Sunday 24 March 2024

AudioCodes Microsoft Teams Phone Manual Update

The other day I pulled out an AudioCodes C450HD that hadn’t been plugged in for a while. When I attempted to sign it into Microsoft Teams I was greeted with an error that said the Company Portal software was out of date and needed updating:


The phone was recommending that I should update it through the Google Play store. Given that Microsoft Teams phones don’t have the Google Play store on them, I could see that this was going to be a problem. The phone also was unable to be logged into Teams, so I wasn’t going to be able to update it using the Teams service via the regular update method. I figured that a manual process was going to be required.

After doing some searching on the web I came to realise that the manual update process for these phones was not documented anywhere that I could find. I did find a random PDF that talked about a tool called the “Teams Phone Utility” which I hadn’t come across before. Unfortunately, no amount of googling seemed like it was going to allow me to find or download this tool.

After hunting around on the AudioCodes software download site and looking through every folder on there, I was able to find a couple of different versions of firmware for the C450HD phone. These were not named in such a way that I could use to understand which software would be used for the upgrade process. In the search, I also stumbled upon a folder called the “Teams IPP Utility”, that contained a tool called the “Android Phone Tool” which did sound promising.

I downloaded a copy of the tool and after opening it, it looked just like the tool that I had seen in the PDF, it was just named differently. Now it was time to randomly guess how to use the tool. I put in the IP Address of the phone and went with the Username and Password of “admin” and clicked the "SSH Connect" button. Low and behold, it was connected:


As mentioned earlier, there was a couple of different types of firmware that I had found on the AudioCodes software site. Some of them were ZIP files and others were IMG files. I noticed that the tool seemed to only accept ZIP or APK file types for upgrade. I went with the ZIP file. I also noticed that there was a couple of different kinds of ZIP files. One named C450HD_AN and one there named C450HD_TEAMS.

If you open the zip file it has the following item inside:

I figured that I had better go with the TEAMS named file as the other ones may be a generic android load. So I downloaded the TEAMS version and selected it as the “Firmware file (zip)” file:

The firmware version was shown in the tool so it appeared that it could read the ZIP file and didn’t immediately fail. Now the moment of truth, I clicked the Submit button. The tool then popped a message saying “Processing the update package. This may take a few minutes”

So I waited. After a few minutes it told me that the process had completed successfully:

Nothing up until this point had happened on the screen of the phone which was a bit disconcerting. After a few more seconds a popup showed up on the screen:

After this the phone took a while and then rebooted and came up with the latest software version! Success!

Note: After upgrading the phone I noticed that there was a setting in newer versions of software for turning on SSH in the Debugging menu of the phone. You will need to turn this on in order for the tool to connect:


The Wrap Up

There you have it, simply keep looking and guessing and you too can find the answer to almost every problem. Hopefully this post saves you all the searching and guessing part 😊 Adios!

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Sunday 21 January 2024

What’s the Difference Between Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT?


In this post I go into some detail of how the different Copilots in Microsoft 365 operate in practice and show that not all the Copilots are created equal. This information could be both useful from a technical perspective but also useful from a staff training perspective. When you rollout Microsoft Copilot, people within the organisation need to understand that all the Copilots within the Office applications are not the same and are all tuned in different ways.


A Copilot is a Copilot is a Copilot?

When I first heard about Microsoft Copilot and saw the similar looking Copilot frame on the right side of the screen, I figured it was probably just a common interface that could access the data from the application you had open at the time. However, after actually getting the opportunity of playing with Microsoft Copilot in the various apps it has becomes clear that it is actually a lot more complex than that. Each of the Copilots within the apps has been tailored to respond in a context that makes sense for the type of application that you’re using. This has been achieved by the engineers at Microsoft, using various methods of prompt engineering and orchestration in the background.

