Pexip Infinity, Logitech SmartDock Skype Room System, Microsoft Exchange, Polycom VTC

So there is lots going on in this blog post. Pexip Infinity, Logitech SmartDock Skype Room System, Microsoft Exchange, Polycom VTC

The Background

Let’s talk around what I am doing before diving into the blog post.  Traditionally, enterprises could have the following components in their video network and these were typically based on dedicated hardware or appliances.

  1. Call Control Server
  2. Firewall Traversal Server
  3. MCU Server
  4. WebRTC Servers
  5. Platform Control Server
  6. Management Server

Now that is a lot of devices to manage with multiple portals for admins, so what Pexip can introduce to the enterprise is a simplistic architecture away from traditional approaches.

  1. Management Node – Management server, call control, platform control
  2. Conference node(s) – Registrar, WebRTC, Firewall Traversal –

So there we have it, a simple approach to video architecture, so with Pexip, you can simplify your enterprise video deployment.  Oh and it is only virtual, so can be deployed in Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012/2016, VMware 5.x or higher.  In addition, Pexip also supports being deployed in Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.

Why do I need this?

Well every day I speak to customers that are rolling out Microsoft Skype for Business and they want users to keep within the Microsoft platform for everything and just make everything work with Skype for Business.  This is where Pexip is simply a transparrent gateway behind the scenes whether for point to point calls from Skype to VTC endpoints or Skype Meetings bringing in VTC endpoints.

The Setup

In the platform I am using for the below, I have Skype for Business 2015 Server, Exchange 2016 Server, Skype for Bsuiness 2016 client, Outlook 2016 client on Windows 10. I also have the new Logitech Smart Dock (Skype Room System v2) registered to the Skype for Business server.  I also have a Polycom Group Series VTC registered to Pexip Infinity as a SIP device and it is also registered to the Exchange Server as a resource mailbox.

Let me show you how simply you can integrate all these elements, and make simple point to point calls between them. With just your SRS and Skype for Business, Polycom VTC and Pexip. No other devices or appliances.

The Workflow

First of all, we start off with a Outlook calendar entry in our  client.

We then invite the resources we need.

Due to the polices in place, the room should auto accept or decline the invite.

Once the Polycom configured mailbox accepts the invite, it will be displayed in the calendar on the home screen.

One it is time to join the meeting, you will see the meeting reminder and you can join the meeting.  This timer is configurable in the platform.

From my Skype client, I simply join the meeting using either the Outlook reminder or using the join link in the invite.

I then click on the join link on the Polycom VTC and we are in a call.

 

We can then invite other users such as the new Logitech Smartdock or Skype Room System (SRS).

Just simply answer the incoming call on the SRS system.

And we are now in a Skype Meeting with VTCs using Pexip Infinity.

Here is the view from the Skype Client

 

And here is the SRS view

And here is the VTC view

Everyone gets the exact experience they expect per device, not breaking any existing workflows.

 

I can then share my content from my Skype client and it appears everywhere

The SRS screen showing content is being shared by Pete Campbell

And here it is

And here is the VTC with the content, all in the correct place.

Even instant messaging is supported from the Skype clients to the SRS.  You get a small toast notification in the top right hand corner.

If a user was joined via Pexip WebRTC browser, they would also be able to communicate with all users using IM.

And here is a video of it all in action

Pexip Infinity View

Now here is what the call looks like from the Pexip Infinity dashboard.  This is the new Live View status page

We can then double click on the blue blob and get further information about the session.

And here is a video overview of the viewing the stats in Pexip Infinity.

Setting up Polycom system and the Microsoft Exchange integration

This is well documented in the Group Series and HDX admin guides, but here is a quick screenshot to see it.

The system is registered to Pexip for SIP call control.

We then set the Exchange credentials.

 

Here is the view from Microsoft Exchange

Jeff Schertz has a great blog post on setting up the mailbox account here.

