Thursday, July 9, 2020

Commsverse 2020 - BRK307 - Analogue to Cloud. The Challenge of Enterprise Migration to Microsoft Teams

Presented by: John Stewart-Murray

Session summary:
As enterprises rapidly adopt Microsoft Teams for voice and collaboration, they often underestimate the challenge of connecting Teams to everything in their business. From connecting elevator phones, control systems, DECT phones and other analog devices to Teams, to innovative ways to connect emerging Voice Bots, at this session you’ll learn how to avoid the migration pitfalls and connect your legacy world to new.

My notes:

Agenda
  • Introduction to Audiocodes
  • Analog integration with Teams Direct Routing
  • Migrating PBX to Teams Direct Routing
  • Enhancing Teams with AI
  • Branch Survivability

People who knows old-school PBX telephony are fading away, but Audiocodes have a lot of old people employed. So, they know this stuff :-) Audiocodes sell SBCs in all sizes, software, telephones and room solutions for Teams.

Analog lines are needed for lift phones, security phones, rugged phones, DECT phones, fax machines, modems and extensions that may not require full Teams licenses, but analog lines are often forgotten until the last moment in a migration.

Analog Terminal Adapters or SBCs are used to connect analog lines to Teams. 

It is possible to create objects in AD to allow name dialling for other Teams users to an analog line. SIP and DECT phones can be connected straight to the SBC which can act as a "mini-PBX" with a connection to Teams. Microsoft is looking into analog line presence in Teams, and message waiting indication.


Univonix migration suite can be used to migrate PBX configuration to Teams. PBX Assessment is a tool to create a PBX Assessment report looking at feature parity.

One-voice resiliency is a licensed feature in Audiocodes SBCs which works about as an SBA worked in Skype for business. Endpoint registration can happen in Teams or in the local SBC, and the SBC can failover to SIP Trunk/ISDN if connection to the cloud is lost. This is only supported by Audiocodes 3PIP phones.

Microsoft is working on a HTTP Proxy which is a piece of code that will be delivered to Audiocodes and other technology partners to be integrated in SBCs. This will allow for even more functionality if connection to the cloud is lost. The feature is going into TAP testing now. The proxy will download a site dial plan and configuration from Office 365 and it will be possible to route calls via a 4G backup to the cloud, or via a SIP trunk to PSTN. This can be implemented as an OSN module in the SBC or as a gateway with a configuration GUI or as a VM instance for software-based SBCs.

All Audiocodes SBCs have a REST API interface that can be used to query the SBC about calls and even manipulate the routing as the call is happening. An example of one such implementation can be found in the whitepaper "Connecting AudioCodes Session Border Controllers to Microsoft Flow". In the example Microsoft Flow is used to send an email to site security as soon as any user dialled an emergency number 999 (112). Another example would be to send an SMS in case the SBC reaches 90% capacity.

The Voice AI Gateway makes it possible to call into bots in Azure

Questions
 
How should we handle fax?

Ideally Fax would be handled completely offnet from Teams. The SIP carrier can send the Fax call to the SBC and then the SBC/Gateway will forward it to the appropriate FXS port. One comment about fax is that it is quite reliable over SIP to Fax Server/ATA when the number of pages is low, larger documents might run into reliability problems

For large enterprises would you recommend a separate SBC for Analog/normal sip endpoints, for management purposes and when doing maintenance on numbers you do not mess up the central routing?

For 20-30 lines you could consider adding an extra SBC (the cost is <1000 GBP).

How can we get local site Direct Routing voice survivability?

With OVR (One-voice resiliency) which is a license on the SBC and Audiocodes phones in 3PIP mode, this also works with redundant SBCs.

What kind of dump/export is analyzed by the Univonix tool?

It will read a datadump / data file from the PBX, and in some cases the tool can connect to the PBX to retrieve the information.

ATAs would connect to a central SBC - Can you provide some tips to simplify routing every time a new ATA gets added?

Use the dial plan feature in the SBC. There is also a tool called routing manager for bigger installations.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Commsverse 2020 - BRK352 - What we learned from benchmarking 5,300 Microsoft Teams

Presented by: Luke Sinclair, Coco Molina

Session summary:
SWOOP Analytics has conducted the world's first benchmarking of Microsoft Teams, analysing more than 5,300 teams from 15 organisations worldwide and more than a million Teams interactions to get a broad overview of how Teams operates. We'll share with you worst practices in Teams, how to avoid them and what you can do better, show you what a high performing team looks like and share real-life best practices from customers.

My notes:

The Swoop software is like an organizational fitness tracker.

The Swoop for Teams dashboard

In early 2020 Swoop studied around 5300 teams with 47000 members from 15 organizations. The full report can be downloaded here.