I thought it would be useful to demonstrate the differences in the way the various Copilots in different apps respond to the exact same prompt. For this demo I have chosen an innocuous query that is not explicit and could be interpreted in different ways to see what happens. The query I chose was “Tell me about the weather in Melbourne”. This is not the kind of prompt you would really use in practice but is instead something that I’ve chosen to highlight the differences in the way each Copilot responds to the prompt.

Let's start by querying the OpenAI ChatGPT 3.5 model and see how this foundation model interprets this request. This will offer a comparison to see the difference that the exact same prompt will give when asking it of the various Copilots.


1. ChatGPT 3.5

You will see here that the ChatGPT foundational model has interpreted this question as a request to know the specific temperature in Melbourne right now. This is because I wasn’t explicit enough in what I had asked the model and so I didn’t get back any general information about expected temperature ranges in Melbourne. 

In setting up the ChatGPT model the OpenAI team appear to have created the system to fail gracefully in these cases where it thinks it's getting asked for data that's more current than it knows about. This is an unfortunate trait of the foundation models, they only know information up to when they were finished being trained. It is interesting that it did not respond with some more generic information about what the expected temperatures are throughout the year or historical information about the weather though (keep this in mind when we get to the Word Copilot example).


2. Bing Chat

Bing Chat is geared to behave much more like a web search engine. You can see in the example above that it reached out to the web and pulled back information from various websites about what the current temperature, and upcoming temperatures, will be in Melbourne. It also gave references to websites that it got this information from.

The method used here is called a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) framework, where it doesn't ask the foundation model for the answer to the question directly. Instead, Bing will first retrieve some reputable sources for the kind of information being requested and provide that data as part of the prompt to the foundation model (also often referred to as Grounding the model with data). The foundation model here has been used to interpret the retrieved data instead of using its own “knowledge” from the data it was trained on. In this case, Bing is functioning as an orchestration engine that retrieves data which it compiles into an expanded prompt that will be sent to the ChatGPT mode in addition to your original query.


3. M365 Chat

When I asked the M365 Chat interface within Teams this question, it responded that it couldn’t find the answer to the question and recommended that I use a web search. This is because the M365 Chat Copilot uses a similar Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) framework to Bing. Rather than searching the Internet for information on the weather in Melbourne, it attempted a Semantic Index search (Reference: across the documents, emails, chats and other data within my Office 365 tenant. I didn’t actually have any information within my tenancy on this topic at the time. As a result, M365 Chat was unable to get any information to the pass onto the foundation model to provide an answer. What is interesting to me here, is that it didn’t just ask the foundation model to have a go at telling me about the weather in Melbourne, but instead apologised for not being able to find any documents about this.

Note: In this case, the Microsoft 365 Chat Copilot was configured to only have access to internal documents and was not enabled for searching the Internet for data. This is a setting that administrators have control over:

Of course, had I have had documents that contained information on the weather in Melbourne it would have been able to answer me. Below is an example of the output when there is a document containing information about the weather in Melbourne. You will see here that the RAG model has been used to retrieve the data and the document is referenced below the response:

What is also interesting about the previous response is that this information was actually generated in Word from a later example that I ran for this blog post. The data being displayed here is actually an interpretation of information previously generated by the model. I find this to be an interesting, because when data like this keeps getting recycled through these models over time, will there start to be degradation of the quality of the information? Like a photocopy of a photocopy. Here’s an interesting article that goes into some more detail on what could be the result of this in the long term: (reference: Always take care to check the information the Copilot outputs before using the information.


4. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is usually used to create longer form documents, as a result, Microsoft has tuned the way the foundation model is prompted when you ask it questions in Word. In the example of asking it about the weather in Melbourne, the model responded with more of a Wikipedia style response, where it attempts to go into depth about what the climate is like in Melbourne throughout the year.

