Microsoft Forced to Rename Skydrive: Will It Take Opportunity To Showcase It’s Hidden Windows Cloud Desktop OS?


According to TheVerge Microsoft is being forced to rename it Skydrive product:

“A UK court recently ruled that Microsoft's SkyDrive name infringed on a trademark owned by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), and the software maker has agreed to change the name of its cloud-based service worldwide as a result…

I’m curious if Microsoft will it take this opportunity of change to showcase it’s quietly developing “cloud os”? (available at

Back in August 2012 I suggested that Skydrive is really becoming a free “Cloud OS”, and perhaps the most underrated and unmarketed cloud OS by a major vendor. The interesting thing is that while the individual products in Microsoft's consumer web service offering have names (, Skydrive, OfficeWebApps, etc) there really is no name for the overarching service as a whole which could really be described as the Microsoft Windows Cloud Desktop.

What are some features of the free and “hidden” Windows Cloud OS?

  • Very simple “Start” menu (with Live Tiles)
  • File Storage (Hardrive) in Skydrive 
  • File Sharing (even public file sharing with editing!)
  • Office Apps
    • Word
    • Excel
      • Excel/ Webbased Surveys
    • Powerpoint
    • Onenote
    • Outlook: contacts, calendar, email
  • Photo viewer
  • Notepad (advanced features)
    • Email (not only the client but the service as well!)
  • Presence & Instant Messaging
    • Skype IM/P
    • Along with Gmail IM capabilities!
  • Skype Audio/Video calling in the browser. (Europe only atm) Click Here
  • This web OS easily sync’s with WindowsPhone, iPhone, now Android

Below is a quick visual tour of the “Windows Cloud OS”.

The Desktop/Start Menu


The Office Applications included (for free)


Microsoft Excel


Microsoft Word


Hardrive Space (7GB by default)




Skype audio and Video Calling in the browser (click here for more details)


There are some ways we could say the service is not a complete OS

  • No configurable Start Menu/Desktop
  • No Ability to Install Additional Apps
  • Other?

So will Microsoft take this opportunity to give the “Skydrive suite of products” an identity as the cloud OS it really is? Say, “Windows Cloud Home Edition” bundled with WindowsDrive? We’ll see what develops.

Go get your free “Windows Cloud OS” right now:



Lync 2013 Mobile Gets Call Transfer, View Meeting Content More in July 2013 Update: Is Portable Phone Becoming Irrelevant?


The July 2013 update for Lync 2013 brings an interesting list of new features to WindowsPhone and now iPhone devices today (July 29/2013):

  • View shared meeting content during a conference, on your mobile device
  • Invite additional participants to an existing conversation or conference
  • Rejoin an ongoing conference after you left it
  • Control attendee participation by muting or removing them if needed
  • Transfer your calls to another phone-number or another contact
  • Pick-up your conversations from the point you ended them
  • Option to clear your entire conversation history

With Lync 2013 mobile rapidly getting feature parity (plus Instant Message, Meeting Join, video) with many dedicated DECT/Wifi portable phones, does this spell the beginning of the end of the relevance of portable phones in Lync environments? At one time costly controller based WIFI was prohibitive, but with extremely affordable WIFI now supporting zero-handoff what stands in the way? For ruggedization an iPhone combined with Otterbox case is a solution many are already familiar and comfortable with. Unified mobile device management using already familiar tools like SCCM and Intune will also make this route look appealing over learning a new device management tool for a specific vendor. (thanks for nudging me with this point @UriBrown1) Up until now standing up DECT technology involved more than just registering an endpoint device to Lync, why not use the mobility infrastructure already configured for standard mobile devices?

So to summarize some of the benefits of consumer mobile phones over dedicated portable phones

  • All the features of traditional portable phones plus Presence, IM, Video, Meeting Join
  • Ruggedization via well tested Otterbox cases
  • Familiar & unified device management via Intune/SCCM
  • Use server infrastructure already setup for mobility
  • Zero handoff WIFI dropping in price
  • Custom apps for handheld device using familiar SDK
  • QWERTY & advanced keyboards
  • Many device

What are some challenges to using a consumer mobile phone?

