Category: Skype for Business

October 20th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

At UC and Cloud Day 2017 i managed to grab Matt Hurst from Sonus to talk about Sonus around the recent news on Microsoft Teams and Sonus latest Cloud Link product that was announced at Microsoft Ignite.

Who are Sonus ?

Sonus offers an award-winning portfolio of hardware-based and virtualized session border controllers, diameter signaling controllers, policy and routing servers, media and signaling gateways, and mobility solutions.

https://www.sonus.net/about-us

For more information on Cloud Link

Cloud Link for Microsoft Teams connects legacy voice systems to Microsoft Teams in Microsoft® Office 365™. Ensure that your Teams users can speak, securely, with anyone by using a Microsoft certified SBC from Sonus.

Sonus Cloud Link for Microsoft Teams

https://www.sonus.net/solutions/cloud-link-for-microsoft-teams?referrer=4

Session Border Controller Information

https://www.sonus.net/products/session-border-controllers


Posted in Skype for Business

October 20th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

Howdy Folks,

I’ve recently had a customer enable Multi Factor Authentication for all admin roles within the Microsoft Office 365 Tenant.  This causes problems when you need to do any PowerShell activities, such as submitting customized number normalization which need to be completed in the Skype for Business Online PowerShell.

 

To connect up, you will need the latest Skype for Business Online management shell.  At the time of writing this was released in 19th of April 2017 – https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=39366   – version 7.0.1045.0 or later.

 

Once this is installed you will need to launch the Windows PowerShell

The Shell we will use is as follows:

$acctName=”user@domain.com”

#Create a Skype for Business Online session
$sfboSession = New-CsOnlineSession -UserName $acctName

#Import the Skype for Business session
Import-PSSession $sfboSession

 

 

You will then be prompted for your password:

 

 

 

You will need to authenticate with your Multi Factor Method.

 

Once you import the PS Session you will then have the Skype for Business Online PowerShell commandlets which you are a custom to.

 

 

I hope this helps with your Multi Factor Authentication Customers.

 

Be sure to share, like, and ask any questions you may have.

The post Skype for Business Online PowerShell with Multi Factor Authentication appeared first on Oh, Say Can UC....

Posted in Skype for Business

October 19th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

FedEx logo.

Today’s post was written by Robert Carter, CIO and executive vice president of information services at FedEx.

Profile picture of Robert Carter, CIO and executive vice president of information services at FedEx.Strategic technology is part of FedEx’s heritage and its key to our continued innovation in the future. In 1978, our founder and CEO Fred Smith said, “The information about the package is as important as the package itself.” This established a culture where technology functions as the central nervous system behind every single business process at the company. It’s behind every one of the 13 million shipments that we process each day. It supports our more than 400,000 team members working in 220 countries and territories as they connect 99 percent of the global GDP through our transportation, e-commerce, and business services.

This heritage of custom-built, innovative, end-to-end systems of record and engagement—including our invention of modern package tracking—enabled the business to expand globally while maintaining our focus on process quality control. However, as FedEx entered the modern computing era with a wake of legacy technologies, we had to re-evaluate the strategic IT that we need to move forward in an internet-enabled world. In 2009, we began a modernization journey that we called Project Renewal. It’s our ongoing vision for cloud computing where we are standardizing on today’s internet protocols—the scalable X86 datacenter platform and the “tap-into” world of software as a service.

Whether related to the logistics business or not, there’s a massive amount of disruptive activity in today’s e-commerce world, with venture capital pouring into both first-mile and last-mile solutions. So, we need to refactor our systems to stay competitive. On the infrastructure side, we have a hybrid compute environment where we burst containerized transaction traffic between our on-premises implementations and the public cloud. With Microsoft, we found a vendor that’s compatible with our approach to multi-cloud and platform services and the protection of our data through intelligent security services. For our same-day service for retailers, we built an API-first, cloud-native application using Microsoft Azure. This competitive, last-mile solution extended our business—with fewer IT resources required.

And when we talk about our renewal journey and software, we’re moving from a legacy of deep vertical applications toward a world where we can tap into and integrate software services to meet our needs and stay connected with customers. This is the essence of “everything as a service,” which dismantles the complexity of constant upgrade cycles, versioning, and patching. Now, instead of installing software across the many thousands of places where we operate, we are taking a different approach. We chose Microsoft 365 so our more than 400,000 team members can take advantage of the cloud in ways that make us more collaborative and creative, driving a new era of innovation.