This is a stark difference to the way the ChatGPT foundation model tried to answer this question. This happens by design, as Microsoft realises that this is more likely what you want in a Word document rather than the wanting to know the temperature right now. The way they do this is by taking the original query and then adding additional (“system prompt”) information to it before sending it to the foundation model. This allows them to change the output to be more like what you might want in a Word document. It’s not clear exactly what Microsoft is including in the prompt that it sends to the foundation model, as you never get to see this additional information. If you play around enough with ChatGPT you can see that adding additional text like “provide an extended response similar to a reference encyclopaedia” will cause the model to give outputs more like this. I don’t believe it’s documented anywhere exactly what Microsoft add to the prompts to get these responses as the prompt engineering is a bit of secret sauce.


5. PowerPoint

The PowerPoint Copilot is an even more interesting topic as it doesn’t just produce text, it will also add pictures and make design choices when producing its output. You can see that for our example weather query it produced a nice picture of Melbourne’s botanical gardens and skyline, creates a meaningful heading and some dot points about the weather in Melbourne. It looks pretty impressive as an output to such a basic query:

This is all the more impressive when you have some understanding of what’s going on in the background for the PowerPoint Copilot. There is an interesting paper that I found which is produced by some of the research staff at Microsoft about how this works. It can be found here:

TLDR: For apps like PowerPoint the Copilot needs to be able to tell the application itself how to style the page in addition to just generating text. This kind of thing can be done with scripting languages which the foundation model could be used to produce (like Github Copilot), however, this method is prone to syntax errors. The researchers at Microsoft found that it was safer to create a specialised domain specific language for describing the layout of a document (more like a declarative language like is used for Terraform or PowerShell Desired State Configuration). The language, in this case, is called Office Domain Specific Language (ODSL) and is designed to use a minimal number of tokens (words) and be easily describable as an input to a foundation model. Here’s an example of the language:

1 # Inserts new "Title and Content" slides after provided ones.

2 slides = insert_slides(precededBy=slides, layout="Title and Content")

When the prompt is sent to the model it will include schema information about what the ODSL language and what the format of the desired response. The model will then respond with a description of what each slide should look like in the desired ODSL format. The response is thoroughly checked and validated to have the right format and then translated into a lower-level language by an interpreter program which then gets executed by PowerPoint. This is both very cool and crazy that the foundation models are powerful enough to do these kinds of things.


6. Outlook

When you write an email your colleagues you don’t really want to be known as the person that writes the dreaded War and Peace novel length emails. Fortunately, Microsoft are aware of this and when designing the Outlook Copilot, they took this into account. The output of this Copilot is designed to produce output that looks like, in both format and content, like an email. You can see below that the simple weather in Melbourne prompt actually created what looks and reads like an email. I must admit it did take a bit of artistic licence and go on a bit more of a ramble than I would have liked in this case though:


7. Excel

The Excel Copilot is once again quite different than the other Copilots. Asking it the weather is not exactly what it’s supposed to be used for, but I asked it anyway, because, why not?:

In excel, the Copilot is more for creating formulas and reasoning over the data that is in your spreadsheets. In the current preview version, the Copilot will only work on data that is in a defined table. This is likely to do with the fact that the data needs to be ordered in such a way to be sent as a prompt to the foundation model. In doing this the data needs to retain all the column and row information but also keeps the token count low enough to be processed. I’m not sure if it’s clear how Microsoft could process an entire very large spreadsheet (with the potential complexity of multiple pages, and scattered data, etc) through the foundation models give their token limits currently. Until they figure this out, we may be stuck with only processing data that is in defined smaller tables for the time being.

If you are wondering what the Excel Copilot can actually do though, here’s an example of how you could ask the Excel Copilot to reason over the data in a table and give you an answer:

Also, here’s an example of how you can ask the Excel Copilot for a formula for producing a Fahrenheit column from a Celsius column:



8. Microsoft Whiteboard

The Microsoft Whiteboard Copilot has another take on what it produces based on our modest weather question. It produced a bunch of sticky notes for various things that the weather could be in Melbourne. This is more contextualized toward a brainstorming type of session which is be common when using a Whiteboard:


This is once again, a fun and different take on how a foundation model can be used to produce a more context aware output for the application at hand.


