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My First Look at Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast

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This is my first look at Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast Preview. Note, this is PREVIEW, so things can change and features will be added.

I used all Office 365 Skype for Business users to keep this simple. (you need to do a little additional setup if you have mixed onprem & online users). Next, just setup a “Skype Meeting Broadcast” using the web scheduling page at https://sched.services.skype.net/

Now, “New Meeting” (your screen will obviously not have “Live Now” or “Upcoming meetings” yet)

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Now you can edit the meeting. Actually if you are going to be the sole user running the meeting and want it to be an anonymous meeting (anyone can join) you are done. (Wow, that was easy!)

But, if you want to you can tweak the meeting to your tastes

  • Event Title
  • Scheduled for Start Date, Time and Duration
  • Event Team Members
  • Attendees: Anonymous, Secure and Open (anyone in company, coming soon)
  • Customize Event
    • Right Panel App (bing pulse or yammer)
    • Lower Panel App (bing pulse or yammer)
    • Troubleshooting support: URL and Link Text
    • Custom Link for Attendees: URL link to content related to event & Link Text

NOTE: You can get a free BETA Bing Pulse account at https://pulse.bing.com

Note: A little slightly odd thing to note is that you need to save each section before proceeding.

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Now just copy the event link at the top right of screen and distribute it along with event schedule.

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If someone tries to join the broadcast before the schedule time, they will see the below: (ATM there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the “Not Started” curtain.)

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Now when the presenter/producer is ready to broadcast, he should click on the meeting join URL (same one as everyone uses to join the broadcast) with a user that he created the broadcast meeting with.

NOTE: I was having problems that it wanted to sign with an unrelated user, so deleting cookies in IE took care of the problem and it would ask for Office365 login

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Note, the new protocol handler, Skypecast15.

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Now unmute the audio, start video (or share something)  and make that panel Active by right clicking and select “Make Active for Video Broadcasting”

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Now you can “Start Broadcast”. Note that it will take about 30 seconds till those watching the broadcast will start seeing it.

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Also, you can only “Start” and “Stop” a broadcast ONE time, so there is no turning back after you are Start. Skype4B will remind you of this important fact:

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Now it’s going. We added a PowerPoint which adds some more controls to the Producer’s meeting panel.

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Now any viewers (attendees that are not a part of the Event Team) that have clicked on the Join URL will see the broadcast. They have the option to rewind, pause or jump to Live.

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NOTE: Joining with IE or Chrome on PC worked just fine. I joined with an Android phone with no problem as well.

Those viewing will want to be aware that the audio will play on PC speaker device, not the Skype for Business client preferred device. This is much like Lync PowerPoint video played in the past. (click here)

After the Producer stops the event, anyone that clicks the Join URL will see the broadcast recording. If you want to see such a recording, feel free to click https://join.services.skype.net/landiscomputer/5c0df1ac-af5f-4df3-b6d4-cd3ec03a7008 (note that the video was muted for awhile, go to minute 4:00)

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Playing Videos Inside PowerPoint in Broadcast Meetings

I have written a detailed article on how to play videos (and corresponding audio) inside a stnadard Skype for Business meeting. (see the article here) In my tests with Skype for Business Broadcast Meetings when the PowerPoint page with the video is shown to, it displays “Error: Unsupported video type or invalid file path” to broadcast viewers in the lower left of where the video would be.

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Some Notes

  • The recording does not appear to be saved in Office 365 Video
  • Don’t see any additional Office 365 Reports related to Skype4B Broadcast
  • ATM I don’t see a place to download the broadcast video
  • On the broadcast viewer there is no count of viewer, which I expected
  • ATM No “lower third” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_third)

 

Conclusion

Once again, like “Cloud PBX”, I am impressed at how it “just works”. There were really no gotchas and it all made immediate sense. People are going to love Skype for Business Meeting Broadcasts.

How to Setup Your Office 365 Skype for Business Cloud PBX & Dialin PSTN in 5 Minutes

My experience setting up Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling” and “Dial in Conferencing” was quite smooth and just took several minutes to provision and setup. Very simple, streamline process. Here are the steps to setup the Preview.

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling Setup

Type in Preview activation code URL and you see below. Click “Add it to my account”

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Click “try now” (now it took several minutes/~3minutes till “Skype Voice” available in Office365 admin)

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Assign a “Skype for Business Domestic and International calling” License to a user.

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Now let’s get a number for our Office365 Skype for Business User

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Select State/City

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Now assign the phone number to a user

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select phone number

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Done and sure enough, our Skype for Business client now has the “Phone” tab and we can make and receive phone calls.

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Supported features: Call hold/resume, Call forwarding, Call transfer, Simul-Ring, Team ring,  & Delegation.

Some of my notes on Skype for Business Cloud PBX (Preview, final version may change)

  • Caller ID that shows up for remote party is the phone number
  • Local numbers not normalized to local area codes (you need to type area code)
  • No “Quality Check Test Call” button/option
  • No DID Porting option at this time

Setting up “Skype for Business Domestic and International calling” aka “Skype for Business Cloud PBX” was very simple and quick (5 minutes!) to setup. Considering this includes provisioning PSTN DID’s this is very smooth and quick process.

