Video Interoperability in Skype for Business


Story by Jeff Schertz

With the recently launched Office 365 Summit events Microsoft has started sharing technical details on the various new capabilities which are on the horizon with the future release of Skype for Business Server.  In a previous article this rebranding of Lync to Skype for Business (SfB) was analyzed and explained in an effort to clarify some of the confusion immediately seen after that announcement.

This article will attempt to do the same regarding one of the advertised capabilities coming to the Lync replacement in Skype for Business: Video Interoperability.  As made evident by the unexpected popularity of an earlier article on this same topic for Lync 2013, there is a growing need to understand this space which has actually become more complicated over time, due to the increasing number of applicable solutions and methods coming into the market since then, provided by multiple Microsoft partners and even Microsoft themselves.

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    I think MS calling this product Video “Interoperability” Server is pretty gutsy..all things considered:

    “The only supported environment at product launch will require that VIS be connected to a Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM or CallManager) deployment which in turn includes one or more of a specific list of tested and supported Cisco VTC models”

    supported VTC endpoints listed at the time this article was written are as follows:

    Cisco TelePresence Codecs (C40, C60, C90)
    Cisco TelePresence MX Series (MX200, MX300)
    Cisco TelePresence EX Series (EX60, EX90)
    Cisco TelePresence SX Series (SX20)

    “no mention of other third party VTC manufacturer involvement in this program to date

    missing from the list above are any Polycom room systems”

    “Once in the meeting only a single active video participant can be sent to/from the VTC via VIS, and there is no support for content sharing ”

    “single VIS server can only support up to a few VTCs simultaneously in a single environment, thus multiple server nodes and even multiple pools may be required to support the transcoding demand which may exist in a specific environment.”

  2. Great points. I think in the last few years our expectations of “interop” have increased dramatically. Today, I certainly expect anything branded as an interop server to support more than a few listed endpoints.

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