The Wrap Up

As you can see, all these Copilots across the Microsoft Office apps are all very different beasts, and this is something that people within your organisation should understand in order to get the most out of Copilot product set. This is certainly something to keep in mind when training staff on the potential use cases and determining which Copilot is right for the task at hand. Cheers!

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Monday 27 November 2023

Microsoft Teams Phone Hotline (Bling) Feature

Microsoft released a new feature for Teams Phone! The feature is called Hotline or PLAR (Private Line Auto Ringdown – for those that must have an obscure acronym for a feature that already has the perfect name). The feature is very simple, but will certainly help with Common Area Phone deployments. In some cases, you just want a phone to do one job and that is to ring to one specific location when it’s picked up. This allows you to mount the phone in a public place and not worry about people using it to call another people within your organisation (or even worse, to make an expensive external call).


  • The Teams Phone device must be running at least version: 1449/ of the Teams Phone software.
  • The phone account must be a given a Microsoft Teams Shared Devices license. This feature does not exist for a personal login from a regular user. 

  • The hotline can be set up to ring either a contact or a phone number (both options are described below).
  • The Advanced Calling feature must be turned off in order to use the Hotline feature.
  • From my experience, configuration profiles only get pushed to devices at the time they are added to the device or when you update a setting(s) in a configuration profile that is already assigned to a device. If you go and manually assign settings on the phone and then later update the Configuration Profile that is assigned to the device, the manual setting will be overridden by the policy.



The feature is inbuilt in the Teams Phone software. There are two methods for getting the configuration on to the device. The first is to configure it directly on the device via the settings screen. The second is to push the configuration to the device using a Configuration Profile within the Teams Admin Centre. I will explain both below:


Option 1. Configuration on Device:

On the Device go to Settings > Device settings > Admin only > Calling > Hotline


Within the settings you get an Enable toggle and the contact that you want the Hotline to ring to. When you switch on the enable toggle, the phone reboots, so it's best if you first configure the contact information before enabling hotline:

When you enter the Configured Contact area you will see a Contact Picker dialog. From here you can type in Contact Names:

Or, if you type in a phone number that the system can normalise, it will allow you to select it also:

Add a Display Name that will make sense to the user that's using the hotline phone, because this name is displayed on the screen of the device when in it's idle mode:

Once it’s added, you will just see the Display Name in the Configured Contact area and not the number or contact that it's actually going to call (so when you're troubleshooting this config in the future, it's always good to open the configured contact to make sure it's going to the place you expect): 

The phone will now restart and you should see the following on the screen. (Note, the last word "emergency" is the display name you configured):


Option 2. Configuration via the Teams Admin Centre:

You can find the settings for phone devices under the Teams Devices > Phones area within the Teams Admin Centre:

In this setting you turn on the Hotline toggle and then enter a contact and a Display Name:

If you want to dial an external number you need to make sure that when you click on the "Search for a Contact" field you click the very difficult to see Configure Contact Manually “button” at the bottom of the drop down:

When you do this the Admin Centre will allow you to create a contact object with a phone number associated with it that will become the destination of the hotline:

Now you can save your Configuration profile and go and assign it to the Common Area Phone. From the All Phones tab, select the phone you want to assign the profile to and click the Assign Configuration button:

A fly out window will now appear from the right of screen that ask you to type in the profile name. (You need to  remember at least the first 3 characters of the name you assigned). Select the profile from the list it provides as you type:

Apply the setting. As a tip, if you want to know which configuration profile is assigned to your phones, you have to scroll to the far right of the device list (it’s not really obvious that these additional columns are hidden over there). You will see, in this case, that the Common Area phone has the "Hotline" profile I assigned:


Note: After assigning a configuration policy you may have to wait for 15 mins or more for it to be pushed out to the device. You can see in the device history area that the update is queued. Once it’s complete, the device history will show the status as Successful:


Here’s an example of the feature working on the phone:

Note: This GIF is made with my Teams Phone Screen Capture tool:

 Notice in the animation above, when the call is answered the caller doesn't get any features like Hold or Transfer. However, the person answering the call still gets these options in case they want to transfer to someone else, etc.

