CloudPBX Is Here!
It’s finally here, CloudPBX from Microsoft! More information on the solution can be found all over the web, and here is a great starting point direct from Microsoft : https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt612869.aspx
Polycom happens to have some IP Phones that work with Office 365 Cloud PBX. This is in addition to the CX series (Lync Phone Edition) phones available from Polycom and other vendors that also work with cloud PBX. For a complete list of phones that work with Cloud PBX, check this out: http://partnersolutions.skypeforbusiness.com/solutionscatalog/cloud-ip-phones
Now, let’s say you decide to go with Polycom VVX phones, how do you get them up and running with cloud PBX?
First up- Software Versions
The minimum software version for all VVX series IP Phones to support Cloud PBX is 188.8.131.5282
As of the writing of this blog post, 5.4.2.0334 can be downloaded and installed from the Polycom support page, and my screenshots show me running that firmware. The requirement is to be at least on 184.108.40.20682 which is also sometimes referenced as 5.4.0A.
How do you check which software version you are running on your Polycom VVX?
Through the web browser:
- Navigate to the IP address of your phone in a web browser. (Note: this is disabled by default when the VVX phone is in Lync mode for security reasons. If you wish to enable the web browser, you have to do that via configuration options on the phone itself under Administrative Settings.
- The Home Page of the web UI for the phone should display the software version installed.
- You are looking for “UC Software Version”
On the Phone
- You can also perform a simple key combination on the phone. When at the home screen, hold the 1, 4, and 7 keys simultaneously and the device should present a status screen that will display the software information.
Getting to the supported software versions
There are going to be a few different paths to getting to the supported software version which will work with Office 365. Here they are:
Buying a new phone? Look for SKUs ending in -19. Straight from Polycom, here is why you should be looking for -19 phones when purchasing:
- Ready for O365 / Skype for Business Online “Out of the Box”
- Loaded with the required UCS 5.4.0A minimum release for O365
- Eliminates the need to connect to a provisioning server to update older phones
- Easier to Order
- Single price for VVX (includes required Polycom UC Software License)
- Easier to Install
- Base profile set to Lync/Skype for Business by default
- Preloaded with qualified software
- Preconfigured with Lync/Skype for Business parameters
Existing phones? Upgrade to latest software version.
- If you have a provisioning server setup already, you should be able to get the latest firmware in there and load it on the phones. An oldie but goodie on how to get provisioning setup if you haven’t already: http://blog.schertz.name/2013/05/provisioning-polycom-sip-phones/ and, don’t forget to check out www.eventzero.com for a cloud solution that allows you to manage and configure the Polycom VVX Phones as part of their UC Commander Product.
Use the web UI to upgrade
- If you want to upgrade the phones manually using the web UI follow the top of this post by Jeff Schertz- http://blog.schertz.name/2015/03/polycom-ucs-5-3-for-vvx-phones/
Hopefully you are able to order a -19 phone and have a great out of box experience. But if you are not there yet, follow the steps above to get there.
I have the software, now what?
Okay now to the good part, you either bought a -19 SKU phone, or you have one running firmware that supports office 365. Hopefully you will start to see right away that there is a new out of box experience to help with getting the VVX phones running in these environments. The goal here is that a user can plug in the phone, enter their credentials and be up and running.
You have two options:
- Enter Credentials on the VVX Screen
- Pair with a Skype for Business PC Client running the Polycom Better Together Over Ethernet (BTOE) application.
If you have a PC plugged into the PC Port of the VVX and running the BTOE software (Link here: http://support.polycom.com/PolycomService/support/us/support/voice/business_media_phones/vvx600.html ) your Skype for Business or Lync client will prompt you to enter credentials to authenticate the phone.
To get signed in simply: Enter your regular username and password in the prompt in the Skype for Business Client, or enter those same credentials on the VVX phone itself using the touch screen and sign-in.
Pay special attention to sign-in address AND Username fields. In some environments these are simply the same <username>@<domain>.com. However, in some environments users may be required to enter a different username in the username field, most commonly a domain\username format. Either way, consult whoever you need to and figure out the format you will need. This will be helpful across every Skype for Business client you use, because the same gotchas will apply in each client.
Hopefully you will be presented with the Congratulations screen and a quick wizard to personalize the phone, as seen below:
The new wizard will walk you through some basic settings which you can choose to skip or walk through the steps. This is great because you can choose date/time and region settings right from the phone and not have to rely on provisioning servers or DHCP servers to get that info. Great for the home workers, but also great for low maintenance IT networks at branch sites.
Complete the wizard and you’ll be up and running. Successful sign-in looks like what you see in the picture above, or it will display your “Favorites” from the Skype for Business desktop client.
Make Some Calls!
Make sure your user account is properly configured in the Office 365 dashboard:
You are ready to make some calls. Here is a shot of the phone in a PSTN phone call, quick setup and right into making calls:
For all the latest on Polycom VVX documentation and Software updates bookmark this page: http://support.polycom.com/PolycomService/support/us/support/voice/business_media_phones/vvx600.html
Hope this helps, and I’d love to hear about YOUR experiences with Office 365 Cloud PBX! Share your stories in the comments below.
Note: This article does NOT cover Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800. I will be publishing a post dedicated to Trio very soon.