Monthly Archives: June 2014

Grandstream GXV3275 Review Running Lync 2013 (And More!)

I’ve had this phone for a few weeks now and have really had a chance to play with it.  The Grandstream GXV3275 is effectively a 7″ (1024×600 capacitive (5 points) touch screen TFT LCD) Android tablet turned desk phone.  This phone took me a while to review because it’s really unlike any Lync phone I’ve come across.  Unlike other Lync phones, this doesn’t run Microsoft Lync Phone Edition firmware or a customized firmware specifically for Lync, this runs a specialized version of Android which can host other VoIP apps including the Lync Mobile app.

Clearly, the first thing you’ll notice about this phone is the touch screen, it’s big, it’s bright, it’s amazing.  But you’ll also notice the built in video camera above, there’s a toggle on the back that lets you adjust and position it so it’s pointing directly at you.  Yes, this camera works very well with Microsoft Lync 2013!

IMG_4021

This phone is limitless in it’s customization.  It’s simple to set any background you want, select from a million screen savers, swipe to another screen and install approved apps from the built in GS Market store, or go cutting edge by pulling apps directly from the Google Play store.  The giant screen and customization has made this the single most asked about phone in my LCS/OCS/Lync tenure.  That’s saying a lot, this is the 10th phone sitting on my desk at the moment.

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The next feature that really stuck out to me was the networking. This has the same gigabit port on the back with passthrough as you’d expect with any VoIP phone, this will run on PoE as you’d expect with any VoIP phone, but this can also run WiFi.  That makes it the perfect phone for use in my home office.  The other reason this is the perfect phone for my home office?  It supports up to six lines.  It doesn’t just run Lync, there’s a world of VoIP apps for Android out there that you can run.   In the photo below, I only have one line loaded up, but making a call from a different line is as simple as touching the line on the left side of the screen and dialing the numbers.

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The full experience you’d get with the Lync mobile app can be found here as well, which I expect if you’re reading my blog you’re fully aware of.

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What has my head spinning is the possibilities of the tablet experience.  With apps right on your phone, you have the ability to keep data at your fingertips.  Access to Salesforce or other critical software can be referenced while on a comfortable desk phone.

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So, that’s a lot of positive, now for the negative.  The phone is built very well, but it’s greatest strength is also a weakness.  It’s running the Lync Mobile client.  That means that there are some serious limitations in functionality.  The biggest may be support for emergency notification services (911 if you’re in the US) and Lync’s LIS services just isn’t there.  There are limitations around response group participation.   Before you consider this phone, you might want to check out this TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh691004.aspx

With all that said, none of the shortcomings are necessarily GrandStream’s shortcomings and they’re working very close with Microsoft to help develop the integration further.  Personally, I’d love to see all the functionality of Lync Phone Edition (LPE) brought into the mobile client, making LPE fully obsolete.  Until then, this phone will be a perfect fit for some scenarios, but might not work for some others.

One last thing, the price.  This phone is very competitively priced.  I was told list was about $315, but I haven’t seen it sold anywhere above $300, in fact I’ve seen it quite a bit lower than this.  It’s a great unit at that price point.

You can find more information on this phone directly at GrandStream’s site: http://www.grandstream.com/index.php/products/ip-video-telephony/gxv3275

 

Backing Up and Restoring Lync 2013 Contacts

Overview

Backing up Microsoft Lync 2013 is typically accomplished through the use of several PowerShell commands.  These commands can be combined into a single PowerShell script and run nightly as a scheduled task.  The individual commands are documented and can
be found within the TechNet library and are referenced below.  Pre-built backup scripts can also be found within the TechNet Gallery.  This article focuses specifically on the backup and restoration of user data.

User Backup Process

User data can be backed up through the use of the export-csuserdata command.  This command exports all user data for a pool into a pair of XML documents within a zipped archive.  In order to get a complete backup of all user data, this command will need to
be run at least once for each pool in your organization.  The command can be run as seen below to export all user data at once, or can be run with the –UserFilter parameter to backup only the user data for a single user.

Examples:

Export-CsUserData -PoolFqdn “atl-cs-001.litwareinc.com” -FileName “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip”

Export-CsUserData -PoolFqdn “atl-cs-001.litwareinc.com” -FileName “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip” -UserFilter kenmyer@litwareinc.com

User Restoration Process

There are two closely related PowerShell commands that can be used for the importing of user data, Import-CSUserData and Update-CSUserData.  Both have the ability to restore user data for a single user, or all users of a pool, but beyond that they have distinct
differences.