The diversity of cloud-based business solutions that we can deploy to meet our associates’ needs, no matter where they work, is a huge advantage for FedEx. Now, frontline workers such as our mechanics can take their tablets and access the engineering diagrams they need while they’re seven stories up on a scaffolding, servicing the tail engine on one of our aircraft. We see it as key to our future to provide this modern “tap-into” world, where everything is accessible and where we operate as collaborative virtual teams in highly secure digital environments.

And at FedEx, we’ve always promoted a culture of empowerment because we believe it’s the wellspring of innovation. We got where we are through our heritage of technology innovation, but we cannot afford to rest on that reputation. Since 2009, we’ve been working diligently to stay relevant, re-engineering our legacy software for the cloud so we can engage with next-generation fulfillment systems. Whether you are shipping apparel, or flowers, or car parts from the other side of the world, FedEx will continue to innovate in a cloud-based computing paradigm, so we can make good on our promise to move everything to everywhere—just as we’ve always done.

—Robert Carter

The post FedEx delivers on modern workplace vision with cloud computing appeared first on Office Blogs.

Posted in Skype for Business

October 19th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been years in the making, but finally comes into full effect in May 2018. GDPR has global reach because companies with a specific European presence be subject to its requirements. Additionally, the broad terms of the regulation mean that any company with a website offering goods or services to citizens of the EU and cloud services developed by U.S.-based companies may be subject to the regulation merely because they are available to EU-based individuals, even if the company is not “established” in the EU. GDPR also imposes significantly greater fines for data breaches (up to 4% of annual global revenue), requires Privacy Impact Assessments, Privacy and Security “By Design”, Inventories, and Data Mapping of personal information across your business systems, mandatory appointments of Data Protection Officers, and evidence that you are doing these things. This is not a small undertaking. It will require a major shift for many companies, even those that already have a privacy program.

GDPR creates many new (and not new) obligations where more connection between the CPO, CISO, IT and CIO will be needed.  The IT obligations are some that may cause the most impact for companies around the world, because they may require a fundamental shift in operational processes for IT and Business Process Optimization and program management. Here are a few worthy of deeper consideration as they will carry a significant budgetary and operational impact (particularly on your IT department.)

  • Think Privacy and Security by Design-Anyone who has been a part of designing a home — or building anything — understands that it’s always better to get your plans right in the beginning — change orders become expensive! By implementing a standardized and repeatable process with your colleagues in IT and the business as a project “begins” rather than when it is waiting for your sign-off to go “live”, you will be able to help provide advice, guidance and review at every step in the process. Consider using automation to allow your colleagues to request a “privacy impact assessment” of the systems they are “planning” to build and deploy so that you can provide them with a reasonable estimate and timeline. Your involvement early on will save them from having to make last minute design changes or decisions with the clock ticking. The GDPR requires not only privacy and security by design, but also “by default”. This means that what was formerly considered to be a “best practice” will now be a mandate and one that will need to be operationally demonstrable.

Speaking of Privacy Impact Assessments, if you are not doing privacy impact assessments (or “Data Protection Impact Assessments”), there is no time like the present. PIAs or DPIAs are a systematic process to “assess privacy risks to individuals in the collection, use and disclosure of their personal data. DPIAs help identify privacy risks, foresee problems, and bring forward solutions.” (www.iapp.org). Many organizations already conduct PIA’s as part of a statutory or regulatory obligation, and the European General Data Protection Regulation will also mandate PIAs. Impact Assessments, like Security Assessments, provide a good foundation to assess the potential and ongoing risk of systems and data flows within them so that privacy and data security teams can recommend and monitor appropriate controls. The International Association of Privacy Professionals exclusively distributes a “free” PIA tool available from AvePoint (https://iapp.org/resources/apia/)  with a newly announced GDPR focused template, built by AvePoint with assistance from Microsoft Corporation. https://www.avepoint.com/about/news-releases/detail/avepoint-launches-the-latest-release-of-the-avepoint-privacy-impact-assessment-system-with-newly-integrated-microsoft-gdpr-detailed-assessment-at-the-iapp-privacy-security-risk-conference-2017

