Summer is over, the best time of the year is almost here: Autumn , the start of the NHL season and perhaps the most important Blizzcon that has ever been planned.
Things accomplished this Summer: Another great CLUS, my first year at Blizzard, weight loss and working out.
Hovering around that has been my renewed love of the hobby known as Audiophile which is basically a fancy way of saying “stereo gear”. So this is the first of an expansion of this blog which previously had been all about Collaboration but in a way audiophile as a hobby provides recorded or sometimes live musical and artistic Collaboration so this makes sense.
GEAR BUILD OUT
Many years ago I had a great setup of B&W DM607’s powered by a Marantz Mono-Block Amp and AV setup. Streaming via different services wasn’t as common then so it was a mix of ripped MP3 files , CD’s and a small vinyl collection.
In the year 2019 though the way musical content gets delivered has changed to an almost unlimited number of options for streaming services. Previously a huge fan of Google Play Music my current service of choice is Tidal HiFi but content only is part of the equation in this hobby.
My current budget listening setup runs the following lineup:
Streaming Source – Dell XPS15 USB Audio out via TB Dock
Content – Tidal HiFi, Google Play Music, FLAC, Vinyl, CD
USB Interface – Schiit Eitr
Integrated Amp + DAC – Onkyo A-9010
Turntable – Audio Technica LP120 (Non-modified)
CD Transport – Onkyo C-7030
Speakers – Definitive Technology D7 Bookshelf speakers
Speaker Cable – Custom made AJW cable (this was a fun project)
Headphones – Audio Technica M50x
Minus the $20/month Tidal HiFi sub the above build out was had for around $1k total and to this point I have been happy with the sound but as is always the case with this hobby tweaks and thus costs abound if you get bitten by that bug. Sadly I can’t stop scratching all the bites I currently have.
THE BUG HAS ME AGAIN
Tomorrow I’m scheduled to get my Marantz HD-DAC1 which will serve as my primary headphone amp and DAC for digital services. This unit runs for around $800 which as you can see almost equals the full amount of what I spent on everything above. So what am I hoping to get with this change: that elusive 5% sound improvement that drives us all.
I kid, I’m actually going to do some before and after AB testing to see if what my ears hear have any basis in science but that is a post for another day.
Okay so $800, in this world that leaves me money to focus on a speaker upgrade next possibly though I am very happy with the imaging and sound produced by the DT’s so maybe I’ll keep them.
SO WHAT IS NEXT
With the expected delivery of the new Marantz piece tomorrow I’ll be doing an unboxing, setup, tweaking and config of the system for anyone that wants to see it. Going forward my plan is to improve content load but split it between more traditional Collab items along with the sweet sounds of music and how our environments impact it.
Someone once asked me why I seem to enjoy dealing with TAC, Tech Support, Support, insert some other title here as much as I do and the answer was simple: every time I deal with TAC I come away with some new piece of knowledge.
Yes I know we all have played TAC roulette where maybe the person you get handling your case doesn’t seem to have that much knowledge of what you are calling about. Maybe they are just starting down their career path and it’s their first day. Maybe English isn’t their first language. In the end though , for me, calling TAC isn’t just about solving a problem but rather learning something new each time I end a given case. That doesn’t have to be something technical because like many things in life , the results of an action are only as good as the effort you put into that action.
As a reference point I’ll talk about a recent case I worked through around getting SAML based SSO, IDP = Okta, to work with Cisco Collab. After burning on this for a few days with two internal engineers we then engaged both Cisco and Okta TAC. Having worked with the Cisco engineer we got before we knew we were in a great spot. The Okta engineer was new to us though. The first Webex we did with all of us didn’t go great, no real progress seemed to be made and the Okta TAC had to drop earlier. It would have been easy to just write that engineer off as not caring as much as the Cisco TAC did or maybe he didn’t know what he was talking about but he asked us to reschedule for later in the afternoon. So we waited and within about 30 minutes of that second call starting the Okta Engineer and resolved both issues. Maybe they were able to clear their head , maybe they spoke to someone else , maybe they didn’t do anything at all related to our case and just found the right logs to look at when we all got back together.
The point being that TAC is there to solve problems for their customers , among other things, and this engineer did just that which is why we all pay for such support. So great, what new things did I get from that case that made this another enjoyable scenario:
This was the first time I had gone through dealing with Okta support so I got to learn what that process is and what mechanisms they use to interface with their customers.
