Tag: call forwarding

Lync Add-Ons: Lync Custom Status Tool

Today on the Lync Insider, I’m reviewing a third-party add-on for Lync 2013. This is a client-focused add-on called the “Lync Custom Status” tool, or LCS for short. It was made by Mike Hudson at MikeSel.info.

The tool allows a Lync 2013 user to create custom Presence status messages, with accompanying notes & call rules. A full features list is here, along with trial and purchase options: Lync Custom Status – MikeSel.info

I downloaded a trial version – Mike has a 15-day free trial available with no software limitations – and tried it out!

Caveat: You must run LCS Setup as Administrator! It requires elevated privileges. This tripped me up at first, for a moment. Once you do though, it installs nice and smoothly.

Function #1 – Custom Presence Status Messages

Now, the main event. In LCS, you can set up to 4 custom statuses, plus a custom status for when the computer goes idle and Lync switches you to Away.

lcs01

As you see here, you have 3 IM handling options: what you Display Status As, what (if any) Personal Note to show, and where your Location is.

Then you select one of 3 Availability options: Online, Busy or Do Not Disturb. You have the option to send an automated response too.

Here’s what I entered for a custom Presence status. (Why “Wrestling a Wolverine”? Well, if you’re in IT, think of working on a stubborn server. It’s like that.)

lcs02

Save the Custom Status and you have it as a permanent option under your Lync’s Presence options.

Function #2 – Call Handling Options

Call handling is optional for each custom status. This, I think, is where Lync Custom Status has its true value. A custom Instant Messaging/Presence status is useful for identifying when you can (and cannot) respond to queries. But this can be bypassed by a phone call – unless you set yourself to Do Not Disturb, of course.

What LCS does with calls is allows the user to enforce a specific response to calls per custom status. You can reject incoming calls or forward them to another Lync contact. Again, for each 4 status options plus Away.

Let me illustrate. Say you want to automatically direct calls to Reception while you’re assisting a customer. This is possible to set up with call forwarding in Lync 2013, of course. But using LCS, you can forward the calls AND identify why you’re doing so via Presence. You’d do something like this:

lcs03

Make Sure to Save the Status!

Once you have a custom status set up, you must save it. Click the disk icon in the toolbar. You’ll see a prompt to restart the Lync client:

lcs04

Be sure you do this! While it does minimize to the taskbar, Lync Custom Status can be closed like any other application. If you close without saving, your custom Presence status will not appear in Lync 2013.

If you do save though, this is what you’ll see:

lcs05

I now have the choice of “Assisting a Customer” or “Wrestling a Wolverine.” Hmmm, which one should I choose…

Quick, Simple Tool for Custom Presence and Call Handling

In all, this is a very good Lync add-on. I like tools that focus on improving one area of an application, and don’t stuff in extras just because they can. Lync Custom Status does exactly that – focuses on improving Lync’s Presence function, and no more.

A single-install license for LCS is only £19.99 (or $32.45). Really quite reasonable for an add-on, especially since it includes support & updates. Probably pick up a copy myself shortly.

Again, you can find it at MikeSel.info.

EDIT:  Lync Custom Status does work with the Skype for Business 2015 client.  When I updated mine, it carried my custom statuses in with no problems.

Do you have a Lync-related add-on? Please comment or email me the information. I’d love to test it out.

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2 Ways to Configure Lync Call Forwarding

A reader emailed me with a question about call forwarding in Lync. He wanted to keep call forwarding in place so people could receive calls while on the go. But, many of his users don’t change the forwarding while at their desks. They still take calls on their mobiles, using up minutes, when their PCs and/or VoIP phones are left unused.

So he’s looking for a way to stop call forwarding to certain numbers. At certain times.

It’s an unusual request. And after checking, we determined that such a setting isn’t currently available in Lync.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to configure call forwarding on a more granular level, though. In fact we came across two options for advanced call forwarding configuration. Here they are.

Tweak Call Forwarding with the “Set-CsClientPolicy” PowerShell Command

If you prefer administering in PowerShell, the Set-CsClientPolicy gives you dozens of configuration options for Lync client policies. Including call forwarding options.

For example, you could use the -HotdeskingTimeout switch to log a user out of their Lync Phone Edition after a short period of time (default is 5 minutes, but it can go down to as short as 30 seconds).

Or use -BlockConversationFromFederatedContacts to stop certain users from receiving outside calls initiated by the outside-the-office party. (Users can still call out though.)

