Microsoft Teams on VDI

In this post I like to make some notes on news regarding Microsoft Teams in virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI).

In general, Microsoft Teams is partially supported in VDI under certain circumstances, e.g. disabling different media workloads via Teams Policies. (Cp. “Teams for Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure”)

However, this will cause that an user cannot use Teams on a non-VDI-client with all features because the Teams Policies are applied to a Teams User and not a device or do not dynamically check if the client is on a VDI or not.

As you might know from Skype for Business times, you can run Skype for Business with all workloads on VDI by using on Citrix HDX. This bypasses media workloads and offloads it from the VDI, i.e. the media flow can flow directly towards Teams instead of traversing the VDI infrastructure. This helps to offer a much better performance and user experience instead of “squeezing” all the media traffic via the VDI and finally causing an unsatisfactory user experience.

Citrix provides good news in the below docs on how Teams traffic via Citrix VDI can be optimized via its Citrix Workspace app and the Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA). For more I recommend to read the details in “Optimization for Microsoft Teams”. It includes also a more detail drawing showing how the media workloads will directly flow to the Microsoft Teams backend and not via the VDI.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I think that these are good news for many companies out there which rely on VDI and want to do more with Microsoft Teams. Now there is a option for media workload support within VDI. So, implementation and adoption of Teams with its media capabilities can now proceed in (Citrix) VDI environments in a support way. Of course, as usual, plan, ensure that the (technical) requirements are meet and test it thoroughly before rolling it out. At last but not at least, don’t forget communication to users and options for user training etc.

Additional Resources

Advertisements

Let you call by a Microsoft Teams Meeting

In this post I like to notify about a neat feature for all Teams users which are often on the move and need to join an online meeting while being in transit.

Microsoft Teams provides a feature called “Call me”. It allows you to make an online meeting call you on a phone number of your choice. E.g. before or during an online meeting you can select that you want to be called for that meeting. You can select this as you join an online meeting. You can do this upfront, before the online meeting starts or during it takes place.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The feature might be already known from Skype for Business online meetings. It’s really handy if you are just about to leave a place and maybe go to your car/public transport/… and want to have your hands free, so you can pre-join an online meeting and set a call me. Finally, you only need to answer the incoming call on your cell and your in the online meeting.

Additional Resources

Manage Group Calling and Call Delegation in Microsoft Teams (as Admin)

In this post I like to describe how you can manage group calling and call delegation in Microsoft Teams as admin.

First of all, I’d like to explain what these two features can do for you or your users:

Group call pickup allows a Teams (phone system) user to select other Teams users to answer his/her call. E.g. Erik Doe get’s a call on his Teams phone number and his other co-workers which he added previously to his group pickup get a notification about the incoming call and can answer it instead.

Call delegation allows to configure delegation for your telephony, similar to what you might know for mail delegation. I.e. this enables you for typical and lightweight boss/admin or manager/assistant or chef/sek (de) capabilities. E.g. Erik Doe can add one ore more other Team (phone system) user as delegates so that Erik Doe does not need to deal with all calls himself.

Configure group call pickup as an user

Users can configure this on the Teams settings \ call settings page.

Configure group call pickup as an admin

In the Teams Admin Center you can configure group call pickup per user. You can add/remove users to a users group call pickup, you can set the notification mode (mute, ring, banner) and you can configure the order and when group call pickup to listed users in a users group kicks in.

Teams Admin Center \ Users \ <user> \ Voice \ Group call pickup

Configure call delegation (boss/admin, manager/assistant, chef/sek) as an user

Users can configure this on the Teams settings \ general \ delegation settings page.

Configure call delegation (boss/admin, manager/assistant, chef/sek) as an admin

Also in the Teams Admin Center you can configure call delegation per user. You can add/remove delegates, you can define what permissions a delegate gets and if a delegate can change this setting (or need to call you to change it via Teams Admin Center).

Teams Admin Center \ Users \ <user> \ Voice \ Call delegation
Teams Admin Center \ Users \ \ Voice \ Call delegation \ permissions

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Compare to Skype for Business (Server) this is a very nice administration capability because it’s easy to access and manage. In the past with Skype for Business (Server) you had to use Sefautil, related Sefautil tools or even third party software for an more comfortable way of administrate user call settings. It’s very helpful from time to time to have a ability as admin to change these two settings for an user which might be unable to do this.

