Integrating Microsoft Teams with Pexip Infinity

Pexip Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) enables professional SIP and H.323 video conferencing systems to join Microsoft Teams conferences as if they were native Microsoft clients.

It enables any video conferencing system to join Microsoft Teams meetings and allows authenticated systems to join as trusted participants without additional user interaction (i.e. lobby by-pass), including:

  • H.323 & SIP room-based videoconferencing systems, including Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, and others
  • Browser-based video (WebRTC)

Third-party systems can connect to Teams meetings via the Infinity Gateway either via a Virtual Reception (IVR) or by dialing the conference directly.

You can also:

  • Enable your Microsoft Teams Room systems to make and receive calls with SIP and H.323 endpoints, and join Pexip Infinity VMRs.
  • Join Microsoft Teams meetings where that meeting is being hosted by an external third-party organization (even if the host’s organization has not enabled Pexip interoperability themselves) — this is referred to as "SIP Guest Join". Note that this feature works by routing the call to the external organization via the Pexip Service.

Integration features

Pexip Infinity is a Microsoft-certified video interoperability platform for Microsoft Teams. The Pexip Teams Connector is a Pexip application that is deployed in Microsoft Azure and is used to enable Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) with Microsoft Teams. It handles all Teams communications and meeting requests from the Pexip Infinity platform and passes them on to the Microsoft Teams environment.

The key features of Pexip's CVI integration with Microsoft Teams are:

  • Call in to a Teams meeting from any standards-based VTC system on SIP and H.323
  • Lobby bypass for trusted endpoints, notifications and customizable waiting screen for untrusted VTC endpoints that are held in the lobby
  • Choice of layouts for VTC participants, and spotlight support
  • Audio-only participants are represented by their avatar from Exchange Online
  • Raised hand, recording and transcription indicators
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms SIP/H.323 calling (incoming and outgoing calls)
  • Scheduled scaling to automatically scale up and down your call capacity at different times of the day
  • Control and ownership of data
  • Native VTC network resiliency and firewall traversal between private and public networks
  • Bi-directional content sharing between VTCs and Microsoft Teams via Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS)
  • Synchronized mute/unmute control and status for VTCs
  • Native scheduling via Outlook and Microsoft Teams client; join information is automatically added
  • Tailored meeting invites with a customer-specific domain
  • Full lobby and roster list control in the Teams client

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

Teams bot services

The Pexip Teams Connector deploys an "Azure Bot" (formerly known as "Bot Channels Registration") resource in Azure to enable the CVI app for Teams calling. This is an integral part of any certified CVI solution. An Azure Bot resource can also be used to build AI bots, and some labels in Azure may say "AI Bot Services" etc. to describe the category. However, there is no bot service, compute or storage associated with the Azure Bot resource used by Pexip, and it is not used to implement any AI features.

Note that:

  • Some of Pexip's conference layouts do apply AI-driven face-detection technology to provide advanced layout composition, but they do not apply any biometric or facial-recognition technology or store any such related data.
  • Pexip does not use any Generative AI in its products.

VTC user experience when joining a Teams conference

All VTC-based participants (SIP and H.323 devices) can either access the Teams conference via a customizable Virtual Reception service which prompts them to enter the Conference ID of the conference they want to join, or they may also be able to dial an address that takes them directly into a specific conference. Other software-based clients such as Skype for Business or Pexip's own Connect apps can also join via direct dial or via a Virtual Reception.

Pexip Infinity’s deployment model allows the use of a customer-specific domain such as teams@example.com for dialing the Teams Virtual Reception.

User experience when joining a conference

Alternative VTC dialing instructions can be provided that are customized to the company network and workflow such as:

  • 123958530@vc.example.com
  • 123958530@104.215.95.187
  • 104.215.95.187##123958530

Participants using a Teams client join a Teams meeting as usual, and any gatewayed third-party participants can be seen and heard in the same way as any other directly-connected Teams clients in that meeting. VTC participants see Pexip's standard 1+7 layout by default, but this can be changed to use other layouts, including a Teams-like layout.

Authenticated, trusted VTCs that are located within the organization can join the conference directly, without any additional user interaction, whereas unauthenticated, untrusted external VTCs are admitted via the Teams lobby.

Join workflow from a Teams client

Join workflow from a Microsoft Teams client into a Teams meeting

Join workflow from a third-party VTC system

Join workflow from a third-party VTC system into a Microsoft Teams meeting (Pexip's default 1+7 layout)

Admitting guest participants from the lobby

Any VTC participants that are already in the conference are notified when an untrusted VTC or guest Teams client enters the Teams lobby. They see an on-screen message and hear a knock-knock sound.

Guests in lobby

The meeting host can then use their Teams client to admit the waiting guests (the VTC system cannot admit guests).

If only some guests are admitted, the VTC's display refreshes the count of waiting users. If all guests are admitted, the VTC's display briefly shows a "The lobby is empty" message.

Everyone admitted

Microsoft Teams Rooms SIP/H.323 calling

Your Microsoft Teams Room devices with Pro licensing can make and receive 1:1 (also referred to as point-to-point) SIP/H.323 video calls with VTCs.

