Integrating Conference Solutions

Conferencing solutions

Should I keep my conference solutions or invest in new ones? The following article describes, first, the Microsoft Skype Room System and, second, an example of the integration variants of Polycom conference solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business today.

Conference systems are experiencing a veritable boom. In the past, especially large room video conference solutions had a rather quiet life, flexible solutions for individual workplaces, small offices, and medium-sized rooms are in great demand today.

Many customers are now faced with the question of whether they should generally replace the existing video conference solutions or run in parallel with a new unified communications system (for example Microsoft Skype for Business) during a migration phase.

 

What is Microsoft Skype Room System v2?

It’s a meeting system that offers HD video and audio communications, including content sharing for small meeting rooms (huddle rooms) to large conference rooms.

The solution consists of several components, including a control panel, applications, peripherals such as camera, speakers, and microphone, as well as external monitors.

Various bundles from different vendors are available.

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/skypeforbusiness/plan-your-deployment/clients-and-devices/skype-room-systems-v2-0

The above web page lists the topics for planning a Microsoft Skype Room System solution.

Because Microsoft does not supply its own hardware, several conference solutions are available from system vendors for the Microsoft Skype Room System v2 (in alphabetical order):

BlueJeans Rooms (with Add-in for Microsoft Skype for Business)
Crestron SR
Lenovo Smart Hub 500
Logitech Smartdock
Pexip Infinity Fusion
Polycom MSR Serie, Polycom RealConnect für Office 365

Companies like Blue Jeans, Pexip or Polycom are implementing video integration solutions for Microsoft Skype for Business.

 

Integration Polycom – Microsoft

How can existing Polycom solutions and Microsoft Skype for Business be integrated?

Basically, different versions are conceivable:

 

Polycom focused

Polycom’s Conference Bridge (MCU) is the central active element of the conference. Users invite conference attendees via the Microsoft Skype for Business solution. The Polycom clients are logically linked to the Polycom system. All implemented services of the Polycom solution are available to the participants.

 

Microsoft Skype for Business focused

The Microsoft Skype for Business system controls the conference. This requires extensive configurations in the Microsoft world. The Polycom clients are logically connected to the Microsoft Skype for Business system. All available services of the Microsoft solution are available to the participants. Polycom’s Conference Bridge (MCU) has no function.

 

Parallel Operation of Polycom and Microsoft Skype for Business

Interconnect the Polycom Conference Bridge (MCU) and the Microsoft Skype for Business system. Continue to operate both the Polycom and Microsoft solutions, as well as integrate participants from the “other” world into the solution.

You need Polycom RealConnect on-premise or as a cloud service in Microsoft Azure. This allows the parallel operation of both worlds. Note that the cloud solution does not support the full functionality of the on-premise solution.

 

Integration of older Polycom Systems

Please note that the integration of older Polycom systems in Microsoft Skype for Business is only possible with restrictions. Example: the HDX systems can be integrated in Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business with a specific software version. Read the information provided by Polycom.

 

Further information on „Unified Communications“:

Books:

Unified Communications Buyer’s Guide
Selecting Video Conferencing Solutions


About the author

Ronald Schlager is an independent trainer, consultant, book author and blogger with an emphasis on communications technologies and their application.

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Image source: pixabay.com, artist: cdu445