Video Conferencing Systems: Get More Flexibility with Cloud Video Interop
Unified Communications (UC) describes the interconnection of communication platforms like video conferencing, chat, phone and file sharing. The UC industry is evolving rapidly. And while this creates excellent opportunities to improve virtual communication across your business, it also presents an overwhelming number of options and choices. What is the best UC Platform for your business? Which brands provide the most flexibility or greatest value? What is the end user experience?
Learn about the meeting space technologies which support Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other leading UC systems so you can make the right purchase decision for your business. In this blog, we will dive into SIP endpoints and Cloud Video Interop (CVI).
SIP / Standard Endpoints and Cloud Video Interop (CVI)
Cloud Video Interop (CVI) provides flexibility if you want to continue to use existing SIP or H.323 video conferencing systems and not be locked into a single UC platform.
CVI is a Microsoft Qualified 3rd party solution that enables SIP-based room systems (SIP and H.323) to dial into Microsoft Teams meetings. This lets organizations leverage their investment in existing technologies. It can be expensive to replace existing hardware with Microsoft Teams “native” UC systems, so instead utilizing CVI is a great option.
There are currently 4 certified Microsoft CVI solutions:
- Poly RealConnect Service
- Pexip Teams Connector
- Bluejeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Gateway for Microsoft Teams
How does CVI work?
Once a CVI service is added and permissions are configured, Team Meeting invites will automatically contain the appropriate information for SIP/H.323 solutions to successfully join calls. The invite includes a SIP string (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) that most hardware UC platforms will automatically detect and add as click-to-join on their meeting room system interface.
If your organization does not want to standardize on Microsoft Teams, you can even combine CVI with a calendaring integration to maximize interoperability across multiple platforms. Calendaring integration solutions will scrape meeting invites for SIP dialing strings from other major UC platforms, and then pull all of the invites into the existing SIP/H.323 video conferencing systems’ calendar. Anyone entering a meeting room will simply hit the “Join” button on the in-room interface, and the system will dial into the appropriate platform.
Examples of these additional “calendaring integration” cloud applications are: PEXIP One Touch Join, Poly One Touch Dial, Synergy Sky Join, Cisco Calendaring Join, and BlueJeans One Touch Join.
How does CVI licensing work?
Most CVI solutions work under the premise of Concurrent Connections. The number of licenses required is the number of active connected SIP endpoints you want connected into the environment at once. If you have 3 CVI licenses, your organization can have 3 or less concurrent inbound SIP connections.
Most CVI services allow for a slight bit of oversubscribing, so business can still continue without interruption. For example, let’s say you have 3 CVI licenses and all 3 are in use. Then a 4th employee starts a call that has a SIP-based system join. Technically, your organization is now utilizing 4 CVI licenses and is oversubscribed. But most CVI services will still allow the 4th call to connect and continue. The discussion around increasing the number of CVI licenses will happen at renewal or at the next monthly charge.
Is there a CVI option for Zoom or Google Meet?
Yes! Zoom has a similar solution called Conference Room Connector (CRC). PEXIP has a CVI solution for Google Meet. Both of these solutions work like the Microsoft CVI, enabling SIP/H.323 endpoints to connect into Zoom or Google Meet calls. They also follow a subscription-based licensing model.
Pros & Cons
Here are the final pros and cons of choosing a CVI for your UC Platform solution:
- Less Investment: Leverage existing standards-based SIP/H.323 hardware technologies and investments already existing within the organization
- Flexibility: Provides a more agnostic approach to all UC Platforms, as opposed to locking into a single “native” platform.
- Subscription Cost – CVIs are subscription-based services with additional recurring annual fees.
- Teams Admin Required – Team CVI consists of Microsoft Tenancy Setup, which requires more advanced administrator setup.
- Initial Connection Delay – All CVIs introduce a very brief (< 2 seconds) initial connection delay.
- Only Applies to Inbound SIP calls – CVI licenses only apply to SIP systems dialing into your environment. The licenses do not extend to your own SIP systems dialing out into another environment. Compare the following examples:
- Example 1: Organization A has CVI licenses, while Organization B does not. Org A invites Org B to a Zoom invite. Org B dials in via a SIP-based system and connects with no issues. This utilizes 1 of Org A’s CVI licenses.
- Example 2: Organization A has CVI licenses, while Organization B does not. Org B invites Org A to a Teams invite. Org A dials in via a SIP-based system, but is not able to connect because Org B does not have any CVI licenses. Org A switches to a native Team client and can successfully dial into Org B’s Team room, because no CVI licenses are required.