Just recently participated in the Skype for Business ELITE Training (APAC) in Singapore, part of this training is to ensure Customers are able to maximize the full potential of SfB 2015 – through Adoption activities.

Microsoft has release a couple of RASK along the way since Lync 2010 and Lync 2013; now with On-Premise, Cloud as well as Hybrid deployment available, the features, functions and most importantly User Experiences differs based each organizations’ deployment mode. This Year – Rollout Adoption & Success Kit 2015 is released as well!

I won’t be covering the entire contents through this Blog but hopefully I’m able to share some of my experiences using these resources; feel free and download the contents from here – Skype for Business 2015 Rollout Adoption & Success Kit

I’d a deployment recently where the customer wanted to seek feedback from the employees in a mass while leveraging on their Office 365 E3 Plan, in which Yammer Enterprise was the prefect answer to this scenario.

This was a greenfield deployment as no users was on the platform yet and we’ve decided to use Azure ADSync to synchronize all User Objects to the Office 365 Cloud. The synchronization was a smooth sailing one and activating Yammer based on this guide – Yammer Activation Guide and this guide – Changing SharePoint Online Newsfeed to Yammer Enterprise.

Upon logging onto the Microsoft Office 365 main page (https://portal.microsoftonline.com) and selecting the Yammer tile, Yammer page couldn’t seem to be loaded and we’re redirected to this page with an error message:

Sorry, but we’re having trouble signing you in. We received a bad request


Yammer-SSO 01

 

When attempting to directly login via Yammer, the page was not redirected to the Office 365 Portal Login page and we keep receiving that the username & password was incorrect. As the usage of the platform was top priority, we’d to raise a support service request with Microsoft Office 365 Support Team – luckily the issue was easily resolved by perform the followings:

  1. Login to the Office 365 Admin Portal, go to Admin > SharePoint
    Yammer-SSO 02
  2. Click on Settings
    Yammer-SSO 03
  3. Under the Enterprise Social Collaboration option, select back to Use SharePoint Newsfeed (default) and wait for an hour (personal recommendation) and click OK
    Yammer-SSO 04
  4. After an hour, switch back to Use Yammer Service and click OK
    Yammer-SSO 05

Once that is done, the Single-Sign On has been resolved and users can now login using the same credentials as the Office 365/On-Premise Active Directory.

 Take away lessons: During the troubleshooting process, the Yammer team had sent a separate activation email to the Portal Admin in which doesn’t fix the Single-Sign On issue but further complex the situation – in which all users are able to login to Yammer but the password will be different with the Office 365 Portal. Use the steps above and see whether if this works. Else fail, you can use the Yammer Directory Sync tool to synchronized both user accounts and password before escalating back to the Office 365 Technical Support. 

This is somewhat a “throwback” article (sigh, time to look for a new ISP Provider) as the post was stuck at my draft till it was “officially” published :(

Although there’re various materials available from the Internet on how to join a Lync Online Meeting – either through Lync On-Premise or Office 365, I’d came out with a short guide to help some customers/readers especially users whom are part of the organization but still wishes to use Lync Online Meeting to join meetings.

  1. Usually you’ll receive an Online Meeting Calendar invite from the sender, within the content it as a hyperlink/URL with the word Join Online Meeting
  2. Upon clicking the Lync Meeting URL, the web page brings you to Online Meeting page which it’ll starts detecting whether you have a native Lync Client installed. If not, you’ve an option to use Lync Web App
  3. Usually you’ll join as a Participant (Guest). Upon loading up the page, type in your preferred display name to join the meeting. If this is the first time joining such meeting and there is not Lync Web App Plugin detected, you’ll see this:-
    LyncWebApp01
  4. Select the Install Lync Web App plug-in and click on Join the Meeting
    LyncWebApp02
  5. Select RUN when prompted
    LyncWebApp03
  6. Lync Web App plugin will then start the installation
    LyncWebApp05
  7. Once the installation completes, the web page will automatically refreshes. Type in an appropriate Name and Select on the Join the Meeting
    LyncWebApp05
  8. You’ll be placed at the Lync Virtual Lobby till the presenter verifies your identity and Admits you into the Meeting session
    LyncWebApp06
  9. If you receive a warning message, select on Allow to grant the plugin permission to interact with your machine. I would recommend to select the Always allow the plug-in for this domain to ease future access
    LyncWebApp07
  10. If you’re Windows Firewall is enabled, select on Allow access to grant access for the plugin. If this is not available, you may need to grant the it manually from the Windows Firewall option. If you do not grant the plugin through the Windows firewall, you’ll experience difficulties such as there’re no output for its audio and/or video during the meeting session
    LyncWebApp08
  11. Once you’re done, Enjoy the Meeting!
    LyncWebApp09

Many thanks to @KatherineChen as the meeting organization and initiator for this guide to help out the SEA MVP in joining our monthly MVP Meetings!

