First of all, I’m in the Office 365 Preview in the Program for Skype for Business Cloud PBX which is the only way this will work to the full extent shown here. I’ve been testing out Cloud PBX for a while now, but support for physical phones was just announced. About a week ago I got the email stating that number porting was available (my number port request in currently in progress) and the support for certain phones. Shortly after receiving the email, I decided to give it a shot and ordered the Polycom VVX 600 off Amazon
I decided to give the phone a try for a few reasons:
- It untethers my work phone from my computer. Before, my computer had to be one, Lync had to be running, Lync couldn’t crash, I couldn’t reboot my computer, etc, etc for my phone call to be successful.
- I’m on a Mac, which means I’m still on Lync 2011…enough said
- Good quality speaker phone. I don’t mind a headset most of the time, but sometimes it’s nice just to use speaker phone. Using a computer mic and speakers isn’t the best solution for speaker phone
- Frankly, it’s just easier a lot of times to use a really phone than find where the Softphone/Lync window is on my computer to make/answer a call.
Update the software version to 18.104.22.16882 (the latest version) to be compatible with Office 365
- The phone has an option to Online Update from Polycom wasn’t working for me after trying several browsers and both Mac and Windows Machines.
I finally gave up and went with using my own custom “update server” following these steps:
- Download the phone software update from here I used the [Split] download
- Create a quick HTTP server running on my Mac following these steps. In short, open a terminal; change to the directory hosting your update file (or where you are going to copy it to); run the command Sudo python -m SimpleHTTPServer 80
- Follow the instruction here on how to update from a local server (jump down to “Using Custom Software Distribution”). In the section where you enter the custom server, put in http://myIPaddress/ucs.xml The blog post above explain what ucs.xml is and what XML to put in it. As an example, here is what my XML File looked like:
<!--?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?-->
- Clicked to Install the update and the phone rebooted and installed the update. I did received an error during the update, but everything still appears to have updated just fine. The phone is showing the correct version and everything is functioning.
Configure the Phone
Personally, I found it easier to configure via the web interface for the phone (yeah, this isn’t your standard rotary dial phone as I’m sure you’ve already figured out). To configure your phone via the web browser, go to the IP address of the phone (i.e. http://192.168.1.141) in your browser and login.
Here are the configuration steps I took:
- Set the timezone and the time sync server so your phone will auto update and stay up to date with the time and date.
- Under Simple Setup, set the Base Profile to Lync (saving this will cause the phone to reboot again)
- After a reboot, the Lync Base Profile will be set. The major downside I found was that it disables the web server functionality on the phone. So, the next think to do is to go into the advanced settings on the physical phone and turn it back on.
- Once the web server is re-enabled, log back in via the web interface to sign into Lync. Trust me…you don’t want to do it on a 12 button keypad, especially if you have a complex password…it’s like texting used to be when you had to push the number like 15 times just to get the right letters and symbols. Anyways, type in your Sign-in Address, Username and Password and click Sign-In
- Boom! You should be logged in and good to go!
If you aren’t using Cloud PBX yet, you can still call your Lync contacts just using voice over Lync. I also got it to work with a Personal Skype user I was able to add to Lync. If you’re on the Office 365 Cloud PBX Preview, you should be able to make/receive any call. Since it’s 11pm at night, I didn’t have many people who wanted me to call them randomly, so I made a call to/from my cell phone from the Polycom and everything worked great!
The Phone in Action
I ended up using the phone all day for work. I used the handset once, but otherwise, I used the speakerphone all day. I also found out that my Plantronics C720 USB headset is compatibly with the phone (the phone has 2 USB ports on it). So, a few things to note after a day of use:
- This phone is awesome! I loved every minute of using it today and don’t regret the purchase one bit. It works perfect in my home office
- The speaker phone seems to be very good! I asked a few clients how it sounded today on a few different calls. They were always surprised I was actually using speaker phone. Event when my wife printed something, I thought the printer was really loud, their feedback was they could here it, but it wasn’t distracting or even competing with my voice.
- The integration with Lync/Skype For Business and Exchange is really nice (based on 1 day of use) Here are just a few screen shots from using it the last day
It has the ability to see my full
Lync Skype for Business AND Outlook contact list, but to protect my clients and people in my address book, I won’t show a screen shot of that.