Tuesday, March 17, 2015

First impressions: Skype for Business technical client

Microsoft released it's much anticipated Skype for Business client preview yesterday (March 16th 2015). And I thought I'd share some first impressions with my followers.

Let's begin with what's not new (and this is slightly important): This release is not a brand new client, but rather an upgrade to any existing Lync 2013 versions. This is stated on the preview signup page and becomes obvious when looking at the "about" section:

Why is this important? Well it is important to realize this client alone will not bring all the features Skype for Business Server promises to deliver. It is mostly a "skin improvement" to prepare you for what's coming.
I am not going to write a long post about this, as Brian Ricks has already covered it right here: https://www.bricomp.com/blogs/post.cfm/office-2016-skype-for-business-2015-client-preview

But I will share a couple of thoughts on the differences in the new interface I really like.

Let's begin with the main window. The most noticeable change for me was the colors, new layout of icons/buttons and the round thumbnails/photos (as opposed to the square in previous versions). All the expected Lync 2013 features are there. Chat, Persistent Chat, History, Dial-pad, Calender and options.
The main window has clear similarities with the consumer version of Skype. A smart move, I believe, to improve the adoption experience for new Business users.

Looking at the chat window, Lync 2013 users will recognize a couple of changes to the layout. It has become more apparent how to 1) invite a new user to the conversation, 2) access the participant list (and it's controls) and 3) escalate to other modalities. And comparing these to the consumer version of Skype, It's easy to recognize the exact same functions, as they now have identical icons.

The meeting experience have also been given the same background, color and feel as the Skype for consumers and existing Lync 2013 Mobile interfaces. It has similar icons for navigation, and more or less identical layout and coloring scheme.

All in all I find this face-lift quite welcome. It really shows what to expect of the final product, which should be shipping later this year. Knowing the client is valid until May 1st 2015, might be a hint on how soon to expect another update (according to the sign-up page).

The preview is open for all, and is available from the evalcenter. The preview is only available for Windows OS

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ignite session trailer

Here is a trailer for my Microsoft Ignite session: "Managing Backup and Restore in Skype for Business". 

We have been asked to create these trailers to clarify and elaborate on what to expect of our sessions, to make it easier for attendees to decide whether or not this session is something for them.

If you're going to Ignite, and worried your Lync or Skype for Business deployment isn't prepared for a disaster. Join me in Chicago for a deep-dive into backup and restore.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago

I am excited to announce I am going to Chicago and attend Ignite 2015 as a speaker. My proposal for a session on Backup and restore Skype for Business has been accepted. This is my third international event, and first one this year.

The session will be about what to consider when planning for a disaster recovery scenario, and how to do it.

Apparently, the TechedEU 2014 session was slightly more advanced than the advertised level 300, and this session has been marked as a lvl 400.

Be prepared for a lot of PowerShell commands during the presentation.

Title: Managing Backup and Restore in Skype for Business
Track: Skype for Business
Level: 400
Session: BRK4122
Link: Session details
Time: TBA
Room: TBA

Abstract:As unified communication becomes an important part of the infrastructure, it is equally important to have a good understanding on how to quickly restore its availability in the event of an outage. Even a well-designed High Availability solution may encounter loss of data, misconfiguration, or server failure. This session addresses which components the administrator will need to pay attention to when designing his disaster recovery plan in Skype for Business.