Managing Teams Call delegation and group call pickup via the Teams Admin Center works like a charm in my opinion.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes

There are many options for licensing Microsoft Teams depending on the capability requirements for users, devices and rooms. In this post I like to point out some “special” licensing options besides the normal ones for Teams in enterprises.

The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).

Teams Licensing Basics

  • Microsoft Teams is just a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
  • Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
  • Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business (Online). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.

The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.

Telephony with Teams (for users)

Overview (May 2019)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)

Teams Common Area Phone

Teams Meeting Room

Teams Meeting Room

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is working on an enhanced licensing model for applications like cloud CQ/AA [as you can read in “Manage resource accounts”]. Still, at present user licensing applies for cloud CQ/AA.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants for Direct Routing

Microsoft released a very important update in case you are planning or already operating Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. I’m very excited about this recent service update. The Call Queue (CQ) and Auto Attendant (AA) Services for call flows and call automation were updated for Teams Direct Routing.

What’s new with Teams Direct Routing (May 2019)?

Let me recap and point out the capabilities which were announced via the Teams blog by Microsoft:

  • Manage CQs and AAs via Teams Admin Center (instead of the legacy SFB Online Admin Center)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Call Queues (for Teams-only users)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Auto Attendants (for Teams-only users)
  • Centralized holiday tables (to cope with calls differently during holidays)
  • Multiple telephone numbers for an CQ or AA
  • Round robin call distribution for CQ
  • (planned, not yet there) Transfer a CQ/AA call to a PSTN phone number
  • (planned, not yet there) Dial extensions from AA
  • (planned, not yet there) Voicemail shared mailbox for CQ and AA

Please note, in case you utilize SFB Online CQ/AA capabilities already: There are some details for as-is CQ/AA which will be automatically migrated/transferred from the SFB Online Admin Center to the Teams Admin Center.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I’m really thrilled and excited about these updates. Why? Well, if you were still on Skype for Business Server with Enterprise Voice there were some limitations especially regarding SFB Response Groups which now seem to be addressed with this update for Teams Direct Routing.

What does this mean for you? If you have loads of SFB response groups, e.g. Sales hotline, Support hotline, department … hotlines or else you can start to plan to migrate those to Teams with Teams Direct Routing. I.e. you can assign your onpremise phone numbers for this which you use via Teams Direct Routing (an SBC) which will route incoming PSTN phone numbers from your PSTN link via qualified /certified Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System and Teams.

Isn’t it amazing? I was waiting quite some time on these capabilities. Well, online you could find some workaround to get this working via SBC SIP message manipulation (no big deal), however these workarounds were not support by Microsoft, so if there would have been any minor change on the Cloud Backend it could break things. And I’m sure you don’t want to have a workaround solution for important or even business critical hotlines which might not work all of a sudden? But now, there are the required capabilities to plan for shifting onpremise SFB Response Groups to (Teams Direct Routing) without any workaround (SIP message manipulations, call forwarding…).

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Music On Hold (MoH)

In this post I like to notify you about the upcoming support of Music On Hold (MoH) with Microsoft Teams. As of now MoH is planned to be released in June 2019. MoH will provide music to a caller as long as he/she is on hold by the callee, instead of silence.

Source: Weekly digest: Office 365 changes (Office 365 Message Center) May 13, 2019
Source: M365 Roadmap Featured ID 50796

Conclusion, opinion and summary

MoH is a basic telephony feature in my opinion. If there is no music you might think that the line is dead and you hang up after waiting for a while.

Well, please note, if someone would just mute his/her mic and let you wait in the line there is no MoH.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Feature Wish List (May 2019)

In this post I share some feature requests or ideas which I would like to see and have in Microsoft Teams. Maybe you would like to have one or the other features in Teams, too, so don’t hesitate to vote for that via the Microsoft Teams User Feedback Forum.

Wish List on the Microsoft Teams User Feedback Forum

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above features are just ideas and wishes on what I would like to see and have in Microsoft Teams in the future. There might be workaround solutions to get things done but I would prefer a non-workaround solution which is streamlined with the Microsoft Teams user or admin experience. Please also vote for one or more of the above “wishes” if you also would like to have this in Microsoft Teams.

Please note that voting on the User Feedback Forum is of course just a suggestion and without any binding or obligations for any party.

Additional Ressources