  • iOS devices without carrier data may have a problem waking the device via WIFI


Currently there are still some features not in the mobile edition of Lync 2013:

  • Placing a call on Park
  • Transfer directly to Voicemail

And I have to admit the Spectralink 84xx series WIFI portable phone is quite nice (see review), but is the writing on the wall for dedicated portable DECT & WIFI devices? (especially in Lync eco system)

Windows Phone Update released several weeks ago

iPhone Update released just today 7/29/2013:

iPad Update released:

via @timedeville

How To Do a Lync 2013 Gallery View Formatted Video Meeting Recording


Currently Lync 2013 records in active speaker format just like Lync 2010. Currently if you want to do a gallery view format recording you’ll have to be creative. (and a little experimental) Below are my quick steps:

  1. Login to
  2. Set Lync to use “Microphone X”
  3. Have Meeting playback through speakers (not headset) that Microphone X can “hear”
  4. Start Lync Meeting
  5. Set screenr to record from Microphone X and start recording

The resulting 1 minute HD gallery view recording in mp4 format was 2.24MB

1638x720x10fps w/4 Participants for 1minute = 4.08MB


  • Screenr seems limited to 5minutes, but I suspect there are other screen recording tools
  • If you would like Lync to natively be able to record gallery view click here and vote

Quick Review of Lync Enterprise Voice for Dummies


Fair Disclosure: I’ve been given a free copy of this book :) and I’m a super fan of Sonus Lync Certified Gateways. :)

I’ve been meaning to download and read “Lync Enterprise Voice for Dummies” for a little while and finally did. What is in it? Here is a quick summary of chapters from my “speed read” of book:

  • What is UC - Chapter 1
  • Why Lync? - Chapter 2
  • Value of SIP Trunks - Chapter 3
  • What is and When to use a SBA? Chapter 4
  • What is and when to use SBC? chapter 5
  • Ten Reasons to Choose Sonus... Chapter 6 (Grin)

If you are wanting a quick introduction to Lync and a high level look at Lync Voice, this book is it. It also gives overview answers to questions like What is UC , should we use SIP trunks, What are SBC’s and how does Lync keep my voice resilient at a high level then go get this free book.

In a way it seem like a whitepaper (and pure marketing in Chapter 6? :) with the appeal of a “for Dummies” book. (very interesting) But it does cover the subjects mentioned well from a Lync and Sonus perspective. It’s free so get a copy.

Get your copy here:

How Will Lync Enhanced Better Together over Ethernet Pairing Process Work?

In May 2013 we reported that several Lync qualified vendors (Snom, Polycom, Audiocodes) started mentioning future “enhanced better together support over ethernet” functionality. At the Microsoft World Wide Partner 2013 both snom and Polycom demonstrated this functionality. Interestingly snom is calling this functionality “Enhanced Better Together” (or EBT) and Polycom is calling it “Better Together over Ethernet (or BToE).

The remaining question I’m hearing from Lync consultants, admins and partners: How will the Lync Client to IP pairing process work? This is a very valid question as the usability at scale and ongoing manageability of this feature will be key to its successful implementation. (There are Lync Call Via IP Phone apps already. See Call Via Phone and Click Here)

UPDATE 9/6/2013: Polycom Has Just Released a Detailed Step by Step How Their BToE Will Work:

how Polycom better together pairing process works
What Piece Technically Connects Lync Client and Lync Qualified IP Phones?

During my interview with snom’s Paul Jamieson about snom’s new Enhanced Better Together feature when I asked about the pairing process he noted that the feature was still a work-in-progress [for snom] and he didn’t have technical details to share. To my question “Is there anything a user needs to do to pair?” Paul noted that “today yes, when certified it will be more plug and play. There will be no external application to be installed.

On Lync 2010 + snom
EBT on lync 2010

Lync 2013 + polycom (photo via @Alxlvanov)

After seeing the Lync audio devices screenshots (above) from the snom & polycom Enhanced Better Together over Ethernet demo’s at WPC13, I highly suspected a USB to Ethernet driver was the piece bridging Lync and the IP phones. A conversation with a Polycom UC architect Adam Jacobs verified that at this time “all vendors will require a client side USB to Ethernet handler…that is a USB to Ethernet HID driver and this will come as an [installer] package.”

Update 7/15/13: @snom notes: “A piece of SW will be on the PC, may be a Lync client extension or a separate add-on.”


I would comment that using a USB to Ethernet driver is a very good move which means that Lync Qualified devices with “Enhanced Better Together over Ethernet” from a Lync user interface perspective will work very similar to existing Better Together integration to Lync.

How will a specific IP phone be paired with the Lync client?

