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Using Hyper-V & Enhanced Session For Your Lync Lab

In the past the lack of support for audio devices made it awkward to use Hyper-V as a Lync lab but with the new “Enhanced Session” capabilities it seems that your next Lync lab may run nicely on a Windows 8.1 Enterprise PC with Hyper-V Client. (Of course we are talking a tiny lab. and if it’s a tiny lab, can you even fit it on a Surface Pro 3?)

Does Hyper-V Client Now Support Audio?

Yes, it does. Just make sure you are running  Windows 8.1 Enterprise or Server 2012 or newer inside the VM. And then turn on “Enhanced Session”: View |  Enhanced Session. The Disconnect from the VM and Connect” again. Now you will get the “Enhanced Session” configuration window.

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Now click on “Show Options” | Local Resources | Settings and make sure “Play on the computer” and “Record from the computer” are enabled so a device is passed to the VM and Lync has audio devices.

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You can edit/save these settings later by going to the Hyper-V Manager, right-click the VM and click “Edit Session Settings”.

Can I have two VM sharing the same speaker & Microphones?

From my testing it seems to work just fine. Each VM will allow you to set the volume of that VM. I did not see a way to give different VM’s different audio devices. (perhaps I overlooked something?)

What happens if I call from one VV Lync client to another VM on the same Host Sharing the same Speaker/Mic?

Well, of course this needed immediate testing. So you have 2 Lync clients in 2 different VM’s sharing the same host speaker and microphone…what on earth will happen? Nothing spectacular other than the normal squawking feedback. (I was expecting an explosion.)

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What do the audio settings look like in Lync?

Below:

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Let’s Push Our Luck, What About a Video Camera?

So far I couldn’t make it work, but didn’t spend much time…

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I will add any other anomalies and interesting things I find.

Lync Anonymous Response Group Limitations and Field Notes

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Lync Server Response Groups can be setup to “Enable agent anonymity”. Enabling agent anonymity, or, Anonymous Response Groups, will hide the agent (Lync user who is answering the RGS call or making a call on behalf of a RGS) from the incoming caller and allow users to call out as a Response Group instead of as themselves.

How Does a RGS Agent Call Out as an RGS?

Pretty much just like they would if they were a Delegate for another user. If a Lync user/Agent is a part of a RGS that is enabled for agent anonymity, there will be another item in the “Call” dropdown for the RGS. (shown below)

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There are some limitations and quirks to be aware of when implementing anonymous response groups.

Anonymous Call Limitations

  • No conferencing, application sharing, desktop sharing, file transfer, white boarding, data collaboration or call recording. (source: click here)
  • Anonymous calls cannot start with IM or video and bump up to audio

Quirks

  • Handset Answers Instead of Headset when answering with Lync toast
  • Blind Transfer won’t go to voicemail (like Blind transfer) and won’t return user who transferred the call (like Safe transfer)

Handset Answers Instead of Headset when answering with Lync Toast

If a Lync user answering anonymous RGS calls has both a Handset (ie: Lync Phone Edition) and a Headset with the Headset selected as the “Primary Device” (as shown below)  if the user answers with the Lync call toast (versus answering via Headset button) the call will actually be answered on the Handset.

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Blind Transfers Won’t Go To Voicemail or Return to User That Transferred the Call

If a user receives an anonymous RGS call and blind transfers the call to another user, if the call is not answered the caller won’t go to voicemail (like Blind transfer) and won’t return user who transferred the call (like Safe transfer) but the call will just ring endlessly until the caller hangs up.

Below is the official verbiage that I think is trying to convey this message: (source: click here)

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Official RGS config page:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg412827(v=ocs.14).aspx

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2014: Microsoft Lync Takes Lead from Cisco

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Cisco and Microsoft have been vying for the top of the Gartner Unified Communications “Leader” quadrant for some time and, according to Jamie Stark (Product Manager Microsoft Lync), Microsoft has taken the lead from Cisco in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2014 report that was published August 4, 2014 by Bern Elliot & Steve Blood. The report is available here.

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Here is the 2014 Magic Quadrant:

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Some of my quick observations on the 2014 Magic Quadrant UC Report after a quick scan:

  • Microsoft pulls ahead of Cisco on “Completeness of Vision” and ties on “Ability to Execute” (from what my eye can see)
  • Mitel moves into Leader quadrant click here
    • Interesting to note that Mitel purchased several Lync products this year Click Here
  • Siemens Enterprise Communication became Unify and dropped from “Leaders” to “Visionary” quadrant

Below is the motion of UC players from 2006 to 2014 by Gartner. Microsoft has been the Top vendor in the Leader Quadrant for all but 2 years between 2006 and 2014. (if you want a YouTube version of below video that you can pause click here)

2006-2014 Gartner Quadrant

I will write some more thoughts on the report after I more thoroughly read the report.