I picked up this CUCM CLI driven command:
set samltrace level
TAC also pointed us to these two documents which really seemed to help explain and troubleshoot SSO.
Not every TAC engineer is going to be the all star you hope for but remember the following: life is a two way street. You as a customer have the responsibility to be a good customer on that call. You have a responsibility to do your part to try and make it easier for TAC to do their part and for me that comes down to always trying to learn something new. =)
The following works with PCCE and UCCE with the same general theory approach being applicable in UCCX. Any account name changes , where possible, should be considered.
Hello Friend, it’s been awhile.
At my previous job we had two PCCE deployments , both 10.5(3) and 11.6(1), running off a CUCM 10.5 cluster. Their is this one small little account used in the Cisco Contact center world called PG User and you don’t know what fun is until that “remove all devices” button has accidentally been checked . Middle of the day. While in production. Managers and supervisors panic while co-workers feel complete shame and guilt for just a poorly designed UI element. Thankfully that has been improved in a later version of CUCM but that is a story for another day.
So lets say it’s happened , someone has clicked that button and removed your users from PG User. Here you are starting to add them back and having people login when you get the good old “Device Inaccessible” message from Finesse. In a follow up article I’m going to show how you can really start to dig into this more as to the how and why with logs and your good old CLI friend OPC but for now what is the quickest move to get your agents back that doesn’t involve changing their numbers?
Before going over those steps the tag line , if you will, for this blog is one of my core approaches in life: Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. What that means to me is going SLOW and taking your time , within reason, is going to be SMOOTH and limit errors or repeat work which will result in FAST turn around times on your target. Keep that in mind with these steps because rushing through them will only create duplicate work.
Assuming you have done the SLOW part then everything should have been SMOOTH with no unexpected issues meaning you now have a FAST solution for this problem. Finally login to Finesse with the same device again and bask in the glory of all those inbound ACD calls!
I have a few different posts queued up that I am working on but this one is too useful , I think, to not make it a priority.
At CLUS in June I was in a session talking about rethinking what is possible with CVP and how you can leverage different API’s, SDK’s or whatever to go beyond traditional deployments. This has really changed the way I approach the Cisco Contact Center space and ever since then I have been looking for ways to incorporate different elements into that world.
Everyone in the that Contact Center space, regardless of if its UCCX or PCCE or full blown UCCE, knows just how complex and how many different software elements make that engine go. From CVP to ICM to CUIC to Finesse and everything in between their are a million components meaning their are just as many if not more chances for bugs to creep up. It is inevitable for something like that to happen with so many moving parts and it is just as inevitable that their will be software updates , ES (Engineering Special) releases , hotfixes or similar items that come out to fix those issues. Previous notification of such was done in a few different ways either by the web, social media on critical items, your Account Team, email or some other manner.
Enter Webex Teams to make such release notifications substantially easier in my opinion.
At some point recently Cisco started compiling all ES release notes in a nice table which sadly seems to only be in the partner space currently that or my current entitlements are wrong for access to it. I’m investigating that but I can tell you if you can get to the table it’s a great resource when looking for update knowledge which you can find here: Cisco Contact Center ES Release Table
What I want to focus on is this bottom section of the page which gives you a way to get update info directly into Webex Teams:
Charlie is a bot which provides latest information about Latest Engineering Specials and other important updates.
Okay great so what does this actually do?
Once you add this bot then you are greeted by this welcome which gives you base info along with the current supported command list:
Seems pretty straight forward , lets run one of these commands and see what happens. I’ll go with /ucce-updates-latest which it says will show me the 3 latest updates about Unified CCE solution releases and sure enough that is what I get:
Pretty damn useful if you ask me and what is great is this bot doesn’t seem to be limited to just release updates as you can see by that last item above. Another example is this alert that came across previously talking about the Expansion of the Contact Center Solutions Plus Program:
While I am aware you can get this kind of info in different ways I see a huge ROI on this approach. Being able to add it to a space where you have your contact center team or just in general a more proactive notification approach like this can’t be beat. It’s not the same as getting yet another email notice as I find the nature of persistent chat solutions like Webex Teams to be more elegant.
Alright that is enough for this Sunday morning. Remember, keep rethinking your Contact Center experience and growing your knowledge base on a daily basis!
Here we are a few days after CLUS 2018 in Orlando and everything was great. I had arguably the greatest car ride ever to the CAE with A Fish, A Ginger , A Hat and an SE. A Webex Teams Master and I tried to run a Physical Security Op against a vendor in the WoS and came very close. I got to take part in the Cisco Champions Behind the Scenes Tour which turned out to be one of my favorite things. I plan on doing another entry just about CLUS but I want to go over a concept that came out of the first session I was in on Sunday which was a 4 hour Deep Dive into CVP.
