Tagged: Video

Microsoft Teams Mixed Meetings – Cisco WebEx and Zoom

Meetings make only sense if there is a defined meeting goal to get a specific outcome and of course if all required (!) stakeholders (can) attend the meeting. In the past it probably happened that you invited someone which might not yet have Microsoft Teams but other meeting technology, e.g. Cisco Webex. So, the invited participant was than unable to join with his/her meeting solution which might not really caused a delightful user meeting experience. To cope with this challenge, there are video interop service for Microsoft Teams which mitigate this, as I wrote in the “Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability” post.

erik365 – What’s video interop?

However, that’s not all, the meeting capabilities were improved and getting improved, as it looks like. Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom announced a partnership and demoed it on Ignite 2019 to provide a better user experience for mixed meetings, e.g. Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion it’s a good idea to support and allow “cross-technology” online meetings just because there are many users on different technologies. It helps users stay productive by just attending online meetings with their commonly used tech/app/device instead of insisting to join a meeting in unfamiliar way.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability

In this post I give an overview on video interoperability with Microsoft Teams. It highlights options to connect (legacy) video conferencing systems and Microsoft Teams.

erik365 – What’s video interop?

Video interoperability enables different video endpoints and infrastructure to communicate with each other to overcome non-standardized or unequal video and media communication meetings or conferences.

erik365 – Why video interop?

Mostly, companies implement solutions for video interoperability to keep existing investments in dedicated video conferencing infrastructure and connect it to newer communication and collaboration infrastructure. For instance, if you have a dedicated Cisco, Lifesize or Poly video infrastructure you might want to join Teams online meetings with the Cisco/Lifesize/Poly video rooms, too.

erik365 – How does video interop work?

Basically, a video interop solution helps to bring together both, a dedicated video infrastructure or endpoint and Microsoft Teams.

erik365 – What options are there?

Today, there are three certified cloud video interop services for Microsoft Teams available. I.e. BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, Poly RealConnect for Microsoft Teams, Pexip Cloud Video Interoperability for Microsoft Teams.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Video interop services can help you to keep existing video infrastructure investments and connect it with Microsoft’s modern teamwork services, Teams. If you cannot just rip and replace all your video room systems and infrastructure with Surface Hubs or Teams Room Devices, it’s a viable approach and solution to add video interoperability services as needed. Finally, it brings (legacy) video conferencing to Teams online meetings.

Additional Resources

What’s new in Cisco Expressway 8.9?

Cisco’s new version of Expressway brings some new features which especially support your video infrastructure in regards of interoperability based on former Acano Edge features.

  • Edge Traversal of Microsoft SIP Traffic for Cisco Meeting Server Supported
  • Meeting Server Web Proxy NOT yet SUPPORTED
  • IM and Presence Service Federation With Skype for Business or Office 365 Organizations Preview
  • Cisco Expressway as H.323 Gatekeeper Supported
  • REST API Expansion Supported
  • Allow Jabber for iPhone and iPad to Use Safari for SSO Over MRA Supported
  • Shared Line / Multiple Line Support for MRA Endpoints Preview
  • Smart Call Home Preview
  • Secure Install Wizard Supported
  • DiffServ Code Point Marking Supported
  • Maintenance Mode For MRA Supported
  • X8.9 Changes and Enhancements Supported

The Cisco Expressway 8.9 release notes are here: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/expressway/release_note/Cisco-Expressway-Release-Note-X8-9.pdf and the Expressway 8.9 admin guide is there: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/expressway/admin_guide/Cisco-Expressway-Administrator-Guide-X8-9.pdf.

Cisco’s new video architecture design based on CMS 2.0

Recently Cisco made some changes for its video backend. The major changes are based on the acquisition of Acano which makes Cisco merging the technology portfolios together. For you as a customer, video backend operator or service user it brings you a more and more collaborative video solution. By the technology product merger old paths of pure video collaboration are left behind and abandoned. Yey!!!! 🙂 Still, you can have your high end video conferencing capabilities but new features and interoperability is added. Why not using them?

Typical Cisco Video Architecture Components


  • Internal components for your intranet environment
    • Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) for registering video endpoints and systems plus add audio call capabilities e.g. for (phone) dial-in users
    • Telepresence Server (TPS) / Multi-point control unit (MCU) for video processing
    • Telepresence Conductor for TPS/MCU resource / port allocation (checking if sufficient video capacities are available at a time…)
    • Telepresence Management Suite (TMS) for managing systems
    • Telepresence Management Suite Extension for Exchange (TMSXE) for scheduling telepresence / video resources via Outlook (e.g. for booking a room which includes a video system registered to CUCM…)
    • Video ISDN gateway*
  • External components for your external connectivity (e.g. for B2B video calls, ISDN/H.323, …)
    • Expressway-Core (LAN)
    • Expressway-Edge (DMZ) for firewall traversal

Typical/classical Cisco Video Architecture Deployment Components: 7

Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) 2.0 (formerly known as Acano) Architecture Components


