Over 1 Million Already Served: But At Your Service Again in 2013 as Lync MVP


Getting an email on Jan 1, containing the words “Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft MVP Award” is a nice way to start the year. For me, this also makes me reflect back on how we got here…

Congratulations 2013 Microsoft MVP! - Message (HTML) _2013-01-01_13-13-19

How Did I Get Into UC?

Our company, Landis Computer Technology Solutions, got launched into UC from the angle of being a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner providing Windows Server, Exchange Server and Microsoft Small Business Server implementation and ongoing support services. After observing phone system vendors installing solutions into our customers, we recognized that we had more of the core expertise required in this new generation of IP telephony & UC than they. The future of voice communication and beyond lay directly ahead of us.

Which UC Solution?

To leverage our existing competencies as much as possible we decide to look at PBX solutions that played nice in a Windows environment. The first software based phone system running on Windows Servers that we implemented was the 3CX IP PBX. At the time we investigated Microsoft’s Response Point  and attended sessions given by none other than Joe Schurman at SMBNation East conference but ultimately our opinion was the RP solution was not feature rich enough for our customers. We also looked at Microsoft OCS 2007 but at that time it was not a PBX replacement yet, and to us it seem quite complicated infrastructure for SMB. Our first tests of 3CX were that it’s feature set could fit our clients but we were aware that it needed maturing stability wise and decided we would help, (while keeping an eye on Microsoft OCS developments very closely). Our foray into 3CX included massive community work (2,000 forum posts), a book on 3CX and becoming the first 3CX Premium Partner.

After doing some legwork on OCS/3CX integration & realizing that 3CX did not see harmony with OCS/Lync in their future along with the fact that 3CX stability issues lingered, we moved to the lesser known but feature rich and extremely stable pbxnsip (aka snom ONE, Vodia). Not only was snom ONE a perfect fit, the company had HowTo’s on integrating Lync/OCS and showed considerable interest in this direction which aligned with our expectation of where the future was. Ultimately snom introduced the first 3rd party IP phone to directly connect to Lync natively and now has presence integration built into their PBX product snom ONE (aka Vodia). Our company implements snom ONE PBX into SMB’s that want voice centric solutions till the present.

Since our Landis Computer Technology Solutions is a Microsoft Dynamics Partner as well as infrastructure partner I sat in some of my first sessions about Microsoft Lync 2010 at, of all places, Microsoft Convergence! (Microsoft Dynamics focus conference) I know in one session I had a lot of questions about Voice features and how the complexity of Lync compared to OCS---I hope I didn’t drive the presenter crazy. Ultimately Lync Server 2010 demonstrated that it fit our clients’ needs and our company has become a Microsoft Certified Partner with UC competency.

UC & PBX Blog and Vlog: Over 1 Million Served

In 2012, the WindowsPBX Blog and youtube video channel crossed 1 million page & video views! When I first started blogging about my Windows Server based communication solution experiences and uploaded my first “video review” to youtube  in 2008 I was not thinking about the number “1 Million”. I was mainly trying to document my experiences so our consultants wouldn’t need to “re-invent the wheel” later on. (so sorry I didn’t have more altruistic motives—in the beginning… ;-)


But, I must admit, it soon became apparent that, in spite of the naysaying of more traditional PBX and com vendors I met along the way, (they would incredulously ask: “Do you really thinks a stable voice solution can run on blue-screen prone Windows Servers?!” the obvious answer to them was no) there were a lot of other people & organizations apparently looking to implement the same solutions I covered in blogs and videos.

About Community & Conclusion

I’ve had the opportunity of contributing to several communication communities and I want to say several things about the Microsoft Lync community that demonstrates to me that Lync has an extremely strong and bright future:

  • The Microsoft Lync community is the most vibrant and active
    • forums, Twitter, blogs, conferences
  • The most open to any topic—any honest question is entertained
  • The Lync community is full of great, top notch people---may I say, the best of the best?

Don’t forget the Microsoft Lync community as a major point to discuss when comparing Microsoft UC and other solutions.

