Technical Brief: Lync 2013 Integration with Cisco Video Conferencing using Cisco Infrastructure

 

How do I Integrate Lync 2013 with Cisco VTC?

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the integration of Microsoft Lync 2013 with Cisco video conferencing systems. This post is intended to provide a general overview of the current Cisco / Lync 2013 interoperability landscape using Cisco infrastructure equipment. Let’s break up the topic into two sections: Signaling and Media.

Signaling – This is the control traffic that facilitates communication between two or more endpoints and allows calls to happen

  • Cisco endpoints such as MX, SX, and C-series codecs use H.323 for signaling and control.
  • Other Cisco Endpoints such as Jabber for desktop or mobile devices use Cisco SIP for signaling and control.
  • Both H.323 and Cisco SIP endpoints register to a VCS-Control gateway. This gateway allows H.323 devices and Cisco SIP devices to talk to each other.
  • Lync 2013 uses a Microsoft implementation of SIP; this is not the same as Cisco’s SIP.  Unfortunately the two protocols cannot natively communicate and therefore a direct call from Lync 2013 to a Cisco endpoint is not possible without a device to “translate” the signaling.
  • The device required to facilitate signaling is a VCS-Control with the Microsoft Interoperability Key; in essence the VCSc is deployed as a Lync Gateway. This VCSc Lync gateway is in addition to the core VCSc gateway mentioned above that your Cisco endpoints register to. The VCSc Lync Gateway communicates with the Lync Server and the core VCSc and the core VCSc in turn communicates with your Cisco endpoints.

Media – This is a separate session from Signaling that allows the media (video) to stream between endpoints.

  • With current Cisco firmware version TC6.3, Cisco endpoints now support H.264SVC for Media.
  • Lync 2013 now also supports H.264SVC, so Cisco endpoints can communicate with Lync 2013 for Media.
  • Note – This is a very simplified take on Media interoperability because there are different versions of H.264AVC/SVC. The basic point is that Lync 2013 and Cisco endpoints can now natively communicate media between devices.  

In summary, the key to “interoperability” between Cisco and Lync 2013 using Cisco infrastructure is to deploy a VCS Control gateway cluster made up of a Core VCSc and a VCS-c Lync Gateway.

Here are some other good things to know as things currently stand:

  • 720p 30fps can be supported in both directions
  • Presentation support can currently only go from Cisco to Lync
  • Lync 2013 users can be viewed on Cisco endpoints through the phonebook if TMS is deployed
  • Calls can be answered in either direction
  • There are certain restrictions on what the Lync Server and the VCSc can report to each other for Presence (i.e. not-available / available for call). If FindMe is deployed on the VCSc Lync gateway, enhanced Presence information is available on the Lync client.
  • Cisco MCUs do not support H.264SVC. In order to facilitate calls between H.264SVC devices and an H.264 MCU, transcoding would have to happen in a gateway (or another device). Details of solutions for this will follow in an upcoming post.

Video conferencing infrastructure and integration with Lync 2013 can be a very complicated topic. The above is intended only as a general overview of the technical concepts. If you have more specific questions about this integration, please feel free to contact us and speak with a consultant about your UC solution. 

"5 Tips For Tech Integration"

Presentation Products Account Manager Zach Baxter recently wrote an article for interiorsandsources.com guiding corporate space designers through their initial steps towards having a successful corporate build out while keeping AV in mind. Pushing for more architects to plan for AV early on, Baxter writes

As any veteran designer can confirm, clients’ desires, priorities, and, most importantly, budgets are subject to change during the design process. To prevent future headaches, plan for the eventual inclusion of technology whenever possible. Reinforce walls for future displays. Leave open cable pathways for electrical and communications cabling. Specify ample numbers of access panels in sheetrock ceilings. Involving a technology integrator to help design a space for future upgrades can prevent expensive and time consuming retrofits. Future facilities managers will thank you!

To read more of his article visit “5 Tips For Tech Integration” and be on the lookout for more Presentation Products Designers and Product Specialists around the web.

SMART Winter Workshop Courses

Presentation Products, Inc. in partnership with Léman Manhattan Preparatory School will conduct a series of mini-workshops for SMART users who are looking for more ways to introduce interactive activities into their classrooms. These workshops will best serve individuals who have experience with the SMART board and Notebook software, but who may want advanced instruction on how to create more engaging lessons with the technology (like the ones you saw at that conference somewhere). At the end of each session participants will have access to shared items from the Mini-workshop and will be able to use what they created in the classroom right away.

 

Quick Info:

WHAT:  A series of SMART mini-workshops that will enable  teachers to get hands on time to practice and create fun, engaging lessons, with enough interactivity to entice their students to learn! All Participants must bring their own laptop with the latest version of Notebook software installed.

WHEN: January and February 2014. See below for specific dates

WHERE: Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
41 Broad St, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10004

Please bring photo ID along with a copy of your registration confirmation for access to the building.
The cost for each workshop will be $49- a savings of over $300. Seating is limited, so register early!

See below for a listing of available mini-workshops in the Winter Series:

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Get SMARTER with NB11

January 30th, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm 

SMART Notebook 11 software offers more creativity and flexibility than ever before, with many new tools and features to help you create and deliver lessons more easily and with greater impact. Participants will learn the best practices of Notebook 11’s NEW interactive features and more.
Sign up here

Build Enrichment with Activity Builder

February 6th, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm 
In this session learn about Notebook’s latest add-on: Activity Builder. This add-on lets you quickly create interactive activities with built in feedback from scratch. By the end of the session you will have activities to share and collect, which will allow you to go out and build activities for your classroom!

