. Other options include the ability to include custom option in the Lync/Skype for Business context menu, which could be nicer. This includes custom support URLs, as well as the ability to launch an application. UC Extend also supports configuring registry keys in the XML, and forcing a value for those keys, such as when a change is detected. Andrew’s site describes these features further, and the XML file has some decent comment notes.

UC Extend will trigger a toast notification and system sound whenever it makes presence changes. For me, that’s a good ‘reminder’ that the working day is over.

Installation

Download the application from the TechNet Gallery. Run through the MSI installer, and you’re up and running. You can right-click on the ‘UC’ system tray icon to adjust the settings.

Conclusion

The application was released a while ago, and some of the dialogs mentions Lync instead of Skype for Business. The bottom of the settings dialog is an example of this. It doesn’t detect the sign-in status of Skype for Business in that location. But the application works great for Skype for Business clients. I really like the solution, and continue to use it to this day. My only real request, other than updating some of the dialogs to support Skype for Business, is to store the original personal note, so that when it’s outside of any of the configured rules, it can restore that. Or, and option to pick the original personal note instead of forcing a configured personal note. Certainly not a show stopper for me – just a wish. Maybe Andrew will get around to finishing the ‘unanswered calls’ config. Still, a cool solution that fills a known gap.

Review: Skyue – Set Your Phillips Hue Lights to Match Your Skype for Business Presence!

April 1st, 2017 No comments

Description

A year or so ago, when I began some renovation projects, I started to really get into home automation. I’ve now got two Nest thermostats, probably a dozen Nest Protect devices, some Next cameras, dozens of Phillips Hue lights, and a bunch of SmartThings sensors, smart plugs, and more. I’m also utilizing things like 7 Amazon Alexa devices, Siri, and IFTTT and Stringify to help tie things together. They really all work great, with the exception of the Ring video doorbell, which, IMHO, is a piece of garbage –

For quite some time I’ve played with some of the presence lights by vendors such as Embrava’s Blynclight and Kuando’s Busylight family. They work really well at letting others see your presence before they interrupt you. I’ve used them both at customer locations (‘cube farms’) and in my home office. The problem in the home office is that I wanted the light to be outside of my office door, so that family members could see my presence if my door was closed. That required a long USB extension cable, and wasn’t the cleanest looking solution. Then one day, I was playing with some Hue bulbs and Alexa, when it dawned on me that it would be cool to change one or more Hue bulbs to match my presence. So I reached out to Tom Morgan (@TomMorgan), Skype for Business MVP, ace developer, and former coworker, with my idea. Not long after that, he introduced Skyue. Skyue is a client side system tray application that controls Hue lights, and sets them to your presence. Brilliant!

I set this up to utilize a light on the main floor, near the stairs. My office is on the second floor, so the light is visible before people come up the stairs. While my family doesn’t know what all the various presence colors mean, they do know that red (busy/on a call/in a conference) and purple (DND) mean that you approach my office with caution. My grandson also knows that it means not to run around the house like a banshee, because Papa is probably on a call (hey – I’m no presence liar!). The app keeps the bulbs in sync, and there is really no delay between a change in presence and the bulb color being updated.

Installation

Pretty easy, really. Download the tool and run it. It will prompt you to press the button on your Hue hub. Once that’s done, click the button in the app acknowledging that you pressed it. Select the Hue light(s) that you’d like to control. Only the color ambience lights should be visible in the pick list. White ambience lights are not – for good reason. You can also set the level of brightness for the lights. This was something that I asked for because a Hue light is pretty bright. So, setting to 20% was a perfect level to be seen but not overbearing. Once you hit ‘Save’, you’re off and running. You can also adjust the settings by right clicking on the little floor lamp icon in the system tray.

Coming soon

According to the website, Tom is looking at adding Contacts so you can show their presence, as well as notifications for incoming IMs, and incoming calls.

Conclusion

I’ve been running this for many months now, and it’s been rock solid. If you’re looking to have a quality solution to leverage existing Hue lights and Skype for Business, Tom’s cool utility should fill the requirement. Highly recommended!

One Liner: Add Trusted Root Cert Authorities to Edge Servers

September 19th, 2015 5 comments

Chris Hayward (@WeakestLync) wrote a great blog post with a neat & easy way to add trusted root certificates for your edge servers. Of course, everything in Lync and Skype for Business uses certificates, so ensuring you have all of the certificates is crucial for federation with other organizations.

Once I saw Chris’s method, I, of course, thought that PowerShell could do this as well. Voila, a one-liner to do it. This example uses the same list from Chris’s blog post, and suppresses the output so you can use it your provisioning scripts.

'https://comodo.com', 'https://digicert.com', 'https://www.entrust.net', 'https://geotrust.com', 'https://www.globalsign.com', 'https://godaddy.com', 'https://www.symantec.com', 'https://thawte.com', 'https://wisekey.com' | ForEach-Object {$null = Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $_}

This method essentially just cycles through each item in the array, and does a web request for each. As each web request is completed, any new certificates are automatically added to the trusted root cert store. Usually, some of these already exist, so don’t be surprised if the total certificate count doesn’t increase by the same number of items in the array.