I set some community goals for myself that I did not quite accomplish in 2012! (yes, I know, I let Technet gamification suck me in :-P)

Lync 2013 Step by Step eBook Downloads



Technet Points



Twitter Followers


998 (so close!)

So, I’m glad to serve the community in the capacity of Lync MVP for 1 more year. I expect it to be a great year for UC and… God Bless everyone of you in 2013!


First Impression Video Review of Plantronics Savi 740 M Lync Optimized 3-in-1 Bluetooth, Desk phone & PC Headset


Below is my video review:

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Microsoft Parental Control Services Explained

[NOTE: Update Feb, 1, 2014-Some branding in Family Safety seems to indicate Microsoft may be planning to bring Family Safety to Windows Phone product. Scroll down to section on “Will Microsoft Bring Family Safety to Windows Phone 8”.]

Many parents are asking what solution there is to monitor or block inappropriate content on their children’s Windows Phone. Others want a similar solution to keep similar content off their own Windows Phone. To summarize: At the moment there is no way to achieve this on Windows Phone.

While the new WP8 “Kid’s Corner” feature is nice (and even innovative) for those times you let young children momentarily play with your phone, it is not a solution for providing parental controls on a teenager’s personal phone. Also, some people are being confused by Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 “parental control” services, so in an effort to clarify we will explain both below.


microsoft family safety

I think a lot of the confusion can be cleared up by realizing there are 2 services: one for Windows8 (PC/tablet platform/RT) and one for Windows Phone 8.

  • Window8: Branded “Family Safety” and very complete feature set. (
    • Web Filter
    • Web browsing and PC activity reports
    • Ability for children to make requests to view sites
    • Time Limits
    • Game Restrictions
    • App Restrictions
  • Windows Phone 8: Branded “My Family” and *VERY* basic feature set. (
    • Manage App/Game Download settings
    • Manage Game Ratings
  • Windows Phone 8 Kid’s Corner
    • Is designed for children who are temporarily using their parents phone for playing games
    • Is not designed as parental controls for a teenagers phone (phone can’t be used, and all controls are bypassed by restarting the phone are some of the reasons)
    • Kid’s corner is often talked about as “Parental Controls” when it is not. More accurately: it is a sandboxed area on the phone so young children can play games and do not get into parent’s important stuff

Three other things lead to considerable confusion with Microsoft’s parental control implementation:

  • One of the things that makes these Microsoft parental control services extremely confusing is that you are shuttled between the two services, depending on what you click, even though depending on your device, features do not even apply.
  • Live ID’s show up in either service, but are not totally synchronized.
  • Some platforms you need to install extra software (Windows7 PC), some you need to enable at the device level (Windows 8 PC) and some just are pushed down to your device based on web settings applied to your Live ID (Windows Phone 8).

Let’s take a look at the Windows 8 (PC) parental controls branded “Family Safety”…

Windows 8 “Family Safety” Features (Windows 8 for PC’s, Windows 8 RT, Windows 8 on Tablets)

First, Family Safety for Windows 8 (PC’s, not Windows Phone) is an impressive, built-in Parental Control system for Windows 8 devices.

While the Family Safety implementation in Windows 7 involved installing Live applications, Family Safety is baked into Windows 8 making it a much more seamless and a very useable experience.

To setup Microsoft Family Safety for Windows8 (not Windows Phone 8) go to (The below how to assumes you have a Live ID)

Now we will be taken to a page. (and notice the Live theme).

family safety page

So now below we have clicked on Johnny’s “Activity Report”.


If we click on Johnny’s “Web Activity” we can see every web page browsed.

  1. We can see each website and drill to each web URL
  2. See what was block
  3. Filter and just show, say, Adult sites attempted.
  4. Change access to this site

Johnny's WebActivity

Now Let move to Windows Phone 8 “My Family” Features…

Windows Phone 8 “My Family” Features

The first thing to remember about “My Family” for Windows Phone 8 is that it is NOT the same as “Family Safety” for Windows 8. “My Family” for Windows Phone 8 (not available on WP7 or WP7.8) is extremely limited in functionality and generally not what parents are looking for in parental control solution.