Reserve Policy Control to the Admins with PolicyPak for Lync

We also located a third-party solution which allows you to manage Lync using Group Policy – PolicyPak for Lync. It operates like a layer on top of GPO, building in new options. Geared toward controlling which parts of the Lync client interface users can (and cannot) access.

The introductory video shows how to enable/disable a few common client settings. In terms of configuring call forwarding, PolicyPak for Lync essentially removes the control from users and puts it all in the administrator’s hands. Setting the policies you want becomes a piece of cake.

Want to test it out? A free Community Edition is available if you attend a PolicyPak webinar.

I’d recommend using Set-CsClientPolicy before trying PolicyPak. Just because there’s a lot of options available on that page, and it’s all built into Lync Server already. Still, both are useful ways of configuring many Lync client options. Including where & when calls can be forwarded.

 

P.S. – If you’re still on OCS 2007 R2 and you want to configure call forwarding, try Unify2’s Call Forwarding Configuration Utility. It lets OCS administrators configure simultaneous ring and call forwarding settings for users, from the same interface. Some of this functionality IS available in Lync Server though; if you haven’t upgraded, now’s the time to do it!

 

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Install Cumulative Update 4 to Prepare Lync for Mobile Device Use

Something a little different this week – two mini-posts!

One today on a Lync Server update. One tomorrow on the Jabra BIZ 620 Duo USB headset.

Mobile Clients are Coming Soon: Prepare Lync Server

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a recent Microsoft announcement: Lync clients coming soon for Windows Phone 7, the iOS platform, and Android (via Engadget).

Last week, Microsoft also released a new Cumulative Update for Lync Server 2010 – one intended to prepare Lync for use of these new mobile clients.

The update, Cumulative Update 4, consists of multiple server-side (and client-side) updates, as well as six new Cmdlets. The cmdlets are what mark this as a mobility update. Tom Arbuthnot has written thorough descriptions of the cmdlets over at the Lync’d Up blog. I’ll just give overviews on what they do here (go read his post for full information – it’s worth it!).

  1. CsAutodiscoverConfiguration: Lets you change Autodiscover settings. Autodiscover helps client apps (like a mobile Lync client) find certain resources, like a user pool.
  2. New-CsWebLink: Creates a Web link to Autodiscover. Handy for updating configuration with new clients.
  3. Test-CsMcxPushNotification: Verifies that Push Notification’s working, so you’re able to send notifications out to mobile devices.
  4. CsMobilityPolicy: Lets you control Mobility Policies. In Lync, these policies govern who can use a mobile client, as well as if you can use Call via Work (using work numbers instead of mobile numbers for calls).
  5. CsMcxConfiguration: Configures Lync Server Mobility Service settings. Enabling mobile devices to use many of Lync’s services – Presence information, voicemails, conferencing, etc.
  6. CsPushNotificationConfiguration: This cmdlet lets you configure Push Notification.

Lync Server Updates for Core Components, Administration and Clients: Install Them All

The Cumulative Update 4 files are available for download at Microsoft Downloads. The easiest installation method would be to use the Cumulative Update Installer (LyncServerUpdateInstaller.exe).

If that doesn’t work for you, look under “Installation Methods” on this Microsoft Support page for a manual install option.

And as Justin Morris wisely reminds us – don’t forget to backup your Lync Server setup first!

Check back tomorrow for our second Lync headset review!

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How-To Videos for Lync Server

Some people learn by reading, some by doing, and some by seeing. Which are you?

Up until now I haven’t done much beyond text on this blog. But today, I have a treat for the visual learners – eight Lync Server how-to videos!

I’ve written a lot of how-to on this blog over the past year. Most of what’s covered in these videos can be found here in text format. However, if you’d rather SEE how to set up an Edge Server or call forwarding, these are for you.

How to Install a Lync Server: Start to Finish, on Video

The first 5 videos come from a YouTube member named “ITBananas.” (Their YouTube Channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/itbananas) We’re looking at a 5-part series on how to install and configure a Lync Server 2010 setup.

I suggest watching these in Full Screen mode. It makes seeing the options selected easier.

Video 1 – Install and Configure Lync Server 2010 – Installing ADCS

Video 2 – Install and Configure Lync Server 2010 – Prerequisites

Video 3 – Install and Configure Lync Server 2010 Part 1

Video 4 – Install and Configure Lync Server 2010 Part 2

Video 5 – Install and Configure Lync Server 2010 Part 3

The videos can run a little fast. And there’s no voiceover. (I don’t mind that, but it might throw you off if you expected audio.)

Nonetheless, these make for a good step-by-step visual aid to installing Lync Server.

