As you may know, late last year Microsoft decided to kill the Microsoft Certified Master programs. It was a sad and shocking announcement. These programs were the pinnacle of Microsoft Certification and those who made it through were and are still known to be the best of the best. There are always rumblings of resurrection, but until then I decided to reach out to Bhargav Shukla to get his thoughts on pushing Lync knowledge to the next level. Bhargav had achieved not only the Exchange MCM, but the Lync MCM as well and had even been asked to teach: http://www.bhargavs.com/index.php/2013/09/03/microsoft-kills-microsoft-certified-solutions-master-mcmmcsm/
Other than heavy field experience and a love of TechNet, I asked him what insights he could give me into the curriculum. Knowing that the program itself is owned by Microsoft and NDA, here’s what he could tell me:
“All the content is available in public forums in some form. Look for TechEd and Lync Conference session recordings delivered by Lync COE and Lync PG (Bryan Nyce, Scott Stubberfield among other respected speakers).”
“While the content may not be same as delivered at MCM, it does come close to the level you would expect at MCM”
“One thing we will never be able to replace unless Microsoft brings the program back in some form is interactions with experts and peers (who also are experts trying to be better), for 3 dedicated weeks.”
Clearly nothing will easily replace being in the same room as the best of your peers for three weeks straight, but that won’t stop us from being the best we can be now. The conference session recordings Bhargav references are specifically the 300 and 400 level Lync presentations which can be found at Channel9.
Links to the 2014 conferences directly are here:
Today I wanted to talk a bit about an apparently very little known feature of Lync response groups, Agent Anonymity. I’ve seen this pop up as a feature request many times and it’s just not well understood. In a nutshell, there’s a way to configure a response group so that members can selectively mask their outbound caller ID as the response group. This is similar to delegate calling and how multiline appearances or MADNs have traditionally been handled in Lync before some of the newer multiple line phones existed. To configure this, simply check the enable agent anonymity box in the RGS Workflow.
When a user who’s a member of this response group attempts to make a call with their Lync client, they can now select who to make the call as. This is often preferable to caller id masking for 100% of their calls. You can see in the picture below, I’m also set up as a delegate for “Anthony’s Boss” and have the option to make the call as that person as well. This functionality works best with the Lync client and the better together experience paired with a desk phone. Unfortunately, making these calls solely through a Lync Phone Edition (LPE) device without starting the call via soft client isn’t yet available. There is hope however, delegate calling is available directly on newer versions of some Polycom VVX phones without the need for pairing, though as of this writing that is only for delegate calling, not for agent anonymity.
There are a mountain of calling features out there offered by different PBXs. One of these is called busy-on-busy. This is simply a feature that blocks new incoming calls when the user is already on the phone. In a highly responsive and connected UC world, this is less of a desired feature but there are still great use cases for it. In steps the Kuando Busylight. We use these at the top of our cubes at our office so you can see a user’s presence as you pass by, We’ve also deployed these at warehouses where a visual indicator was needed for an incoming call due to the high volume of machinery nearby. To top it off, their latest software allows you to set busy on busy, a feature not native to Lync!
I highly recommend checking them out: http://www.busylight.com/busylight-lync.html
For those who couldn’t attend or just want to see it again, the content is now publicly available on Microsoft’s Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Lync-Conference/Lync-Conference-2014
This is more of a PSA than anything for my readers. A new Lync client update is available, check it out here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880980 According to Microsoft’s site, the update resolves the following issues:
- Incorrect emoticons in a conversation after you install Office 2013 SP1 or a later version of Lync 2013
- Update reports NMOS in QoE for calls between Lync 2013 and a Lync mobile client
- Cannot hear the voice in an audio/video call in Lync 2013
Here’s a quick tip for Lync video issues that’s helped me a few times and I thought I’d share.
Sometimes you’ll get a crash related to video, for example when you try to share video or change your video settings, Lync just up and dies. The most common culprit for these is simply the video driver. Even the most recent driver isn’t necessarily going to resolve your issue, though I recommend starting by updating it. I’d also suggest going with a generic driver to see if the problem resolves itself.
In fact, when Lync crashes in general, it’s usually driver related. Start trying to eliminate the variables by checking your sound/video/Bluetooth drivers.
I’ve also see issues where there’s not necessarily a crash or a freezing, but a hanging or gray or blank screen. In this case I’ve had a client attempt to share a webcam, the video preview worked, but as soon as they tried to start the video, nothing was shown. The light on the webcam was on, but there was nothing. This was particularly on a Dell All-In-One dual screen device, there were two drivers, an Intel and an AMD Radeon. I’ve also seen it on a Dell Vostro and another HP.
The trick here was to disable hardware acceleration in Office. The easiest way to do this was through Microsoft Word. Head to File -> Options -> Advanced, scroll down to the display section and click to enable “Disable Hardware Acceleration”. A picture is below for easy reference, and a direct link to a registry key if you find this to be an issue and need to push it out via group policy.
DWORD: DisableHardwareAcceleration = 1
We’ve been seeing this quite a bit in the TechNet forums recently, users update their iPhone/iPad client and suddenly, we get the dreaded:
“Can’t verify the certificate from the server. Please contact your support team.”
It all worked fine before, nothing has changed with your Lync deployment but all of a sudden the new client won’t log in. Must be a app bug right? Not really, the newest version just has a more strict certificate checks. Since you’re a Lync administrator, you know how serious Lync takes those certificates already. The difference here is a more strict root/subordinate check. Check to make sure these are properly deployed using your certificate vendor’s installation checker (or in a pinch, a cert checker from another certificate vendor may work).
The following KB article outlines it a bit and gives links directly to certificate vendor’s installation verification tools.