  • Know thy Business-The GDPR requires that companies utilize a “risk-based approach” to manage their privacy and data protection programs. While this sounds like a bit of legalese, and may make IT professionals squirm at the idea of lawyers measuring shades of gray, its relatively simple to find meaningful ways to operationalize this requirement. Start by taking the time to understand what kinds of data your business handles and uses, as well as how your co-workers are using your internal systems in their day-to-day jobs. Understanding the “day in the life” of your colleagues will help you understand why and how they need to handle this protected data during their daily work. The time you invest in understanding their requirements will pay off in spades, as you will be able to craft solutions that meet their needs and your obligations.
  • Know your Data- What are your “Crown Jewels”? What kinds of data are you trying to protect? Many companies worry about “dark data”, or data that exists across their enterprise systems (file shares, SharePoint, social systems, and other enterprise collaboration systems and networks) as “dark data”, or data that is not properly understood. Understanding what and where this data is and properly classifying it will allow you to set the appropriate levels of protection in place. For example, many companies apply their security protocols in broad terms, using the same security procedures for everything. But logically, do you need to put the same security protocols around protecting pictures from your company picnic as you do towards protecting your customers’ credit card information?
  • Demonstrate Accountability — Set enforceable policies. Your General Counsel’s office and compliance team are tasked with understanding your statutory and regulatory obligations and helping your business to comply with these requirements. However, be sure that any policies you set internally can be measured, monitored and enforced. Broad statements such as “we do not allow PII data in SharePoint”, without the ability to enforce this policy or measure its effectiveness is not a sound data protection strategy. Rather, it’s like setting a curfew for your teenagers and going away for the weekend. Don’t leave your policies to chance or luck. The EU GDPR requires that you not only create policies that meet its mandate, but that you operationalize those policies and can prove that you’ve done so. I’ve talked for many years about a best practice approach that requires that you Measure, Report and Monitor. That which is not measured cannot be improved. Don’t have a policy that sits on a shelf. Policies should be living, breathing documents that reflect and direct the flow of your business. The new obligations will mandate an overarching system across all information gateways that will allow organizations to “Say what they are going to do (to achieve compliance)”, “Do it” and “Prove it” – internally, for your auditors, regulators, or as part of your data protection best practices. (There are some great resources on “risk based accountability” through the Centre for Information Policy Leadership, a global privacy Think Tank (https://www.informationpolicycentre.com/)

It almost goes without saying that companies must be vigilant in designing both privacy and security protections into their design and quality assurance practices. However, outside of protecting systems from the “bad guys” that could steal our information, companies have an additional obligation to behave as good corporate citizens. This includes not only protecting the information of their customers, but also communicating clearly with them about how they will use, store and protect customer information. Around the world, regulators have taken the stance that “giving is not the same as taking.” In other words, just because a consumer gives you their private information, that does not mean that the company has a right to then take that information and use it any way they see fit.

Rather, companies have an obligation to clearly communicate what they will do with private information provided to them, and if they change those practices, they must notify consumers and provide them with the ability to choose to participate or not.

Enterprise organizations must be vigilant in creating policies, training programs, and automated controls to prevent and monitor appropriate access, use, and protection of sensitive data, whether they are regulated or not. Doing so will not only mitigate the risk of regulatory and statutory penalties and consequences, but will also go far in preventing an unnecessary erosion of employee or consumer confidence in the organization as the result of a breach or the loss of sensitive data.

In an age where information is precious and every information worker is responsible for protecting that information, it’s important to create a culture of compliance where you make it easier for your end users to do the right thing than the wrong one. Just like a castle is designed with multiple lines of defense, it’s vital that you provide a multi-layered approach to information access and data protection, providing the constant enforcement of data privacy policies to ensure that the information being utilized is compliant, accessible, and manageable.

Posted in Skype for Business

October 19th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

Just noticed on tech community you can now add DSCP tags to SfB Online IP Phones and here’s a quick walkthrough. Tech Community article https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Skype-for-Business-Blog/Configuring-Voice-Quality-of-Service-for-Skype-for-Business/ba-p/118000

Setting the DSCP marking for IP Phones will help with Quality of Service tagging but for QoS you also need to ensure network is configured end to end to honour the IP markings.