New-Mailbox –Name “Polycom VTC” –Alias “polycomvtc” –UserPrincipalName “polycomvtc@example.com” –sAMAccountName “polycomvtc” –Room -RoomMailboxPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -String “securepassword” -AsPlainText -Force) -OrganizationalUnit “cn=users,dc=example,dc=com” -EnableRoomMailboxAccount $true

Set-CalendarProcessing -Identity “polycomvtc” -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept -AddOrganizerToSubject $false -RemovePrivateProperty $false

This part is optional as the account will not need a SIP address as you can register VTCs to Pexip and use the registrar feature. However, you could also use ADSI and add a msRTCSIP-PrimaryUserAddress to the AD field to show the correct address when someone searched the Skype contact list.

Enable-CsMeetingRoom -Identity “polycomvtc” -SipAddress “sip:polycomvtc@domain.com” -domaincontroller “domaincon.domain.local” -RegistrarPool “skypeservername.domain.local”

Logitech Smartdock – a few extra shots

Press the Invite this room button on the screen

 

Polycom Group Series home screen with not meeting invite.

Feel free to post any questions below.

  • Ralf Hermsen

    Great Post Graham. I’m really impressed by the solution and the ease of operation.

  • Sean O’Connor

    Hmm, Graham. A few clarifying points.. First, you referenced Jeff Schertz’s blog on how to make the exchange calendar work on GS. Noticed you did not use the new SfB interface on the Group to complete the look and feel as a SFB device? Am guessing you do not have a Polycom RP Touch to enable it… Shame. It’s really good.

    But what you show in this post that the Polycom Group registered to the Pexip Infinity to connect to SfB. Why? If you just register the GS natively with the MS license, YOU DON’T NEED ANY OF THE PEXIP PLATFORM. (and of course, why use WebRTC when SfB already has a way for PC users to connect, the SfB client or the guest app). By adding the Pexip Platform, in this case for no reason, you add more cost and complexity to SfB.

    Also note, that this call with 1 VTC and 2 SFB users “costs” 3 call licenses on Pexip (one of his screen shots). If another VTC or WebRTC was to join, the call license “cost” would go to 8 (see math below). Then note when RDP shared, the license “cost” does not change, but the transcode of RDP to BFCP takes CPU (not shown in any of his screen shots). So more CPU costs to make the Pexip Solution work.

    I know you may say that when buying user licensing Pexip pricing plan, the license participant count does not matter, it is “unlimited.” Meaning if you buy 20 users, which is VMRs, than can have a million call licenses. BUT, just anything, including VE, the number of servers and CPU, either commodity Intel CPU or dedicated DSPs, You still have to account for it. Last I checked, Intel is not giving away free CPUs, VMware is not free, MS Hyper-V is only free inside your MS subscription, AWS and Azure are not free to user either… All it seems you folks are doing is deferring the hardware spending to a different bucket.
    —–
    How our math was doen – Graham – please keep me honest.. add ALL the participants together (VTC and SfB clients, up to 5 total per the SFB gallery view)… then times that number by the number of VTC participants.

    In a short test, here is 2 VTC and 2 SFB… so 2+2 =4. I have two VTC so 2*4= 8.

    I am at participant count of 8. In this case, all is 720p, so I am using 8 ports of HD. Correct? I’d post a screen shot but your blog window doesn’t seem to support.

    Stay tuned for the updates to the RealConnect for O365 Service which will be a license per user and not require something like that Pexip platform to complete. Wait, you were at Microsoft Ignite with the really loud pants in Atlanta this year, you must have heard about it and seen the demo??

    Sean

    • Hi Sean

      Thanks for the comments. As for images, they should able to be uploaded, just in the bottom left of the reply window. They are not disabled server side.

      Let me address each of your points. The whole point is that people are allow a choice and free to select whatever suits their needs best.

      You are correct, I do not have the RP Touch, I only have a PTC (linked to a HDX). In addition, not all customers have a RP Touch and may have either the PTC or even Crestron/AMX doing other tasks in the meeting rooms. To purchase say 50 x RP Touch units, could be quite expensive, looking at the costs online for example, $1,299.99 x 50 = $64,999.50.

      The reason I showed the VTC registered to Pexip Infinity is so that users can see they have the option of where to utilise call control/registrations. Let’s take a customer who has a mix of Cisco/Polycom/Lifesize devices, not all of them can register to SfB like Polycom can, so by creating a seamless experience across VTCs will help adoption. Also, the MS License key is a significant cost (again looking online), so purchasing say 50 of these would be a significant cost. $839.99 x 50 = $41,999.50.

