#Lync User QuickTip #31: Playing Video From PowerPoint In Lync Meetings


We’ll take a few minutes to look at how PowerPoint videos interact with Microsoft Lync meetings. This whole post presumes a Lync 2013 implementation with Outlook Web App Server implemented to host meeting content. (or Office 365/Lync Online)

Our first steps will be to use PowerPoint 2013 to make a presentation that contains an MP4 video. Both PowerPoint 2013 and MP4 are significant: If you don’t have PowerPoint 2013 you will not be able to import a MP4 video and if you don’t have an MP4 video the video will not be able to be played in an HTML5 browser without a plugin.

Our first step is to open PowerPoint 2013, create a blank slide and import a video. We can import the MP4 video into our presentation by clicking Insert | Video | Video on My PC…


PPT import video

If the video you imported into your PowerPoint has some size to it you can click on File | Compress Media. In my quick test using “Internet Quality” it compressed a video from 3.9MB to 2.4MB.

PPT compress video

Your PowerPoint is now done. This PowerPoint will now play the video in browser using PowerPoint Online that comes with OneDrive, Office365 or on premise Office Web App and of course in a Microsoft Lync meeting because Lync uses Office Web App server as the rendering engine.

Below is an example of PowerPoint Online with an embedded video:


Now if we start a Lync meeting and upload (do not screen share the PowerPoint application) the PowerPoint we just made it can be played to meeting attendees.


A couple things I noticed about playing videos from PowerPoint in a Lync meeting:

  • The presenter will be Muted when the video is started and get a message “You’re muted because someone played video”
  • The presenter can pause, rewind and this will take effect on meeting attendees. (you can think of it as remote video player control?)
  • Also be aware that the attendees can pause, rewind, etc. But if the presenter does something after they do (say pause, rewind) they will get sync’d up to the presenter.
  • The video controls don’t show for the attendees unless they hover over the video. (so don’t worry that viewers will see you click Play/Pause etc)
  • The audio for video will play on the Attendee’s/listener’s PC speakers instead of on their headset or Lync audio device. (this might not seem like much, but wait till 4 people in a quiet office suddenly have video audio blasting over the pc speakers unexpectedly)
  • Do not use auto repeat audio embedded in PowerPoint because it will repeat even after you move to the next slide and attendees will not know where to stop it. [verify]
  • The visual portion of the video will display but the audio will not be recorded on the Lync meeting recording.

Some requirements to be aware of:

  • Your users/attendees will need to have IE9 (HTML5 capable) browser click here
  • If this is on premises Lync implementation you will need Office Web Apps Server implemented to get this PowerPoint functionality

Playing video in Lync meetings used to require quite a hack and this new functionality is a huge leap forward and well done.

More requirement details: click here
Free MP4 screen capture recording:

Cisco to Bring 2 Way Content Sharing With Microsoft Lync



Just yesterday Cisco’s Jacob Nordan noted in a short statement on that Cisco will add two way content sharing with Microsoft Lync 2013. Jacob Nordan is “Senior Director of Product Management of Cisco’s Collaboration Infrastructure Business Unit” (Jacob Nordan is in charge of product & business strategy for TelePresence infrastructure. Had the same role at Tandberg). The meat of the announcement is a mere two sentences:

“…To solve our customers challenges Cisco has decided to expand  our industry leading interoperability to include two way content sharing with Microsoft Lync 2013. This will be a software upgrade to existing solution. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to a release.

This is a very nice announcement to hear and speaks to the weight that Lync 2013 has in the enterprise. The announcement is very short on details and questions that immediately come to mind:

  • When will this arrive?
  • At what level will this interop occur?

It is interesting that Jacob prefixes this announcement by calling out “vendors who don’t use open standards” and “proprietary technologies”. In the context of this announcement the article’s “open standards” objection  seems only to draw attention to why Cisco even needs to provide this interop at all: Customers are apparently on a large scale choosing what he calls “proprietary” and not “open standards”?  or as The Register cheekily noted today:

That could translate as “lots of our customers have already got some Lync and want interoperability because they're not going to throw it out in a hurry”.