1. Connect to tenant via PowerShell –

More details on how to connect to remote PowerShell into SfB Online  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn362795(v=ocs.15).aspx

2. Check existing settings using Get-CsUCPhoneConfiguration

image

By defaults VoiceDiffServTag is set to 40

3. run the following to change the value

Set-CsUCPhoneConfiguration –VoiceDiffServTag 46

Then i ran Get-CsUCPhoneConfiguration to check the configuration change.

image

Thats it!

You can set the DSCP marking to what you require but the default usually set for audio at 46.

Two other greats posts on QoS in SfB Online

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/skypehybridguy/2016/07/23/validate-qos-for-skype-for-business-online/

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/ExpressRoute-and-QoS-in-Skype-for-Business-Online-20c654da-30ee-4e4f-a764-8b7d8844431d


Posted in Skype for Business

October 18th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

Just noticed that the Microsoft is adding more Call Center (lite!) functionality to Office 365 “Phone System” (formerly known as “Cloud PBX”) Call Queues. Call Queues just got a new feature that allows administrators to use PowerShell to see how many callers are in each Call Queue.

This is in addition to the Agent “Opt Out” commandlet, reported by us on 9/12/2017, and announced at Microsoft Ignite 2017. (still not working)

If you use the Get-CsHuntGroup Powershell commandlet you will see a new property called “Statistics”.

image

So, with no calls in the Call Queue the value Current queue size = 0:

0

If another caller calls into this Call Queue at the same time and the cmdlet is run again we get 1:

1

And 2

2

In my testing the cmdlet reports the queue size immediately. (no 1 minute delay like Skype for Business Server RGS).

There also seems to be reference to HuntGroupServiceCallBackuri API?

The feature seems to already work in our customer tenants, but is not listed in the Microsoft web documentation for Get-csHuntGroup.

Posted in Skype for Business

October 18th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

Well, I finally did it. The #Skype4BRecap has been officially renamed to the #TeamsRecap! As you can see from the image above, I have even embraced the purple.

Admittedly, I struggled with whether or not to do this, as Skype for Business Server 2019 is still slated for H2 2018, per the latest from Ignite, and Skype for Business Online will still be around for some time. However, I came to the realization that when it comes to Skype for Business Server 2019, a LOT can happen between now and the actual release. AND, there is very clear marketing message that Microsoft is pushing 150% with Teams. SO, I decided that with much of my future content probably shifting more and more toward Teams, this was likely the right move.

At any rate, the show is still the same for now: same me, same format, same hat, etc. Again, though, this is for now. I am mulling over changing up a couple things, maybe just a bit, but time will tell with those. In the meantime, I have the latest episode of the #TeamsRecap published to YouTube, and ready to watch! Get caught up on what's new with the Skype UG (HINT: International locations may be in our future!), and get a good recap of all the Teams news from Microsoft Ignite:


Don't forget to Re-Tweet or Share on LinkedIn if you enjoy the show, or find it helpful/amusing!

Josh

Posted in Skype for Business

October 18th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator
Hello readers.  Hope you're well.

I've had this as a draft post since February this year.  I've been adding to it here and there as the product has evolved.  And with recent announcements, now seems like a good time to finally publish it.  

What I want to do is give you my take on what Teams is, what it does, how it is/could be used, who will/should use it and how to get it.  Enjoy.

What is Teams?


Teams is a fairly new, out of the blue, platform delivered through Office 365.  I call it a platform rather than an application because, really, Teams is just a jumping off point to get to other systems.  It is an aggregator of communication and collaboration tools and information in a single pane of glass.  It is a work space where you can put everything you need to work with and as a team.  Then once the information is there, you can easily collaborate with team members about that information. 

A New Vision for Communications and Collaboration

Microsoft has a new vision for communications and collaboration that they call Intelligent Communications.  Intelligent Communications is using the full set of capabilities and power of a joined-up platform to surface new, smarter ways of communicating and collaborating.  It is no longer about peer to peer or multi-party single or multi-media communications.  

Instant messaging and peer-to-peer audio/video is communication.  When you add more people and content to the conversation, it becomes collaboration.  Teams takes this concept of collaboration, several steps further.

With more capability at your disposal, collaboration can be more contextual.  Intelligent Communications are about making each interaction or communication be about something specific.  