The “My Family” features on Windows Phone 8 are noted below: (Source: Click Here)

  • Manage App+Game Download settings
    • Allow free and paid
    • Allow free only
    • Don’t allow.
  • Game Rating Filter
    • Allow unrated games
    • Don’t allow unrated game.

NOTE: Above mentioned “My Family” feature only available on Windows Phone 8 and NOT on WindowsPhone7/7.5/7.8.

To configure the Windows Phone 8 “My Family” controls, on any PC go to:

Hover over your phone in upper right corner of page and you will see the menu below. Click on My Family.

Windows Phone Family

Now you will see the “My Family” page. From here you can add more “Parents” (or accountability people) or more “Kids”. When you click on “Add a Kid” it will ask you for the “kid’s” Live ID credentials, which will associate that Live ID to this “Parent” (some question I have” does a “kid” need to be under 18? can a “kid” be associated with more that one parent? some questions I have)

Note: that in the below screen shot my phone is not WindowsPhone8.  (If you click on “Microsoft Family Safety Settings” you will be sent to “Family Safety” which has little to do with Windows Phone 8 except to remove a family member)

windows phone family page

To read more about “My Family” or Windows Phone

Windows Phone Has No Method to Apply Parental Controls On a Teenager’s Phone

The “My Family” functionally for Windows Phone 8 does not address blocking or monitoring web browsing at all. To achieve parental controls many parents are looking for, “My Family” would need to have the below features added:

  • ability to block Adult material
  • or at a minimum, the ability to log Web Activity
  • Marketplace safe search for Apps (so adult app do not even show up)

If Microsoft can not deliver these features an alternative would be to provide the ability to disable the built-in Internet Explorer (iPhone/iPad/Android use this method) so that parental control browsers available on the Windows Phone Marketplace could be securely used instead. Some parental control browsers already available for WP7/8 are:

Other Possible Parental Control Solutions that do NOT work for Windows Phone

Below are some option

  • Another solution might be use OpenDNS, but Windows Phone does not have the ability to change the DNS servers.
  • Another solution might be to call your Mobile Operator, but if you are on AT&T there is no mobile operator level web content filtering available for smart phones. Click Here for AT&T Parental Control services.
  • Previously noted ability to block/password protect built in Explorer and force using one of several available WindowsPhone  parental control limited browsers

Feb 2014 Update: Will Microsoft Bring Family Safety to Windows Phone 8 or Beyond?

Some branding in would seem to indicate Microsoft may be preparing to bring the parental control feature of Family Safety to Windows Phone. At this time the thorough features of Family Safety are *NOT* available on Windows Phone. Read more here.



To sum up: “Family Safety” for Windows 8/PC might be a good solution for parents who want to block or monitor web access on PC’s or tablets,  but “My Family” for Windows Phone has absolutely no way to block or monitor web access. (this is disappointing for me to say as a big fan of Windows Phone)

At the moment Microsoft’s Windows Phone “family controls” might protect your wallet, but not your child’s eyes and mind. And, while the big, brilliant tiles and brightly colored phones might appear child oriented and appeal to kids, it’s really not a child’s phone.



In fairness Google has nothing like Microsoft’s “Family Safety” (for PC) bake in at all:

Google’s safety tools – Family Safety Center – Google - Windows Internet Explore_2012-12-28_11-06-10

What Google offers:

  • Google SafeSearch on PC and Phone
  • Youtube Safe Mode
  • Google Play Ratings System

Various Notes:
Seem like and and xbox are not syncing family settings!

How to setup:

From this page:

Respberry Pi + #Lync UCWA + Voice/Video = Something Cool


Raspberry Pi $25 Mini PC:


Lync UCWA:


UCWA has voice/video/sharing/anonymous access on Roadmap after RTM: (see 45seconds) 

Windows Media Player_2012-12-24_14-25-39

This has to equal something interesting! :-)

  • New ways of presence detection? (person detection?)
  • door, gateway, room, other appliance status? (door = unlocked, open?)
  • room use detection = room in use?
  • BusyLight over IP?