Import-CSUserData

Import-CSUserData is used when you need to completely overwrite the user data with the copy from the backup.  It is important to note that after this command it run, the user will not see the effect of the change until the Front End service on all servers
within the pool has been restarted.

Examples:

Import-CsUserData -PoolFqdn “atl-cs-001.litwareinc.com” -FileName “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip”

Import-CsUserData -PoolFqdn “atl-cs-001.litwareinc.com” ” -FileName “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip” -UserFilter kenmyer@litwareinc.com

Update-CSUserData

This command is used when the data from the backup needs to be merged with the existing data in the pool.  Unlike Import-CSUserData, this command does not require any service restarts to be effective, however it should be noted that due to the merging it
is more resource intensive which can result in delays when the operation is performed for many users at once.

Examples:

Update-CsUserData -Filename “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip”

Update-CsUserData -Filename “C:\Logs\ExportedUserData.zip” -UserFilter “kenmyer@litwareinc.com”

References

This is a cross post for some content I made for the TechNet Wiki: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/25001.backing-up-and-restoring-lync-2013-contacts.aspx

Tool: Show All Lync Contacts

I wrote a quick little application that will let you view all of the contacts assigned to the users of your Lync 2013 pool.  It queries the SQL database on the Front End pool directly and the output is sent to PowerShell’s Out-GridView which will allow you to sort and filter.  This gives you the power to search for contacts that have left the company that still remain in user’s contact or buddy lists.  Additionally, it can just allow you to peek into the user’s contact lists for troubleshooting.  To run it, just start it up from a Lync server, your desktop, or just about anywhere.  It will automatically elevate itself to administrative mode (this is to ensure access to the RTCLOCAL database when being run from a Front End server) and ask for the FQDN of a Front End pool.  Click OK and in moments, you’ll have all of your contact data before you.

ContactList

There’s one big caveat here, as expected if you have enabled the Unified Contact Store feature for your users, the contacts are no longer stored in Microsoft Lync and are therefore unavailable to the tool.  You won’t receive an error but it may not show results for the users.

The tool can be freely downloaded here from the TechNet Gallery: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Show-All-Lync-Contacts-59b14f30

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve upon it or make it work for you!

Blync for Lync Review

Today I wanted to take a break to review the Blync light. We’ve been running these in our office for a long time now.   In a nutshell, it’s a little USB light for Microsoft Lync 2013 or 2010. You can see in the picture that’s it’s a 1.75 inch cube (technically 45mm) that changes colors based upon your presence. We also use the Kuando Busylight in our organization, however in terms of size, the light is a bit larger on this one making it easier to spot across the room.

blync1

It’s got a nice purple glow when Do-Not-Disturb is set as you can see, which I like because it’s easy to distinguish from “busy” from a distance. The other colors are the red, yellow, and green you’d expect. You have the option to have it flash when on a call, but it only seemed to flash for me when I was on a soft client call, not when I was in a call from a non-paired Lync phone. That may have been a user error on my part. Still, for our sales team the blinking is huge because they’re big headset users and it can be difficult when walking past to know if they’re listening to someone talk on the phone, or sitting patiently hoping I come up to pester them. It’s got a simple little app to install making it easy for anyone to deploy, and a simple little set of features to change as seen in the screenshot.

2014-06-16 14_09_01-Configure Blync

In terms of Blync vs. the Kuando Busylight, I’d say the winner depends on what you’re looking for as they’re not exactly the same.  If you only care about the light, then Blync is easier to spot from a distance and is a clear winner.  However the Busylight has additional features such as busy-on-busy which may make a better option for you. All in all, I recommend this unit highly and to prove it you’ll find these all over our offices.   They can be found here if you’d like more information: http://www.blynclight.com/

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Finally, you’ve got to love this little sign by the folks at Blync for educating your colleagues about your new Blync light: http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0244/8061/files/blync-awareness-sign.pdf

 

QuickTip: Remote Lync PowerShell Connections

Here’s another quick tip for connecting to a remote PowerShell for the Lync Server management shell.  If you log in to your workstation as an administrative user, and you have the Lync administration tools installed, you might not need this.  However, if you’re like me and you log in with domain user credentials and keep a separate administrative account, or perhaps you just connect to multiple different environments with different credentials, here’s what you need to know:

$UserCredential =GetCredential

$a =NewPSSession –connectionuri https://lync01.domain.com/ocspowershell -Credential $UserCredential

ImportPSSession $a

Run that in a PowerShell window on your local host, it should prompt you for credentials and allow you to connect to your Lync server to run commands such as enable-csuser.  Go ahead and stuff that in the beginning of a .ps1 script so you can run it from anywhere.