Script: Get-CsUpdateVersion.ps1 – See the Cumulative Update Level Of All Lync/Skype for Business Servers

May 2nd, 2014 38 comments

Description

My work at Modality Systems often has me doing health checks for customer Lync environments. These can be due to customer requests, or as part of our onboarding for new managed support customers. If you’ve ever had an Active Directory Risk Assessment Program (ADRAP) or Exchange Risk Assessment Program (ExRAP), it’s quite similar. Lots of tasks to run, lots of data to sift through. So it’s always beneficial to standardize and automate the steps to get the data. The same is the case when you’re responsible for your own environment and want to ensure good health.

Just like Get-CsDatabaseUpdateStatus.ps1, Dave Howe from the Lync product group and I teamed up to automate something. In this case, it’s looking at what Cumulative Updates are installed on each server throughout a Lync environment. This script queries each pool, then finds what servers are part of that pool, and queries each server to find the CU that’s installed. It then provides an easy to read output of the entire environment (with exceptions) for easy review. As shown below, we see three multi-server pools, the version number and “friendly” Cumulative Update info.

PS C:\> .\Get-CsUpdateVersion.ps1

ComputerName   : sjc-edge01
PoolFqdn       : sjc-edge01.contoso.com
Version        :
Product        :
Update         :
FriendlyResult : PSRemoting failure
UpToDate       :
UpdateUrl      :

ComputerName   : sjc-fe01
PoolFqdn       : sjc-fe01.contoso.com
Version        : 6.0.9319.272
Product        : Skype for Business Server 2015
Update         : CU4 - 11/04/2016
FriendlyResult : Skype for Business Server 2015 CU4 - 11/04/2016
UpToDate       : False
UpdateUrl      : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3199093

ComputerName   : sjc-pc01
PoolFqdn       : sjc-pc01.contoso.com
Version        : 6.0.9319.272
Product        : Skype for Business Server 2015
Update         : CU4 - 11/04/2016
FriendlyResult : Skype for Business Server 2015 CU4 - 11/04/2016
UpToDate       : False
UpdateUrl      : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3199093

The script works fine with Standard Edition servers as well.

In the first example, you see that the first two servers show “PSRemoting failure”. This is because the script uses PowerShell Remoting to connect to each remote server to query information (see installation notes below). PSRemoting doesn’t really work the same when dealing with non-domain joined machines, such as the first two, which are edge servers. So the script isn’t able to communicate with them via PSRemoting, and flags them. If the script can’t ping a server, it will show as “offline”. The friendly name of the CU shown is coded in the online XML file that the script queries. So I’ll update it each time a new CU is released.

By default, the script checks all pools. But you can specify a single pool by using the -PoolFqdn parameter.

Syntax

Get-CsUpdateVersion.ps1 [[-PoolFqdn] ] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm]

Installation

This script uses PowerShell Remoting to query remote servers. PSRemoting is enabled by default on Windows Server 2012 and later, but disabled by default on 2008 R2. To enable PSRemoting on 2008 R2 servers, see Enable-PSRemoting. The script requires Internet access on the machine the script is running on. This is to query the XML file containing the update information.

Execution Policy: Third-party PowerShell scripts may require that the PowerShell Execution Policy be set to either AllSigned, RemoteSigned, or Unrestricted. The default is Restricted, which prevents scripts – even code signed scripts – from running. For more information about setting your Execution Policy, see Using the Set-ExecutionPolicy Cmdlet.

Donations

I’ve never been one to really solicit donations for my work. My offerings are created because *I* need to solve a problem, and once I do, it makes sense to offer the results of my work to the public. I mean, let’s face it: I can’t be the only one with that particular issue, right? Quite often, to my surprise, I’m asked why I don’t have a “donate” button so people can donate a few bucks. I’ve never really put much thought into it. But those inquiries are coming more often now, so I’m yielding to them. If you’d like to donate, you can send a few bucks via PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/PatRichard. Money collected from that will go to the costs of my website (hosting and domain names), as well as to my home lab.

Assumptions

None

Download

v3.9 – 03-08-2017 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.9.zip

v3.8 – 02-14-2017 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.8.zip

v3.7 – 02-05-2017 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.7.zip

v3.6 – 01-06-2017 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.6.zip

v3.5 – 11-28-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.5.zip

v3.4 – 11-12-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.4.zip

v3.3 – 08-31-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.3.zip

v3.2 – 07-15-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.2.zip

v3.1 – 07-05-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.1.zip

v3.0 – 04-21-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v3.0.zip

v2.9 – 04-07-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.9.zip

v2.8 – 01-26-2016 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.8.zip

v2.7 – 12-14-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.7.zip

v2.6 – 11-17-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.6.zip

v2.5 – 11-11-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.5.zip

v2.4 – 10-03-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.4.zip

v2.3 – 09-09-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.3.zip

v2.2 – 07-14-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.2.zip

v2.1 – 06-21-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.1.zip

v2.0 – 05-12-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v2.0.zip

v1.9 – 02-19-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.9.zip

v1.8 – 02-09-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.8.zip

v1.7 – 01-01-2015 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.7.zip

v1.6 – 12-12-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.6.zip

v1.5 – 11-21-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.5.zip

v1.4 – 09-24-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.4.zip

v1.3 – 09-02-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.3.zip

v1.2 – 08-07-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.2,zip

v1.1 – 06-02-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.1.zip

v1.0 – 05-02-2014 – Get-CsUpdateVersion.v1.0.zip

Changelog

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