Integrating Exchange Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 (Part 6)

by [Published on 8 Dec. 2015 / Last Updated on 8 Dec. 2015]

Taking advantage of the UCS (Unified Contact Store) feature, and checking out the online meeting using Outlook Web App.

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Introduction

In the previous article, we worked on the high resolution photos among Unified Communications products. In this article we are going to cover the Unified Contact Store (UCS) feature which allows all contacts to be stored in Exchange instead of the Skype for Business Server.

In previous versions of the Skype for Business Server (this product had several names, such as Live Communications Server (LCS), OCS which stands for Office Communications Server, and the last couple of releases were Lync Server) the contact information was stored inside of the product on its own database that resides on the SQL, however we can take advantage of Unified Contact Store (UCS) and store all contact information on the Exchange Server.

Managing Unified Contact Store (UCS)

If you are installing Skype for Business for the first time in your organization, then Unified Contact Store will be enabled by default, however you still need the basic requirements which are having the user hosted on an Exchange Server 2013 or higher, and the integration between Exchange Server and Skype for Business must be in place. If you are following our article series, you should be fine with integration by now.

If you are transitioning from a previous version of Skype for Business (Lync Server), the Unified Contact Store may not be configured, and in order to check the current status we can use the Get-CSUserServicePolicy cmdlet in Skype for Business Server Management Shell, as shown in Figure 01. The UCSAllowed should have the value of True and that means that integration is enabled in the current environment, as depicted in the image below we can validate that feature is not enabled.

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Figure 01

Another easy place to spot if the integration is in place or not, is using Skype for Business client. We can hold Ctrl + Shift and right click on Skype for Business client and then click on Configuration Information (Figure 02).

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Figure 02

In the new window, look at the Contact List Provider line, and when the integration is not in place we will have Skype for Business Server, as shown in Figure 03.

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Figure 03

In order to enable Unified Contact Store (UCS), we just need to change the UCSAllowed attribute to true, as shown in the cmdlets below (Figure 04). In this scenario we are changing the global policy that applies to all users. In some environments, the administrator may have more than one User Services Policy, and they must be adjusted accordingly.

Set-CSUserServicesPolicy global –UCSAllowed $True

Get-CSUserServicesPolicy

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Figure 04

Give some time and after a while, check on the Skype for Business client and the result now should be UCS being displayed on the Contact List Provider line, as shown in Figure 05.

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Figure 05

A folder called Skype for Business Contacts will be created in Outlook and all the contacts will be there, as shown in Figure 06.

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Figure 06

Meetings in Outlook Web App and Skype for Business…

In the previous article we integrated Outlook Web App with Skype for Business, and later on we went over the process using high-resolution photos. However, we have not mentioned the integration on the calendar side, and in this section we are going over that nice feature that comes with the integration.

When creating a new meeting in Outlook Web App, we will have an additional button called Online meeting when creating a new meeting request (Figure 07), click on it. By the way, the Exchange Server 2016 Public Preview has the same option in a different spot, on that version we need to click on Skype Meeting, and then on Add Skype meeting, as shown in Figure 08.

Note:
When using Outlook for desktop and Skype for Business client desktop applications, the Skype for Business installation process adds an add-in in Outlook, and that enables the Skype Meeting button on Outlook. Keep in mind that in the desktop versions of Outlook and Skype for Business the integration works even without the steps that we have been exploring in this article series.

If you want to check out the Add-in in Outlook, follow these steps: open Outlook, click on File, Options and then click on Add-ins, on the right side the add-in called Skype Meeting Add-in <something> will be listed, and it should be on the Active Application Add-ins section.

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Figure 07

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Figure 08

After hitting the Online meeting button, a connection will take a few seconds and then the Skype for Business online meeting information will be added in the notes of the meeting, as shown in Figure 09.

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Figure 09

How about the end-user experience when receiving a meeting request? The end-user will access the URL received on their meeting invitation, and if the URLs configured on Skype for Business Server are accessible and the certificates are fine, the following page will appear (Figure 10).

The end-user has the choice to install the Skype for Business Web App plug-in. If the end-user decides to install it (strongly recommended), then the audio/video and even sharing will be available through the web session for that meeting.

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Figure 10

If the decision was to install the plug-in, then a dialog box will request authorization to allow the load for that specific domain. Select the always allow the plug-in for this domain option, and then click on Allow (Figure 11)

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Figure 11

The result will be access to the meeting on the web browser (Figure 12), and since the plug-in was installed, then the audio, video and even sharing desktop are available from that session.

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Figure 12

Conclusion

In this article we checked the Unified Contact Store (UCS) feature which allows the contact information to be stored in Exchange Server and be shared among several interfaces/clients. We also went over the online meeting integration between Skype for Business and Exchange Server using Outlook Web App (OWA).

If you would like to be notified of when Anderson Patricio releases the next part in this article series please sign up to our MSExchange.org Real Time Article Update newsletter.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

See Also


The Author — Anderson Patricio

Anderson Patricio avatar

Anderson Patricio is a consultant for Microsoft technologies. He works with Exchange Server, ISA Sever and Active Directory deployments at a Microsoft Gold Partner in Toronto, Canada. In the Technet Brasil community, he contributes news, articles and webcasts.

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