You can get the full Gartner 2014 UC report via Microsoft with no sign up/1 click, click here

<END>

2014 Gartner Unified Communications Report: (August 4, 2014)
http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=260&mode=2&PageID=3460702&resId=2814519

2012 and 2013 Reports:
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/2013/08/gartner-magic-quadrant-for-unified.html

Microsoft Analyst Reports:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/itanalyst/

Commentary on Gartner 2014 Report:
http://www.ucstrategies.com/unified-communications-strategies-views/gartner-uc-magic-quadrant-2014-a-clear-picture-of-the-changing-landscape.aspx

Other: Click Here

Microsoft Unified Technology Event for Enterprise Will Replace Lync Conference

savethedate

It looks like our beloved Lync Conference will be rolled into a huge, unified technology event the week of May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago. This whopping tech conference will combine:

  • SharePoint Conference
  • Lync Conference
  • Exchange Conference
  • Project Conference
  • TechEd North America


Think About: How to Make Sub-Conferences Better Together?

No one likes change, but the reality is that in May 2015 this is what is going to happen. What can we do to make the best of it? Actually this is the question Microsoft is looking for input on as well!

  • How can we preserve the benefits of the smaller events combined in the big event?
  • Are there actual benefits of the bigger event we can leverage?
  • What can MVP & others do to make the event better?

If you have any ideas your welcome to comment or interact on twitter.

Benefits

Since there will be others to take care of the Cons, I'll list some of the benefits that come to mind:

  • Attendees will get to "TechEd-SharePoint-Lync-MEC-Project" Conference(s)!
  • The answer to all the "Will you be at X Microsoft Conference" is…YES! (If you make it to MUTEE that is)
  • Maybe all attendees will get some cool new Microsoft gadget?
  • You will get a chance to visit the crazy Willis Tower glass Ledge click here
  • A much wider audience reach

Some FAQ

Q. Will this conference replace other conferences?
A. Yes, according to…

  • "Microsoft say it replaces TechEd (I asked)" –Mary Joe Foley (Source: Mary Jo Foley)
  • "To be clear, TechEd lives on. This event will be a part of TechEd." –Steve Guggenheimer Click Here
  • Maybe a better way to say it is that all the conferences will continue as a new combined conference?

Q. TechEd NA 2014 was 5 Days and "MUTEE" 2015 will be 5 Days, How will this be more than TechEd?
A. Perhaps the "Epic after-hour festivities…" noted by Julia White? click here Okay, seriously, it sounds like the intent is to bring more firepower to a "TechEd like" event. Or to quote Jamie Stark "much more than…a track & booth" click here

Q. How many attendees are anticipated at "MUTEE" 2015?
A. ChooseChicago.com lists attendees as 20,000. Click Here For a comparison, TechEd NA 2014 was approximately 8,000 according to WindowsITPro. Click Here

Q. What will that actual name of the event be?
A. According to Rod Trent of WindowsITPro, "Unified Technology Event for Enterprises" is an interim/informal name. Previously there was Microsoft communication that there would not be a conference named "TechEd", but more recent Microsoft communication, according to Petri.com, seems to have softened that to: "...can't confirm specifics on whether the event in May 2015 will be called 'TechEd' but I'll have more to share on the naming in the coming months." Click here

Conclusion

It seems Microsoft is taking the "Unified" theme very seriously.

Source:
http://blogs.office.com/2014/07/21/microsofts-unified-technology-event-for-enterprises/
http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/TechEd/SavetheDateMay4#fbid=

Save the date https://twitter.com/TechEd_NA/status/491236409022619648

First Impression Review of Grandstream GXV3275 IP Video Phone Running Lync

IMG_20140710_145931

The Grandstream GXV3275 is a 2nd generation Android IP video phone from Grandstream. It has a built in SIP client and and can also run app store applications. One of the featured apps in the Grandstream store is Microsoft Lync 2013 Mobile, which is the focus of this review.

First, some of the interesting specs:

  • Android 4.2 so it runs Lync Mobile 2013
  • 7” 1024x600 Capacitive touch screen (feels like a mobile phone, responsive, swipe etc)
  • 1 Megapixel CMOS camera with physical privacy shutter
  • Dedicated volume, home, menu and back touch “buttons”
  • 2 1GB Ethernet ports so it plugs into your network
  • Bluetooth & WIFI 802.1b/g/n supported
  • HDMI to plug into a big screen
  • 2 USB, Headset and SD memory card slot on the right side behind a
  • Included in the box
    • power cord (also supports POE)
    • Wall mount (don’t expect to see a lot of these on the wall?)
    • touch screen wipe!
    • Manual, Cat5 cable

 

Video Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE9LmtIlWXw&feature=youtu.be

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Quick Photo Tour

Camera Close up
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Camera vertical tilt knobIMG_20140709_173935

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ports on right side: 2 USB, SD, headset and HDMI. Nice lid covers them when not in use.IMG_20140709_173956

Back view: power, 2 1GB ethernet, headset, handsetIMG_20140710_145949

Lync Voicemail does not play directly, needs to call you backIMG_20140709_174031

 

Summary

My initial impression is good build quality and the GXV3275 runs the Lync 2013 app just fine. The 7” touch screen is responsive, nice size & brilliant and you can use it to control Lync just like on any Android tablet. At the moment the integration between the handset and Lync is not smooth and needs improvement. Also, the phone has a message waiting indicator but it is not integrated to Lync at this time. With improvement in the area of hardware integration the GXV3275 could be a very interesting option for Lync users.

 

More Details:
http://www.grandstream.com/products/gxv_series/gxv3275/marketing/GXV3275_datasheet_english.pdf