In Skype for Business right now, I can initiate an IM or a Call with someone, but I have to explain what the context is before continuing with the interaction.  For instance, I want to know about X.  I can take that a step further and apply a little bit of context by initiating the interaction from a connected app such as Outlook.  If I start an IM by hovering over a person in an email, the new IM has the subject of that email at the top.  It’s a nice try, but it is still easy to miss unless you know to look. 

With the right power in your hand, you can start the interaction from the context and make it blatantly obvious what the interaction is about.  If you start from the context, you can unlock something that has the potential to be useful.  Everyone that has access to that context can see the interactions and if they have something to contribute, they can join in to the conversation.  If the person you start with knows someone that knows more, they can mention the correct person and invite them to join the conversation.  

This also goes beyond simple interactions.  In addition to starting a chat or making a call from the context, ithere are documents involved, it is possible to make that the context.  Taking it one or two steps further, you can co-author and chat about the document in line with the context.  

Then if you want to schedule a meeting about the content, and the application suggests the attendees you want in the meeting based on recent conversations.  

If all of that sounds like science fiction, it really isn’t.  

What can you do with Teams?

Chat

Teams is an internal only peer-to-peer and multi-party Instant Messaging (IM), audio and video communications tool.  You can start an ad-hoc chat with anyone in your organisation that is using Teams or Skype for Business Online.  Chat doesn’t currently work between Teams and Skype for Business Server on-premises.  Nor does it work with federated users.  I gather these are both coming.  There is, however, Guest Access and I'll talk about that further down.  

To start a chat, tap the chat icon which is on every page right next to the search bar.
You can start a chat with someone whether or not they are online.  If they are offline, the message will be waiting for them when they log in.  A chat starts as an Instant Message (IM) and you can escalate to an audio or video call.  

The chat interface is really quite good.  The compose box can be maximised to uncover additional formatting options for the text within the chat.  

You can do typical things like bold, underline and italics, as well as more advanced things like bullet points and numbered lists.  It's even possible to highlight text to draw attention to something.  Additionally, you can add headings and subheadings, an indented quote and even code snippets.  

It is possible add files to a chat (either from your computer hard drive or your personal OneDrive for Business).  When you upload a file to a Chat, it is stored in a OneDrive for Business folder called Microsoft Teams Chat Files and shared with the person/people in the chat thread.  You can get to the files you upload in the dedicated Files area as well as within the chat.  

The files list gives you the file type, name, when it was last modified and the location (such as OneDrive or the team and channel name.  It is also possible to edit and co-author Office documents, either in Teams, from Office Online or Office which is locally installed.  

Editing directly in Teams is a really great experience.  It opens Office Online right in the Teams interface and moves the chat pane to the right of the document so you can chat while you edit.

In addition to files and text in chats, you can also add Emoji 😏, Gif's (Powered by Giphy), as well as Stickers and Memes from a huge list which is broken down into categories.


You also have the ability to personalise the chat space in Teams with extra stuff that's relevant to you and the person/people you are chatting with.  In addition to conversations and files, there is an organisation tab which shows you where they sit in your company organisation chart.  There's also an Activity tab that shows you what else they have been doing in Teams.  It's also possible to add tabs to chats.  

This is currently limited to Power BI and a web page, but I would imagine this list will grow over time.

A chat can be peer to peer or multi-party.  The chats are persistent over time, meaning they stay in the client so you can refer back to it.  Chats in Teams are done outside of Teams and Channels.  Although it is possible to have a conversation within a Channel, it isn't strictly a chat, but rather persistent, threaded conversations with all of the members of the team.  Think of chat as persistent, instant messaging with bells and whistles.

Activity Feed

The activity feed area is a list view of what's been going on in Teams.  The list includes messages, mentions, replies to conversations you've been in, likes and stuff from people or channels you follow.  The activity feed is a really quick way to move between things you might want to reply to or just read without having to go into Teams and look through channels to find stuff.  Clicking on an activity takes you right to the channel or place where the activity took place and you can interact from there.  The activity feed can be filtered to find just the stuff you want to see.  You can also search in Teams, more on that in a sec.

Search
Within every menu item there is a search bar.  
You can search for a keyword or a phrase and you'll get a list of every conversation you have access to where the term is used.  When you click into one of the results, it displays only the message with the term you searched for, along with a link to take you to the channel where the conversation took place, so you can interact if you want.  Search is completely necessary since Teams has the potential to gather vast amounts of data all over the place.