Three main areas that team members come in to
  • Chat and calls
  • Meetings
  • Teaming (channels, content)

About 40% of the teams were active, out of these
  • 7% Single leader (one dominant player calling the shots)
  • 13% Self Directed (no leader, people working together anyway, best type!)
  • 11% Forum (like a single leader team, but more communications)
  • 8% Community (a core group is doing the leadership)

Team types

Key findings
  • Large gap between best and average performers
  • On average staff are members of 3 teams but are mostly active in one
  • Teams is used as hub - 70% are using tabs with excel being the most popular
  • Teams is used within business units, Yammer connect between them

The best use cases for Teams
  • Around the clock/globe surveillance (large teams)
  • On-shore/Off-shore Teams
  • Global Change Programs
  • Internal/External Project Teams

Worst Practices
  • Over-formalize and over-structure the Teams roll out
  • Allow the IT-department to dictate how to use Teams
  • Replicate the status quo (business processes) in Teams (create new ones!)
  • Relying on senior executives to lead the change (support rather than lead)
  • Use Teams as an alternative to Yammer, SharePoint and OneNote

Commsverse 2020 - BRK313 - MTR Case Study – UK’s largest deployment - DWP

Presented by: Alex Mcknight

Session summary:
Case study of the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide insight into the delivery & user adoption of the UK’s largest MTR deployment. What does success look like and what are the key lessons learned?

My notes:
 

DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) deployed 350 MTR rooms spread across the UK. This was a massive logistic challenge of course.
They created "templates" for small, medium and large rooms. Logitec meetup were used for small and medium rooms, and the Logitec Rally kit for the large rooms. Remote controls were removed from the room, and display settings were locked down.
A custom build of Win 10 + the MTR software were used due to security reasons.
The MTR interface is the same no matter the size of the room. In room content sharing was solved by joining the meeting using WiFi, or by using an HDMI cable. A Poly round table camera were used in a round room, making the participants sit "on a row" for the remote viewers. In general, 3 rooms per day were deployed.


DWP handled
  • Communications
  • Change Management
  • Stakeholder management

The partner Symity helped with
  • End to end solution design
  • Teams network assessment & troubleshooting
  • Room blueprints
  • Built the image for MTR
  • Teams & Exchange configuration
  • Adoption & Training
  • Automated Azure MTR monitoring
  • Early life support and end to end troubleshooting

and an AV vendor provided the hardware and installation of the rooms.

Statistics of how much the rooms are utilized and how many people are in the rooms are followed up and changes made as needed. Don't underestimate cable management in the rooms, do it well and make sure people are not moving things around in the rooms. Plan training well in advance so that users get training right in time as the room is deployed.

MTR deployments all over the UK

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Commsverse 2020 - BRK207 - Mythbusting Teams Style - Get From SfB to Teams

Presented by: Tom Arbuthnot, Aaron Steele

Session summary:
Busting Myths, wherein we will bust the top 5 myths for SFB on-premises to Teams migration. We will talk about Voice, Meetings, Integration, User Readiness and Migration.

My notes:

10 Myths busted...

Teams is too complicated
- Start small, you do not need to use all of Teams from day 1.

We have regulations that keep us on-premises
- Is that really for all users? forever?
- Many financial and governmental organizations are already using Teams

We have features we need in SfB that are not in Teams
- Document and define these features and their impact
- Do all users need this, can it be done in another way?
- Are there 3rd party add-ons that could fix it?

The cloud moves too fast (this is a good thing for users)
- IT organizations have issues keeping up
- Use a test tenant
- Keep up to date with the message center and the roadmap

We have Room Systems / Need Room Systems
- MTR and Collaboration bars offer modern meeting room experiences
- Cloud Video Interop is there

We have business processes depending on SfB
- Incident management with a static PSTN bridge?
- Modernize the process
- Use chat and Teams and you will have a record as well

Teams is missing compliance features- Information Barriers
- DLP
- eDiscovery and Content search
- Legal hold
- Microsoft 365 Audit Log
- Session Recording API

We need physical IP Phones
- Do all users?
- https://office.com/TeamsDevices
- Alternatives from Poly, Yealink, Lenovo, Audiocodes

The Internet will kill the call quality
- Your ISP is most likely peered to Microsoft
- Users work from home anyway
- Great reporting CQD / PowerBI
- Great codecs - Silk and Satin
- aka.ms/pnc
- aka.ms/8075

We are not ready to move our telephony
- Could start with other workloads
- Try Direct Routing ASAP

Commsverse 2020 - BRK197 - Demystifying Local Media Optimisation for Microsoft Teams voice

Presented by: John Stewart-Murray

Session summary:
Local media optimisation (LMO) delivers key benefits when using Microsoft Teams for enterprise voice communications. What are those benefits, how do you deploy it? Everything you need to know from an expert in the field.

