TopBanner

Quick Impression of Cisco Meraki MC74 Phone

Ignore (if possible) my strange pronounciation of Meraki.

One thing to be aware of is that this phone is not meant to work with other Cisco IP phone systems or even to connect to your choice of standard SIP IP phone system but is the hardware for a hosted phone system with Meraki providing the management portal of a complete hosted phone solution.

Some notes:

  • Entirely managed from the easy to use Meraki web portal
  • Only Mute and volume hard buttons
  • Wall mount included
  • Very quality build as you would expect
  • Cisco/Meraki guys said it not open, that is, you can’t load your own app
  • 1GB switch built in
  • has 2 USB ports

Administrating Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step for Anyone eBook Released

coverpicture

Another title has been added to the popular “Step by Step for Anyone” eBook series which to date has distributed over a 1/4 Million copies. The series includes Microsoft Lync Server 2013, Installing & Upgrading Skype for Business Server 2015 & Skype for Business User Tips & Tricks.

“Administrating Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step for Anyone” is written by Office Servers & Services MVPS (aka Skype for Business MVP’s) Fabrizio Volpe and Matt Landis and is in the easy, step by step format of previous books. It covers the following tasks in a “just get going” format:

  • Working with the Control Panel
  • Adding Users
  • Setting up Voice Policies
  • Configuring a Dial Plan
  • Managing Response Groups
  • And much more.

Benefit by real world tips along the way of experts working with Skype for Business.

Go get your free copy (and don’t forget to give a 5 Star rating! :-P)
http://bit.ly/skype4badminbook
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Administrating-Skype-for-ec6e4c62

Skype for Business User Quick Tip #42: Using Multiple Audio Devices Without Surprises

In general the Skype for Business client supports more than one audio device and handles the multiple devices well, but there are some gotchas that are worth noting to ensure the experience includes no surprises. Two items to be aware of:

  • Users cannot select the audio device for the next call while that call is Ringing from the Skype for Business client.
  • The Skype for Business client will no longer “see” (it will lose call control) a call that is answered using an “Aries” series IP Phone connected to a PC w/Better Together which is not the default/Primary Skype for Business audio device.

We will illustrate where these gotchas might show using the two scenarios described below.

image

One possible configuration if a user is trying to replicate all the functionality of an IP desk phone (handset & speakerphone) is:

  • Skype for Business client
  • Headset (Default Skype for Business audio device)
  • Speaker phone (Like Jabra Speak 410 or 510)

In this scenario the headset will likely be the default Skype for Business audio device. This means that if the user clicks to accept an incoming audio call toast the audio will be on the headset for this call.

But what happens if Skype for Business client is configured this way and the user receives an incoming call toast and they want to answer using the speaker phone audio device?

image

  • IF the user presses the Answer button on the Jabra Speak (for example) the call will be answered & the audio will be on the Jabra Speak (all is good!)
  • If the user tries to answer using the Skype for Business client, they will likely get a slightly unexpected experience.
    • If, while the incoming call is ringing, the user tries to change the default Skype for Business audio device (using the “Select Primary Device” at the bottom of the Skype for Business client—shown above) and then answer the call using the Skype for Business client…the audio will be sent to the previously set headset because WHEN SKYPE FOR BUSINESS IS RINGING YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE DEFAULT AUDIO DEVICE. (what the user has just done is change the default Skype for Business audio device FOR THE NEXT CALL.)
    • What the user will now need to do from the Skype for Business client to get the audio to the appropriate device is the following steps:
      • On the Current Conversation window: Call Controls | Devices | “Switch your device”

This scenario is merely to demonstrate that there is no way to select (from the Skype for Business client) which audio device will answer the call while Skype for Business client is ringing. If the audio device has an “Answer” button (in some cases: see below) it will direct the audio to that device.

image

Another common scenario is a user having a USB headset and an IP phone with Better Together so the user can answer either device:

  • Skype for Business client (w/Integration to some PC level CEBP integration)
  • USB Headset (Default Skype for Business audio device)
  • IP Phone (Polycom CX600 w/Better Together)
    • Polycom VVX w/BTOE

This combination brings another possible confusing scenario. Let’s say generally the user is taking calls using the USB headset. They have a PC integration they depend on that does call pop (Using the Skype for Business client SDK) For a particular call they “fall back” and answer using the Polycom CX600 connected to the PC using USB Better Together instead of the Default/Primary USB headset. The call will “disappear” from the Skype for Business client since the CX600 phone is not the Default/Primary audio device, even though it is connected to the PC via Better Together. (USB or Better Together over Ethernet.)