Teams Room SIP/H.323 calling supports:

  • Dialing from a VTC (internal or external) into a Teams Room.
  • Dialing from a Teams Room to an internal or external VTC.
  • Dialing from a Teams Room into a third-party SIP or H.323 enabled meeting, or a Pexip Infinity VMR (including PIN support).
  • Bi-directional screensharing (BFCP or H239) between the Teams Room and the VTC or VMR.
  • Single and dual screen systems for meetings and content sharing.
  • Sending DTMF tones from a Teams Room.

Note that:

  • Different calling policies can be applied to certain rooms to, for example, not allow incoming SIP/H.323 calls, while other systems are enabled for this functionality depending on your business requirements.
  • When joining a Teams Meeting the full feature set of a Teams Room is available, including participant list and other advanced meeting interaction features. However, this is not a call to a Teams meeting, thus when calling a SIP/H.323 destination many of the standard Teams meeting features (such as call transfer, share whiteboard, and add participant) are not available, as the functionality for 1:1 calls is focused around bidirectional audio/video communication and content sharing.

Using SIP Guest Join

Pexip's standard Microsoft Teams interoperability solution allows your own video conferencing endpoints (and your guests) to join Microsoft Teams meetings that you are hosting. The "SIP Guest Join" (SGJ) feature lets you join Microsoft Teams meetings with your own video conferencing endpoints where that meeting is being hosted by an external third-party organization who has not enabled Pexip interoperability themselves.

If you are invited to an externally-hosted Teams meeting, you can join it via One-Touch Join on your video conferencing endpoint.

Joining from a meeting room

  1. Invite the room (as a room resource) to the meeting. Either:

    • Copy the contents of the meeting invite, and use that to book the room (in this case the accept/reject message from the room is sent to you); or
    • Forward the meeting invite to the room's mailbox (in this case the accept/reject message is sent to the meeting organizer).
  2. At the start time of the meeting: enter the room and press the Join button.

Joining from a personal video endpoint (that is set up for One-Touch Join)

  1. Accept the meeting invite as usual (OTJ only looks for "accepted" meetings).
  2. Press Join at the start of the meeting.

See Enabling SIP Guest Join for configuration and setup details.

Audio participant avatars

Teams users who are logged in and have joined via audio-only are represented by an avatar (supplied by Exchange Online) within the VTC's conference layout. If no avatar is available, or it is a guest user from another organization, a substitute graphic is generated based on the participant’s initials.

Audio participant avatars

Raised hand indicators

Notifications are shown to any VTC participants if a Teams participant raises their hand. An indicator slides out over the conference layout that identifies the participant with the raised hand and remains visible until the participant's hand is lowered.

Up to 3 indicators may be displayed, in the order that the hand was raised, with the oldest at the top. If there are more than 3 hands raised then the third indicator also shows the number of additional raised hands.

Note that you cannot use the Connect apps to lower the hand of a Teams participant.

Recording or transcribing a Teams conference

If a Microsoft Teams conference is recorded or transcribed, relevant audio prompts indicating that recording/transcription has been started/stopped are played to VTC participants, and recording or transcribing indicators are included in the video stream sent to those VTC participants.

Recording a conference indicators

Teams-like layout and Large Gallery view

Pexip offers a Teams-like layout for VTC systems that looks and operates in a similar manner to the meeting experience seen by native Teams clients. In this layout, spotlighting, use of avatars for audio-only participants, active speaker indication and raised hand indicators all have a similar look and feel to the native Teams layout.

The Teams-like layout also supports multiscreen participant display, and receiving the presentation stream as part of the layout mix.

A comparison of the user experience between the 1+7 layout and the Teams-like layout is shown below.

CVI meeting with the 1+7 layout

CVI meeting with the Teams-like layout

Pexip also supports Microsoft's Large Gallery view — you can use a customized theme to toggle between the Pexip layouts and Large Gallery view.

See Controlling the layout seen by VTC participants for more information about layouts.

Migrating to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business

Pexip Infinity works simultaneously with both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. This means that users can be enabled to use both platforms and they can be migrated from one platform to the other at your own pace. Interoperability into either platform is handled by the same single Pexip Infinity installation, and the same Conferencing Nodes.

For example you could provide a dial-in lobby address of:

  • skype@example.com for interoperability into Skype for Business meetings
  • and

  • teams@example.com for interoperability into Teams meetings

and then in each case the user would be directed to the appropriate Pexip Virtual Reception and would enter the appropriate conference ID for the relevant Microsoft meeting platform.

Microsoft Teams interoperability with Skype for Business

Microsoft Teams supports some level of interoperability with Skype for Business. This includes the ability to do a point-to-point voice and video call between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business (depending on SfB/Teams setup, see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-and-skypeforbusiness-coexistence-and-interoperability#native-interop-experiences).

As Pexip supports native Skype for Business federation, it is technically possible to place a call between a Teams client (if the tenant is set up in a supported mode for SfB federation) and Pexip. However due to the limitations of this interoperability, in particular the lack of support for screen sharing / app sharing between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, this is not a use case that Pexip recommends or provides support for.

The certified interoperability for Microsoft Teams is for a Teams meeting to be scheduled (by an organization enabled for Pexip interoperability), and non-Teams compatible systems to dial in to the Teams meeting (see user experience below). This type of integration allows dual stream content sharing.

Streaming to Teams live events

You can use Pexip Infinity as an external RTMP encoder for your Teams live events, which means that you can stream video, audio and presentation content from your videoconferencing meeting room systems directly into the event.

See Using Pexip Infinity to stream from VTC systems into Microsoft Teams live events for more information.