Teams in Teams


Creating a Team in Teams creates a few things on the back end.  Firstly, it creates a site in SharePoint Online for the content including files.  It then creates an Office 365 Group and a OneNote notebook.  Once you have created a Team, you add members.  You can add members from within your company and guests from outside your company.  At the time of writing, you can only add a guest that uses Azure AD and Office 365, basically, anyone with an Exchange Online mailbox and email address.  Microsoft is expanding this to include users with an MPN (msn, hotmail or outlook.com) address.  

When you add a member to a team, it sends the user a notification by email.  If the member already uses Teams, it will just give them access to the Team.  The Team and any channels will appear in the Teams area of the Teams client or site.  If they don’t use Teams it will send them a link to the Teams web client (https://teams.microsoft.com) which will prompt for credentials and then invite them to download the full client.  Once you have a Team and members (although you don’t need any members) you can add content to customise the work space.

Now for some terminology.  


A Channel is a subfolder within the Team.  
A Channel can have a Conversation repository, a file repository, a OneNote notebook, a Wiki page and Tabs.  

A Tab is basically an interface into an application, a web page or a document you need to frequently access.  There a fairly big list of tab types and applications including Office 365 apps like Planner, Power BI, Word and Excel, and apps from external service providers like Wrike, Youtube and Trello, to name but a few.

In addition to all of this, a Channel can link to external services using Connectors.  There’s a huge list of Connectors available from a ton of companies.  Anything from Twitter, or RSS feeds to Salesforce and a lot more.


A conversation within a Team is a lot like Persistent Chat in SfB.  Each conversation is specific to a Channel within the Team.  A Conversation in a Channel is an inline multi-threaded chat and anyone that is a member of the Team can read and contribute.  A user can reply to an existing thread to continue a conversation or start a new thread to start a completely new conversation.  A conversation thread can also be given a subject.  As with Chat, text can be customized and formatted with options for bullet, list, size, colour and style (bold, underline and italics).  Text can also be highlighted.  In addition to text, a user can add Emoji, Gif's and customizable Memes from a large repository in Teams, as well as images from their own source (png and jpg).  This will keep the millennials entertained.  

With the correct permissions, it is possible to delete a comment or an entire conversation from within a Channel.  If something is deleted, it says that it has been deleted and has an Undo link next to it.  Anything that is deleted in Teams (files, conversations and comments) go to a recycle bin in the Team SharePoint site.  It is also possible for a user to edit a comment they made within the Team if, for instance, they made a typo or said something they wanted to change.  Once text has been edited, it says Edited next to it.  

It is also possible to save a conversation or a comment which pins them to a save items list.  It is also possible to un-save something.  

For fans of social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), it has a “Like” function that increments up with the likes and collects a list of who liked it.  

In addition to text, Emoji and memes, a user can add a file to a conversation.  There are also @ mentions.  You can mention someone in a conversation and they will be notified that you mentioned them and send a link back to the conversation (as long as they have access to it).  This is similar to the Ego feed in Persistent Chat in Lync and Skype for Business.  You can also @ mention specific Teams and Channels.  Once you type the @, the next letter will start to search for valid target.  Keep in mind that you can only @ mention teams, channels and members of the team you're in.  i.e. If you're in a conversation in a Channel called New Business in the Sales team and the only members besides you are Ted, Ralph and Sally, you can only @ mention Sales, New Business, Ted, Ralph and Sally.  You can't @ mention across teams or to people that don't have access to the Team.


In every Channel in a Team, there is a Files tab.  Files can be uploaded from your own OneDrive for Business drive or your own PC as standard.  However you can also add Cloud Storage sources.  

This is really just a connector that links the Channel to a cloud storage provider.  Once you have added the provider, it will add a folder to the Channel.  As it says in the popup (see below), once you add a cloud storage provider, everyone with access to the Team will have access to the files.

When you click on one of the providers, you'll be asked to authenticate and grant Teams access to the provider.

Once a file is added to a conversation it uploads it to the file store within the Channel and Team, which is SharePoint Online on the back end.  Once there it can be edited in Office, Office online or directly in Teams.  It can also be co-authored if the user clicks Share and invites someone.  Files can be downloaded, edited, copied, moved between Channels (within the same Team only) or deleted (again to the recycle bin).  

