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Pexip Infinity and Lync / Skype for Business integration features

Pexip Infinity enhances the feature set of Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business* by providing users with their own personal Virtual Meeting Room that is available at all times, and can be used for ad-hoc and scheduled meetings for any number of people.

In addition, Pexip Infinity can be used as a direct gateway between any two users, regardless of device or technology. As a gateway, Pexip Infinity enables users to join from any system to a Lync/SfB meeting. This allows non-Microsoft users with anything from web browsers to traditional group videoconferencing systems to join a Lync/SfB meeting just like any Lync / Skype for Business user.

Pexip's tight integration with Lync/SfB includes Pexip Fusion features such as simulcasting, multistreaming and even the ability to merge a Pexip VMR conference with a Lync/SfB meeting to provide a native experience for all participants.

* Note that where this documentation refers to "Lync/SfB", it represents both Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Pexip Infinity as a Lync / Skype for Business gateway

Pexip Infinity can act as a gateway between Lync/SfB and standards-based endpoints. This enables Lync/SfB clients to:

  • invite H.323/SIP endpoints and registered Infinity Connect clients into a Lync/SfB meeting
  • use the Pexip Distributed Gateway service to route incoming calls directly into an ad hoc or scheduled Lync/SfB meeting
  • when dialed into a Pexip VMR conference, invite other Lync/SfB or external contacts into that same Pexip VMR (this creates a new Lync/SfB meeting which is merged with the existing Pexip VMR)
  • receive and initiate person-to-person calls with standards-based devices.

The Pexip Distributed Gateway is configured as a series of Call Routing Rules which specify which calls should be interworked and to where.

For information about to how configure the Lync/SfB gateway functionality, see Configuring Pexip Infinity as a Lync / Skype for Business gateway.

Simulcast from Pexip Infinity to Lync / Skype for Business AVMCU

Pexip Infinity can send the video streams of gateway participants at multiple resolutions to a Lync/SfB meeting hosted on the Lync/SfB AVMCU.

This means that if Lync/SfB clients request different video resolutions from the AVMCU, Pexip Infinity will support the equivalent request for that resolution from the AVMCU.

This optimizes the Lync/SfB user experience for all Lync/SfB meeting participants, and for all device sizes from a mobile client to the Microsoft Surface Hub.

When viewing the status of the backplane media streams via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface, a separate stream is shown for every resolution currently being sent. This example shows 3 current simulcast streams:

Simulcast to Lync/SfB AVMCU is automatically enabled on Pexip Infinity from version 11 and requires no administrator configuration.

Multistreaming from Lync / Skype for Business AVMCU to Pexip Infinity

Pexip Infinity can receive multiple video streams from an AVMCU multi-party conference. This provides an enhanced conferencing experience for all participants connected to a Lync/SfB meeting:

  • Participants in a Pexip VMR that has been merged with a Lync/SfB meeting see a combined set of Pexip VMR and Lync/SfB meeting participants.
  • Participants connected to a Lync/SfB meeting via the Pexip Distributed Gateway see a full combined set of both Lync/SfB participants and any other Pexip gateway participants in the conference. They always see the default Pexip 1 +7 layout (large main speaker and up to 7 other participants), and at a resolution optimized for the participant's device, as shown below:

Note that:

  • There are always 6 video streams negotiated with the AVMCU, one in HD and the others at thumbnail resolution. However, no unnecessary resource capacity is used on Pexip Infinity if a stream is not active.

    When viewing the status of the backplane media streams via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface, each of the 6 negotiated media streams is shown. In this example, only 2 of the 6 streams are currently active:

  • As the AVMCU can only send a maximum of 6 video streams, if more than 6 AVMCU participants are shown on the stage in a Pexip Infinity layout (as seen by Pexip VMR participants or a Pexip gateway participant), those additional AVMCU participants display as a broken camera.
  • When an AVMCU participant is spotlighted, all other AVMCU participants switch to audio only:
    • Pexip VMR participants see audio indicators instead of video for all of the other AVMCU participants, but still see video from other VMR participants.
    • Pexip gateway participants see audio indicators instead of video for all other participants.

Lync/SfB AVMCU multistreaming is automatically enabled on Pexip Infinity from version 11 and requires no administrator configuration.

Merging a Lync / Skype for Business meeting with a Pexip Infinity conference

A Lync/SfB meeting can be merged with a conference being hosted on the Pexip Infinity platform. This means that, for example:

  • A Lync/SfB user dialed into a Pexip VMR can use drag-and-drop to add a contact (such as a Microsoft Surface Hub system, or an external SIP/H.323 device) into the meeting. This will create an adhoc Lync/SfB meeting and merge it with the Pexip VMR.
  • A Lync/SfB user in a Lync/SfB meeting can drag and drop a Pexip VMR contact into the Lync/SfB meeting to manually merge the conferences together.

The ability to merge a Lync/SfB meeting with a Pexip VMR is automatically enabled on Pexip Infinity from version 11 and requires no specific administrator configuration, however appropriate Call Routing Rules need to be configured on Pexip Infinity to enable calls to be routed to Lync/SfB contacts that are external SIP/H.323 devices.

Pexip Fusion

The participant experience when a Lync/SfB meeting and a Pexip VMR conference are merged together depends upon whether the participant is connected to the Lync/SfB meeting or the Pexip VMR. Pexip's Fusion technology delivers a native experience that ensures that both sets of participants retain their native conferencing experience for their device or platform.

For participants connected to the Pexip VMR:

  • All participants see a combined set of Pexip VMR and Lync/SfB meeting participants.
  • Standard rules apply (based on current and most recent speakers) for who takes the main speaker view and which participants appear as thumbnails in the VMR's stage layout.
  • Infinity Connect clients see the complete roster for the merged conference, including all remote Lync/SfB meeting participants, however they cannot control those remote participants (disconnect, mute and so on).

For participants connected to the Lync/SfB meeting:

  • All participants in the Lync/SfB meeting see the Pexip VMR stage as a participant alongside the other Lync/SfB meeting participants (all participant video streams are displayed as normal to Lync/SfB clients according to its selected viewing mode).
  • The participant list includes a single entry representing the Pexip VMR (displayed as the name of the service).
  • If there are no participants currently in the Pexip VMR, the VMR stage participant displays as a broken camera.

In addition, in their contacts list, Lync/SfB clients can see a Presence status for their Pexip service contacts and Pexip Distributed Gateway contacts (see Presence and contact lists in Lync / Skype for Business environments for more information).

Merged Lync/SfB meeting and Pexip Infinity conference with additional Pexip Distributed Gateway participants

This diagram shows a Pexip VMR conference that has been merged with a Lync/SfB meeting that has native Lync/SfB participants plus additional participants connected to the Lync/SfB meeting via the Pexip Distributed Gateway.

In this scenario:

  • The Lync/SfB AVMCU multistreams all Lync/SfB meeting participants — including the Pexip Distributed Gateway participants — to the Pexip VMR.
  • Each Pexip Distributed Gateway participant receives a multistream from the AVMCU containing the Pexip VMR stage, native Lync/SfB clients, plus any other gateway participants connected to that Lync/SfB meeting.
  • Native Lync/SfB client participants see the Pexip VMR stage as a participant alongside all of the other Lync/SfB meeting participants (including each Pexip Distributed Gateway participant) according to the Lync/SfB client's layout mode.

Supported codecs and protocols

Supported codecs for calls between Pexip Infinity and Lync / Skype for Business:

  • Video: H.264 UC and multistream H.264SVC (Lync 2013 and Skype for Business), and Microsoft RTVideo (Lync 2010, Lync 2013 and Skype for Business).
  • Audio: G.722.

Desktop/application window sharing, RDP and VbSS:

  • Desktop and single application windows can be shared from Lync / Skype for Business for Windows, and Lync / Skype for Business for Mac.
  • Pexip Infinity supports bi-directional RDP. Lync / Skype for Business users can send and receive dual streams.
  • Pexip Infinity supports Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS). This is a "tech preview" feature and is currently only supported when the Skype for Business client is either calling another endpoint via the Pexip Distributed Gateway, or calling into a Virtual Meeting Room or Virtual Auditorium. For information about enabling VbSS on your Skype for Business infrastructure see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt756736.aspx.

Presenting PowerPoint files via PSOM:

  • Participants connected to the Pexip VMR in a Lync / Skype for Business Fusion or gateway call can see shared content if a Lync / Skype for Business user presents PowerPoint files. Pexip Infinity supports the Persistent Shared Object Model (PSOM).
  • Supported for desktop Lync 2013 and Skype for Business clients.
  • Requires Office Web Apps (OWA) Server.
  • Slide animation is not supported; Pexip participants will see a composite JPEG image. Also, annotations are not supported.

Packet loss resiliency:

  • Pexip Infinity supports FEC only on content received from Lync 2010 clients, as defined in [MS-RTVPF].
  • Pexip Infinity does not support FEC with Lync 2013 / Skype for Business clients.

Limitations

For an on-prem Pexip Infinity deployment, if there are any firewalls in between the Lync/SfB server and the Conferencing Nodes, or between the internal Lync/SfB clients and the Conferencing Nodes, these firewalls have to be configured to permit the relevant traffic (see Firewall ports for Lync / Skype for Business integrations).

There are some limitations with merging and escalating Lync/SfB meetings with PIN-protected Pexip conferences:

  • When using drag and drop to merge a PIN-protected Pexip conference into a Lync/SfB meeting, you need to include the PIN in the Lync/SfB contact address using the format <vmr_alias>**<PIN>@<domain>. Note that this will make the PIN visible to other Lync/SfB meeting participants. You can only merge a locked Pexip conference into a Lync/SfB meeting if the Pexip conference is also PIN-protected.
  • If a Lync/SfB client dials a PIN-protected VMR directly without the PIN in the URI, and then enters the PIN manually, it may not be able to present a PowerPoint file or escalate that call to a Lync Meeting (e.g. by drag-and-dropping other Lync/SfB participants into the call). Presentation and escalation is always possible if the Lync client initially dials the VMR with the PIN in the URI.