My notes:

Local media optimisation (LMO) is a supplement to media bypass, it can be seen as Media Bypass on steroids.

Teams to Teams calling is using REST/HTTP for signaling, SBCs use SIP. The best media path is negotiated by ICE, sometimes a media relay must be used. With Media Bypass the client can send media straight to the SBC, SILK or OPUS (deprecated in Teams) codecs can be used. The Media Relay in Teams is "bypassed" (for media, not for signaling.)

With the ICE-Lite implementation used by Teams the SBC could only present the external IP address for Media Bypass scenarios. With LMO (Local media optimisation) the client can tell the SBC (via SIP headers) if it is external or internal to the corporate network. So LMO fixes the issue with media going out and back in of the network.

The client is internal - let's use the internal interface of the SBC.

LMO also enhances the use of centralised SBCs

Pre-requisites
Media Bypass must be enabled in Teams.
Network subnets and sites must be configured in Teams (as for Location Based Routing) New-CsTenantNetworkSubnet

What Codec is used?
Teams can use SILK, G.722, G.711 or G.729 (better quality from left to right) SILK is the preferred and is good for poor quality connections such as WiFi. The PSTN is always using G.711 - i.e. the SBC must transcode, and this is a CPU heavy operation. With LMO the SBC knows if a client is internal (use G.711) or external (use SILK) and transcoding can be avoided for internal calls and the performance (number of calls) of the SBC goes up.

The summary - why not use LMO if you can?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Commsverse 2020 - BRK142 - The UC voice dilemma - what you didn’t think about

Presented by: Brian Ricks

Session summary:
Moving a companies' voice to a UC architecture can be stressful and confusing. Adding the cloud as the endpoint doesn't make it any easier. When does on-premises UC (Skype for Business, CCE) make sense and when is moving everything to Teams (Phone System with Calling Plans or Direct Routing) the answer? There are voice considerations and strategies that should be in every project discussion to ensure the right solution is chosen for the right company. Join me for a deep dive into the pros/cons of each solution so you can make the right decision for you.

My notes:

UC Enterprise Voice means calling telephone numbers outside of your organization. Enterprise Voice does not mean VoIP since we have that in Meetings, Peer to Peer and Mobility as well. Who talks on phones anymore? Voice is still a key communications method for us as a species.

Voice can be more than talk, credit card machines, elevator phones, door systems, fax machines, etc. These things need to be considered before moving to cloud Enterprise Voice.

Option / Choices

  • 3rd party telephony solution - not to be discussed today
  • SfB 2019 on premises - could be used if cloud is not an option
  • SfB online - End of life July 2021
  • SfB OPCH (hybrid) - End of life July 2021
  • SfB Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) - the hardware (SBC) can be repurposed for Teams usage
  • Direct Routing - Use on-prem or cloud SBC, keep current carrier
  • Calling Plans - not for everyone, but easy to deploy, port existing numbers

Consider which features are a must, or good to have, and use the table below if you want to compare Teams and SfB. Consider optional methods, workarounds and compromises, and test the features yourself.

Skype for Business and Teams Features Comparison Table

Commsverse 2020 - BRK132 - Vision Keynote - The Power of Community and Microsoft Teams

Presented by: Jeff Teper, Laurie Pottmeyer, Geri Johnson

Session summary:
Community plays a big part in product development, deployment strategies, and successful adoption of Microsoft Teams.  Learn how both Microsoft and Microsoft Teams customer, SSPR, uses their own communities to do just this - and how you can use yours, too

My notes:

The world is going "Remote everything". Digital communications and online meetings are changing how people work and Microsoft 365 have become the world's productivity cloud. The latest pandemic causing millions of people to turn to Teams simply could not have been handled by on-premises software.

Teams is Customer driven - police departments, universities and all sorts of organizations are currently contributing to the development of Teams.

Microsoft want to help you "Enabling remote work with Microsoft 365" - https://aka.ms/enablingremotework - This is a site where Microsoft share best practices small and large, for example ending every meeting five minutes before the hour to allow people time to get ready, and practices such as using VPN split-tunnelling. Please take a look at the site.

In March of 2008 BPOS was released and in April of 2020 Office 365 had 258M MAU (monthly active users) and Teams had 4,1 billion daily meeting minutes. Part of these meeting minutes have included singing contests and even the NFL draft.

A view of the coming Microsoft SharePoint Lists in Teams were shown.

"We are putting the pedal to the metal in developing new features in Teams" and lately this have resulted in the following features being added to the product.

  • Raise Hands
  • Custom Backgrounds
  • Multi-window Chat, Calling and Meetings Coming
  • Large Gallery - 3x3 with 7x7 Coming
  • Safety and Moderation Controls
  • Learning Management System Integration
  • Features for Remote Assistance, First Line Workers
  • Build Developer Announcements
  • Teams Freemium with Scheduled meetings
  • Teams for Consumer Mobile Preview
  • Spectrum of devices, apps, and services

But just wait... more are coming... stay tuned!

