First experiences with Skype Meeting Broadcast

Recently I was invited to the Preview of the Skype Meeting Broadcast. Naturally I nominated the Paradyne tenant in Office 365 and sat back and waited.

A few days later I received an email to confirm that I had been accepted, and that the Paradyne tenant had been enabled. However when I received that email I realised something – we don’t actually use Skype for Business Online as part of Office 365 as we use a hosted Enterprise Voice service that runs Lync Server 2013 behind the scenes.

I thought out preview test was over before it started.

The first issue we found was that when scheduling a meeting in Skype Meeting Broadcast the user needs to have a SIP address. In our case that wasn’t possible as our user objects have no SIP details within the proxyAddress attribute. We worked around that by creating an account that utilised Skype for Business Online, however quickly found the next issue was we couldn’t add “event staff” (aka presenters) as we had the same problem – Skype for Business Online doesn’t know of their existence.

In a normal hybrid scenario this wouldn’t be an issue as directory synchronisation would populate the SIP address in the object within Azure Active Directory / Office 365, however would simply show the Skype for Business server to be elsewhere (as in NOT using Skype for Business Online). As we are cloud-only this didn’t apply to us, however Microsoft do provide some guidance on configuring an on-premises implementation of Skype for Business Server 2015 to support the Skype Meeting Broadcast service.

So our conundrum – we can schedule broadcasts but can’t participate in them as presenters. What to do?

Well as the service effectively uses the Skype for Business client – we found that all we had to do was add a Paradyne person (using their SIP address of user@paradyne.com.au) to the contact list and we were then able to invite them into the meeting. Once in the meeting we could promote them to presenter. This got us around the issue of the fact that we couldn’t add them to the broadcast event as a presenter / team member.

We did however try to invite an external person into the meeting to see if we could make them a presenter however they were not able to join:

smb-external-user

 

(Thanks to Darrell Webster for being our guinea pig there.)

One of the things we also noted quite quickly is that there is a delay of approximately 28-29 seconds which is by design.

We did try to get Yammer and Bing Pulse integration into the meeting but were unsuccessful.

Another quirk was that we couldn’t actually start the broadcast until someone’s video was set as active. Even if we added a presentation (as guided by the UI as being enough of a starting point) the ability to start the broadcast did not show up – it was only after we marked the video as active.

One thing I would like to see added soon to the service would be attendee tracking – as we had no visibility of whether anyone attended the broadcast or not.

Overall I see this service as being something very needed as Skype for Business currently falls behind the mainstays of broadcasts/webcasts such as GoToWebcast and WebE.

I’ll aim to do a few more posts about the service as it matures.

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