The Wrap Up

Whilst this process is simple enough, there are steps that aren’t particularly intuitive. Hopefully this has clarified things for you and you can get on with your Hotline Bling.

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Monday 16 October 2023

Teams Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA) Logging Issue

If you plan on deploying a Teams Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA) for a larger site you need to be aware of the amount of logging that the Teams SBA service will do to disk. The amount of free space on an SBA can be very limited so it’s important to keep an eye on the logs being generated. 

Here’s an example of a Virtual SBA from AudioCodes that only has 40GB of HDD space to begin with:

Based on this limited amount of space you can’t really expect to be doing a massive amount of logging on the server. Before you go into production you need to be ready for how large the log files are going to be.

Here’s an example of the logging folder from a Teams SBA with over 1000 users connected it. You can see that the main SBA log file rolls once and hour and that each file takes up about 30 MB of space:

If you do some math that’s 24 x 30MB per day of logs being generated on an SBA with 1000 users on it. That adds up to 792 MB per day… Now multiple that by how many days the SBA service logs for by default (30 days!). That’s about 23.7GB of log data that will be stored on the SBA with 1000 users. If you’re wondering what happens when the HDD completely fills up; the SBA service can crash and stop operating. Hot tip: you should try and avoid this.

In order to avoid this issue, you need to tune the number of days that the SBA service will store data on the Teams SBA server. This setting is hidden away in the SBA settings file stored here:

  C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Microsoft SBA\sbasettings.json

Within the file there’s a setting called MaxArchiveDays which you will see defaults to 30 days. All you need to do is reduce this to a value that will work for your available HDD space:

  "Sba": {

    "Identity": "",

    "TenantId": "523fsdfa-d630-2331-a231-d17123fdc377c",

    "Logger": {

      "Directory": null,

      "Level": "Info",

      "MaxArchiveDays": 30




Once you edit this setting the service will pick up the change in real time and prune the existing files down to the new number of days. Crisis averted!


The Wrap Up


Be good to your SBA, treat it well, have some empathy for the machine. I hope this saved you a nasty surprise. Cheers!

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Saturday 15 April 2023

Microsoft Teams Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA) is “410 Gone”

When configuring a Microsoft Teams Direct Routing Survivable Branch Appliance the other day I ran into an error. It was an interesting one that I think others will likely run into at some point too, so here is a blog post to save you wasting any more time than you need to thinking about it. After setting up the Teams SBA, I found that I could get users connected to it to send calls outbound to the PSTN, however, when I tried to send calls to the users in the other direction they would fail. Looking closer at the logging from the SBC I could see the error response was “410 Gone”… Gone Baby Gone…  

The 410 Gone error from a Teams SBA looked like this:

SIP/2.0 410 Gone

FROM: <sip:+61399992000@>;tag=1c1327591735

TO: <>;tag=703d3577eb1a468bbcdb34a0a78c690f



VIA: SIP/2.0/TLS;branch=z9hG4bKac1432917422

REASON: Q.850;cause=22;text="c586066f-ceb5-4d83-8803-400791d033de;MediaOfferError"

CONTACT: <;transport=tls;x-i=c586066f-ceb5-4d83-8803-400791d033de;x-c=9baa3cbe22ec46ffb8ac39fffce08f20>



SERVER: Microsoft.Teams.SIPSBA v.2022.6.14.1


"Gone" is not a SIP error that I have seen very often in the wild and kind of sounds like it might be related to the user not being connected to the SBA properly. However, after looking more closely at the error, I saw that there was a REASON attribute included in the message that said “MediaOfferError” which then made me further consider what was happening on the media side of things… From most traditional SIP Stacks, I would usually expect a “488 Not Acceptable Here” message response for an SDP refusal scenario, but this is the Teams SBA, so why expect anything that makes sense :)