More How-To: Edge Servers, Call Forwarding and Making Lync Calls

Add an Edge Server to Lync Server 2010

This video was posted by “AhmedYousryHassan,” who’s likely a Microsoft tech. (The “Microsoft TechNet” logo at the beginning, and the contoso.net domain used, sort of give it away.)

This video does have voiceover. It walks you through using Topology Builder to add an Edge server to an existing Lync setup.

It’s a very clear how-to on one specific task. I’m adding this to our training regimen.

Setup Call Forwarding and Simultaneous ring in Lync 2010

We’ve had a few call forwarding questions lately, so I wanted to include a good how-to video for setting it up.

Since this one comes from the Microsoft Lync Adoption and Training Kit, I’d say it qualifies.

Make a Call Using Lync 2010

The acting is kind of bland, but don’t let that ruin this Microsoft training video. It does a good job of showing Lync’s call options. Starting calls from IM, adding people to existing calls, two-click conference calls, and so on.

What other Lync Server videos have you seen? Any good how-to’s we should mention here?

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Create a Dial Plan in Enterprise Voice: 20 Tasks Every Lync Administrator Should Know

There’s only a few task slots left in the 20 Tasks Every Lync Administrator Should Know series.  So let’s jump back on, with a little discussion about the Dial Plan.

What’s a Dial Plan For?

In Lync Server, a Dial Plan is a set of translation rules.  These rules direct certain phone numbers (and extensions) to specific locations, users or contact outlets.  They’re used for handling phone authorization & call routing.  Dial Plans are a big part of the Enterprise Voice Server Role’s configuration.

Who’d Need One of Those?

Most offices use call routing anyway.  Especially enterprises.  It makes departmentalization easier when you can direct customers to Support, or Sales, or HR.

In a PBX, you take dial plans for granted – the number rules are only updated when a person joins/leaves/changes position with the company.  In Lync Server, Dial Plans serve the same purpose.  But  you have more flexibility.  Server administrators can modify plans any time.  Create multiple plans and target them to specific roles.  The list goes on.

How to Create a Dial Plan in Lync Server

This is a standard how-to for creating a dial plan.  You’ll see more advanced options along the way.  Don’t worry about them just yet; you can always go back and edit Dial Plans once created.

  • Log on to the Lync Server Control Panel (make sure you use administrator permissions, such as CsServerAdministrator) via a browser.
  • In the left navigation, click Voice Routing.
  • Click Dial Plan.
  • On the Dial Plan page, click New to choose a scope for the dial plan.  Do you want to use a:
    • Site Dial Plan – Applies to the entire Site.  If you choose this, you’ll be presented with a “Select a Site” dialog box.  Name field is auto-populated.
    • Pool Dial Plan – Applies to a PSTN gateway or a Registrar (we covered those in Increase Lync Security).  Could be useful for transitioning between a PBX and Lync.  Name field is auto-populated.
    • User Dial Plan – Applies to specific users or user groups.  Be sure to enter a recognizable name in the Name field if you select this.

NOTE:  The scope can’t be changed after this step!

  • If you want to add more, edit the Simple Name field.  No spaces.  Must be a unique name!  Any additional information should go under Description.
    • Optional – Specify a “Dial-in Conferencing Region” if you want the dial plan to serve a region for dial-in access numbers.  Otherwise, leave this field empty.
    • Optional – Do your users need to dial 9 to get an external line?  Specify 9 (or whatever value it is) in the External Access Prefix field here.
  • Dial plans must have at least one Normalization Rule.  Here’s how you assign (and configure) normalization rules.  (For more information on assigning normalization rules, see “Create or Modify a Normalization Rule” in TechNet.)
    • To use a pre-existing rule, click Select.  (Enterprise Voice comes with several.)  Under “Select Normalization Rules,” highlight the rules you want.  Click OK.
    • If you want to edit a rule already there, highlight it and click Show Details.  The above links will walk you through a rule edit.
    • To remove a normalization rule, highlight it and click Remove.
  • Lync goes top-down on running normalization rules.  So make sure the rules are listed in the order you want them!  To change a rule’s position, highlight it & use the Up/Down arrows.
  • After the rules are set, you have the option of testing the dial plan out.  If you want to, enter a number and click Go.  You’ll see results under “Enter a Number to Test”.
  • Click OK.
  • On the Dial Plan page, click Commit.
  • Click Commit All to publish the configuration.

That’s it!  Your new Dial Plan is active.  If you want to modify it, use the same steps to access its setup and the normalization rules you assigned.