I look forward to this new interoperability as customers and users stand to be winners.

Read the whole article here:

Or take a look at “The Register’s” take on this development:

Microsoft Lync MVP’s Recent Experience Using Hangouts


Just today Microsoft published an article on Microsoft Lync versus Google Hangout. I recently planned & hosted a series of public panel discussions and decided that since it was not business related I would use the free Google Hangouts on Air product to make myself aware of what is going on beyond Microsoft Lync. It was an interesting experience and I’ll add some of my personal notes to what has already been noted on the Office Blog.

One of the strong points of Hangouts is its broadcasting functionality (Hangouts on Air) and of course that fact that it is free. Here are some random Pro’s and Con’s I’ve noted.

Pros/Strong Points

  • Hangouts on Air - The ability to broadcast a meeting. This is a powerful feature that allows unlimited number of viewers of your meeting
  • plugin free media experience with supporting browsers - Cool, but not everyone will join using
  • FREE Is always great. (but it has it’s cost)
  • Hangout Toolbox lets you simply and nicely create a “Lower Third”
    • Speaker label in lower part of screen (likely more familiar to broadcasters than meeting people)
  • The meeting can be promoted on YouTube
  • With Uberconference integrated to Hangouts you can even have 10 dial in connections


Cons/Weak points

  • You need to have 2 services to get dial in: Hangouts + Uberconference
  • Even with these 2 services there are several limitations: In free version of Uberconference* dialin users are limited to 10 users
  • Since the Hangout user dials the Uberconference, there are 2 different places to mute/manage users now
  • You can not do a Hangouts on Air plus have Uberconference dialin users (In my mind this is a big reversal of the benefits of Hangouts on Air)
  • Distributing a "Participant" (someone who will show video/audio)  link versus a "View" (Just a Hangouts on Air watcher) link is not very intuitive and not an automatic way to simply do this
    • You can see who is going to “Watch” but not who is going to “Participate” versus “Watch” (in my opinion I don’t care so much who is going to watch as who of the participants is going to be able make it)
  • My experience was that Google Events & Hangouts seem somewhat loosely associated and the different pieces to have a successful meeting can be a little disorienting. This “many moving pieces” challenge can also present itself during the call/meeting as well



Lower Third” example:


Viewers, Maybe & Not Responded, but no clear Participant


Creating a new “Hangouts On Air” will send the “Audience” the “Viewer” Hangouts URL. (view only, not participate)


So how do you send a “Participant” (people who can speak and show their video) URL to users? From my experience you need to make the “Event/Hangouts on Air”, and this will send the “Event” and Viewing URL to those you select as “Audience”. Then you need to go to the “Event”, click “Start” as if you were starting the Hangout. The Hangout will prompt you to Invite the “Guests”, but I ignore this and click “Invite People” which sends the Participant Hangout URL. (Are Guest and People the same thing? Haven’t figured that out yet)


After you click Start, Make sure you DO NOT click “Start Broadcast” until the time of your actual meeting or your will need to start over as you can only make 1 broadcast.


Now click on “Invite People” at the top of the screen to send the “Participant” URL to users.




Hangouts is free and does nice job of broadcasting to viewers. In my opinion managing participants for a planned Hangouts on Air seemed a bit disjointed, fragmented &  awkward. It seems to me that Hangouts is more adept at small, adhoc meetings and it’s dial in capabilities seems very much a bolt on with various caveats: free edition limited to 10 users, it cannot accommodate “Hangouts on Air” and your attendee management will be at different places for Hangouts versus Uberconference joiners. I’ll admit that I was expecting a bit more smooth experience from Google Hangouts and at the moment don’t see it as a challenger to Microsoft Lync or other enterprise grade collaboration/meeting solutions.

* IMHO Uberconference is an incredible free audio conferencing tool, but it currently does not focus on video conferences.