Dialin PSTN Setup

Add a new user and assign it the “Skype for Business Advanced Meeting Add-on”

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Or, if you are adding the license to an existing user

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Select license

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Now we can see/set the dialin number assigned to users

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See the Dial In Numbers that are available to users

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Microsoft has also released a tool to update exsisting meetings after you have enabled Dial In Conferencing and it available here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=47728

Reports Related to Cloud PBX or Dialin Conferencing

Office 365 Admin Center | Reports | Skype for Business – User Activities

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Office 365 Admin Center | Reports | Skype for Business – Conferences. This report includes “Dialin” minutes.

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Conclusion

I’m very impressed with my initial experience setting up Office 365 “Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling” and “Dail in Conferencing”. Fast and straightforward that easily fits into the generalist IT expertise level. Obviously this is “the first round” and Preview so the Cloud PBX feature list is short, but more is coming in the area of Voice features.

More URL
https://www.skypepreview.com/Resources?expand=feature-2&option=350
https://blogs.office.com/2015/07/01/announcing-preview-of-new-skype-for-business-services-in-office-365/
https://sched-df.services.skype.net/

Skype for Web Is Here: First Impression Review #Skype4C

https://web.skype.com/en/

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Requires a plugin

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Now download the 6.18MB plugin (installs quickly & smoothly)

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A couple things I noticed: (Below)

  • Overall UI seems well laid out and snappy
  • 1 – sending an emoticon from Skype for Business (Skype4B) didn’t display as an emoticon in Skype for Web (skype4C)
  • 2 – Sending an emoticon from Skype for Web (Skype4C) to Skype for Business presents properly
  • 3 – Nicely shows a notification of a new Instant Message. I think it presents it nicely.

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New IM notification in tasks

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Audio Call

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Emoticons!

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Some things Skype for Web does not do currently:

  • Phone Calls
  • Emergency Calls

Installing Skype for Business Server Monitoring Role Collocated on Standard Edition Front End Step by Step

NOTE: SQL Server 2016 CTP may/may not be supported in live environment. this is a lab scenario.

The Skype for Business Monitoring role requires installing Full SQL Server. (SQL EXPRESS will not cut it). For our lab we will use SQL Server 2016 (CTP). Put SQL CD in place and run Setup.exe.

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Product Key: Next
License Terms: Next
Microsoft Update: Next (you can get past)
Setup Role = SQL Server Feature Installation

Feature Selection. Below are the SQL features we need:

  • Database Engine Services
  • Reporting Services  - Native
  • Management Tools – Basic
  • Management Tools – Complete

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Instance Configuration: (no picture)

Check “Named Instance”.
NAMED INSTANCE: MONITOR
Instance ID = MONITOR

Server Configuration: (below)

NOTE:SQL should run as system account
NOTE: No password required.

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Database Engine Configuration:

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Reporting Services Configuration:

  • Native Mode

Now click Install (15minute install/wait time)

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When done test SQL Reporting Services by running “Reporting Services Configuration Manager” (from Start menu)

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Click “Connect”

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Sure enough, it is running!

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Define Monitoring SQL Server Store on our Front End Pool and Publish Topology

Open Skype for Business Topology Builder. Drill down to your Standard Edition Front End (as shown below) then right click and Edit Properties.

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Next we want to add a Monitoring role to this topology by going to General, scrolling down to and selecting “Monitoring (CDR and QoE metrics)” and then click New.

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We will type input our Front End as the FQDN (as shown), select “Named Instance” and give it the name “MONITOR” (we will later install a SQL instance with this name) and click OK, Ok.

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Ok | OK

Action | Topology | Publish.

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Run the below PowerShell command: Install-CsDatabase –LocalDatabases  (~5min on my lab)

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Deploy Monitoring Reports

Run the Skype for Business Deployment Wizard again and click “Deploy Monitor Reports”

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The Monitoring database & SQL Server Reporting Services (SRSS) Instance should be auto filled for you

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Specify credentials to access monitor SQL database. (for this lab I used domain Administrator)

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x

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When you click Next, the report will be deployed…

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Progress…and…Completed.

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Great, the reports are deployed!
You will be presented with the URL (highlighted in the picture above) or you can go to the Skype for Business Server Control Panel | Home | (Top Actions) to open the Skype for Business Monitoring Report main page.

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Monitoring Reports has been successfully installed!

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Skype for Business Server has 2 new reports: Conference Join Time & Media Quality Comparison. click here

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For additional community reports to add to your Skype for Business Monitoring Server, take a look at the Skype for Business (Lync) Community Monitoring Reports Repository: http://bit.ly/lyncreports



Read the Entire “Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step” Series

Installing Skype for Business Server 2015 Standard Edition Front End
Enabling Skype for Business Server Enterprise Voice Features
Installing Skype for Business Server Monitoring Role
Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business Server 2015 In Place Upgrade