In the Polycom solution “the IP phone is automatically located via the integrated switch by the Lync client”. This seems to indicated that using the languague “tethered” may still be accurate when talking about better together over ethernet.

It does bring up some questions and thoughts:

  • Does this mean that only the Lync client on the PC plugged into the phone integrated switch *can* connect to that phone? (or is there some manual override?)
  • What ramifications does this hold for virtualized desktops?
  • It does seem that integrated switch has jumped up a notch in importance and getting 1GB could be more important. (VVX 3xx and 4xx has both GB and 100MB models)

for Polycom the PC Port will bind this phone to the Lync Client.

Below is a great video with Adam Jacobs, Polycom UC Architect and fellow Lync MVP, demonstrating the provisioning and tether pair process.

[NOTE: No input from snom on this functionality at this time.]

Will My Lync SDK Customizations Work With EBToE?

I haven’t tested this new functionality yet, but from my own usage of the Lync SDK (Lync client sdk) and the fact that EBToE is using a device driver (just like all previous Lync audio devices) I think we can safely extrapolate that your Lync SDK apps will work with enhanced better together over Ethernet.

There could be cases where a Lync Qualified device does not support (or does not yet support) some feature that the Lync SDK supports. This is already the case with the Lync Phone Edition “Aries” device: It does not support (the LPE “Areies” hardware" does not support) the ability to “safe transfer” and so if you request a “safe transfer” via the Lync SDK it will fallback to doing a normal transfer. I would expect we could expect possible similar “limitations” with EBToE devices.

In Summary

  • a USB to Ethernet HID driver connects Lync client and IP phones with this feature
  • This has been demonstrated to work on bother Lync 2010 and Lync 2013
  • This means Better Together over Ethernet should work like USB Better Together from UI perspective
  • Application utilizing Lync Client API Should work with Better Together over Ethernet
  • Administrator work: Install USB-Ethernet Handler package
  • (for Polycom at least) Just plug your PC into the Phone PC Port for pairing


If you want to see snom and Polycom Better Together Over Ethernet Demo’d:

snom on pairing

What does user need to do to pair?

Pairing is a here

snom on EBT:

Polycom VVX Series Getting New Lync Features in v5.0: Call Park, Transfer, Better Together Over Ethernet and More


Polycom VVX series of phones are getting a substantial update around voice features according to company press release and Polycom people on the ground at World Wide Partner Conference in Houston.


Below are my notations of new features:


Demo of new products and features at WPC13

Call Park and Lync Directory


  • The VVX series of phone is already designated as “Compatible with Lync 2013” (source: Technet)
  • The Polycom UC Software V5.0 is scheduled for August 2013
  • Free upgrade on maintenance support

Below is my quick review of the Polycom VVX 300 IP phone:

Polycom VVX & Microsoft Lync Features First Impress: (this is NOT Polycom UC 5.0 software)

Polycom VVX 500 USB Headset Integration:


Qi Lu Becomes Head of Skype & Lync: Tony Bates Assigned to Business Development and Evangelism Group


Microsoft has done a big reorganization of teams. What has happening in the area of UC? It appears that Qi Lu is now the head of “Application and Services Engineering Group” which includes app and services in “communication”. From this it looks like Qi Lu is the new head of all things Skype and Lync.

The memo notes that Qi Lu will take over a new “Application and Services Engineering Group” and oversee Office and Skype.

Applications and Services Engineering Group. Qi Lu will lead broad applications and services core technologies in productivity, communication, search and other information categories.”

Tony Bates has been assigned to “Business Development and Evangelism Group”:

Business Development and Evangelism Group. Tony Bates will focus on key partnerships especially our innovation partners (OEMs, silicon vendors, key developers, Yahoo, Nokia, etc.) and our broad work on evangelism and developer outreach. DPE, Corporate Strategy and the business development efforts formerly in the BGs will become part of this new group. OEM will remain in SMSG with Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Tony who will work closely with Nick Parker on key OEM relationships.





Microsoft Lync 2013 Client July 2013 Update Here


It looks like Lync 2013 July 2013 Update is here and it appears to have brought some interesting new functionality. What’s new? I’m still checking...but here is the list I know about awhile...

Get Lync 2013 July 2013 Update here:

When you install it will indicate a security notice.