Recently I’d carried out a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) for a customer on a SMART Lync Room System (LRS) to replaced their existing Video Conferencing solution – which isn’t too “Unified”, several limitation when it comes to Group Meetings and worse off is the user experience was horrible (and that’s why I’d the opportunity to go in)

The PoC was straight forward where the LRS will be connected to Microsoft Office 365 account where it can be easily configured and demonstrated; simply just an account for the LRS which has Exchange & Lync license assigned would get the entire LRS up and running. However, it wasn’t as smooth as it seems as when the Exchange Calendar doesn’t appear and the “Round Loading Screen” keeps rotating.

Thanks to a good friend from the Lync/Skype for Business MVP @OliverMoazzezi, he’d pointed out that there was a bug within LRS and a temporary workaround can easily solve this issue:

  1. Reboot the System into Admin Mode
  2. Select the Network Connection Configuration. At the Network Connections Windows, activated the Address Bar and type Regedit which opens up the Registry Editor
  3. Maneuver to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync > Right Click on the Key (icon shows as folder) > Permissions.. > Click on Add > type in Everyone > Grant Full Control                LRS-Registry-Permissions
  4. Reboot the System and the Exchange Calendar will appear

For On-Premise LRS User, you may refer to www.Exchange2010.com for additional steps to resolve the similar issue.

Once again, I’d the privilege to attempt the technology that was introduced during Lync Conference 2014 where SMART Technologies, where they’d demonstrated how Lync and the interactive panel are able to bring people to collaborate further and be more productive. On top of the native Lync Online Meeting, it was extended to other file types such as AutoCAD – SMART Technologies: Taking the SMART Room System to the Next Level To enable to use have the features on top of the Native Lync Online Meeting interactive collaboration, SMART Technologies has introduced an add-on known as the USB Bridge.  This add-on allows machines such as laptops or workstation to be connected to the Lync Room System without needing to “switch channels” from the panel. This also enables direct interaction with the machine via the SMART interactive panel. For better understanding on how the USB Bridge works with SMART Lync Room System, here’s a Youtube video Interactive Sharing with the SMART Room System™ for Microsoft® Lync® (Wise Man says: Videos is worth a Million Words) :D

To configure the USB Bridge, basically there’re only two (2) cables involve – the HDMI & USB Bridge Cable. These two (2) cables are to be connected to the Lync Appliance (known as AM70 Lync Appliance) and NOT the Interactive Panel. The USB Bridge connector can be connected to any of the available USB 2.0 ports EXCEPT the USB 3.0 while the HDMI cable is to be connect to the HDMI Capture Port (see illustration) below: USB-Bridge Once the cable connectivity is completed, you should expect such behavior – USB Bridge with SMART Lync Room System Another area to take note is the SMART Lync Room System must be running on 15.10.1 or higher (currently 15.10.2) – you would need to check the version through Admin Mode. If the LRS isn’t running on the specified version, just run a Web Update at the same mode (Admin) and allow the system to reboot a couple of times and it’ll complete the update easily.

Frankly, I’d troubles with the cable connectivity during my initial attempt as you may not find such document on the Internet – hope those whom will be implementing the SMART Lync Room System will find this article helpful.

Back in Lync Conference 2014, Skype Translate was showcase as part of the keynote; we’ve been waiting for it and now it is out!

Skype-Translate-Preview00

Skype-Translate-Preview04  Skype-Translate-Preview05

Skype Translate Preview is only available as a Windows App which requires you to run on Windows 8.1 and supports up to 45 languages (for writing at the moment) while 4 types of languages for speech/voice.

Let’s run through quickly on this version of Skype Translator:

In order to use the translator engine, both parties must be either using Skype or Skype Translator Preview, once the App is loaded, there’s an additional option to the native Skype App where you can configure your locale settings so Skype will be able to perform the translation to you on the fly:

Skype-Translate-Preview06    Skype-Translate-Preview07

Initiate a session with any of your friends or family using Skype and you notice that you’ll get a Translation option at the screen. You can to choose both Speech & Writing translation based, how cool is that!

Skype-Translate-Preview08

Skype-Translate-Preview09

Skype-Translate-Preview10

Now, the fun part! Actual translation (special thanks to @peterdiaz33)

Skype-Translate-Preview11

However, the speech is still a bit “flumsy” at this point of time

Skype-Translate-Preview12

Skype-Translate-Preview13

To try out this release, go to Skype Translate Preview to register; take note that this feature currently only supports in the Skype Consumer category, if you attempt to use Skype Translator Preview with a Skype for Business/Lync 2013 Users, the translation option will not be available. Hoping to see such function releasing for the business users as well.

