The Ultimate Voice Career Promotion

I wanted to let you know about The Ultimate Voice Career Promotion. Microsoft is now offering you a range of options for learning Microsoft Lync and the chance to win great prizes.

Through The Ultimate Voice Career Promotion, you can add a valuable new skillset to your resume and increase the productivity of your entire office. At the same time, you’ll be eligible to win prizes that include $150 Best Buy vouchers and a $5,000 Kinect entertainment system!

There are lots of ways to earn points:

· Bite Sized Training Videos—Watch Lync training videos on-demand

· Deeper Learning—Attend monthly web clinics

· Blog—Post a blog review about Lync

· Your Lync Story—Post a video about your experience with Lync

· Twitter—Tweet about your Lync experience


And lots of ways to win. Use your points to unlock chances to win prizes every month. Your points won’t expire until the end of June 2012. Also, any month you earn points results in an entry for that period’s grand prize.

The Ultimate Voice Career Sweepstake launches November 23rd and the first 500 people to participate and earn points will receive an insulated lunch tote—so get started now.


Register at

Avaya ACE Versus Lync Native Post Wrap-up–Stats, Tweets and Classic Comments

Last week was a fun week on VoIPNorm. It was the biggest response to any single post I have had on the blog and certainly generated some interesting comments. 65 comments to be exact, over 70 tweets and over 4000 page views for the week. I had to close down the comments this week partly because the time it was consuming was considerable and the conversation was becoming circular and not really moving forward.

So to all those that took part and commented I thank you.

Stats for the week (see week 46):


Classic Tweets:





Classic comments:

“you are afterall a MSFT-paid shill” - By Anon (Proof I publish all non-spam comments no matter how insulting)

“The "preserve a legacy deployment" comment about ACE isn't quite fair” – By Anon

“ACE is less about choice and more about preservation” –By VoIPNorm

“All integration options with Lync have pros and cons” – By Anon

“Issue is Avaya is not a software company and it never will be” – By Anon

“Avaya customers should ask themselves is how viable the company is” – By Anon

“What happens to call control if ACE is un-available but Lync is? Isn't that confusing to my end-users? Um, how about you pick up the phone and dial a number. It's what most every user does today.” – By Anon

“I came into Avaya noticing how reactive the organization was because their new set of services had not yet been released and Microsoft Lync was taking off like wildfire within each of their accounts, especially the large ones.” – By Joe Schurman

“what we should be focused on is providing consultation as a trusted advisor and advising the customer as to the appropriate vendor in a fit for purpose environment that will most definitely be multi-vendor, but suited with a best of breed approach and architecture that benefits the customer” – By Joe Schurman

“In my opinion there is currently no vendor in the marketplace today that can compete with Microsoft Lync on the desktop or Mac “ – By Joe Schurman

“It’s really a great solution because it does not interfere with the Lync end-user experience, provides the organization with protection on the investments they’ve already made in Avaya CM, SM, etc., and more importantly will allow users a choice of desktop and mobile solutions with Lync and One-X until Flare is available in mid-2012 to add to the mix” – By Joe Schurman

“At the core of this argument is this - that there is more value in Avaya voice than the voice capabilities in Lync, therefore a customer should buy and use ACE to hijack the voice portion " – By Anon

“I'm not sure why people are getting confused with what ACE actually is. It's not middleware” – By Joe Schurman

“the Lync platform is definitely innovative and provides a unique and innovative end-user experience” – By Joe Schurman

“ACE was always a good concept however it does not necessarily best address a specific customer's requirements.” – By Kevin Kieller

“Kevin Kennedy (Avaya President) & Scott Brown (Microsoft Voice VP) are leading wonderful companies, with wonderful solutions that can work very nicely, TOGETHER. Respectfully.” – By Bob Bluemer

“A solution is "good" because it meets the defined customer requirements. A solution is "better" if it meets more specific customer requirements.” - By Kevin Kieller

“The fact is ACE intention is to stall Lync Enterprise Voice deployments and better positions Flare later in 2012 ” – By VoIPNorm

“I'm elated to hear you reference Avaya's new open minded approach to Microsoft, as I have customers that have asked for Lync with and without ACE, also with direct SIP integration utilzing Exchange UM. To date I have not been able to service these customers without the threats and fear that Avaya is going to pull my "loyalty" bonus” – By Anon

“A great bottle of white wine mixed with a wonderful bottle of red does not often yield even a drinkable rose.” – By Kevin Kieller

“If Avaya is so customer focused on making multi vendor environments work, then why are they not part of the UCIF?” – By Anon

“Kudos to you if you now understand why some people are upset and feel betrayed with your FUD spreading, but to dismiss it on one hand and continue to do it in the other...seriously, how is anyone ever supposed to believe anything you say?” – By  Thomas Kisner about Joe Schurman

“The telecom business is full of old foxes that want to protect themself rather than looking at the customers real needs and taking todays date and year into that account. “ – By Tommy Clarke

“I just can't see how architecturally, any middleware (ACE/Aura) can possibly keep up and expose the features of the rapidly evolving connected endpoints” – By Kevin Kieller

“If I were to stand the native Lync experience next to the ACE experience there is no comparison. ACE is rudimentary integration at best.” – By VoIPNorm

“Capabilities from both Microsoft and Avaya will certainly change over time. We should agree to meet back "here" six or twelve months from now and refresh the debate/discussion.” – By Kevin Kieller

“@joeschurman Wishing you a speedy recovery.” – By Matt Landis

And as Kevin suggested we will back in in six months time to check in.