If you don’t have a Dial Plan set yet, try a simple one out on a single department.  Use the User Dial Plan scope.  One normalization rule.  If you’re in the US, I recommend the “10digitcallingUS” rule – it just adds the +1 in front of a regular phone number.  Even if it doesn’t work properly, the calls don’t have a reason to go haywire.

Once you’re familiar with the setup process, you can start adding your favorite 4-digit extensions back into Lync!

 

SPECIAL NOTE: The Lync Insider will take a break for the next 2 weeks while I’m on vacation.  I *might* have a post up next week, if the flight schedule lets me.  You’ll just have to check back and see!

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What Does the Lync 2010 Attendant Console Do?

We interrupt the “Path to Lync Server” series to bring you a special post!

EJ from Texas emailed the Lync Insider with this question:

“I'm in the planning phase of our Lync implementation. One of my tasks is to know how the OCS R2 Attendant Console works with Lync Server.  Would you have any insight into this?”

Yep, I do. In fact I already answered his question. And he gave the OK to post both question and answer here. Since the question's focused and relevant, I'm sure some people are confused over the Attendant as well. Let's tackle it.

What's the Attendant Console For Anyway?

Back in 2009, I reviewed the OCS 2007 Attendant Console. In that post I described the Attendant as “taking over main-office call management.” It allows someone (a receptionist or call center manager) to receive and forward calls to others, depending on their presence status.

In Lync 2010 the Attendant Console received a few enhancements. Now you can:

  • Initiate conference calls
  • Prioritize calls
  • Use one-click operation for answering/transferring/holding

What's important to note here – and what I told EJ – is that one part of the Attendant Console isn't there anymore. See, the OCS 2007 Attendant Console operated in two scenarios – a manager/delegate scenario, where the call manager assigns specific people (delegates) to answer certain calls on the manager's behalf. And a receptionist scenario, where the receptionist managed & forwarded calls as they came.

When Microsoft upgraded the Attendant Console from OCS 2007 to Lync 2010, they removed the manager/delegate scenario.

Where'd they put it?

Delegates in Lync

Image courtesy of Microsoft Download Center.
Directly into the Microsoft Lync client app, that's where.

Anyone using Lync can add other users as delegates. Say Josh wants to delegate calls to you just in case he's sick. Lync tells you that you've been added as Josh's delegate. Now you have the ability to make/receive calls (or set up meetings) on behalf of the “manager,” Josh. There's even an automatic contact group that contains people for whom you're a delegate.

This isn't a one-way street though. Lync 2010 supports multiple managers with multiple delegates. The functionality's intended to speed up collaboration between individuals and departments. If you're not there today, but one of your delegates is,they can answer a question for you from another department. And that department can keep on working.

You can even share applications and transfer files in the same conversations.

The Attendant Console is Still Useful,Though

In a way, this reduced the importance of the Attendant Console. That's okay though – it increases the ease of collaboration overall. Net positive. And the Attendant Console is still there in Lync Server. (Reception can still put that pushy salesperson on hold for a few hours.)

If you'd like details on delegation in Lync, download this Microsoft Training presentation file.
Microsoft Lync 2010 Delegate Training – Microsoft Download Center

This blog's received quite a bit of traffic in recent weeks! Thanks very much to everyone who stopped by for some Lync reference. Email me or leave a comment if any of these posts are helpful to you. I'd love to hear success stories (and any stumbling blocks) that pop up with your Lync Server exploration.

I'll resume the “Path to Lync Server” series next week. See you then!

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OCS Components: The Attendant Console

Back to the OCS Components Series! (Here”s a refresher if you”re new:  Call ForwardingPresenceConversation History )

Today I”m talking about the Attendant Console. Running as a standalone client (like Office Communicator), it acts as OCS 2007”s call reception/transfer centerpiece.

What”s the Attendant Console Do?
Saves you headaches on managing calls, that”s what. The Attendant Console allows someone (usually a receptionist or business office worker) to receive incoming calls. Transfer/forward them to others. Even place them on hold (with music!).
Read more… »

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OCS Components: Call Forwarding

(Sorry this is up a day late. We”re in the middle of a BIG website upgrade!)

In sifting through some post ideas, I came across a few OCS tips on Brett Jo”s blog. The one I”d like to talk about today is Call Forwarding (that”s linked to from ”OCS” in the last sentence).

Call Forwarding is pretty standard these days. You set the office phone to forward to your mobile if you”re out. Maybe you forward calls from your cellphone when you”re in the office, too. With OCS, it”s a little different. You set up all call forwarding from Office Communicator.
Read more… »

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