Part 4: Lifesize Cloud integration with Skype for Business 2015


Overview:

The purpose of this paper is to discuss and show how Lifesize Cloud clients can fully interoperate with Microsoft® Skype® for Business 2015 (Lync® 2013) clients. It forms Part 4 of a series that specifically looks at Microsoft Skype for Business 2015 and the challenges and solutions for integrating Skype for Business 2015 with various H.323 or SIP standards compliant videoconferencing systems.

We will show the network topology and explain the major functions of the infrastructure so that you can see the interaction between the various Lifesize Cloud and the Skype for Business 2015 components. We will then explain how this solution overcomes the challenges and how to make calls.

Within these papers the terms, Lync, Skype, Skype for Business and SfB, unless stated otherwise, all refer to Skype for Business Server 2015. The paper is specifically based on Skype for Business 2015. Whilst Lync 2013 has now been renamed Skype for Business 2015, it is generally backwards compatible with Lync Server 2013.

It is recommended that you look all the papers listed below for a background into Skype for Business and a detailed explanation about the Codecs, Protocols, Procedures and some of the available solutions.

History:

Microsoft Lync is an evolutionary product for Unified Communications (UC). The initial product; Live Communications Server 2003, was only an Instant Messaging (IM) server. This then evolved through several interactions of Live Communications Server to Office Communications Server and then to Lync Server 2010; when a PBX replacement function was added. It then evolved even further to Lync Server 2013 which added much more including video conferencing, web and audio conferencing, softphone and PBX replacement and/or integration. Now, Microsoft have renamed Lync to Skype for Business.

Native or Gateway Integration:

There are basically two methods for integrating Skype for Business with other SIP or H.323 standards compliant videoconferencing systems; namely Native or Gateway.

As discussed in other papers, Skype for Business uses Microsofts implementation of SIP that includes a number of unique extensions. Hence, for Native integration, the endpoint must be able to fully understand Microsofts SIP (MS-SIP) and all these unique extensions, plus allow the endpoint to register to the Skype for Business Server.

The endpoint must also support common media codecs that use compatible transport protocols; then the Media streams will be able to go directly between the endpoint and other Skype for Business clients.

This is Native Integration whereby, to the Skype for Business Server, the endpoint looks just like any other Skype for Business 2015 client.

Lifesize Cloud:

The Lifesize Cloud provides a truly global video conferencing service that is secure, fully supported and hosted via IBM's worldwide Data Centers. Everything is plug and play, even NAT/firewall traversal. Each Cloud User can create their own meeting room with up to 50 (Cloud Enterprise) participants.

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device as Lifesize Cloud software runs on iOS, Windows and Android devices, making conferencing available on a range of PC's, tablets & smartphones.

As you can see from the diagram below, the Lifesize Cloud Virtual Meeting Room supports calls with both H.323 and SIP endpoints as well as Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013) clients. 

Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013) clients:

Lifesize Cloud works with both Skype for Business 2015 On-Premise and Skype for Business Online clients. Effectively, if your Skype for Business deployment is not configured for open federation, then you simply have to configure your deployment to federate with Lifesize Cloud. 

For On-Premise deployments, you must add lync.lifesizecloud.com as a federated partner, whilst for Online deployments, you must add lifesizecloud.com as a federated partner.

Videoconferencing, including Application Sharing:

The Lifesize Cloud infrastructure through the federated link supports Microsofts RDP for Application Sharing between all the H.323 and/or SIP endpoints and all the Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013) clients.

For multipoint calls, you simply create a Lifesize Cloud Virtual Meeting Room. This would be allocated a Cloud ID that looks similar to each Cloud Accounts unique User ID, for example 123456@lifesizecloud.com Once created, this can be added to each Skype for Business 2015 clients Other Contacts list as should below.

Similarly, for just point-to-point calls, you can add any Lifesize Cloud User ID to your Skype for Business 2015 clients Other Contacts list.

Once you have the Lifesize Cloud VMR or User ID in your Other Contacts list, you simply Start a video call to them. Once the call is established, you can then click the Present button and share your Desktop or Program.

Limitations to the Shared Application:

There is a limitation in that whilst the Lifesize Cloud client can receive the Microsoft clients shared application, it cannot collaborate and take control of this application. It can only resize the windows in which the shared application is viewed.

Other H.323 and/or SIP endpoints:

As the first diagram indicates, Other H.323 and/or SIP endpoints such as a Polycom RealPresence Group can easily call your Cloud VMR or User ID and join the conference. If it's your VMR, then this can include any mix of Cloud clients, H.323 and SIP endpoints as well Skype for Business clients. Cloud clients could be guests and use a WebRTC enabled browser. 


For a complete picture, please take a closer look at all the other papers in this series about Skype for Business 2015.