So to recap:

  • Users cannot select the audio device for the next call while that call is Ringing from the Skype for Business client.
  • The Skype for Business client will no longer “see” (it will lose call control) a call that is answered using an “Aries” series IP Phone connected to a PC w/Better Together which is not the default/Primary Skype for Business audio device.

Enjoy Skype for Business & see you next time!

For a ton more cool User Tips, get the Skype for Business User Tips & Tricks for Anyone Free eBook

image

See the other Skype for Business User QuickTips (formerly known as Lync)
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/search/label/Skype4BUserTip

Mitel to Acquire Polycom: How Will This Affect Microsoft & Skype for Business?

image

There have been rumblings that Mitel is interested in acquiring Polycom and now that is no longer rumor: Mitel announces a definitive agreement to acquire Polycom in a press release this morning.

Polycom currently is a major partner of Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365 Cloud PBX. How could this affect this partnership?

  • The press release notes Polycom will be retained as a brand
  • The press release mentions “Deep product integration with Microsoft solutions” as a key customer benefit.

Currently Mitel (previously Aastra) has 1 Skype for Business certified IP phone at http://partnersolutions.skypeforbusiness.com and if my memory serves me correct they had 2 at acquisition time. Polycom has 15 for comparison. The highest next vendor in IP phones is AudioCodes/Yealink at 3.

image

In Skype for business certified meeting room systems Polycom has 14 and the next vendor, SMART, has 6 to give a bit of a sense of the Polycom/Microsoft partnership compared to other vendors.

image

One observation from a Skype for Business perspective is that in Mitel’s past acquisition of Aastra (which included Lync Phone Edition IP desk phone models) and Prairie Fyre (a Lync Contact Center which Mitel has branded as MiContact) the Skype for Business (Lync) assets did not seem to maintain as high visibility in the Skype for Business eco system.

Polycom is far stronger in the Microsoft/Skype for Business eco system than either Aastra or Prairie Fyre. Polycom is Microsoft’s strongest IP desk phone and video partner at this time and recently has done, and is continuing to do, a lot of aggressive work at making their devices integrated with Skype for Business & Office 365 Cloud PBX. In Mitel’s “key customer benefits” calls out “Deep product integration with Microsoft solutions” as a value which Mitel wants to bring this value to their portfolio.

How will this affect Microsoft & Skype for Business? I would like to hear your opinions.

http://investor.mitel.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=965239

http://www.polycom.com/company/news/press-releases/2016/20160415.html

Skype for Business CCE–Cloud Connect Edition Has Been Released

image
Microsoft wants you to be able to use Office 365 Cloud PBX even if you still want to use your existing PSTN connections and the solution is a suite of virtual machines that enable a PSTN gateway on your premise.

In the past we have helped various customers that wanted a small Skype for Business (Lync) implementation and even wrote Technet article that dealt with the issues of small implementations. Interestingly the CCE is attempting to address a somewhat similar scenario and a somewhat different way: Have the Skype for Business Cloud PBX workload being handled by Office 365 Cloud PBX and a lite suite of VMs that essentially enable a gateway to connect to Office 365.

A question that might come up for very small sites: Why not use the VM’s to run Skype for Business Server itself ? Here are some reasons I think of immediately:

  • Office 365 Cloud PBX also includes the Voicemail workload (which would be another server in Exchange UM if doing on premises setup)
  • No need for an onsite SharePoint Server for hosting PowerPoint for meetings
  • Ability to do Skype for Business Broadcast Meetings
  • Get Office 365 resiliency you likely won’t have on a small Skype for Business Server setup

Go get it!

Download:
http://aka.ms/getcce
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51693

Plan for Skype4B CCE:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt605227.aspx