New Lync Meeting Panel


Lync Meeting Options


Copy and Pasted a Picture right into Lync IM


MUTE Instant Message During Meeting


Tray Icon


HT @mostlyuc

My First Look At snom UC Edition “Enhanced Better Together” Over IP: This Will Be One Very Welcome Feature

Was glad to chat with Paul Jamieson on the World Wide Partner Conference expo floor and get a demo of the coming “enhanced better together” (better together functionality over IP). I’ve reported before that various manufacturers are mentioning “enhanced better together” in brochures and websites, but it appears snom is the first to demo this feature. (NOTE: At this time there is no indication Lync Phone Edition devices will get this functionality, vendors have only mentioned EBT related to Lync Qualified devices).

snom estimates end of year 2013 availability for this feature.

Better Together Functionality Deliver Over IP

The snom “Enhanced Better Together” (aka/being called EBT by snom folks) is enabled over TCP/IP without any USB cable between the snom desk phone and computer running the Lync client. The control and interaction of the snom 760 and Lync client was similar to what you would expect from a Lync Phone Edition device and the follow features were demo’d to me:

  • Click to Dial
  • Call Hold
  • Call Transfer
  • Drag and Drop Conferencing
  • Instant Message and Screen Sharing on PC with Audio on IP Phone (source: click here see video about)

There appears to be no special user interface plug-ins in the Lync client to control the snom phone, just standard Lync experience. Also the control is bi-directional just like on Lync Phone Edition. For example: You can place or take a call on/off Hold from either snom phone or Lync client and it is reflected on the other endpoint.

Can Audio Calls Be Bumped Up to a Video Call?

On LPE devices if you start a video while making a call from the phone, the phone will switch to acting like a USB audio device for the video coming from the PC attatched. snom did not demonstrated how, or if, this works with snom EBT.

How to Pair the Phone and Lync Client?

The snom personnel demonstrating EBT did not have technical details of how EBT works, although they did show that the snom phone was included in the Lync Devices in the Lync client just like Lync Phone Edition, headsets, etc as shown below. When I asked what the initial “pairing” experience would be like it was noted that in the final product it will be “plug and play and no extra software”.


And on the Lync 2010 client (Picture via @Alxlvanov)

EBT on lync 2010

Which Versions Of Lync Client and snom Firmware Will Be Required?

According to snom folks both Lync 2010 and Lync 2013 client for Windows will support EBT. According to snom PR a new snom firmware will enable EBT but it does not communicate any version numbers at this time. A snom spokesman noted that the 8xx and 7xx series are slated to support EBT.


While I have not yet seen the pairing process, what I have seen seems to be implemented quite nicely from a UI perspective. It is interesting to see the snom UC Edition devices getting features not available for Lync Phone Edition devices. (Actually a quite highly requested feature: click here) Enhanced Better Together will add quite a bit of value to existing snom device installations and I suspect will bring snom to the table when previously only Lync Phone Edition devices were able to fill this requirement. 


If you want to watch the demo (in spite of expo restricted bandwidth :-) you are welcome to below:

snom PDF Demo of functionality Below:

snom Doc on EBT:

Skype to Become Full Featured Lync Meeting Client

Michael Przytula, Managing Director Global UC Services at Dell, reports out of World Wide Partner Conference 2013 that “Skype to become a full featured client for Lync meetings”. At this time no timeline has been communicated.


This is not a entirely surprising move considering that Skype has become a multi-protocol client that already connects into Facebook and what used to be the Live Messenger network along with Skype already. (below is a slide from my presentation on Skype evolution)


While this may not be surprising from a technical standpoint, it certainly is an interesting merging of Enterprise and Consumer needs in one client.

I’ve been following Skype lately and below are some other Lync <-> Skype articles you might have interest in:

  • How Do I Enable Lync <-> Skype Federation from Skype Side? Click Here
  • How Does Lync <-> Skype Federation Work Under the Hood? Click Here
  • How Much Will Lync <-> Skype Federation Cost? Click Here
  • What is the Difference Between Lync and Skype? Click Here
  • Nov 2012: Lync <-> Skype IM/P Has Started Working: Click Here
  • Feb 2013: Lync <-> Skype Voice Has Started Working for Some: Click Here

Polycom CX5100/CX5500 “Roundtable” Gets Modernized: 1080p HD, New Design & Lync 2013



After looking over the new spec’s here is a very quick overview of what looks upgraded to me:

