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Future Decoded and that little announcement of Microsoft Teams

Before I dash to Seattle for my first MVP summit, I decided to warm up by going to Future Decoded at London ExCel. Future Decoded isn’t a UC conference, in fact there was pretty much zero a UC geek would have picked up that they didn’t already know. However, it gave us chance to broaden our horizons and look forward to the future and see what it has to offer us. Firstly, Future Decoded is all about the “future” durr.. So this means the conference is about the “art of the possible” or “the cutting edge of technology”. The focus this year from Microsoft was all about Machine Learning and Augmented Reality (shocker!).

I wanted to share with you my key takeaways and where I think certain technology may or may not play a relevant role in my life as well as maybe yours. I have to say the Morning Keynote was really enjoyable, using AI and Machine learning to predict outcomes you think of these as complex mathematic equations that only universities really care about. But what you don’t see is how those outcomes help humanity in cases where you traditionally think is down to personal expertise and a good slice of luck. For instance, Joesph Sirosh CVP in Data Group for Microsoft spoke about how machine learning helps predict the chance of an eye operation (Lasik surgery) being successful based on data collected over similar cases with the added influence of the patient’s personal cirumstantial influence as data. Microsoft’s Machine Learning engine is able to process such vast amounts of data it can provide accurate predictions on your chances of success.


Office 2013 Click to Run Hot Desk Licencing

With the increasing popularity of Office 365 and Office 2013 Pro Plus available with E3 licencing it has rewritten the rule book on application licence activation. In the past Microsoft gave us two options of activation, KMS and MAK. KMS was a favourite amongst system administrators because of its ease of deployment and reliance on robust distribution and activation technologies such as DNS and Active Directory. MAK had its place in smaller networks of 20 machines or less.

Enter Office 365 licencing. Now system administrators have to get their head around another form of activation, user initiated activation. User initiated activation prompts the logged on user to enter their email address and password for activation. Office, then interrogates the Office 365 tenant associated with the email address and then activates that instance of Office for the user, if the user is suitably licenced in Office 365. Great for admins, who now do not need to worry about their KMS states, or MAK activations.


Connecting Sonus SBC 1000 to Exchange Online UM

In my latest venture, I have been tasked with connecting a customer’s Cisco CUCM deployment with Exchange Online UM provided by Office 365. In order to achieve this, and because Office 365 does not support direct SIP trunks between itself and CUCM, we had to deploy a Session Border Controller (SBC) in the middle.

The model chosen was a Sonus SBC 1000 3-DSP SIP:SIP licensable SBC for its ease of configuration and support with Microsoft technologies.

Now, Sonus have provided a relatively high level document on configuring this process, and although the document was designed using software version 2.2, it is still relevant in the latest 4.2.1 release.


ADFS Multifactor Authentication – Not Good for Office 365

Continuing down the road for implementing ADFS Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) using PKI I have come across a few issues and a major show stopper when implementing this for Office 365 services. I wanted to share my experience so that this you can avoid the same pain as I have been through.


Get List of Users and Associated Office 365 Licences

Just a quick memory dump for myself really.

To export a report of all users from Office 365 and their associated licences run the following command in Azure Powershell Module

Get-MsolUser -All | Select UserPrincipalName, Licenses | fl | Out-File c:\office365users.txt

To only export licenced users

Get-MsolUser -All | Where {$_.IsLicensed -eq "True"} | Select UserPrincipalName, Licenses | fl | Out-File c:\office365users.txt


Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) Using ADFS 3.0 and Certificates

I had to implement MFA using ADFS 3.0 and internally signed certificates in order to authenticate external users against Office 365 services. There were a few niggles along the way but on the whole it was a relatively easy process to complete. The design brief stated that only domain joined devices from outside the corporate LAN can consume Office 365 services. In addition these users must perform multi-factor authentication when outside the corporate LAN only. I am pretty sure that the design could have been achieved using Azure MFA and a few claim rules in ADFS. However, the customer liked the idea of the relatively simple management and roll out that certificate based MFA provides.


Office 365 Single Sign On Gotchas (Green Field)

It is important to understand before reading this article that it is not a guide on how to install ADFS, WAP and AADSync. I hope to be able to do this sometime in the near future. This article bullet points some of the gotchas I have experienced whilst implementing this in a green field deployment.


Resetting Office 365 Password using Powershell

To reset an office 365 user’s password you need the Windows Azure Active Directory Module installed http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/jj151815.aspx

Open the console and enter


Press Enter, enter your admin Office 365 account username and password in the logon box

Then issue this command

Set-MsolUserPassword -UserPrincipalName cphillip@domain.com -NewPassword London1234 -ForceChangePassword $false
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