It is also possible to make a file a Tab within the Team.  The file Tab is basically an opened version of the file.  For instance, a price list.  It is also possible to click edit on a file to make changes.  This edits the underlying file (in SharePoint) and displays the changes in the tab once it has been saved. 

There is a Notes tab which is a OneNote notebook where users in the Team can build up notes and pages relevant to the Channel.  This is also saved in SharePoint.



Last, but not least, you can add Connectors to a channel. 

A Connector is used to bring external services into a Channel or Team.  There are connectors from Microsoft, of course, for services like Visual Studio Team Services, Dynamics 365 and Yammer as well as 3rd party services like Trello, Salesforce, Wunderlist and Twitter to name a few.  In fact, there are dozens of Connectors.  So many, in fact, you can filter by category to make it easy to find what you're after.

Meetings
Meetings in Teams is a lot like meetings in Skype for Business.  It has it's own tab and links to your Exchange calendar, showing you all of your meetings for the day whether they are Teams meetings, Skype for Business meetings, or just appointments.  

You can schedule meetings from Teams 

or using the new Outlook button.  

It the meeting is a Teams meeting, you can join and attend the meeting, in Teams.  If the meeting is a Skype for Business meeting, you still get a join button in Teams, however, the join button starts the meeting in the Skype for Business client rather than directly in Teams.

Meeting in Teams is quite an experience.  For a start, you get a full screen, 2 x 2 gallery view if you add video.  When I say full screen, I mean full bleed, full screen.  The meeting controls are hidden by default and appear, over the video feed when you move the mouse to the area.  This is very much like Skype for Business on a Mac.
  
This is a stark contrast to the 5 in a row gallery view for a Skype for Business meeting.  

There is also a dedicated device button in the meeting and you can switch devices (audio and video) on the fly.  

You can switch audio devices mid call in Skype for Business, however, not video.  You can switch video if you go in to video settings and change the default device.  Once you switch and click OK, video stops, you then have to start video again.

In Teams, you can switch using the Cameras drop down list to choose another device and it switches live, during the call.  There is also a dedicated camera switching button.

Pressing this button switches the video to the next device in the list.  This is great if you have cameras set up to focus on the meeting ahead of time.  

Camera 1, Camera 2, Camera 1, Camera 2.  

Not so good if you're using a laptop in a docking station and you have front and rear cameras AND connected USB cameras.  Would be nice if you could select the cameras not to use.

Alongside the full screen video, you can chat with the attendees.  You get all the same chat options including formatting, Gif's, stickers and memes.  

You can also attach a file to the chat.  Attendees can open the file online (in a browser, not in the meeting) or download.  

Unfortunately, the only presenter option is screen sharing for now.  I can imagine this will get better over time.  

I'd love there to be a revamped whiteboard app in Teams meetings.  Perhaps the one from the updated Surface Hub.  We'd also need the ability to present PowerPoint and do Q&A and Polls.  These will probably come with federation, if they come at all.

When you share in a Teams meeting, the Teams the interface minimises and you're left with the call progress box along with the call controls.

Meetings are set to get even better in Teams with features like Cloud Record.  Users can attend meetings after the meeting finishes and it plays the whole meeting back as though they were there live.

Workspace of the Future

As you can see, a Team site really can be a workplace for any sized team.  Every possible piece of information that is relevant to the team can be added to the workspace.  Whether it is files, notes or conversations and external services through connectors.  Microsoft call it a Hub for Teamwork.

In a recent conversation I had with Microsoft, they called it an over engineered Persistent Chat role for Skype for Business Online.  The community was asking for Persistent Chat in Office 365, apparently, and they decided to deliver it.  I’m guessing that they also thought of it as an opportunity to compete with Slack intentionally, and Spark by chance. 


Slack came along and took an underdeveloped Persistent Chat role and made it connect with everything.  They gave it away to get users hooked and then started charging for premium features.  Don’t ask me what they are, because I’ve never even been to the Slack website, much less used it.  From what I have seen of Spark, Cisco did the same thing.  They decided that persistent chat and collaboration is the future.  I'm paraphrasing here, but recently Rowan Trollope said that Instant Messaging (IM) is just about getting attention rather than getting information. 


Who could use Teams?

Anyone that works with one or more people in a company and needs to be able to access information and collaborate about it. I can see it being used by Sales, Marketing, Project Management, Engineering or Support, among others. 