This session was essentially broken down into the following 2 categories:
It’s that second item I want to talk about in this post.
This has completely changed the way I approach Collab projects. Where before my thoughts were “are my local route patterns built right” or “do I have the correct CSS to call something” I now find myself thinking wouldn’t it be great to not think just about those traditional UC items but how to grow call flows and expand them out in ways we have never done before.
So with all that being said lets see where all this takes us, I am excited to keep moving forward and seeing how the Collab and DevNet worlds weave together and expand the way people communicate.
This time next week I will be sitting in my hotel room in Orlando ready for Summer Camp with Friends or as it is more commonly known CLUS (Cisco Live US) and I can’t wait!
This year will be my first as a Cisco Champion and the recently re-branded as Webex Teams (Spark) Ambassador so that has opened a few new opportunities but most importantly a whole new group of amazing people to meet and network with.
Sure I am not looking forward to the heat and humidity but looking forward to learning more, to come back a better Collab\Contact Center Engineer then I am now and most importantly to come together again with a group of people that although for all but this week of this year I only see virtually mean so much to me.
Every year I say ” I am going to take it a bit easier with session load” so of course this year between Sunday and Monday I am in QTY 3 of the 4 hour lab sessions:
The rest of my week is a mixture of PCCE, Finesse and Cisco+MSFT based sessions along with some CCP specific opportunities. DevNet sessions will be attended as much as possible. Get on that train or get out of the way because the world is no longer about punch down tools and DTMF but rather API’s and SDK’s.
Alright , too many hockey pucks to the head make me think that pace is a good idea…speaking of which ….We have a Bubble Hockey thing going on hopefully with a few friends..pics will be posted and cups will be won.
Anyway getting back to the important stuff.. I’m excited because a previous co-worker that has been an SE for awhile will be there. I’m excited because members of our account team will be there. I’m excited because it’s time to activate the Sherpa powers for Denise Fishburne. I’m excited to see the impact that Amy Engineer has on not just those that are lucky enough to know her but for thousands of technical people around the world. Most of all I’m just excited to spend 5 days surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things.
WHAT: Starting with CVP 11.5(1) and onward the file naming convention used when the WAV file recording of an Agent Greeting (AG) is saved has changed.
BACKGROUND: For those that don’t know what AG is the following is an explanation though chances are high if you are reading this still you know what we are talking about. Anyway here is the by the book definition taken from one of the official Cisco guides “Agent Greeting feature lets you record a message that plays automatically to callers when they connect to you. Your greeting message can welcome the caller, identify yourself, and include other useful contextual information. With Agent Greeting, each caller can receive a clear, well-paced, language-appropriate, and enthusiastic introduction. And it saves you, the agent, from having to repeat the same introductory phrase for each call”
OFFICIAL EXPLANATION: Going through the link you can find here we have this nice little section tucked at the very end of this section which tells the whole story,“ This release includes a change in the Agent Greeting file naming convention. The greeting file is now named using the convention PersonID_AgentGreetingType (instead of LoginName_AgentGreetingType). Because of this change, existing agent greeting files do not play until they are either rerecorded or renamed. “
THOUGHTS: So this one got me right in the middle of going from PCCE 10.5(3) to PCCE 11.6(1). We all know the tried and true naming convention of Agent Greeting in previous versions of CVP: loginname_AGType.wav or for example 1234_1.wav.
Most exciting because as we see above with this version of CVP their is a substantial change to what CVP is looking for on AG. The AGType component of the file doesn’t change any so you will still have your 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 for Elvish or whatever other call types you have defined. What we want to focus on is the first element and sadly their is no administratively easy way to get that info but wait hiding in the documentation section of this a PERL script based approach that will , when you apply some logic to it, rename your current WAV files to the new expected file format.
This conversion process works and works damn well when you follow all the steps given. To quickly go over those steps:
BONUS POINTS: Depending on your version of what or where you are trying to do this from but over all this SQL query run against the AWDB should give you the ability to manually get the PERSON ID assuming you know the PeripheralNumber which equates to the Agent ID and you can easily get that from CCE admin among other places.
Wildcards to change
FROM [DB NAME].[dbo].[t_Agent] where PeripheralNumber='AGENT ID'