So many features added and more are coming!

Laurie Pottmeyer continued to talk about the Scale, Security, Feature development and Innovation in Microsoft Teams.

#CommunityRocks

Events like Commsverse are proof of the awesome user community that exist around Teams. Please continue to use UserVoice to send in ideas and feedback, we absolutely look at that information and use it in many internal meetings. A video with voices about the community from around the world was shown, so nice to see several of my friends in there and so nice to be a part of this community!

Next, Geri Johnson, talked about nice meetings with Goats, use the URL below if you need a goat (or why not a Llama) in your meeting.
https://www.sweetfarm.org/goat-2-meeting

Creative examples of using games such as Kahoot! and Tic-Tac-Toe in meetings were mentioned, coffee break meetings, raffles and dance parties are other ways to draw people closer in online meetings. Work life balance were discussed, workspace, busy lights, big headphones, quiet hours, etc.

Commsverse 2020 - BRK117 - Scalable modern teamwork model in Teams user adoption

Presented by: Karoliina Kettukari

Session summary:
How to convince your employees to move from WhatsApp and local storages to Teams? Giving guidelines and orders top-down hardly does the trick. Technical trainings for one don't cover the teamwork aspect of Teams usage. As the organisational change should always come from within, why not give the power to teams!
In this session I'll introduce a workshop model to phase and scale Teams user adoption. In modern teamwork workshops teams themselves create their own Teams rulebook. The workshops are facilitated by change agents or supervisors with materials produced by the user adoption and change management project team. This is an effective and resource friendly way to ensure both high employee satisfaction and high active usage rates.
Session takeaways: Concrete and real life tested workshop model suitable for organisations in various sizes and industry sectors. Tips and best practices for internal teamwork development with Teams


My notes:

Why?

Empower your Teams - because change comes from within and the Team is the best expert in their day-to-day job. Technical trainings answer how - not why - what's in it for me?

The session title well explained.

How?

Define company guidelines
- Which tools should we use?
- Which tools do we use today, good / bad?
- Deadlines - when do we change?
- Why are we changing?
- Offer support

Create a workshop agenda & materials
- Like Lego blocks or yarn - just give it to the Team
- Make it easy
- Create a team in Teams for this

Train your trainers
- Who are the trainers? Supervisors? Champions?
- Guidelines, goals, how to run a workshop
- Create a clear structure
- Create short videos for the most important parts
- Keep supporting them

Follow up & support
- Go back and update workshop materials
- Use Power Platform to create automatic followups & reports
- Celebrate success!

The workshop process with a supporting SharePoint site was demoed.

One-liners:
"It's not rocket science, it's just teamwork."
"Like dogs, all teams are different."

Commsverse 2020 - BRK111 - Preparing Your Network for Microsoft Teams

Presented by: Lee Ford

Session summary:
Blame it on the network is often used when users experience issues with business applications. In Teams, this is a very real possibility. In this session, I will outline various concepts on how and why your network should be prepared to accommodate Teams.
Topics covered are how network traffic should be classified, routed and prioritised and how you can verify network performance.


My notes:

Any recommendations in this session can be implemented before you fully migrate to Teams, or afterwards. Teams is engineered in a way that a local internet breakout from the client is strongly recommended.

The ten recommendations
  1. Allow ALL Teams traffic through your network
    Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges
    Bypass Proxy, SSL decryption, DPI and content filtering
    Keep it updated by using the Office 365 IP Address and URL web service
  2. Bypass Proxies
  3. Use Quality of Service
    Yes, Teams is cloud-based and the Internet does not use QoS, but it is best practice to ensure that the route to the Internet is prioritised correctly.
    DSCP - differentiated services code point - Values

    46 audio
    34 video
    18 Application/Screen Sharing
  4. Have the client "break out" locally and make sure you a split-tunnel VPN for Teams traffic (if VPN is used.)
  5. Be aware of Peer to Peer routing scenarios
    Route the media directly between the two clients on their internal IP addresses.
  6. Use the Office 365 Network Onboarding tool
  7. Use the Teams Network Planner
    Found inside the Teams Admin center, will give you an estimation, not exact science.
  8. Capture Teams traffic to determine usage patterns
    Monitoring Microsoft Teams Network Traffic
    This will naturally be more accurate than the Network Planner.
  9. Use the Teams Network Assessment tool
  10. Use the Office 365 Call Quality analysis tools
    Use CQD as an ongoing exercise, and the reports available in the Teams Admin center.

Lee himself created a blog post about this session that can be found here: Preparing Your Network for Microsoft Teams