  • 1080p 30fps HD 360 degree Video
  • USB only operation (5100 USB Only or 5500 as complete conference phone)
  • New CX5100 USB Devices does note have a screen
  • New CX5500 Will Have a Touch Screen Interface (Click here)
  • Integration with Lync Room System
  • Custom built for Lync 2013
  • Device physical design revamp (show below)
  • “An all-new user interface”
  • New The CX5500 can be a “fully featured SIP conference phone”
    • So if you are not using Lync you can still use the CX5500 for audio conference (Click here)

More details per Polycom:

  • CX5100 Availability September 2013
  • CX5500 (with SIP telephony) scheduled for 4th QTR 2013

Device Photo (Source: click here)


CX550 Touch Screen (Click here)


[Video] Polycom Talks About CX5100:

[Video] More Details About CX5100 and CX5500

Polycom Press Release:
Various Press Releases:
Click Here | Click Here | Picture Click Here

Lync News Summary Out of World Wide Partner Conference 2013 #Lync #Skype #WPC13


2013 Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference is in progress and we plan to provide an ongoing summarization of news related to all thing Microsoft UC, Skype & Lync on this blog.

View keynotes here:

July 8

  • July 7- Michael Przytula, Managing Director Global UC Services Dell, notes “Skype to become a full featured client for Lync meetings”: Click Here Click Here
    • image
  • July 8-Polycom Announces New Conferencing Device CX5500 / CX5100 (aka/previously “Roundtable”) Unified Conferencing Station: Click Here 
    • cx5500-5100-picture
  • July 8 Over 2000 Lync apps/extension built click here
    • image
  • July 8 – Dynamics CRM 2013 to get Lync Integration: “Microsoft is integrating its Lync, Skype and Yammer technologies into the upcoming product. [Dynamics CRM 2013]” RCPMag Click Here
  • July 8 – snom to Demonstrate new “Enhanced Better Together” (read more here) which brings click-to-dial, call transfer and adhoc drag and drop conferencing via Lync client to snom UC Edition phone: My Review of this new feature: Click Here; snom PR: Click Here
    • new-snom-device
  • July 8 – Lync Conference 2014 Feb 18-20, 2014: via @tommyclarke
    • image
  • July 10 – Microsoft Lync/Skype Among Top 8 Microsoft Priorities for FY14: “Win Voice With Lync & Skype” (via @techtionary)
    • key msft 2014 goals
  • July 10 – The Windows Phone 8 Keynote demo’d that screen sharing view is coming to Lync Mobile for Windows Phone (via @twmurph and @tbanting) (Session 1300 "WPVK Windows Phone: Built for Business)
    • image
    • image
  • July 10 – IntelePeer SIP Trunking Earns Microsoft Lync 2013 Qualification: Click Here
    • image
  • July 11 – Polycom Demo’s New VVX Lync 2013 Qualified Voice Features



Aragon Research

Microsoft Lync 2013 H264 PC Video Capability Checker Tool

Lync 2013 brings H264 video capability to users everywhere. A question users might ask: What video resolution is my my capable of? For technical people, Jeff Schertz has written an excellent article on how to determine the video capability of a PC.

I’ve taken the data Microsoft provides to determine Lync video requirements along with Jeff Schertz’ excellent blog on Lync 2013 HD video and built a tool lets anyone, regardless of technical ability, to determine the video capability of a PC with as little as 1 click.

I am now on a kick testing various PC’s I meet for video capability and am frankly surprised: You can’t ignore PC specs related to the video experience of your users.

The Lync Video Capability Check is free, so go grab it on Technet gallery. Click Here


Note: Currently BETA, so I especially welcome feedback here in comment or on Technet. I’d be glad if you double check reported results.

Microsoft Lync and CRM Integration Solutions

Below is my cache of Lync – CRM integration solutions. Please note: This is not an endorsement, but merely my scribble pad of known CRM solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Modality Systems: CRM Enhance: Click Here
LyncPop: Click Here
TelephoneIntegration: Click Here
Orbitone: Click Here

Sonoma Partners-Lync CTI Adapter: Click Here

SalesForce Lync Integration:

#Lync Server 2013 CU July 2013: New Feature List, Fixes and How To Update

Lync Server 2013 CU July 2013 has been released. It looks like it will be a combination of fixes and some interesting upgrades. Since the Microsoft update pages do not give detailed list of new features we plan to add them below as we note them.

New Functionality

Web Client Gets Conferencing Q&A: Click Here for complete article…
via BibleIT

Persistent Chat Gets Resource Kit Tools: Click Here for complete article…


Microsoft Support Link:

What the update fixes and updates

How to Install and Install Tips