If you want to create a desktop shortcut that you can right-click Run with PowerShell and have it prompt for credentials but leave you at a window where you can simply execute commands, try the following code:

param ( $Show )
if ( !$Show )
{
PowerShell -NoExit -File $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Path 1
return
}

$UserCredential = Get-Credential
$a = New-PSSession -connectionuri https://lync01.domain.com/ocspowershell -Credential $UserCredential
Import-PSSession $a

To give credit where it’s due, the command to start the PowerShell window and keep it open is from Microsoft MVP Jeff Woutershttp://jeffwouters.nl/index.php/2012/12/keep-your-powershell-script-open-when-executed/ (yes, I asked Jeff for permission, he’s a very cool guy like that, I encourage you to follow his blog!)

PSA: Lync For Mac 14.0.9 Available!

Here’s a link and a list of issues it fixes: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2963369

  •  Update adds the ability to select the video camera device in Lync for Mac 2011
  • Slow screen updates during application sharing or desktop sharing session in Lync for Mac 2011
  •  Media quality report is unavailable in the QoE report for a call between Lync for Mac 2011 clients
  •  Error “bad recipient” when a Lync for Mac 2011 user sends a meeting request email to a group in Outlook for Mac 2011
  •  Audio stutters in a conversation or meeting in Lync for Mac 2011 every 20 to 30 seconds
  • Cannot join a meeting as an anonymous user in a non-federated domain in Lync for Mac 2011
  •  Error “credentials incorrect” and “Lync Server cannot access” when you sign in to Lync for Mac 2011 by using NTLM authentication
  •  Client policy does not block URLs sent by Lync for Mac 2011
  •  PSTN dial-in user is not displayed in the Lync Online meeting roster created by a Lync for Mac 2011 user
  •  Update implements Enhanced 911 in Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011
  •  Update displays error “contact list is ready-only” when a UCS enabled user manipulates contact list in Lync for Mac 2011
  •  “You cannot receive the file” error message when users send or receive files in a peer-to-peer conversation in Lync for Mac 2011

Weekend Quickie: Good News For Lync Voice

I’m sitting here writing this from my phone this weekend, on the go. I had to smile because the two main competitors I have for a Lync voice proposal have been popping up in my news feed. I thought it would be fun to share.

First, Siemens Unify. They’re cutting their workforce in half via layoffs due to a shift in the UC market towards software and cloud services. Definitely no shock to Lync specialists like you and me.

http://m.cio.com/article/753637/Siemens_39_Unify_to_cut_staff_in_half?utm_campaign=Feed:%20cio/feed/drilldowntopic/3071%20(CIO.com%20-%20Netw&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&source=rss_network&mm_ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Next, Cisco. Looks like Lync momentum is really showing. Microsoft has overcome Cisco’s lead in enterprise collaboration sales for the first time.

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2358682/collaboration-social/a-first-microsoft-pulls-in-more-from-enterprise-collaboration-than-cisco.html?userId=2875267&entrprsid=579

Go, Microsoft, go! All good news for those of us who love Lync!

Bulk Enable Lync Users By Group In One Line

There are a few scripts out there to take an AD group or Exchange distribution group and enable those users for Lync.  I like those scripts, they give you a lot of flexibility and power, but for a quick cut and paste job sometimes I like an equally quick one-liner.  This is a single line of PowerShell I developed for enabling users in Lync based upon a group.  With a minor edit, it can be used for just about any Lync PowerShell command you want to fit in there by replacing the command in bold.  Enjoy.

get-adgroupmember -identity “your group” | foreach {get-aduser $_.samaccountname | foreach {enable-csuser -identity $_.userprincipalname -registrarpool yourpool.domain.com -sipaddresstype samaccountname -sipdomain domain.com}}

PSA: PIC Federation to AOL and Yahoo! Ending June 30, 2014

If you use Microsoft Lync 2010 or 2013 and PIC federation to communicate with AOL networks or Yahoo! (I have still yet to see a Yahoo! federation), please keep in mind that on June 30th, 2014, this service will no longer be available.  For more detail, please see the following: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn458579.aspx in the “Yahoo! and AOL Instant Messenger” section.

What you should know is that AOL federation is now supported directly for Lync deployments.  Please see AOL’s site for more provisioning information: https://aimenterprise.aol.com/microsoft/