#Android & #iOS Lync Client Xavy Gets Update That Makes It Functional, Holiday Price Drop to $.99

damaka  Mobile UCC


Xavy (aka Xync) has a beleaguered history: The first Android/iOS VoIP client on the market but unfortunately the product was pre-Beta quality when released. Now in a bittersweet turn, the product seems to be nearing a market ready state just as Microsoft themselves is close to releasing mobile VoIP clients, not only for Android and iOS but also for Windows Phone.

Here are my quick findings after purchasing Xavy (for the 3rd time? ;-P) My tests are done on a Android Xavy Version 6.28.050717.4.1 on a Samsung Galaxy III.

Good Changes:

  • Xavy now on Holiday sale for $.99
  • I can now make PSTN and video calls without Xavy crashing

Bad Changes:

  • Now you need to register the app, using your corporate email AND Lync ID before you can use it. (this really doesn’t sit well with me—seems very invasive and clunky to boot)

Issues Remain

  • UI remains not very  finessed
    • UI the same on all platforms
    • odd looking icons, not a great deal of attention to UI design
  • dialing pad gives a tone "echo" on each digit press
  • presence in contact list does not update timely (ever?)
  • Trying to listen to a voicemail seemed to get stuck on “Fetching…”
  • Photos in contact list do not update/very hit miss
  • video on side (90 degrees) for remote party
  • very slow presence update on 3G (perhaps 3G?)
  • App crashed out several times during testing (my device?)
  • When switching to WIFI Xavy would not seem to login (perhaps my device?)

My advice: before rolling this client out I would definitely put it through thorough testing.

Xavy also has an edition, Xavy Attendee, that allows non-authenticated mobile users to attend Lync meetings much like the Lync Attendee client.

Finally, a product that seems it could have had promise. Unfortunately Xavy has likely worn out most users’ patience and wallets by the time it becomes useable. With Microsoft releasing a VoIP Lync mobile client and Lync MVP Thomas Poet noting Microsoft’s set to release Lync Mobile Wave 2 (VoIP) sometime in first part of 2013, we suspect most will wait.



Lync Phone Edition Gets Much Anticipated Music on Hold Feature in Just Released December 2012 Update



Appears like Lync Phone Edition version 7577.4363 for “Tanjay” and 7577.4366 for “Aries” is here.

Known features:

  • Music on Hold on Lync Phone Edition (preset & not changeable) Details of Feature, Click Here
    • the audio file is embedded in the LPE update and *NOT* changeable
    • Only the first call put on hold will get music…due to device/”Aries” CPU
    • the music on hold file played is the defaultHold.wma
  • The device will now be branded “Lync Phone Edition” instead of “Lync 2010 Phone Edition”
  • LPE will support Lync 2010 and Lync 2013

For my blog on every possible question you could ask about Lync and Music on Hold, click here.
For step to update your LPE devices, check out Jeff Schertz’s step by step blog: click here.
An interesting note: snom UC Edition (Lync) has had MOH for some time already click here.

Update Description:


BYOD SBA: Making Small Branches Offices Survivable Without Lync SBA?

Your SBA doesn't look this cool my freind.

If you have a small branch office, with just a handful of users and they would like to be able to receive calls in the event of a branch office WAN failure, the typical Lync answer is a SBA (or Survivable Branch Appliance) This is a slick solution but does have an associated cost. This especially adds up for a company with many, very small branch offices.

Is there another solution between nothing and a SBA? Actually, there might be: Use the existing Lync mobile infrastructure along with the existing mobile calling infrastructure your employees already have as your mobile powered “SBA" solution. If employees notice their PSTN calling is down, their first response will be to pull their mobile out of their pocket and use it---so why not make it a part of the official plan? Why not use the infrastructure that is already in place?

Just have users pull their smartphone equipped with Lync mobile out of their pocket, forward calls to their mobile and...voila..."mobile powered SBA" is up! For those with "dumb" phones, IT at HQ can enable forwarding using SEFAUtil. If it is not an incredibly busy office you could have all calls forward to one “attendant” mobile number as well.

A way to make this solution even more automated (and even kind of elegant?) would be to create a script that pings the branch in question. If this fails, a preset script using SEFAUtil forwards calls of all users at that branch to their mobile phones.