When I looked at the INVITE that was being sent to the SBA from the SBC, it looked legit:


Via: SIP/2.0/TLS;alias;branch=z9hG4bKac1432917422

Max-Forwards: 69

From: <sip:+61399992000@>;tag=1c1327591735

To: <>



Contact: <;transport=tls;ob>

Supported: norefersub,100rel,timer,replaces,sdp-anat


Session-Expires: 1800

Min-SE: 90

User-Agent: Mediant SW/v.7.40A.250.265

Content-Type: application/sdp

Content-Length: 287



o=- 419722796 1831657774 IN IP4



t=0 0


m=audio 50012 RTP/AVP 0 8 96

c=IN IP4


a=rtcp:50013 IN IP4


a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000

a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000

a=rtpmap:96 telephone-event/8000

a=fmtp:96 0-16


The keen eyed folk in the audience may have noticed though that the SDP portion of the SIP message is in the regular format and not the fancy ICE format that includes a candidate list. The even more keen eyed may be thinking, "yeah, but the Teams Direct Routing service supports this format for SDP, so what's the problem?". Well, unfortunately, the problem is that the SBA only supports ICE formatted SDP lists (which may be because calls are technically media bypassing the SBA). I could see this catching out production deployments where the traditional SDP format is being used for calls to Teams Direct Routing (because this does work). Just keep in mind that the same settings pointing to the SBA will fail dismally.

The Fix

In order to fix this on an AudioCodes SBC you need to make sure that the IP Profile assigned to the SBA has ICE Mode set to “Lite”:

After enabling ICE Lite Mode, the INVITE messages that go to the SBA will be formatted with candidate information, which looks like this:


Via: SIP/2.0/TLS;alias;branch=z9hG4bKac11041617

Max-Forwards: 69

From: <sip:+61399992000@>;tag=1c200843402

To: <>



Contact: <;transport=tls;ob>

Supported: norefersub,100rel,timer,replaces,sdp-anat


Session-Expires: 1800

Min-SE: 90

User-Agent: Mediant SW/v.7.40A.250.265

Content-Type: application/sdp

Content-Length: 900



o=- 617366211 1969606384 IN IP4



t=0 0



m=audio 50004 RTP/SAVP 0 8 96

c=IN IP4


a=rtcp:50005 IN IP4


a=rtpmap:0 PCMU/8000

a=rtpmap:8 PCMA/8000

a=rtpmap:96 telephone-event/8000

a=fmtp:96 0-16



a=candidate:128566170 1 udp 2130706431 50004 typ host

a=candidate:128566170 2 udp 2130706430 50005 typ host

a=crypto:1 AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_80 inline:UKAS7+0XGSZeXGFreZWWQU0vuf0D1D/F97dVtVLs|2^31

a=crypto:2 AES_CM_128_HMAC_SHA1_32 inline:2kuctHvNudt69PR8gxX/SPcX8LLWGsqdD+uecRxe|2^31

a=crypto:3 AES_256_CM_HMAC_SHA1_80 inline:L0E/e24PTtJ9mUwwWdb3QlCQBtd4WdSuSZvVi45ZkkyhqhnwGTuZGbXjcWJ6dc==|2^31

a=crypto:4 AES_256_CM_HMAC_SHA1_32 inline:z2WjgpGD1HC2HR0+3NZVEfuwEVJ8u0CyHAKuEZAIbMtnHCNw0ieSE22XVCQ39s==|2^31


Once you’ve done this, calls from the PSTN to the Teams Client via the SBA should work.


The Wrap Up


There you have it, more madcapped craziness from the world of Microsoft Teams. Till next time, I’m “410 Gone”. Catch ya later!

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