Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lenovo ThinkSmart View

I had the pleasure of taking a close look at the Lenovo ThinkSmart View recently, and putting it through the paces. As the first (and currently only) device in the new Microsoft Teams Displays category, it is a rather unique form factor, serving a rather unique purpose.

Where can I find the ThinkSmart View?

If you are interested in snagging one of these yourself, you can find them here: 

Lenovo ThinkSmart View

Notice: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links and if you decide to buy products through them, I will earn a tiny commission. It costs you nothing at all, but helps support my ability to bring you more content!

The Overview & Demo...

To check out my complete overview of the device, as well as a demo of its use in a Microsoft Teams video call and using it at the desk, head on over to my YouTube channel (and don't forget to Subscribe to it!), or watch below:

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you found my experiences helpful! Let me know about your experiences in the Comments below, or feel free to leave your questions!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

[How-To] Upgrade the Yealink CP960 Firmware to Microsoft Teams

As of today, January 8th, 2019, Yealink has released the new firmware for their much-anticipated Microsoft Teams devices. These devices were demo'd at Microsoft Ignite in September of 2018, with their Microsoft Teams interfaces, but the actual firmware release was delayed a bit. However, the wait is now over, and the following devices can now be upgraded to Microsoft Teams:

Notice: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links and if you decide to buy products through them, I will earn a tiny commission. It costs you nothing at all, but helps support my ability to bring you more content!

For the CP960, the new firmware version is

For the T58A, the new firmware version is

For the T56A, the new firmware version is

This upgrade, as well as similar upcoming upgrades for other vendors that have upcoming Microsoft Teams devices, is very welcome, as it extends the familiarity of the Microsoft Teams meeting & calling experience to the physical devices that sit on our desks, or in conference rooms. This makes switching between a smartphone, a desktop, or a deskphone a very fluid experience for most end users.

For a complete video walk-through of where to obtain the firmware, and how to update the firmware on the devices, check out the below videos:

CP960 Conference Phone

T58A IP Phone

If you found this post helpful or informative, please Share, ReTweet, and all that benevolent social behavior!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Configuring Skype for Business Hybrid with GCC High Tenants

Configuring Skype for Business Hybrid with a GCC High Office 365 tenant is mostly the same, but it turns out that there are a few differences in terms of the DNS records and FQDNs that get set when running the PowerShell cmdlets. This brief posts walks you through the differences.

Differing DNS Records

When working with [U.S.] GOV tenants in Office 365, there are a couple different types of tenants that reflect varying levels of compliance & security requirements. Namely, there is:

  • Office 365 GCC
  • Office 365 GCC High and DoD
There are a number of compliance requirements that are met by each type of tenant, as can be guessed by the difference in names. Clearly, the Office 365 GCC High and DoD tenants meet a more strict set of requirements, as well as those that specifically target DoD entities.

There are several components to the architecture of these tenants that allow them to meet a more stringent set of requirements, and one of them is reflected by the difference in FQDNs and URLs that are used by endpoints to connect into these environments. Specifically, the Office 365 GCC High tenants (DoD is still being worked on) have a different list of required DNS records than your typical commercial tenant. While we are focusing on Skype for Business Online here, this also applies to Exchange Online.

The DNS records that are required for Skype for Business Online in a GCC High tenant are below:

  • 'sip'
    • Points to:
  • 'lyncdiscover'
    • Points to:
  • '_sip'
    • Points to:
    • Port: 443
    • Protocol: _tls
  • '_sipfederationtls'
    • Points to:
    • Port: 5061
    • Protocol: _tcp

Configuring Hybrid

As you can imagine, given the difference in the DNS records, you will want to slightly modify the PowerShell cmdlets that you use when setting up Hybrid for a Skype for Business environment that includes a GCC High tenant. Specifically, when running the New-CsHostingProvider cmdlet, you will want to do so like this, with the specified ProxyFqdn and AutoDiscoverUrl attributes:

New-CsHostingProvider -Identity SkypeforBusinessOnlineGov -ProxyFqdn -"" -Enabled $true -EnabledSharedAddressSpace $true -HostsOCSUsers $true -VerificationLevel UseSourceVerification -IsLocal $false -AutodiscoverUrl

The rest of the Hybrid configuration is pretty much the same. Next, when it comes to moving users via the Management Shell, you will modify the cmdlets like so:

Move-CsUser -Identity <> -Target -Credential $cred -HostedMigrationOverrideUrl

So, to summarize, while I hate to seem like I am simplifying, we are pretty much putting '' anymore that '' would typically show up in our Hybrid configuration process.

I hope this is able to save someone even a little bit of pain, somewhere. It seems like such a small thing, but if you are not aware of these differences, the errors that you will run into do not do a great job of letting you know where to start, and none of the "Configure Hybrid" documentation does a great job at calling out that there are differences for GCC High tenants.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

#TeamsRecap - Post-Ignite Microsoft Teams Review with Lori Wright

I had the distinct honor of being joined by a very special guest on the #TeamsRecap this week. Lori Wright, the General Manager of Office Collab Apps at Microsoft, offered great perspective on some of the recent Microsoft Teams announcements coming out of Microsoft Ignite.

