Integrating Google Hangouts Meet with Pexip Infinity

The Pexip Distributed Gateway provides any-to-any video interoperability with Google Hangouts Meet. It enables the seamless interoperation of HD video between Hangouts Meet conferences and:

  • H.323 & SIP room-based videoconferencing systems, including Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize, and others
  • Microsoft Skype for Business and Lync
  • Browser-based video (WebRTC / RTMP).

Third-party systems can connect to Hangouts Meet conferences via the Pexip Distributed Gateway either by dialing the conference directly or via a Virtual Reception (IVR).

The Hangouts Meet in-call features that are supported via the Pexip Distributed Gateway include:

  • Active speaker switching
  • Content sharing
  • Recording indicator
  • Bandwidth optimizations

See Configuring Pexip Infinity as a Google Hangouts Meet gateway for configuration instructions.

Note that Google Hangouts Meet is inherently a dial-in service i.e. you can only dial from a third-party video system into Hangouts Meet. You cannot dial out from Hangouts Meet to a SIP, H.323 device etc — instead, you have to send the relevant joining instructions/invitation to the user of that device.

Native user experience for all participants

All participants receive the appropriate native user experience of the Hangouts Meet conference when there is a mix of direct and gatewayed third-party participants.

Hangouts Meet experience when third-party VTC systems are connected to the conference

Third-party VTC system experience (Pexip's standard 1+7 layout) when connected to a Hangouts Meet conference

Scheduling and joining conferences

Users in your organization can schedule meetings as normal via their Google Calendar, and choose to enable Hangouts Meet conferencing within their event options. The joining instructions for internal and external VTC systems are then automatically included in the Calendar invitation and event.

All calls are routed into the Hangouts Meet conference by means of the meeting code that is associated with that conference.

The meeting code is generated automatically and is 5 or more digits long, depending on the length of your preconfigured PIN prefix and the number of meetings you have previously held. For scheduled meetings, the meeting code is normally included in the meeting invitation (select More joining options and look under Third-party systems — see the screenshot, right). This shows how to connect via standards-based video conferencing systems and Skype for Business users such as Windows/Mac clients, Surface Hubs and Skype Room Systems.

For ad hoc conferences the meeting codes are presented to the host when the meeting is initiated and are also available from the Meeting details option while in the conference.

Enabling access and admitting external participants into Hangouts Meet conferences

After you have installed and performed the basic configuration of your Pexip Infinity platform, you have to link your Pexip platform to your G Suite account, so that it can route calls into your Hangouts Meet conferences. This is handled via access tokens, which are private codes that can be used by a third-party system, such as Pexip Infinity, to identify your account.

You can set up two types of access tokens in your G Suite account: a trusted and an untrusted token. You can use these two token types to control whether an endpoint that is routed via Pexip Infinity into a Hangouts Meet conference is automatically admitted into the conference, or whether an existing conference participant has to explicitly admit it into the conference. When you configure Pexip Infinity, you decide which type of token to associate with the access rules and dial patterns that allow devices to be routed into Hangouts Meet conferences.

Pexip Infinity also adds an additional layer of trust control by including an explicit setting on each Call Routing Rule to indicate whether or not the devices that are routed via that rule into Hangouts Meet are trusted endpoints from Pexip Infinity's perspective (for example, you could treat the device as trusted if the caller is coming from a specific location, or if the device is registered to Pexip Infinity).

In essence, when Pexip Infinity routes a call to Hangouts Meet, it provides three pieces of information:

  • the meeting code (so that the endpoint joins the correct conference)
  • the access token, which can be either a "trusted" or "untrusted" token
  • a "domain member" flag, which indicates if the calling endpoint is a trusted endpoint from Pexip Infinity's perspective.

If the access token is a trusted token and the endpoint is trusted by Pexip Infinity, then the device is automatically admitted into the conference.

In all other cases, the device has to be explicitly admitted into the conference (this takes the form of a popup dialog as shown right, which is displayed to all participants who are connected directly to the conference — note that "Pexip" will be replaced with your own company name). Any of those participants can then choose to allow (admit) or deny access.

See Configuring G Suite for Google Hangouts Meet integration and Configuring Pexip Infinity as a Google Hangouts Meet gateway for details about configuring access tokens, and Registering devices to Pexip Infinity for registration information.

Presentation / content sharing

Google Hangouts Meet does not support duo video / dual streams. This means that if any participant starts presenting, the other participants in the conference will only see the presentation stream, and not the video from that participant (their video is restored when they stop presenting).

For VTC participants who are accustomed to seeing dual streams. we recommend that if an external participant wants to present content or share their screen, they should use the native Hangouts Meet web client or a Connect client such as the web app to join the conference as a separate presentation and control-only participant, and then share their content from that device. This will provide a dedicated presentation participant/stream in addition to their video stream, and the other participants will be able to see both their video and their presentation.

Recording and streaming

If a Google Hangouts Meet conference is recorded or streamed, audio prompts indicating that streaming or recording has been started/stopped are played to callers who are gatewayed via Pexip Infinity into the conference, and distinct recording or streaming indicators are displayed depending on whether the conference is being recorded, streamed or both.