      So, to get a SfB experience on your existing 50 x Group Series (if you have all Group series and not a mix of HDX, Group, Cisco, Tandberg, Lifesize), you would need to spend $106,999.00 plus support of around $10k. The other option could be to replace everything with a Project Rigel system of course for a little bit more money.

      As for using WebRTC, this is a seamless joining experience adding power to the SfB platform, as Microsoft has not developed ORTC for SfB yet, only Skype consumer works with ORTC. What about users that have Linux OS, how do they join a SfB meeting? By using Pexip Web/ORTC to Skype, you also get IM too. It’s 10am you need to join a call and in Starbucks, you need to download a 70mb plug-in before you can join the meeting. It is about providing customers with choice. There isn’t usually a one size fits all.

      I am seeing many customers looking to develop B2C applications and Web/ORTC is the perfect platform for that, so users can simply join a Skype meeting or point to point call with a SfB user (especially via a contact centre)

      You will find Microsoft Hyper-V 2012/2016 is free to anyone without a Microsoft subscription and there are also editions of VMware that are free. You also have Xen and KVM which are open source platform, so $0 cost there and Pexip supports all of them. You will also find that customers will have Azure credits to use, so that’s another option at $0 too.

      So, in summary, by adding a platform like Pexip to the end user’s environment today, you are providing them with endless interoperability, a seamless joining experience, no rip and replace, simplified architecture, sharing of PowerPoint uploads in Skype Meetings, Video based Screen Sharing from SfB to VTCs and ORTC/WebRTC to Skype Meetings and users.

      For the compute, that sounds right. All the compute requirements and examples can be found on our site, so we don’t hide anything there. Considering you can have a 1U entry level server for $4,500, capable of 52HD calls and then a 2U server hosting over 700HD calls very cheaply, Intel compute is not free, but certainly very affordable and gets better every year. Plus, Pexip gives the customers the choice of utility computing, so only pay for what you use in Azure or AWS.

      You are correct, I was at Ignite earlier in the year and sat in the RealConnect for O365 BRK3301 session and saw the video of a RealConnect experience. This is for O365 users only and not everyone has moved to the cloud or even can due to E911 or other compliance reasons. You also still need to have your on-premise call control for the service to function properly as per the session. From what I can see, you will need RealPresence Clariti (or at least DMA and FW traversal) on premise and RealConnect for O365. Please correct me if I have mis understood that from the presentation.

      Ultimately it is the customer that decides how they want own and operate their collaboration environment, I will always recommend what is best for them, both user experience wise, technically and commercially. You never know, WebEx CMR might be the right answer 🙂

      Good luck with the launch of the service.

      Graham

      • Sean O’Connor

        The problem, and I’m guilty of this from time to time, is mentioning competitive solution price points. You assumptions in terms of costs are well off. And I assume you’re logic is taking a stated MSRP and then “figuring” what a buy price would be.

        Be that as it may, the trends we’re seeing with customers in a wide range of verticals and segments are favoring and requiring maintaining the sanctity of an already adopted application. SfB is one of many that are available today.

        Our messaging to our partners and customers is fairly simple: seek the facts, truth and ignore the FUD. I’m proud to work for an organization who is hyper focused on delivering experiences that promote and maintain workflows for a myriad of work-spaces and environments while always recognizing that cultures within companies vary.

        But there is one thing I feel compelled to respond to, actually three:

        1. RealConnect Service for O365 isn’t just for folks that have made the transition. That was the point of bringing the service via the cloud to fruition!
        2. I won’t comment for specific regions or theaters, but we are seeing customers in all verticals and sizes migrating to O365/Azure at a rapid rate – much to Microsoft’s delight
        3. The number and types of customers who have raised their hands for the RealConnect Service for O365 preview program have validated my statement directly above..

        Last, we completely agree on promoting, providing and enhancing the customer flexibility in their environment. This hasn’t changed going back to before you or even I worked for Polycom.. RealConnect on Premises, RealConnect Hybrid, and the RealConnect Service for Office 365 were developed with the support of Microsoft to offer customers choices on their Skype for Business journey.

        Happy Selling