Thanks again to everyone who commented.


What Avaya Aren’t Telling You About ACE

I have seen a lot of information or should I say misinformation recently around ACE about what it does and what it can save you when combined with Lync. Most of you know by now I have never been a believer in plugins, even before I started working at Microsoft I was never a fan.  My first tests with plugins showed me just how disjointed a user experience they really are. Paired with that is the misinformation that vendors are spreading around licensing cost savings with being able to go back to Standard Cal for Lync because of a plugin that only does telephony which by the way is not free in it self.

So if you are a company running Lync and Avaya comes knocking with ACE here are a few questions to ask:

    • How does ACE support VPNLess access?
    • How Does ACE work with Lync Federation?
    • How does ACE tie in with my CEBP presence enabled applications?
    • How does ACE support video?
    • How does ACE support dynamic location aware E911?
    • What about dynamic bandwidth codecs on the internet?
    • Lync Audio and web conferencing support?
    • If I drop back to Standard Cal with Lync can I still use Lync audio, video and web conferencing?
    • Does ACE support media Encryption?
    • Is the ACE integration supported by Microsoft?
    • How long after a Microsoft releases a new version of Lync does ACE support become available?
    • If I use ACE, what is the conferencing experience like?
    • What additional components and costs are needed for Avaya’s conferencing solution?
    • Can I escalate a peer2peer voice session into a Lync data collaboration experience?  How many steps are required?
    • What happens to call control if ACE is un-available but Lync is? Isn't that confusing to my end-users?

You will be surprised by just how many of these answers are no, breaking the UC experience or offering you limited support. I strongly encourage people to read my post on plugins versus native to see more of my insight as to why breaking the Lync experience to preserve a legacy deployment with a plugin is not as easy as competitors make out.


Lync Alternate Routing Configuration

I came across a couple of questions this week that I think most people might already know but its worth going over.How does Lync use gateways placed in a Route, Routes placed in a PSTN Usage and PSTN Usages placed in a Voice Policy to allow the correct alternate routing order? When I first started writing this post I thought it was going to be pretty simple but I soon realized without an example readers would soon get lost. So I spent way more time writing this than intended but hopefully it works.

Below is a pretty simple example of one site with multiple possible routes. Of course how you route calls will be very dependent on toll charges from your provider and how many alternate routes you have available to your organization. For instance your final route in your organization might be a provider that is different than you normal provider to offer more resiliency but you do not want to rely on for normal business because they are more expensive. Or as I have depicted below my final route is also a different location to offer more geographic redundancy as well as provider redundancy. The variations on requirements almost always relates to cost and resiliency but for this exercise I am using locations as a way to describe dial plan configuration and behavior not necessarily a best practice to avoid cost or reliance.


So I am going create my dial plan based on the example diagram above and talk about how the order is related to routing. What order you build the pieces in really isn't important here but more the relationship they share in alternate routing. The first column is our Voice Policy and in this case Seattle Local Access is how I want to allow my Seattle users to dial out to the PSTN for local calls. It also restricts those users that have this Policy to local calls only and in our example as you will see later only +1425 numbers. So I am being very restrictive for the sake of the example.

As you can see in my Voice Policy below I have my three PSTN Usages selected in the order I want them to be utilized. I have built a very extreme example here considering that I am only allowing access to one very small subset of numbers with more than two routes but as I said earlier this is really to make my point. So I have now made three Usages available and controlled the order they are accessed but what about SeattleBackUp which has two routes in the one PSTN Usage. How do I control the order with which those Routes are accessed to control my call flow?


When I take a look at my PSTN Usage it only shows us what Usages are configured and what Routes are available. There is no way to change the order of routes within the Usage from here.


The last mile so to speak. The Routes tab offers us the ability to change the order of access to the Routes which in affect changes the order of the routes within our PSTN usage. So in my example as I move through the different PSTN Usages and Routes I can see my SeattleBackUp Usage requires a particular order. In this case I use the order in the Routes tab to determine this. This can be difficult to get correct especially if you have Usage records that require clashing route orders. A better way to have more ordered routing is using more granular PSTN Usage records and relying less on the order of the routes within them.


As for gateways most of us are well aware that when you place multiple gateways in a Route, as shown below, that they are accessed via round robin. Placing them in a particular order has no effect.


Hopefully this was useful.

Did you spot the mistake in my configuration? My final route has only a wildcard entry so basically if all my other gateways became unavailable and calls started hitting the final route I could basically call any number out of my final route making my policy to only restrict to local numbers null and void. The chances of hitting that final gateway you would hope are slim but it’s a unintentional mistake I left in to see if anyone would notice.

Comments welcomed.