The world of Video Conferencing can be confusing sometimes. We have complied an updated list of the questions we get asked regularly and provided some answers that hopefully help! If you have any other questions, please do get in touch!
I have been using Zoom while home working – how can I make this work with my office room systems?
The first question you must ask is what are the office room systems and what service do they use, if the answer is Zoom, then they are compatible and can be invited to Zoom meetings.
Room systems which use Microsoft Skype for Business as their service can also be used, providing your company or the company you are calling has an account with Zoom and ‘Skype for Business Interoperability’ enabled. This will NOT work if you are using the free account.
Room systems which use Microsoft Teams (referred to as MTR, or Microsoft Teams Room) cannot directly connect to Zoom (as of July 2020) and require the use of a third-party interface known as Cloud Video Interop (CVI). Only three companies are certified to provide this, Poly, Bluejeans and Pexip. If you or the company inviting you have CVI licenses, you are able to invite (from Teams) standards-based H.323/SIP applications and devices to Microsoft Teams meetings, this also includes Zoom, however a further license is required, the Zoom Cloud Room Connector (CRC license). Zoom CRC allows Zoom to connect to standards-based application and devices, but importantly, in both directions (i.e. you can receive calls into Zoom as well as make them). It is this functionality of the license that allows Teams to invite Zoom participants.
Finally, we have standards based systems (H.323/SIP mostly from Cisco/TANDBERG, Polycom & Lifesize). As mentioned above, you can call or be called by these systems providing you have a Zoom CRC license.
I have been using Microsoft Teams while home working – how can I make this work with my office room systems?
Microsoft Teams is widely seen as the successor to Skype for Business, but to the frustration of many people, simply upgrading Skype for Business room systems to Teams is not possible as it uses completely different technology. So, if your room system is Skype For Business, you are going to be limited by using a temporary ‘Gateway’ provided my Microsoft (likely to be shut down when Skype for Business is EOL in 2021). This gateway will allow you to connect to a Teams meeting that you have been invited to but will limit functionality (you will still have two-way audio and video though).
For Microsoft Teams room systems (MTRs), simply invite them to the meeting and they can join as normal participants. Note that MTRs, unlike the Teams App on a PC/tablet etc, are limited in the number of participants they can show on screen and also have a limited set of features. If you are used to using the App, you may find the experience of using the MTR rather different and quite frustrating.
The remaining systems (standards-based H.323/SIP) can only participate in Teams meetings if they are invited and you or the company inviting you, have a Cloud Video Interop license in place (CVI).
We have Lifesize Cloud, how do I call into a Microsoft teams meeting?
This is only possible if you or the company inviting you have Cloud Video Interop (CVI) licenses as Lifesize Cloud is a standards (H.323/SIP) based service. Lifesize do offer a service called ‘Teams Integration’ (as do Zoom), but these integrations are installed into your Teams environment and essentially break out of Teams to their own applications when you want to have an audio/video meeting which of course means that everyone must have the same applications installed (and licenses)
Given that Teams is part of O365 and is also web based and free for guests, you may find it more cost effective and certainly more functional, to use Teams natively.
We have lifesize cloud, how do I call into a Zoom meeting?
Can I use my meeting room videoconferencing system as a camera/audio for my laptop?
There are exceptions as new technology becomes more common place and manufacturers start using USB based peripherals and wireless technology, but this requires special installations and clear instructions on what can be used and how. In general, you should not attempt to ‘dismantle’ a room system to use the camera/audio with your laptop!
I want a system for a meeting room that can call anything, what do I need?
Currently (as of July 2020) there is no such Holy Grail – all room systems are designed to operate with specific services in mind, including newer ‘Interactive Bars’ which can switch between Zoom/Teams and standards based, but you have to completely RESET the system each time and must have administrative access to their web interfaces.
The nearest you can get is either to use a generic PC (MACs also, but applications on the MACs can be less functional than PCs) in the room and attach a good USB camera and hands-free audio device. We are NOT talking about webcams at <£100 from Amazon, but more Poly Studio, or Yealink UVC80 and for audio, Yealink VCM34 wireless microphone arrays or Nureva HDL200.
A second solution is to use a standards based (h323/SIP) system from Poly/Cisco/Lifesize etc. Add to this some Cloud Video Interop licenses for Microsoft Teams integration (for your Teams domain) and a Zoom Account with CRC licenses. With this setup you will be able to connect with Teams/Zoom & other standards-based systems across the world (note that your Teams domain will need to be inviting others, if you receive invites from other companies on teams, it will not work unless they have CVI licenses also)
Our meeting room systems are Skype for Business, how to we change them to Teams?
There is no upgrade path for any existing Skype For Business hardware to connect with Microsoft Teams. This leaves you with two choices, either replace the systems with Teams Room (MTRs) or, revert the systems from Skype for Business to Standards Based and invest in some cloud Video Interop (CVI) licenses.
Why do I have to register my meeting room system to something?
Strictly, you don’t – you can open your firewall for standards-based systems and allow things to happen (or put the system on a public IP address), but this is fraught with danger such as spam calling (commonplace) and of course possible intrusion.
To avoid this, the Videoconferencing industry developed a number of solutions which require ‘registration’. This allows your system to sit inside your firewall and with only outbound rules, connect with most other systems in the world.
Skype for Business, Teams (only for MTRs) and Cisco WebEx Teams utilise this method. Some subscription cloud services such as Pexip (formally Videxio) and Lifesize Cloud also provide these mechanisms.
Zoom and Bluejeans do not provide ‘registration’ as such, but with well configured firewalls they generally work, hardened firewalls are a different matter entirely!
Our meeting room systems call IP addresses, how do I call Zoom/Teams?
Only ‘VERY’ old (pre 2005) systems will be limited in this fashion. Just because that is all you have done in the past, does not mean that the system cannot do it. Usually, this type of issue surfaces when systems are used internally (across VPN’s between different regional offices) or when you only call one or two customers who have firewall rules in place.
Generally, you should be able to configure your system with DNS servers and things will then work (providing you have the right licenses, CVI/CRC etc).
How can I send invites to my meeting room system, so I just need to press one button to join my meeting?
This is probably the latest ‘thing’ in the videoconferencing world, and everyone is scrambling to offer this as a service or as part of their service, which makes things a little confusing right now.
One Touch Dial (OTD), One Button to Press (OBTP) or One Touch Join (OTJ) is based on calendar invitations being interpreted by some form of service before being passed to your room system. In the case of Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Skype for Business, your room system is already ‘tied’ to the Teams/SfB account which has its own calendar and therefore invites from these applications are natively interpreted and appear on the systems.
Zoom, Lifesize Cloud & WebEx Teams have similar setups when using systems registered to their cloud (although some configuration/setup is required unlike SfB and Teams).
Poly provide a global cloud service for calendar integration which supports invites from most disparate clouds (Zoom, Bluejeans, Webex, Teams, Sfb amongst others) and as such is one of the most comprehensive services, however, if you are using non Poly systems, you will need to have a small program running behind your firewall (called a Relay) in order for other systems to receive the invites.