Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What I learned about Microsoft Teams at Ignite the tour in Stockholm

Today I spent the day at home in Stockholm at Ignite the tour and listened in to some great sessions.

  • TMK10 - What's new in Microsoft Teams - the hub for teamwork
  • TMK20 - Manage Microsoft Teams effectively while staying secure and compliant - an overview
  • TMK30 - Skype for business to Microsoft Teams: guidance for a successful upgrade
  • TMK40 - Protect and collaborate on files in the cloud with OneDrive, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams
  • BRK3768 - Skypexit, the inevitable journey from Skype to Teams

Some 500,000 organizations, from small ones with a few users to really big ones with over 100,000 users, are currently using Microsoft Teams. That is quite impressive considering Teams initial release was in March of 2017.

It might not come as surprise though since Microsoft Teams delivers clear value in increased collaboration, something that a recent "Total Economic Impact study" of Microsoft Teams showed in economic terms. The four main benefits of Teams are:

  • Teams reduces the total number of meetings and their duration.
  • Information workers save 4 hours per week from improved collaboration and information sharing.
  • Information workers save more than 1 hour per week by not having to switch between applications. 
  • Having resources available online in Teams reduces downtime by 14.6%. 

So, I decided to learn something new about Microsoft Teams.

To start with, I got to know that you can now share your location straight in a Microsoft Teams chat.

Location of Ignite the tour - shared by Teams


The activity feed in the desktop version of Microsoft Teams can be sorted according to "Trending" posts. Trending posts are based on Microsoft Graph and will surface popular posts that might be of interest to you.


In settings / notifications you can control how trending messages will be notified to you.

If you do not see settings for Trending and Suggested messages in this GUI it could be that Graph has not enough data to display such messages. Keep using Teams for a while and they will show up eventually.

I knew the Immersive Reader can read text to you, but I did not know it can even show the words as pictures. In Immersive Reader, click on reading preferences and switch on the picture dictionary.

Picture Dictionary - on.


Now when you find a word you do not understand you can simply click it to get a picture.

I don't know many animal names in English...


Customized backgrounds is something coming soon in Teams, it looks cool and I think people can have a lot of fun with it as well as it being useful depending on where you are when having your meeting.

You almost believe she is in the forest.

We also got to see a lot of the administrative features of Teams such as the underlying architecture, deep dives in One Drive and SharePoint and Data Loss Prevention features. With the Office 365 Groups naming policy it is possible to control naming conventions in Teams.

Two of the speakers also reminded us all regarding the migration from Skype for business to Teams - do not get stuck in Islands mode!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Microsoft Teams Mobile - Dark Theme

If you are a cool kid you have an iPhone X, or at least an iPhone, and if you are trying to be really cool of course you play Pokemon GO like I do. When doing so battery life is a problem. Unlike my good old Nokia 8210 which could go on for days on one charge you will find yourself constantly changing and always carrying a large extra battery pack.

Now, there are some tricks to get more battery life out of your iPhone, such as not using it, killing background activity and notifications, etc., but a so called "dark mode" can be a major power saver: How to squeeze more battery life out of iPhone X

Therefore it is really exciting that Microsoft Teams on iOS now supports a Dark Theme, since version 1.0.66.

Version 1.0.66 where the darkness begins...
 
So, how do you turn it on?

1. Click the three bars in the top left of the application to expose your profile and click Settings.


2. Click General.


3. Flip the switch to turn on "Dark Theme" and close the application.


4. Next time you start your Teams client it will look much cooler (and preserve battery life)


If you want to use the dark theme even on your desktop you find a nice guide here.

I would also like to point out that this is an idea coming from users of the Microsoft Teams mobile app through Uservoice. Please continue to send in new ideas and vote on Uservoice to make Microsoft Teams even better in the future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ignite 2018 - BRK3000 - Strategies for building effective, optimal and future proof connectivity to Office 365 that will delight your users


Presented by Konstantin Ryvkin

A very good session explaining Office 365 networking in depth at an understandable level. Please watch it and send this presentation to your network and security team!
 
This session and slide deck can be downloaded here.

Office 365 is a big cloud, and some customers have issues with connectivity and performance while others do not - what is the difference?

There are 3 major types of clouds

  • IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service (Azure virtual machines / virtual network)
  • PaaS - Platform as a Service (Azure SQL or blob storage)
  • SaaS - Software as a Service (Office 365)

The preferred connectivity method to these different clouds differ. (Azure is regional, Office 365 is global)

SaaS disrupts traditional connectivity models

For decades Enterprises have been evolving their networks to protect themselves from the Internet, this means that they now have a lot of security measures in place that might interfere with Office 365 connectivity. The connectivity was not made to be simple, it was made to protect the users from the Internet.

Often a user will get better connectivity "from home"
(if not forced to VPN back to the Enterprise network and go through all the security)

Some of the trends or changes that SaaS networking is binging are that security controls move from the local network into cloud applications, and the Internet path to the Cloud becomes shorter.

Latency becomes a problem - do not backhaul distances and check the ISP and its peering with the Microsoft Global Network.

To measure the latency from an Outlook user to Office 365 PsPing can be used:

psping -n 5 outlook.office365.com:443

(We are using psping to avoid using ICMP, but rather test https transactions.)

The picture above is showing network latency for customers in Australia and shows that customers in the same metro area, same geographical region and with the same Office 365 service, can have very different experiences. Most importantly - it is possible to get great Office 365 latency experience (even from Australia.)

Office 365 comes closer and closer to end users

The Microsoft Global Network (AS8075) with its global reach
and the Distributed Service Front Door infrastructure, makes it close to users anywhere.