 Sign up here

Teaching with Game Templates: Jeopardy, Whack-a-Mole, Concentration

February 13th, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm 
In this session, participants will learn the value of teaching with games. You’ve seen these fun games in a video and wondered how they created it, now you will know. Go home with these games and get your students up and moving to enhance their classroom experience.

 Sign up here

Widgets, Websites, and Wizards for Classroom Management

February 27th, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm 
Explore resources to incorporate fun widgets for interactive learning, embed your favorite website directly onto a page, and use various wizards in Lesson Activity Toolkit to help manage everyday classroom items like attendance, job selection, group division, and brainstorming.

 Sign up here

Personalize: Collecting, Organizing and Presenting Related Files

March 6th, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm 
In this session you’ll learn how to use SMART Notebook collaborative learning software and the SMART Board interactive whiteboard to: Organize and easily display files and media, Create flexible non-linear lessons, be more responsive to student needs and interests.

 Sign up here

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For more information,call 212-736-6350 or email training@pproducts.com

Technology Showcase Event! Digital Design and Collaboration Solutions

Are you an Architect, Engineer, General Contractor, or Integration Firm working on multi-team Installations looking for ideas on how you can have more productive design review sessions where the right decisions can be reached right away? Learn about the latest in Interactive Technology and find your Collaboration Solution at our technology showcase next week!We will be discussing the implementation of interactive technology in BIM and VDC environments with guest speaker Andy Ebbern from SMART Technologies. Event participants will have the opportunity to try out the technology and work through different applications of a SMART Board as a collaboration solution.CLICK HERE to register.

 

Join Us and Learn!

WHEN: Tuesday, January 14th

  • 3:00pm-5:00pm

WHAT: Best Practices in Digital Design Management for Multi-Team ProjectsA SMART Open House Event

  • Presentations on Digital Design and Collaboration Solutions for Architects, General Contractors, Designers, and Engineers
  • Hands-on Time with SMART Interactive Displays and Software
  • Keynote Speakers from SMART Technologies
  • Networking Opportunities

WHERE: SMART Technologies
                    
Suite 1115
200 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016 

Join The Experts 
This event is being hosted by SMART Technologies and Presentation Products, Inc. a leading AV Design & Integration Firm based in New York City. We hope you can make it!

Have Questions? Call 212.736.6350

Register by clicking the “RSVP NOW” Button and filling out the online form

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Changes to Notebook Software Support

SMART is making a number of changes to offer increased flexibility for collaborative learning on any interactive device and to make it easier for schools and districts to standardize use of SMART Notebook™ collaborative learning software.  SMART is also introducing Notebook Advantage software maintenance plans to provide annual access to product upgrades and subject-specific add-ons.

With the introduction of Notebook Advantage software maintenance plans, schools and districts can ensure everyone enjoys the full benefits of the SMART Notebook platform with access to a comprehensive suite of plug-ins, widgets, learning content and subject-specific add-ons.

Effective April 1, 2014, these annual plans will also provide access to Notebook software upgrades and live technical support. See the FAQs below:

Notebook Advantage maintenance plans

What is Notebook Advantage?

Notebook Advantage is an annual paid subscription program for customers using SMART Notebook collaborative learning software. It covers upgrades, add-ons and technical support for SMART Notebook software.

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Why is SMART introducing Notebook Advantage software maintenance?

The Notebook Advantage program will allow SMART to offer increased functionality, more features and world-class customer support for SMART Notebook software

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When does Notebook Advantage take effect?

Notebook Advantage will be subject to renewal one year from the date of your hardware purchase, or April 1, 2014, whichever date comes later. Live phone support will be available for one year from date of purchase or June 30, 2014, whichever date comes later.

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If I don’t buy Notebook Advantage, what will happen?

Customers without a valid Notebook Advantage plan may continue to use their existing version of SMART Notebook software, but won’t be eligible for product updates, live technical support or subject-specific add-ons. Access to SMART’s new and improved knowledge base for self-serve support will still be available.

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If I buy new SMART hardware, do I get Notebook Advantage?

All SMART hardware includes a one-year subscription to Notebook Advantage. Customers can renew annually, or pre-purchase subscriptions for up to five years.

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If I have recently purchased SMART hardware, am I covered by Notebook Advantage?

All hardware that has already been purchased will include at least one year of Notebook Advantage, as per the effective dates above.

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Will SMART continue to support previous versions of SMART Notebook software?

Yes. SMART will support the current version of SMART Notebook software, as well as the two most recent versions.

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What is the pricing for Notebook Advantage Classroom?

Please contact your SMART authorized reseller or distributor for more information on pricing.

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Why aren’t the SMART hardware and software warranties aligned?

Hardware warranties typically protect you from component degradation or failure over time.   Notebook Advantage is different from a warranty in that it offers access to upgrades and add-ons, as well as technical support. As a result of the difference between the two offerings, you will not be negatively impacted by a difference in the coverage terms. If this is a concern, extended terms are available for SMART hardware and software, and would allow you to align coverage if desired.

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What if I phone for technical support, but don’t have a maintenance agreement?

If you don’t have a valid maintenance subscription, you are able to add maintenance to your account for up to three years after your previous agreement expired. At this time, you will be charged retroactively for the time period since the expiration of your last agreement.

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Can I buy a site license for Notebook Advantage?

You will have the option of purchasing Notebook Advantage on a site license basis. Customers will be able to renew their site license for multi-year durations of up to 5 years.

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What is the definition of a “site”?

A site can be defined as a single school, a collection of schools, or an entire district. You can decide how to define a site and will be charged accordingly.

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What is the pricing for a Notebook Advantage Site License?

Pricing is based on the number of rooms in the site.

 

Resource: smarttech.com/Education solutions