Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Microsoft Techdays 2017 in Stockholm

Today I joined some 2000 computer nerds at Microsoft Techdays, the largest IT conference in Sweden. Besides meeting a lot of old and new friends I attended the following sessions which I have summarized here.

"The best road to a complete communications solution in the cloud."
(Bästa vägen till en komplett kommunikationslösning i molnet - this session was held in Swedish and auto translated by Office 36... me.)

Presented by Peter Klein - Tele2, Level 100

Start to analyze your organizations communication needs.

According to Microsoft / Tele2 some common needs are:
  • Empower employees / Always connected with data in the cloud
  • Engage customers / Customer focus in everything we do
  • Optimize operations   
  • Transform products     
  • Embrace Collaboration / Collaboration culture
  • Encourage Mobility / Activity based office

63% of Swedish organizations with more than 200 employees is using SFB
85% of these are using SFB primarily for meetings. (IT-bussen 2016)

Skype for business - good to use during a meeting.
Microsoft Teams - to be used before, during and after a meeting.
(Scheduling, recording, transcription, translation, AI)
In the future AI will probably be used during meetings to ensure that people follow the agenda, collect action items and remind participants about them later on.

3% of Swedish organizations with more than 200 employees is using SFB as their primary telephone system. We are still using multiple systems and multiple devices, but the presence state or call logs are seldom unified over these systems. We want to show the same one number (which can be used for SMS as well) when calling out, no matter which system we use.

The SOF - Skype Operations Framework is changing into "Fast track for cloud voice".

The envisioning and design workshops remains in this program.
Map your colleagues to "roles" - depending on how are they communicating?
User adoption (get the users to use the solution!)

Why should you put your communications in the cloud?
  • Evergreen telephony
  • Focus on the core business
  • Ease of administration
  • Ease of support
  • International deployment
  • Integration with cloud applications

Why should you NOT put your communications in the cloud?
  • Missing functionality
  • Legal requirements
  • Cost of migration
  • Integrations that cannot be made

Announcing "Tele2 Connect 365" a cloud-to-cloud solution, that builds on the existing "Tele2 switch" cloud service.

Everything you need to know about Microsoft Teams and how Office 365 Groups are used.

Presented by Ståle Hansen -, Level 400
(This session was held in Scandinavian "Skavlan" English.)

With Teams we can finally go email free - at least for selected projects. The persistent Teams chat can be an effective replacement for email.

Office 365 groups - a single identity across services - is both an Exchange group and an Azure AD group. The group used in Teams is an Office 365 group, but the group used for SharePoint is an Azure AD group. The SharePoint site is created when needed (when you store the first file) and not at the initial creation of the Team.

File sharing in the Channel chat and in the private chat is not the same, OneDrive for the private chat and SharePoint for the channel chat.

Where stuff is stored - note that there is no "Teams storage".

Teams does not introduce new ways of storing stuff, "only" a new way of consuming the data stored in Office 365.

Skype for business Online plan 2 is needed for interoperability with Teams.

Maximums (as of today):
  • 500,000 teams in a single tenant
  • 2,500 users in a team
  • 250 teams per user
  • 80 users in a meeting
  • 20 users in a private chat
Office 365 for IT pros - an online book with lots of good information around Office 365 groups.

There are no PowerShell commands to control the behavior of the "Teams service" right now, but New-UnifiedGroup, Remove-UnifiedGroup and Get-UnifiedGrouplinks -LinkType member can be used to create, delete and check groups / teams.

It is possible to limit the creation of Teams to a specific group (like "helpdesk") in case you would like to limit the number of groups created.

There's a new App in town - Microsoft Teams Apps

Presented by Wictor Wilen

A Teams App is a service available in Microsoft Teams, in the right context, which could be made available through the Office Store.

A Teams App can be Tabs / Bots / Connectors / Compose Extensions.
  • Tab is essentially an iframe.
  • Bots are built using the bot framework
  • Connectors push information or "interactive cards" into a channel
  • Compose Extensions can augment data into the Teams Compose box.
A Teams app can be sideloaded (added) in the development version of a Teams client.

Skype for business becomes Teams - What does it mean to me?
Skype for business blir Teams - Vad betyder det för mig?

Presented by Martin Lidholm

Unified Communication might be renamed Intelligent Communication

Teams the first real front-end application for all Office 365 services.
Looking at Cisco Spark as well as Teams we see a strong trend to use a single application to consume several cloud services.

Two reasons for using Skype for business on-premises are Legal requirements or that you started early with Skype for business and have done custom integrations.
Is Skype for business 2019 going to be "the last" version of Skype for business?
No, this has not been communicated.
What will come in the 2019 version?
Support for new OS / SQL and cloud innovations that can be easily ported to the on-premises version.
Is Teams "based on" Skype consumer?
No, but it shares a new backend service with Skype consumer.

  • Cloud PBX is being replaced by a new "Bring your own SIP Trunk" where customers could connect a SIP trunk straight to Office 365.
  • The UCMA API or something similar is missing in Microsoft Teams, and it is not even in the roadmap at this time.
  • Skype Room Systems will be adapted and work with Microsoft Teams to protect investments already done.
  • Pexip and BlueJeans will develop solutions similar to Polycoms Real Connect for Office 365.
  • Headsets and other devices that work well with Skype for business will work well with Teams as well.

The recently published public roadmap contains a lot of new things that is coming in the coming 9 months.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Skype for business Server 2015 prerequisites on Windows 2016

In June of 2017 the article "Server requirements for Skype for Business Server 2015" were updated to list Windows Server 2016 as an operating system "that will allow you to install and successfully use Skype for Business Server 2015."

This support requires Cumulative Update number 5 to be downloaded by the Skype for business Deployment tool as described in the article "How to install Skype for Business Server 2015 on Windows Server 2016". This article does not specify how to prepare the Windows 2016 Server before running setup.exe and downloading CU5. So, besides installing all available updates for Windows 2016 I used the following powershell command to add required components:

Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Windows-Identity-Foundation

After running the command above my "Add Roles and Features Wizard" looked like this:

And before running the Skype for business Control Panel I had to download and install Silverlight just as described in my article about "Skype for business Server 2015 prerequisites on Windows 2012 R2".

How to add twitter to your Microsoft Teams channel

I am a fan of twitter and I am really happy that I now can add twitter feeds to my channels in Microsoft Teams. Would you like to do that to? This is how.

1. Open the "Connectors" window from the channel properties (not the Team properties)

2. Find Twitter in the list of connectors and click "Add" (twice.)

3. Enter a twitter account to be used by the connector, and specify which twitter accounts and hashtags you would like to follow. Also specify the frequency at which you would like to receive new tweets, click "Save" and close the Connectors window.

4. Now you should see a post confirming that new tweets will be posted to the channel.

5. Sit back and wait for the tweets to roll in!

Hope you will enjoy looking at tweets and discussing them in your team! Please follow me on twitter at @mkressmark