On https://aka.ms/o365ip you will find the full list of all Office 365 endpoints. An endpoint is an IP:port combination that clients are connecting to (40.97.143.130:443) The comments received on this list is that it is long, it changes and security guys will not like it. That is why Microsoft have shortened the list from thousands of entries to hundreds and categorized the endpoints into Optimize, Allow and Default endpoints.

The list of "optimize" endpoints will change less than once a year, so it is quite stable. On https://aka.ms/ipurlws there is a REST API available for customers and partners to automate the updating of network devices according to this list.

A hub-and-spoke model have traditionally been used to backhaul traffic into a central location, this works well when users are connecting to services located at the hub, i.e. it does not work as well for Office 365 traffic. Try to evolve away from hub-and-spoke and go for a full mesh when it comes to Office 365 traffic. Consider this for external DNS requests as well.

Office 365 will overtime move some of the data closer to the location where you enter the Microsoft network, e.g. your mailbox, to further decrease latency of getting data. Such moves will only happen within your compliance boundary.

Man-in-the-middle SSL inspection, aka break and inspect, works well for simple web browsing. However, Office 365 traffic is not web traffic, what would the "inspector" do with encrypted audio or video?

Follow these simple principles to delight your users!

Resources

Friday, February 8, 2019

Svenska UC klubben is back!

Post in Swedish about a meeting in our local UC user group in Sweden.


I går var det äntligen dags för Svenska UC klubben att återuppstå!

Det var nog 4 år sedan sist vi hade ett möte, men nu hoppas vi att klubben kommer igång på riktigt igen.

Det var ca 25 personer på plats hos Uclarity i Stockholm och kvällen sändes även med Microsoft Teams live events till ett 20 tal personer runt om landet.

Det hela började med Plantronics som presenterade en del nya produkter. Ca 70% av dagens kontorsarbetare sitter i så kallade "öppna landskap", p.g.a. kontorsyta och samarbete, men 94% tror att man skulle få mer gjort i en lugnare miljö. Ett problem på våra moderna arbetsplatser är helt enkelt oljud. För att råda bot på detta har Plantronics ett rumssystem kallat Habitat för bakgrundsljud som är mer avancerat än att enbart spela vitt brus, det kan spela t.ex. vattenfallsljud istället.

Sedan fick vi se Elara 60 en docka för mobiltelefon med knappsats och headset som även funkar med Microsoft Teams och sist men inte minst Polycom studio som verkar vara en trevlig enhet för mindre rum.

Mårten och Linus presenterade det de kallade "Resan från Skype till Teams". Även om Teams och Skype for business har vissa överlappande kommunikationsfunktioner så är rådet är att inte jämföra äpplen med päron, eller äpplen med hela fruktkorgen. Teams är mycket mer än bara kommunikationen som man får i och med Skype for business.

Sedan diskuterades de olika lägena som finns när man flyttar från Skype for business till Teams. Planera för vilket läge (mode), ni vill hamna i och nyttja innan ni startar igång med Teams. "Island Mode" som är default innebär att man kör systemen "bredvid varandra" med alla funktioner aktiva. Teams only - ger enbart Teams och då blir Skype for business avaktiverat. Det ända sättet att få federerade meddelanden att hamna i Teams är att aktivera Teams only läget.


Frågan man bör ställa sig är: Klarar vår organisation att ha två system samtidigt? eller ska vi försöka ta oss till Teams only så fort som möjligt?

Sen följde en genomgång av chat i Teams, mellan olika lägen, var lagras chattar, var lagras filer man delar.

Telefoni i Teams - Direct Routing - är en koppling mellan telenätet (PSTN) och Microsoft Teams i Office 365 som görs genom en Session Border Controller som är testad för att fungera med Teams. Det är inte svårare än att man kan sätta igång det hela under en eftermiddag påpekade Mårten från Cellip. Det finns dessutom en mängd applikationer för telefonistfunktioner och callcenters.

Det finns en inofficiell Linux klient på Github - har någon provat den och kan berätta hur den fungerar? Hör gärna av dig till mig.

Även Uservoice nämndes där Teams användare kan gå in och lägga förslag på nya funktioner i Teams som produktgruppen som bygger Teams kommer att titta på när de planerar framtida iterationer av produkten.

Sedan kom en "special guest" från Amerika via Teams mötet, det var Skype for business och Teams-profilen Matt Landis som berättade en del om situationen i ett par flyktingläger han besökt under förra året. Kul att höra något som inte var helt väntat och lite utanför boxen för oss kommunikationsmänniskor. Tydligen finns det 6 gånger fler människor på flykt idag 2019 än det fanns i slutet av andra världskriget, så det är kris som bara växer. Matt berättade om hur läget var i läger i Bangladesh, Irak och på Lesbos precis vid Europas gräns.

Efter detta tog vi lite allmänna frågor, svar och synpunkter från deltagarna.

Stänger Teams only av autostarten av Skype for business klienten?
Ja, men om du startar den manuellt så kommer den börja autostarta igen. Det finns en poäng med att ha kvar klienten för att vara med i möten hostade i SfB även när man gått till Teams only läge.

Presence - eftersom Teams chatten är persistent, betyder inte presence samma sak eller lika mycket som det gjort i SfB. Ett meddelande kommer läsas av mottagaren nästa gång han öppnar klienten i datorn eller på mobilen. Meddelanden i Teams är ett slags mellanting mellan email och chatt.

När man har externa kontakter i Teams (via federation) så "poppar meddelanden upp på olika ställen" - varför är det så?
Island mode är inget bra läge att stanna någon längre tidsperiod i, försök komma till Teams only så fort som möjligt.

Det är möjligt att Svenska UC klubben kommer "hitta på något" under Ignite the tour som hålls 24-25 april i Älvsjö.

Håll koll på hemsidan, Linked in gruppen eller Twitter (@SUCK_klubben) för info om kommande träffar.