I have a Team with no members that I use to quickly get to stuff I need to access frequently.  This includes documents, RSS feeds, a Twitter tab, a few web pages and a couple of YouTube channels.  And that works fine for me.

Crossover with other applications

The most obvious crossover is with Skype for Business.  In Teams, you can do one to one and multi-party instant messaging (Chat), Persistent Chat (conversations in channels), internal voice and video calls, screen sharing and meetings.

You'll have heard some recent announcements that Microsoft is further enhancing Teams by adding the features and functionality of Skype for Business Online, Phone System (formerly Cloud PBX) and Audio Conferencing (formerly PSTN Conferencing) into Teams.  The plan will be to allow companies to run Teams and Skype for Business Online side-by-side for a period of time and eventually get rid of Skype for Business Online.  A controversial topic to be sure.  One for another day.

I've seen a couple of posts recently (One by Richard Bryteson and another by Tom Arbuthnotwhere they suggest disabling features that are also in Skype for Business, such as chat, calling and meetings.  This would ostensibly force users to carry on using Skype for Business for those features rather than have two places for the same thing.  

One advantage of this is that if your company is using archiving in Skype for Business for IM's, that stays as it is until there is shared archiving for Skype and Teams.

Personally, I like having the choice to decide what I use.  What do you think?

What about Skype for Business Server and Teams?

There are plans to enhance the interop between Teams and Skype for Business Server, however, we don't yet know to what extent.  The possibilities are quite exciting, especially in a hybrid scenario.  

I'd love the ability to use the Teams client as the interface for Skype for Business Server.  Chats in Teams could be the interface for Skype for Business IM's going forward.  Same with calling.  The calls tab in Teams could just leverage the calling capability from your Skype for Business Server deployment.  

Most importantly, I'd love to have the choice of which client to use and if possible, use both at the same time.  For instance, if I'm in a meeting with an external party in Teams, I'd like the ability to have a private chat window open in Skype for Business so I could chat privately with someone about the meeting, or even to answer an incoming question from someone else.  I can do that currently in Skype for Business.  If I only used the Teams client and I wanted to chat, I'd have to click away from the meetings tab and into the chat tab to have a conversation, taking my focus completely off the meeting.

Time will tell, but if I had to bet, the interop will come with Skype for Business Server 2019 late next year.

How do you get Teams?

Teams is available exclusively in Microsoft Office 365 and is included as standard with Office 365 Business Premium and Business Essentials, Enterprise plans E1, E3 and E5 as well as Education, Government, Not for Profit and new Firstline Worker plans.

In conclusion

The more I use Teams, the more I like it.  I wouldn't go as far as to say I could use it instead of Skype for Business.  It is missing a lot right now.  That list will shrink over time, surely, but right now it just doesn't cut it.  I also like Skype for Business for its simplicity.  I guess we'll see what happens.


That's all folks.

_________________________________________________________________________


I hope you found this useful.  Thank you for reading.

If this or any other post has been useful to you please take a moment to share.  Comments are welcome.  

Posted in Skype for Business

October 18th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

With all the recent announcements around Microsoft Teams, here’s a short video that should answer some of your burning questions.

Posted in Skype for Business

October 18th, 2017 by Skype for Business News Aggregator

Hi Everyone

I have been really enjoying listening to a presentation by William Looney and Troy Funk on CQD and Call Analytics for Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams. You can listen to the session here in Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=335OuqsTiNA, or view the deck here https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/embed.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2F8gportalvhdsf9v440s15hrt.blob.core.windows.net%2Fignite2017%2Fsession-presentations%2FBRK2010.PPTX

It's a really good session, and why I liked it so much was William Looney went into generating custom reports in CQD.

William starts by taking you through the vanilla out of the box CQD reports and there is some good data there. He then looks at problem sites/subnets for call quality. I won't rehash what William and Troy talk about as I recommend you go and have a listen. I will include a couple of screen shots to show William in action slicing and dicing through CQD data to get to the bottom of some poor calls.

Happy Skype/Team'ing.

Steve

Creating a custom CQD Report for packet loss rate

Resulting bar chart for above data.

 

Filtering Custom Reports based on Wifi and for a particular location/site

 

Audio Poor for a particular site

Posted in Skype for Business