We even managed to work a raccoon into the conversation! This is a #TeamsRecap not to be missed - listen in:

Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for more Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business news - there is certainly no shortage of it, as of late!

Friday, September 7, 2018

How NOT to Prepare for Microsoft Ignite

Every year, as Microsoft Ignite begins to draw nearer on the calendar, there are always a hefty amount of blog posts, and sometimes even videos, and the best tips and tricks for preparing for Ignite. While these posts are all helpful, and usually provide unique perspectives on experiencing the conference, I wanted to do something a little different.

SO, I flipped the idea on its head, and created a brief video (less than 5 minutes) on:

How NOT to prepare for Microsoft Ignite

I don't want to spoil the fun of the video, but I think you will enjoy it. Let's just say a dog finds its way into this one... ;-)

I hope you find the video useful, entertaining, and I look forward to seeing you all at Microsoft Ignite 2018!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Get-CsJosh -Location "Microsoft Ignite" -Type Session (I'm speaking at Ignite!)

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Participation

Right below this paragraph is how to follow me and stay plugged in during Microsoft Ignite. WHY to follow me for Microsoft Ignite follows comes after that ;-)!

How to follow...

Twitter: @GetCsJosh

WHY to follow...

Here we are, less than a month away from Microsoft Ignite 2018, and all passes for Microsoft Ignite have been sold out for about a week now. This is going to be a BIG event! This will be my 3rd Ignite, but my excitement for this one is greater than it has been in years before. Why, you ask? What is the big deal with this year versus yester year[s]? Well read on to find out!

Community Reporter

This year, I have the distinct honor of being chosen to participate as one of the 10 Community Reporters for Microsoft Ignite! If you are not familiar with the Community Reporter role, it was created for Microsoft Ignite last year, with one Community Reporter (a Microsoft MVP or RD) from each major Microsoft product area. The Community Reporter brings the highlights of Ignite from a respective product area back to the relevant social communities by means of short video clips.

The following are some examples of the types of videos you would expect to see from the Community Reporters throughout the duration of Ignite:

  • Interviews of key speakers & Microsoft executives and Program Managers
  • Interviews of attendees on their experiences and thoughts on various components of the conference.
  • "Experience" and "tour" videos of key areas (i.e., the Expo Floor, the Keynote, etc)
  • Daily Recaps
You get the idea! Obviously, I will be reporting largely on the Microsoft UC/IC news (Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Office 365). I have some big shoes, to fill, though - the Community Reporter in this space last year was none other than industry legend, fellow MVP, and Microsoft Master, Tom Arbuthnot! Wish me luck (and tune in)!

I'm Speaking at Microsoft Ignite

This year, for the first time, I will actually be speaking at Microsoft Ignite, and could not be more excited for the opportunity! What am I speaking on, you ask? Microsoft Teams, of course! I have a 45-minute session entitled "Building a community-led tech conference using Microsoft Teams", and the Session Code is BRK2285.

Now that you know the session title and the code, you have no excuse not to add it to your schedule now! ;-) Also, if you are not able to make it to Ignite this year, I am told that EVERYTHING will be live-streamed, so be sure to tune it live to watch!

This session will dive into the various ways that myself and the rest of the #CommsvNext team designed and built every aspect of this conference completely from within Microsoft Teams. If all works out, I may even be able to have the rest of the team join me on stage to provide their insights! (fellow MVPs, Jonathan McKinney, Adam Ball, and Pat Richard).

#TeamsRecap - Microsoft Ignite 2018 Edition

It has become somewhat of a tradition at each Microsoft Ignite to have a special #Skype4BRecap / #TeamsRecap episode, co-hosted with fellow MVP, Matt Landis. This year will be no different - except that I may actually have access to record in a more professional setting: and actual production STUDIO! Be sure to keep up with me on Twitter (info above) for the release of this episode.

Matt and I will be going over any key news, and talking about that burning question on every Skype for Business Online customer's mind right now: Is it yet the right time to move to Microsoft Teams?

How to connect while at Microsoft Ignite?

If you are looking to connect with me at Microsoft Ignite, there are a couple key ways (though I can't promise a ton, because as it happens, my schedule is already looking a bit hectic...):

  1. Sessions! Obviously, I will be at BRK2285, speaking, and able to chat a bit afterwards. However, there is a good chance you will run into me at some of the key Microsoft Teams sessions, and a VERY good chance I will be at THE Skype for Business session.
  2. Sponsor Events/Parties. I typically try to make sure I make it to some of the multi-vendor parties (SfB & Teams-related vendors). While some of those details are still being sorted, I am already registered for the CDW Customer Appreciation Event on Wednesday night. If you are CDW customer, and are coming to Ignite, I look forward to seeing you there!
  3. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER (@GetCsJosh). Seriously, that is one of the best ways to know what I am up to at any given point during a Microsoft Ignite conference. I have a bit of a bad mad-Tweeting habit during these conferences...
See you there!