Since the next gen of headsets from plantronics/jabra/etc support both deskphone and mobile, this experience could remain similar as well during down time. Also, this mobile powered “SBA" will become even more functional once Lync Mobile supports VoIP.

Some nice things about this solution

  • inbound and outbound calling
  • Employee mobile numbers are not exposed (normal Lync Mobility feature call via work)
  • voicemail retrieval continues to work.
  • Just turn off call forwarding to let calls go to voicemail.
  • No limited functionality: IM/Presence/Contacts continue to work (wink)

Some challenges with this solution:

  • users need to have a mobile phone and be willing to use it for work
  • there needs to be central capacity to handle a branch down scenario
  • Lync Mobile forwarding will not work with Response Groups


Obviously this is a work around, and only for small branch offices. But, for very small branch offices this could be a basic, alternative survivability option. If you have additional ideas, let’s hear them!

[News] Microsoft Lync Public IM Connectivity to Yahoo Messenger Goes End-Of-Sale Today (Dec 14, 2012)


According to Yahoo and Microsoft, PIC to Yahoo Messenger (Lync to Yahoo Messenger federation) can no longer be purchased as of today. (Dec 14, 2012) This is the beginning of the process to shut down ahoo PIC. Microsoft says the exact date is TBD but will be no sooner than June 2013.

Considering that the lights are being turned on for Skype, I am more than happy with the trade.


Skype Federation:

#Lync User QuickTip #26: Lync Instant Message to Any SMS Enabled USA Mobile Phone (for Free, In 1 Minute)


Note: You do not need an AOL account but you do need your Lync PIC AOL Federation.
Note: You need Lync 2010 or Lync Windows Store App to use this  (more details below)

Due to the fact that SMS has recently hit its 20th anniversary, many are wondering what IM solution will replace SMS. Well, with this solution, or another solution using this concept, any IM/P solution could render test messaging less relevant. (Actually I’m quite interested in the subject of moving past SMS so if you have more ideas, please comment or twitter me @matthewlandis )

Steps to setup: 1-Configure AOL PIC Federation, 2-Type in SMS number, 3-IM to SMS!

#1-Get PIC federation for AOL/AIM work correctly. Here are some tips on how to enable AIM/AOL PIC.

#2-Now just type in the phone number, prefixed by +1 and suffixed by (e164 format) into Lync client. (Example:

type in sms number

#3-If everything is working alright (with your PIC AOL federation) the contact should light up as "online" as shown below. (note, AOL doesn’t verify the sms # until you send the message) Now just send your message! That’s it!

aol presence lit up

Below is what the SMS mobile sees: The sms will come from a 6 digit number. Each sms will include the Lync URI so the person knows who the IM is coming from. And as clearly noted on each sms, the mobile user can reply.


Of course you can save a contact and give the SMS contact a nice name.

save as a contact with name

More details about your AOL to SMS Instant Message Account

A good way to think about this service is that every USA mobile phone already has a corresponding AOL account. Identity/Authentication is done via the mobile phone number.  Management of this account is done by sending SMS msgs to 26519. To get started send HELP to 26519. The mobile device can easily STOP this service.

Some question I still have about this service and maybe some AOL/AIM guru can help me?

  • Is there a way from the mobile/via sms to change your AOL/AIM “presence” to away/offline?
  • Is there any statements/sources on if AOL/AIM is planning to continue to support AOL IM?
  • This is an excellent way to bridge the Instant Message / SMS divide, are there any other vendors doing this? (just in case AOL goes away)



  • You do not need to have any AOL account for this to work
  • Amazingly it is not all that clear that the sms is actually coming from AOL!
  • You handle txt message communication JUST like an peer to peer IM in Lync
  • This includes using the same Lync window, and you IM history is saved
  • You can same the contact in Outlook and Pin on Lync just like any other contact



  • txt phone number can not be a part of an IM conference
  • IM is the only modality supported



  • no cost per text (just what the recieving mobile pays)
  • if the IM you send is longer than 1 SMS it will split the message.
  • Works for USA mobile numbers
  • No need to know which mobile operator


Which Lync clients work with this Solution?