  • Internal components for your intranet environment
    • Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) for registering video endpoints and systems plus add audio call capabilities e.g. for (phone) dial-in users
    • Cisco Meeting Server 2.0 (CMS 2.0) for video processing and bridging (for interop to Skype for Business, Polycom, LifeSize, … sip-capable video endpoints)
    • Telepresence Management Suite (TMS) for managing systems
    • Telepresence Management Suite Extension for Exchange (TMSXE) for scheduling  via Outlook (e.g. for booking a room which includes a video system registered to CUCM…)
    • Video ISDN Gateway*
  • External components for your external connectivity (e.g. for B2B video calls, ISDN/H.323, …)
    • Expressway-Core (LAN)
    • Expressway-Edge (DMZ) for firewall traversal

Cisco Meeting Server 2.0 Video Architecture Deployment Components: 7

* I would not recommend using (legacy) ISDN for video anymore. Go for sip-uri dialing and sip instead of ISDN… Try to get rid of ISDN quickly and train users to utilize sip-uri dialing. Or better, provide OBTP (one button to push). I.e. provide address book services via TMS/TMSXE which enable users to schedule meetings and rooms via their Outlook calendar to go into a room an just press one button to join a video conference (OBTP, one button to push feature). This is a much more convenient and pleasant user experience, isn’t it?

Features and Capabilities

Erm… just 1 component less? Kidding? Well, no, but CMS 2.0 provides massive interoperability for video collaboration. By leveraging your CMS 2.0 video architecture you have tremendous interop advantages compared to an typical and pure Cisco Video Conferencing infrastructure. You can make almost every video endpoint join a video conference!!! It does not really matter if this is a Skype for Business user/endpoint (pc, tablet, mobile, web browser), a Polycom video endpoint, a  LifeSize video endpoint or any other sip-capable video endpoint. That’s really great folks! But wait before you run to upgrade or deploy you should analyse your enterprise business and collaboration stakeholder requirements first.

  • CMS 2.0 is a video bridge bringing together different video endpoints and systems
  • CMS 2.0 is a more dynamic approach where video resources are used dynamically instead of a more static resource allocation by the Telepresence Conductor, e.g. if you have 30 video room sessions in full HD (shared multiparty) and further video sessions are about to start the video resolution is scaled down to still provide video to all video conferences…
    … too avoid something like this the Acano Manager (still Acano) could provide you reporting on your video utilization so that you can add licenses/capacity as needed.
  • CMS 2.0 is collaborative you can have also interactive session sharing desktop screens etc.
  • CMS 2.0 is highly scale-able and distributable, i.e. you can distribute cluster nodes geographically as needed and can also control video call flows/breakouts/…
  • CMS 2.0 can be made highly available

Cisco Video Architecture Design Guides and further resources

Get your video room systems and Skype for Business together #2

As mentioned in an earlier blog post there are several options available to get your video room systems and Skype for Business together (see previous post). Today I like to mention another option for video room systems and Skype for Business: West Unified Communication Services (hereinafter: West) offers another option: The West Video Meeting Gateway.

About West

West is company with its headquarter located  Omaha, Nebraska, USA. It has a global footprint employing approximately 11.000 people in total distributed in different countries and world regions: the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. (West FAQ) West is a leader for UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) as stated by Gartner (Globalnewswire, Gartner MQ UCaaS 2016). West shares are traded on the NASDAQ (Marketwatch).

What could it contribute to your enterprise video collaboration?

The West Video Meeting Gateway (VMG) is a cloud service wich connects Skype for Business Online, Skype for Business, Lync 2013, Lync 2010 and H.323/SIP video endpoints. The VMG checks what is coming in number/SIP-URI and routes the call to the appropriate destination / endpoint. Within that routing protocols/standards are converted if necessary that video communication and collaboration can take place as intended.

Get your video room systems and Skype for Business Online together

In spring this year, Polycom and Microsoft announced that they work on delivering a video interoperability service in the cloud to get your video room systems and Skype for Business Online together (http://www.polycom.com/company/news/press-releases/2016/20160309.htmlhttp://www.lyncinsider.com/office-365/microsoft-positioning-office-365-future-cloud-voice-video/).  I rarely find a collaboration environment with only one or the other solution. Most conferencing and  collaboration deployments have been growing and changing over time, as usual. Unfortunately not putting the user experience and collaboration experience in the center as key to a satisfying and successful collaboration service delivery. As you may know, if you have a versatile set of video room systems from Cisco, Lifesize, Polycom … on one side and Skype for Business users on the other side… not nice but often available and common equipment… Finally users get different modalities, handling and connectivity … which are neither unified nor really collaborative. So if you are the lucky collaboration expert in your enterprise and you have to explain users why system x does not work like or / with system z as soon as they complain you might find relief with the new option? Put things together by leveraging the new offered service for video interoperability.

What does it look like? Well, you can put systems together via Polycom RealConnect hosted on Azure and operated by Polycom. The cloud video interop service enables you to use video room systems and Skype for Business Online alike.

Take a look here >>SfB Video Broadcast: Ep. 25 Video Interop in the Cloud<<