Custom Presence in Lync 2010

I was teaching an OCS 2007 R2 class and was talking about custom presence and then someone asked if custom presence worked with Lync.  So I figured that would be my next blog article to post. Communicator  has supported the customization of up to 4 additional presence states for a while and now Lync has the same capabilities as well.

Basically the same configuration steps are used as what Office Communicator 2007 R2 required, since a change to the default security behavior was added after the 2007 (R1) client which prevented the use of non HTTPS connections to the configuration file.

1.Create a new XML file on the local workstation and customize the presence states and descriptions.
2.Disable SIP High Security Mode within Lync.
3.Enable Custom Presence States within Lync.

So if you already know how to do this in the OCS R2 client, then follow the same procedures; for those of you new to the Communications Server products then here is a step-by-step walkthrough specifically for Lync.

Configuration File

The custom configuration information is stored in an XML file that must be manually created first. A maximum of 4 states and a limit of 64 characters in the description text can be applied.  This file can be accessed by the Lync client using either direct access to the file (via local disk or shared directory on a remote server) or as a web client using HTTP or HTTPS.

The aforementioned change between OC 2007 and 2007 R2 is the default behavior is now to force a secure connection to the XML file, limiting the option to only accessing the file via HTTPS.  This is fine when you want the same custom states to be available for multiple users across all workstations, but for simply adding the additional states to a single primary workstation for yourself using a local file is the best approach.

Because Lync follows the same default behavior of forcing HTTPS then in order to use a local XML file this behavior will need to be disabled, which will be addressed in the next section.  For now the following steps should be performed to create the configuration file and store it on the local workstation.

■Copy the following text and save into a new text file named presence.xml saved somewhere on the local workstation. (e.g. c:\Windows\presence.xml). This file can be saved anywhere as long as file security settings allow read access to it.  Commonly it can be stored in either the client installation directory or user’s documents folder.

  <customState ID=”1″ availability=”Online”>
    <activity LCID=”1033″>Working from Home</activity>
  <customState ID=”2″ availability=”Busy”>
    <activity LCID=”1033″>In a Meeting</activity>
  <customState ID=”3″ availability=”Busy”>
    <activity LCID=”1033″>In a call</activity>
  <customState ID=”4″ availability=”do-not-disturb”>
    <activity LCID=”1033″>Delivering a Presentation</activity>

Registry Settings

To trigger the Lync client to import and use the custom state information two settings will need to be set within the local  workstation’s registry.  The first is to allow a local file to be read and removed the HTTPS requirement while the second settings tell Lync where to find the presence configuration file.

■Create a new REG_DWORD value named EnableSIPHighSecurityMode in the Communicator Software Policies key shown below.  Enter the value of ‘0’ to disable this security mode.

Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator
Name: EnableSIPHighSecurityMode
Value: 0
■Create a new REG_SZ value named CustomStateURL in the same key as shown below.  Enter the absolute path to the presence.xml file using the file:/// URL format.

Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator
Name: CustomStateURL
Value: file:///C:/Windows/presence.xml

Restart Lync

■Exit and restart the Lync client to pick up the configuration changes and then pull down the status menu to locate the new choices.

Modifying Containers

■Now something that is interesting is that your custom presence will not be visiable to “federated users” by default.  They will still show your basic presence with available, busy, away, etc… To allow “federated users” to see your custom presence you will need to move them to another container that is not there default one.

■Right click on a contact and select “Change Privacy Relationship”

■Then select “Colleagues”, and your done.  From that point forward now even your “federated users” will see your custom presence.

Hopefully this was usefull to you and bringing you a step by step method of implementing custom presence with Lync 2010.



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