Been running Windows 10 Technical Preview for the past couple of months together with Office 2016 Preview but we (MVPs) had to be mouth tied due to the NDA. However, with the recent announcement by Microsoft for Office 2016 for ITPro & Developer Preview, finally I can blog about the new Skype for Business Client (Skype4B). Microsoft has also announced the recent re-branding of Lync to Skype for Business (Skype4B) and it will be released as part of the Office 2016 Suites – bear in mind just the client bits are release at the moment. Unless you want to be part of the TAP Program (or maybe already part of the TAP Program), the server bits are not available at this moment. Skype4B will also be available for Office 365 Customers. Once you obtain from the link above, you would need a valid Office 365 ProPlus subscription to use the Preview. Here’s a guide on How-To by Stale Hansen – Got Office installed from Office 365 and want to test Skype for Business Client Preview? Upon completion, you’ll get a new Cool Blue interface

Skype4B Client Login

Basically the Lync Client GUI has been design as close as possible to the Skype UI but maintains the corporate look of Lync Skype4B Client Contacts         Skype for Desktop

Skype4B is still tightly integrated with our Outlook and this is once of the best thing to have – all appointments, schedule and conversation in a glimpse (Skype Consumer doesn’t integrate with your Exchange/Exchange Online in any means) Skype4B History

For instead messaging, Skype4B still keeps the “Tab Ribbon” by the left side of the program while the Consumer Skype appears under the Recent Tab

Skype4B IM          Skype Consumer IM

For Voice call, Skype4B retains the unique look which gives the “always ready for Video Call” look Skype4B Audio Call         Skype Consumer Audio Call Even the System Tray Icons looks pretty close as well Skype4B & Skype Consumer Tray Icon

When you perform a mouse-over at the taskbar, Skype for Business actually allows you to change your status on the fly

Skype4B06

This is just a glimpse of Skype for Business running with Office 365 – we should be expecting more features on the On-Premise so stay tuned!

With a recent move to Lync Online, I notice most of my contacts with Microsoft are no longer working – showing Presence Unknown. After much troubleshooting, we’ve decided to lodge an incident to the Microsoft Office 365 Technical Support, in which they came back with a feedback that they’ve did something at the backend and the Federation should work by now.

However, the contacts at my Lync Client shows that “Updating…” and later changes to Presence Unknown.

Finally, manage to get this sorted out by:

  1. Remove all of the contacts that shows as Updating or Presence Unknown
  2. Sign-Out and select “Delete My Sign-in Info”
  3. Deleted all folders under C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync

Upon signing back to the Lync Client, re-adding the users brings the Presence back to its normal state

 

Plantronics has came out with a very cool method of updating the firmware on Bluetooth headsets – which is via their MyHeadset Updater running on web-based and I’ve updated mine using the same way as well.

However, after the update, I notice that my headset couldn’t pair with the Bluetooth dongle that comes with the device (BT300)

Plantronics BT300

Couple of the forum threads had suggested to delete and uninstall the using the Device Manager and re-pair the unit again, some even suggested to drain the battery completely so that the headset will automatically detect and pair back with the dongle. In which I’ve attempt both and no luck; pairing it with my Surface Pro 3 in-built Bluetooth works but the Voice Quality was extremely bad while running Lync Voice Calls.

In the end, I decide to create a ticket with Plantronics support and I would like to share this to those whom are experiencing the same problem as I did before (since there’re no blogs about it):

  1. Plug the Bluetooth Dongle (BT300) to the machine
  2. Hold down the Pick-up/Hang-Up Button for 5 seconds till you see the indicator turns Blue and constantly blinking

Pairing 00

Once the pairing is completed, you should be able to hear the Headset indicates that “PC 1 Connected” and you’re done :)

 

Microsoft has been doing great in terms of improving the Office 365 service offerings, providing different plans for different market.

Hence, to company which Office 365 suite or plans may be the most suitable for different organizations – there’s a Office Web Excel Web Part which has been publish directly by Microsoft provides a better insights and comparison for each product (even On Premise!) – Office 365 Service Comparison

I’d been working on a small engagement for a customer whom needs to use only SharePoint Online till the recent launch of Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials early this October 2014 within out region (APAC) – with the same price of a Standalone SharePoint Online Plan 1 vs Office 365 Business Essential, the customer now starts to drill into details on these two (2) Plans. So to list this down to the customers, rather than going through line by line of each features between these plans – I’ve used the available Web Part which can be also be downloaded from the link that I’ve provided earlier and run the query very quickly to determine the differences. Although I would presume most of us are familiar with Microsoft Excel filtering feature, but I think it is still a good to share:

When you first load up the document, the Excel file displays the entire lists of Products and Plans (notice that the Filter Icon is greyed out):

O365 Service Comparison 01

To compare the two (2) Plans, press on the Control (CTRL) button and click on the Plans that you will NOT be part of your comparison. For my case, these are my filtering options to compare between SharePoint Online Plan 1 & Office 365 Business Essentials:

Options: Office 365 + Standalone

Service: SharePoint Online

Plan: Office 365 Business Essentials + SharePoint Online Plan 1

Features Area: Default

O365 Service Comparison 02

Outcome:

O365 Service Comparison 03

This comparison document has really ease up a lot of manual research (through TechNet) on both ITPro & End User information. You can even download an offline copy (which I find it good on road warriors) :)

Happy Filtering!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: