AI Builder improvements for Power Automate

This post is about the improvements Microsoft made to the AI Builder in Power Automate (previously know as Flow). The subjects for the major enhancement is the data input and output for the AI models. The big benefit is that there is no longer the need that you transform the data at the beginning. Now AI builder does that that for you based on the AI model which you can train for that.

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Modern Meetings with Microsoft Teams

In this post I provide an overview on key capabilities with modern meetings with Microsoft Teams. It enables you and your fellow co-workers for modern meetings [almost] anywhere, anytime and on [almost] any device.

Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/webinar-conferencing-video-beverage-3199164/

Key capabilities

Microsoft Teams offers you the following key capabilities for meetings but are not limited to these:

  • online meetings
  • audio conferencing
  • video conferencing
  • interactiv application and desktop sharing
  • dialin phone numbers from 65+ countries around the world
  • versatile clients and devices (mobiles, rooms, browsers, Windows, Linux)
  • recording
  • recording – transcript – for many languages (speech-to-text to transcript)
  • calendar integration (Outlook, Exchange, Teams)

Do more with Microsoft Teams Meetings

Microsoft Teams enables for modern meetings so that you can easily communicate and collaborate, either in a planned or scheduled meeting. No matter if you are in transit, in a meeting room, at a desk or any other space. The things you need are the right equipment as well as a sufficient connection, i.e. Internet or in case you are in transit at least cell coverage to dialin by phone.

Microsoft and partners offer many certified devices for Microsoft Teams depending on your needs and requirements to get that modern meeting experience for your users. Therefore you can get a glimpse on the “Microsoft Teams enabled devices” page to explore and discover what kind of devices are available and what devices are suited for which meeting space or scenario.

Source: Microsoft Teams enabled devices

Basically, there you can find

  • Headsets | user devices
  • Speakerphones | lightweight and compact user/room equipment
  • Desk phones | IP phones for users, lobby or other user cases
  • Room systems | for collaboration in meeting rooms and spaces
  • Conference phones | for conference rooms
  • Cameras | for users, rooms and other spaces

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Modern meetings with Microsoft Teams are easy and offer all the above key capabilities which are important to users today. Users get enabled to do more with Teams meetings and make meetings more productive and more fun, too, because client and device capabilities are available and easy to use and access with no frills and unhandy controls or preparation tasks for a Teams meeting. You can just meet, collaborate and focus on what you need to do.

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Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice Study

In this post I highlight a study publication by Forrester regarding Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice. Forrester is a market research and analysis company focused on the information technology sector. Microsoft mandated Forrester to carry out the study on Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

What’s the study for?

The so called TEI (short for “Total Econonomic Impact”) study examines Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice in regards of

  • benefits
  • costs and
  • risks.

What does the study say?

To sum it up a little bit the study provides the following key aspects:

  • employees save time due to telephony integration in Microsoft Teams
  • integration enhances business outcomes
  • Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice enables companies to replace legacy telephony systems (PBX/s)
  • costs for telephony are reduced
  • better security and compliance because of its integration in the Microsoft security and compliance capability stack
  • higher availability as (legacy) PBX
  • better performance as (legacy) PBX
  • better scalability as (legacy) PBX
  • higher employee/user satisfaction especially for younger employees
  • reduced total cost of ownership (TCO)

Well, for details, I’d recommend to read the study by yourself [see links at the bottom].

Conclusion, summary and opinion

In my view the study can be seen as supporting document for you in case your are about to decide on what’s next for your company’s telephony due to ending support or just because you want to embrace modern workplace at your company. The study gives you some numbers, facts and figures for further consideration, evaluation and decision making.

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Read receipts in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft rolled out read receipts in Teams. It shows you if your messages were read or not. By default it’s enabled. You get a popup that read receipts is available and how it looks like. In this post I provide an overview.

Teams Client

In the Teams client settings you can disable or enable it depending on what’s configured in your Office 365 tenant.

Screenshot Teams Client [de-de] – User Notification
Screenshot Teams Client [de-de] – Teams client settings

Teams Admin Center

If required, a Teams administrator can configure read receipts by modifying Teams messaging policies in the Teams Admin Center as depicted below.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Admin Center – Messaging policies – Global policy
  • By default, read receipts are on and the message policy configuration is set to“User Preference” which means that users can disable it within their Teams Client settings.
  • Turned on for everyone: It’s enabled for all users and a user cannot turn it off.
  • Turned off for everyone: It’s disabled for all users and a user cannot turn it on.

Limitations [January 2020]

The “Manage messaging policies in Teams” documentation says

  • it is for 1:1 chat or chats with up to 20 people
  • it is not caputered in eDiscovery reports

Conclusion, opinion and summary

It’s another neat feature to easily recognize if your chat message was read or not. Thus you can decide how to react, e.g. send a priority notification or make a call.

Screenshot Teams Client [de-de] – Teams client chat – Priority options

Additional resources

How to connect analog devices to Microsoft Teams?

In this post I give you an architectural overview on how you can connect analog devices, e.g. fax machines, analog phones, door bells, intercoms etc. to Microsoft Teams.

Preamble

First of all, I’d recommend to please get rid of your analog devices. Let me guess you are probably reading this because you have some of these poor and legacy analogs which you cannot get rid of for some reasons?

  • If this is the case:
    Well, ok, let’s go ahead to keep your existing investments in analog devices and get it to work.
  • If not, i.e. you can get rid of them:
    Skip this post and read something more interesting. 😉

Goal

The goal is to add analog devices to a Microsoft Teams voice/telephony deployment.

Use Cases – Analog Telephony with Teams user and PSTN

The uses cases are defined as follows:

  1. call from an analog device to a Teams user
  2. call from a Teams user to an analog device
  3. call from an analog device to a PSTN (external) phone (number) [e.g. mobile phone]
  4. call from a PSTN (external) phone to an analog device

Architecture Overview

In this architectural sketch you can see a high level Microsoft Teams Direct Routing deployment including an analog device which is connected via an anlog [device] gateway.

It includes

  • [left] PSTN sip trunk [from your PSTN provider of choice],
  • [center] a (certified) session border controller (SBC),
  • [center] a analog [device] gateway
    • sip trunk between analog gateway and SBC
    • analog link (FXS, RJ11) between analog gateway and analog device
  • [center-right] analog device [connect to analog gateway]
  • [right] a Microsoft Phone System sip trunk
  • [right] a Microsoft Teams User

Requirements

What are the requirements for this? To keep it short, you need:

  1. Teams Direct Routing (TDR) [for details, please see Plan Direct Routing]
  2. Analog [Device] Gateway

Note: In case you have Microsoft Teams and utilize calling plans for telephony already but need these analog devices added you can add Teams Direct Routing to what you’ve got already.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

To sum this up, to connect analog devices to your Microsoft Teams deployment you need Teams Direct Routing (TDR). Then you can attach an analog device to an analog (device) gateway which is linked to a certified SBC for Direct Routing which handles the voice routing (from/to PSTN/Microsoft Phone System/analog gateway).

Additional resources

Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019 – 2020

In this post I like to highlight Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019 – 2020 and what it is and why you might want to attend.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 took place in November 2019 in Orlanda, Florida, USA. More than 25k people were attending the technical event onsite. Months before it was sold out due to the high demand for it. Customers and partners from all across the globe attended the event if they were lucky to get tickets early enough.

Source: https://erik365.blog/2019/11/08/microsoft-ignite-2019-recap/

After the major event, Ignite 2019, the Tour starts and delivers the Microsoft Ignite experience around the world near to you. It’s smaller in attendee numbers and takes places in many cities on the globe to provide you with great contents from Ignite 2019 nearby so that the event comes to you.

The Tour takes places in many cities and in each world region (EMEA, NOAM, LATAM, APAC). You can learn, explore and connect on the Microsoft Ignite The Tour.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

If you could not attend Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando and interested its best contents to learn, explore and connect you might want to attend Microsoft Ignite The Tour near you. In 2020 there are many dates for the Tour till May 2020 but you need to be quick because some are already booked and you can only join a waiting list.

In my opinion Microsoft Ignite The Tour is really a great idea (by Microsoft) and opportunity (for you). You do not need to travel so far, have the best contents delivered more or less nearby and you can get in touch with Microsoft experts and other attendees.

Additional Resources

Cisco Live 2020

Cisco Live 2020 is ahead. Cisco Live 2020 takes places in each world region (EMEA, NOAM, LATAM, APAC) and it is for customers, experts and partners. It’s the annual Cisco event to learn, explore and connect all around Ciscos’ products and services. And of course if you are not able to attend onsite you can watch certain live streams or afterwards session recordings.

In 2020 the events takes places at the following cities

  • 27.-31.01.2020 Barcelona Spain, EMEA
  • 03.-06.03.2020 Melbourne, Australia, APAC
  • 31.05.-04.06.2020 Las Vegas, USA, NOAM
  • 27.-29.10.2020 Cancun, Mexiko, LATAM

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I’m not going to attend the event but I’ll probably find some time to watch the key notes and some overview sessions regarding communication and collaboration to see what Cisco is planning in this space. Especially, what’s on the road map for 2020 and beyond.

To me, it’s important to observe the communication and collaboration market to stay up-to-date and to know (different) communication and collaboration services’ capabilities. Knowing helps in discussions regarding pros and cons. 

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