Since this solution depends on simple federation it should work with any Lync client---unfortunately there is a snafu related to the URI starting with a +. It seems in some newer Lync clients any URI that starts with a + is hardwired to consider this a telephone number. This limitation means that you cannot federate with any contact/URI that starts with a + . (thanks to @tompacyk for pointing this out)

Lync 2010 Works
Lync Attendant Works
Lync 2013 Windows Store App (RT) Works
Lync 2013 Basic Doesn’t Work
Lync 2013 Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for Windows Phone Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for Android Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for iPhone Untested
Lync Mobile for iPad Untested
Pidgin 2.10.0 w/SIPE Works


Other Microsoft Lync to SMS Gateways:

More stuff on AOL / SMS:
Test AOL PIC/Federation:

Polycom VVX500/600 #Lync Qualified IP Phone Supports Direct USB Headset Integration


Just saw a twitter post by fellow Lync MVP Adam Jacobs that the Polycom VVX500 Lync Qualified device supports USB headsets! I tried it with a Plantronics Blackwire S720 and I am quite impressed!

Shortly after you plug in the USB headset a small messaage will appear on the VVX screen letting you know a “digital headset connected”. Not only does the headset audio work, the mute, pickup/hangup and  “wearing sensor” works and will answer via this sensor.

Below is a quick demo:

After seeing this I thought maybe I’ve been missing the fact that Lync Phone Edition also does this since various LPE devices DO have an extra USB port: but a quick test on a Polycom CX600 proved that I was not missing anything. Smile with tongue out

And, while I was at it I tested the newly Lync Qualified snom 760. While the 760 supports Bluetooth headsets via a separately purchased dongle it does not seem to support a USB headset. I have a question in at snom whether this will be supported.

What USB Headsets are supported by VVX500?

snom 710, 720 and 760 Now Qualified Lync Qualified

snom has just released snom UC Edition firmware version which has passed Lync Qualified for the snom 710, 720 and 760. snom now has 6 Lync Qualified IP phones.


snom 760 Hands on First Impression Review:

snom 710 Hands on First Impression Review:

snom 710 Video First Impression Review:

snom 720 Video First Impression Review

Snom press release:

Can I Still Buy & Install Lync Server 2013 in a Standard Edition Scenario? Yes!


There is considerable confusion and misunderstanding floating around about Microsoft Lync Server 2013 editions because of Microsoft’s recent licensing/pricing changes and the verbiage used to communicate these changes. The short answer to much of the confusion is this:

Yes, you can still deploy your choice of Lync Enterprise or Lync Standard Edition, but they now cost the same and there is only 1 Microsoft part number (or license) to buy.

So buy a Microsoft Lync Server 2013 license and use it for 1 FE server in either a Standard Edition Server scenario or an Enterprise Edition Pool scenario---you can choose.

Lync Server 2013 Licensing Change FAQ:

Q. Do I need to get special media for Standard vs. Enterprise scenarios?
A. No, just like before, you decide this when defining the Lync topology. So for non-technical people this means that provision for both scenarios is on one CD image.

Q. Does a Lync Server 2013 license for 1 Front End server in a Standard Edition scenario cost exactly the same as 1 Front End for an Enterprise Edition scenario?
A. Yes, that is the main change Microsoft is making. You buy ONE Lync Server license and use it how you see fits you best.

Q. Does this mean licensing a Lync Server for a Standard Edition scenario has increased dramatically?
A. Yes, before this licensing change a Std. Edition server was approximately $699USD. Now it is approximately $3646USD. Microsoft notes that several things are now included in this licensing to increase it value: #1-added redundancy and resiliency features #2-external connector rights are now included with this license

Q. If a Standard Edition server costs the same as an Enterprise Edition Server, why wouldn’t we install an Enterprise Edition server?
A. A Standard Edition scenario can be implemented with a minimum of OS, Servers and SQL licenses for small implementations.

So yes, Lync Standard Edition is still here and you can install it, it just costs the same as Enterprise Edition.

Read Mary Jo Foley’s new article on this as well: