Selecting the layout seen by participants

A layout is the view that each participant has of all the other participants in the meeting. Layouts are chosen in advance by the administrator, but can be changed during the meeting by Host participants using the Infinity Connect client. Some of the options available depend on whether the conference is being held in a Virtual Meeting Room (including scheduled conferences) or a Virtual Auditorium.

You cannot convert an existing Virtual Meeting Room into a Virtual Auditorium. Instead, you must create a new Virtual Auditorium and reassign the existing aliases to it. For more information, see Changing from a Virtual Meeting Room to a Virtual Auditorium and vice versa.

Features common to all layouts

For all layout types and all conference types (Virtual Meeting Rooms and Virtual Auditoriums):

  • When there are between one and four audio-only participants, each is represented by an indicator on the left side of the video window. By default this is the audio-only icon from the conference's theme (normally , although it can be customized). However, it will display the participant's image/avatar instead if it is available, such as via policy profiles or user records. When an audio-only participant is speaking, their indicator expands to show their name in addition to the image or icon.

    The name that is shown is decided as described in Showing the names of participants as a text overlay below.

    Individual audio-only indicators, minimized and expanded

  • If there are five or more audio-only participants, they are represented by a single indicator which includes the audio-only icon followed by the total number of audio-only participants. When one of the audio-only participants speaks, the indicator expands to show their name, followed by their image or the audio-only icon, and the number of other audio-only participants.

    An example of the minimized and expanded audio-only indicator when there are five audio-only participants

  • Participants who are receiving video but not sending video (for example, if they have joined a video call without a camera) are represented by an icon of a camera with a line through it .
  • Video participants who are on hold, or who are experiencing connectivity issues, are represented by a frozen image.
  • If there are more video participants than there are live thumbnail views available, the last thumbnail is replaced by an icon indicating the number of additional participants not currently visible.
  • When a participant is the only device that is sending video, that participant sees a holding screen until other video participants join the conference. The holding screen indicates either that the participant is the only participant in the conference, or that all of the other participants are audio-only (and they are shown via their audio-only indicators as usual). The holding images are fully customizable via the theme associated with the service (Virtual Meeting Room, Call Routing Rule etc).
  • A full list of participants is available using Infinity Connect clients.
  • If the conference is being streamed or recorded, a streaming or recording icon is displayed to the right of the main video layout. Whenever a new participant joins the conference, and every two minutes otherwise, the icon will briefly slide out and show its associated text — "Streaming enabled" or "Recording". The icons and text can be changed, and the indicators can be disabled; see Creating and applying themes to conferences.

  • When the conference is locked, or has just been unlocked, a lock icon is displayed to the right of the video window. (This image can be changed; see Creating and applying themes to conferences.)
  • If there are participants waiting to join a locked conference, the number of participants is shown beneath the lock icon.
  • When sending presentation content to a single-stream endpoint or broadcasting via an RTMP stream (when not dialed out with dual streaming), Pexip Infinity sends the video stream of the active speaker in a small window in the upper right corner of the presentation.

Showing the names of participants as a text overlay

Each Virtual Meeting Room and Virtual Auditorium has the option to show the names of the participants (the current main speaker and thumbnails) in a text overlay along the bottom of their video image.

To turn on text overlay by default for a service:

  1. Go to Services > Virtual Meeting Rooms, Services > Virtual Auditoriums or Services > Scheduled Conferences and select the service you wish to change.
  2. Next to the Show names of participants field select Yes.

Host participants using Infinity Connect can enable and disable text overlay while a conference is in progress by using the commands /overlay on and /overlay off.

When text overlay is enabled, the name that is shown depends upon whether the participant was invited into the conference, and the type of endpoint device, as follows:

  • Automatically dialed participants (regardless of the type of endpoint that was dialed): either the ADP's configured Participant display name or, if this field is blank, the Participant alias, is shown.
  • Manually dialed participants (regardless of the type of endpoint that was dialed): either the participant's configured Participant display name or, if this field is blank, the Participant alias, is shown.
  • Infinity Connect participants: the text that the user entered into the initial Type your name here field is shown.
  • SIP endpoints: the endpoint's display name is shown.
  • H.323 endpoints: the endpoint's alias is shown.
  • Skype for Business / Lync clients: the username portion of the user's sign-in address is used, for example if Alice signs in as alice@example.com the text alice is shown.

The size of the text overlay varies automatically according to the resolution being received by the endpoint and the type of layout. In low resolutions the text overlays are not shown.

The default font for the in-conference display of participant names is Roboto (which cannot be changed), or if that is not available for the character set, Noto Sans.

Spotlighting a participant

Host participants using an Infinity Connect client can "spotlight" themselves or other participants in the meeting.

The spotlight feature locks any spotlighted participants in the primary positions in the stage layout, ahead of any current speakers. When any participants have been spotlighted, the first one to be spotlighted has the main speaker position, the second one has the second position (leftmost small video, for example), and so on. All remaining participants are arranged by most recent voice activity, as is default.

In a Virtual Auditorium, where Guests cannot see other Guests, if a Guest participant has been spotlighted they will only appear in the main video for Host participants; other Guests will not be able to see the spotlighted Guest.

When Lock presenter as main speaker has been selected, a spotlighted participant will appear in the main video ahead of any presenters.

To spotlight a participant, from the Infinity Connect client Participant list, select the participant and then select Spotlight.

Host participants using Infinity Connect can also use the commands /spotlight on [participant] and /spotlight off [participant].

Endpoints that support FECC can also be spotlighted while the FECC dialog is open.

Virtual Meeting Room layouts

All video-enabled participants in a Virtual Meeting Room or scheduled conference see the same layout, regardless of whether they are Hosts or Guests. Administrators can select the layout that will be used for each Virtual Meeting Room, however Hosts can change the layout during the course of a meeting.

To select the layout to be used by default, go to Services > Virtual Meeting Rooms or Services > Scheduled Conferences, select the Virtual Meeting Room, and then select one of the options from the View drop-down menu.

Host participants using Infinity Connect clients can change the layout during the meeting using the /layout command.

The table below lists the layout options that are available. Note that in all cases, if one or more participants have been spotlighted, they will take priority over the current speaker.

Option Command Description

Full-screen main speaker only (1 + 0 layout)

/layout 1:0

Participants see a single speaker, with no thumbnails.

  • The current speaker is shown full-screen. (The current speaker sees the previous speaker.)
  • The number of other participants (Hosts plus Guests) is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.

4 main speakers only (4 + 0 layout)

/layout 4:0

Participants see up to four speakers, with no thumbnails.

  • The current speaker plus the three most recent speakers are shown in a 2 x 2 format. (The current speaker sees the four most recent speakers.)
  • The number of other participants (Hosts plus Guests) is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.
  • If there are fewer than four other participants:
    • a single participant is shown full screen
    • two participants are shown side-by-side
    • three participants are shown in two rows, with one participant in the middle of the top row and the two other participants side-by-side in the bottom row.

Large main speaker and up to 7 other participants (1 + 7 layout)

/layout 1:7

Participants see each other in the standard 1+7 layout.

  • The main video shows the current speaker (or previous speaker, for those currently speaking).
  • Up to 7 other participants are shown in a single row of live thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.
    • Participants are shown in the thumbnails in order of who spoke most recently, from left to right, regardless of whether they are a Host or Guest.
    • If there are more participants than there are thumbnails available, the number of additional participants is indicated in the far right thumbnail.

Small main speaker and up to 21 other participants (1 + 21 layout)

/layout 1:21 This is the same as the 1 + 7 layout option, except the main speaker is shown slightly smaller in order to accommodate up to 21 other participants in 3 rows of live thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.

2 small main speakers and up to 21 other participants (2 + 21 layout)

/layout 2:21 This is the same as the 1 + 21 layout option, except the top row contains both the main speaker and most recent speaker side by side.

Allowing end-users to change the default layout

A VMR's default settings for its layout and display of participant names are initially assigned when the VMR is created by the administrator.

The Pexip VMR self-service portal is a separately-installable component that allows end-users to manage their personal Virtual Meeting Room without having to send requests to their administrator to change the configuration of their VMR.

See About the VMR self-service portal for more information.

Virtual Auditorium layouts

In Virtual Auditoriums, Guest participants usually only ever see the Host participants (with some exceptions); however, Hosts will see Hosts and Guests. Administrators choose from separate options for the layout shown to Guests and the layout shown to Hosts. Additionally, administrators can configure the Virtual Auditorium so that when a presentation is being shown, the presenter is kept in the main view. Host participants can change the layout seen by other Hosts during the course of a meeting.

To select the layouts to be used by default, go to Services > Virtual Auditoriums, select the Virtual Auditorium, and then select one of the options from the Host view and Guest view drop-down menus.

Host participants using Infinity Connect clients can change the layout during the meeting using the /layout command.

Host view

The table below lists the layout options that are available. Note that in all cases, if one or more participants have been spotlighted, they will take priority over the current speaker.

Option Command Description
Full-screen main speaker only (1 + 0 layout) /layout 1:0

Hosts see a single speaker, with no thumbnails.

  • The current Host speaker is shown full-screen. (The currently speaking Host sees the previous Host speaker, or if there are no other Hosts, they see the most recent Guest speaker.)
  • The number of other participants (Hosts plus Guests) is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.
4 main speakers only (4 + 0 layout) /layout 4:0

Hosts see up to four speakers, with no thumbnails.

  • The current speaker plus the three most recent speakers are shown in a 2 x 2 format. (The current speaker sees the four most recent speakers.)
  • The number of other participants (Hosts plus Guests) is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.
  • If there are fewer than four other participants:
    • a single participant is shown full screen
    • two participants are shown side-by-side
    • three participants are shown in two rows, with one participant in the middle of the top row and the two other participants side-by-side in the bottom row.
Large main speaker and up to 7 other participants (1 + 7 layout) /layout 1:7

Hosts see other Host and Guest participants in the standard 1+7 layout.

  • If there is only one Host, they see the most recent Guest speaker in the main video.
  • If there is more than one Host, they see the currently speaking Host in the main video. (The currently speaking Host sees the previous Host speaker.)
  • Up to 7 other participants are shown in a single row of live thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.
    • Host participants are shown first in the thumbnails, in order of who spoke most recently, from left to right.
    • Any remaining thumbnails are used to show Guests (again, in order of who spoke most recently).
    • If there are more participants than there are thumbnails available, the number of additional participants is indicated in the far right thumbnail.
Small main speaker and up to 21 other participants (1 + 21 layout) /layout 1:21 This is the same as the 1 + 7 layout option, except the main speaker is shown slightly smaller in order to accommodate up to 21 other participants in 3 rows of live thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.
2 small main speakers and up to 21 other participants (2 + 21 layout) /layout 2:21 This is the same as the 1 + 21 layout option, except the top row contains both the main speaker and most recent speaker side by side. This option is useful in combination with the Lock presenter as main speaker option, so that other participants can see the presenter and the person they are speaking to at the same time.

Guest view

Guests in a Virtual Auditorium are able to:

  • hear and see the Host participant(s)
  • hear but not see any of the other Guests, even if a Guest is speaking.

However, there are some circumstances where Guests will be able to see other Guests:

  • If all Hosts have left the conference, Guests will be able to see and hear other Guests in the selected layout until the conference is automatically disconnected (after about a minute), or until a Host rejoins.
  • If all Hosts are either control-only or audio-only (i.e. they are not sending video), Guests will be able to see and hear other Guests. If a Host then escalates to use video, Guests will then only be able to see the Host.

The table below lists the layout options that are available. Note that in all cases, if one or more participants have been spotlighted, they will take priority over the current speaker.

Option Description
Full-screen Host speaker only (1 + 0 layout)

Guests see a single Host speaker, with no thumbnails.

  • The Host who spoke most recently is shown full-screen.
  • If there are two or more Hosts, the number of other Host participants is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.
4 main speakers only (4 + 0 layout)

Guests see up to four Host speakers, with no thumbnails.

  • The current Host speaker plus up to the three most recent Host speakers are shown in a 2 x 2 format.
  • If there are fewer than four Hosts:
    • a single Host is shown full screen
    • two Hosts are shown side-by-side
    • three Hosts are shown in two rows, with one participant in the middle of the top row and the two other participants side-by-side in the bottom row.
  • If there are five or more Hosts, the number of other Host participants is indicated in a small icon at the bottom right of the screen.
Large Host speaker and up to 7 other Hosts (1 + 7 layout)

Guests see Host participants in the standard 1+7 layout.

  • If there is only one Host participant, the Host is shown full-screen.
  • If there is more than one Host participant, the standard 1+7 layout is used, with the main video showing the currently speaking Host and all other Host participants shown in the thumbnails.
  • Hosts are shown in the thumbnails in order of who spoke most recently, from left to right.
  • If there are more Host participants than there are thumbnails available, the number of additional Hosts is indicated in the bottom right thumbnail.
Small Host speaker and up to 21 other Hosts (1 + 21 layout) This is the same as the 1 + 7 layout option, except the main Host speaker is shown slightly smaller in order to accommodate up to 21 other Hosts in 3 rows of live thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.
2 small Host speakers and up to 21 other Hosts (2 + 21 layout) This is the same as the 1 + 21 layout option, except the top row contains both the main Host speaker and most recent Host speaker side by side. This option is useful in combination with the Lock presenter as main speaker option, so that other participants can see the presenter and the person they are speaking to at the same time.

Lock presenter as main speaker

You can configure a Virtual Auditorium so that when a presentation is being shown, the main speaker position always shows the presenter instead of the current speaker.

Option Description
Yes

When a presentation is being shown, the selected layout rules are overridden so that:

  • The main speaker position always shows the video image from the endpoint that is showing the presentation, even if others are speaking.
  • The image that would have been shown in the main view is instead shown in the first available thumbnail (for 1 + 7 and 1 + 21 layouts) or in the top right view (for 2 + 21 layout).
No When a presentation is being shown, the main speaker position is voice-switched as usual.

Layout examples

1 + 7 layout

standard 1+7 layout: main video plus a single row of thumbnails, an indicator showing the number of additional video participants, and two icons representing the audio-only participants (one with a personal avatar).

1 + 0 layout

1 + 0 layout: full-screen main video plus an icon indicating the number of additional participants

4 + 0 layout

4 + 0 layout: 2 x 2 main video plus an icon indicating the number of additional participants

1+21 layout

1+21 layout: main video plus three rows of thumbnails, an indicator showing the number of additional video participants, and an indicator showing the total number of audio-only participants.

2 + 21 layout

2 + 21 layout: two main speakers plus three rows of thumbnails, and an indicator showing the number of additional video participants.

Changing aspect ratios

Endpoints send and display video images and presentations in various aspect ratios. The most common ratios are 16:9 and 4:3 (i.e. landscape mode), but mobile devices in particular may send video in portrait mode.

If there is a difference between the aspect ratios of the sending and receiving endpoints, then the receiving endpoint and/or Pexip Infinity may crop the image or add black vertical or horizontal borders (also known as "letterboxing" and "pillarboxing"). Pexip Infinity chooses aspect ratios that maximize interoperability and quality. How and when aspect ratios are changed depends on a number of factors, but the general principles are described below.

Main video

  • Pexip Infinity: If required, Pexip Infinity will change the aspect ratio of main video by cropping the image (to avoid black bars in the thumbnail images). The exception is when video is received in portrait mode; in this case, the image is not cropped and is displayed as is.
  • Endpoints: If the aspect ratio of the main video image being sent from Pexip Infinity does not match the aspect ratio of the receiving endpoint, the endpoint will typically add a border to make it fit. Generally endpoints will not crop the image.

Presentations

  • Pexip Infinity: In general, Pexip Infinity chooses the resolution and aspect ratio that best matches the presentation content and that will not result in both vertical and horizontal borders (also known as "windowboxing") on a 16:9 endpoint display. It will never crop presentations, but may add either pillar or letterboxing to send a resolution that maximizes interoperability.
  • Endpoints: If the aspect ratio of the presentation image being sent from Pexip Infinity does not match the aspect ratio of the receiving endpoint, the endpoint will typically add another border to make it fit. Generally endpoints will not crop the image.