Which user to use for Skype in meeting and conference rooms ?

kt3z
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I'm trying to figure out which user we should use for Skype videoconferencing in out meeting and conference rooms.  All users have an Office 365 business premium account.  Note: We're not using roaming profile on the AD network.  

When a user send a Skype meeting invitation, then days later he'll go in the meeting room where our Atlona SW-510W is used with a Yamaha video camera and speaker and mic bar on the wall.  The PC is connected to the TV.

The user will use the PC that is already in the meeting room, not his laptop most of the time.  

This PC has a default user (the name of the meeting room.

If the user uses the default user (it's easier he doesn't have to login, find icons and everything and office 365 is already activated but not with the user account but with the meeting room account (which is a full o365 account not a equipment account)  Most users are trying to find the reunion, not realizing (even if they should know we have told them but some will forget, or they're in a hurry and so on) they have to login on o365 with their own users.

And most of the time they don't have much time.  

So I think it would be easier if each user would use their own account.  But they will have to activate O365, and O365 cannot be activated on more than 5 PC.  If they visit 20 meeting rooms in a year I don't think they can activate as many O365 on different PCs

QUESTION: what is the most commun way to use skype or any other conferencing tool in a meeting or conference room ?

Thanks
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Krzysztof KubiakSenior Windows Server Intel Administrator

Commented:
I would say that the most common and friendly way (after educating users) to use Skype  with a conferencing device is to set a account as Room System account with a mailbox and Calendar feature in Exchange.
Having that you can then tell the users to book the meeting room with the Skype meeting settings then the user will just need to join from the SfB client to the conference.

Now. The decision which you need to make is what conference equipment you want to use? If you want to use standard windows and SfB Client that's ok but there are few solutions like Polycom or https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/business/surface-hub-2. Where the equipment has a dedicated designer conference interface to make conference feeling much easier to use.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the advice.   I just start reading about room account and Skype.  I'm not quite yet sure whether a Office 365 business premium or E3 licence is required or not for the room account in order to run Skype with this account.  I guess it is.  

I've been looking at the hub and hub 2 for two years.  But it's very expensive and it's never really quite ready for the market as far as I know.  But it's an interesting solution.  We have about 20 meeting rooms with the atlona.  It works well.  

I'm trying to find out how to simplify the videoconferencing system, especially for Skype.  

The goal is to have users seeing the rooms calendar, then reserving the room with their own account and when they are in the meeting room, starting Skype meeting from the room account.

Besides, when the user is invited from someone from the outside, I'm not sure if he can add the room.

Also I'm studying TEAMS, which seems to be what is used with the hub 2.  All users are using teams already, not very much for some but I think it can be helpful.  

Thanks again
Senior Windows Server Intel Administrator
Commented:
If you are going to use a conferencing device with a account setup in O365 only ( no hybrid solution etc) Then forget completely about Skype For Business Online.

Don't even look at this direction as Skype For Business Oine will be removed in 2020.

Go only with Teams.

About Licencing. E3 will cover you for a lot of the need you need excluding PSTN. Have a read here:
http://blog.schertz.name/2017/08/understanding-office-365-licensing-for-meeting-devices/

I know it's about SfB online in the Licence Plan but Microsoft is using same models at the moment for SfB and Teams.

However this is why you want to go here and read about details what a licence covers:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/office-365-platform-service-description/office-365-plan-options

Both Licence models will allow you to create conferences the question is if you need PSTN.

Now about the equipment. Unfortunately Conference Equipment is always expensive. Polycom can be expensive it all depends how much money the company wants to invest.
You can go with some Logitech devices which give you a device and Camera connected to a standard PC with the Teams Client installed.

This is what Microsoft use in Dublin in their conference devices:

https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/across-devices/devices/category?devicetype=20

And it's not a half ready product. It works well if you don't have connectivity issue to go from that device to O365. It gives you a nice Conference feeling. The account in the Back-ende is setup in Exchange  and Teams so you can join scheduled meetings.
This probably would cover you with the features.

Additionaly what I would add is to buy a Conference collaboration cloud so anyone with any device can join your meeting:
https://www.bluejeans.com/products/integrations/microsoft-gateway

As not everyone might use Teams for conferencing.  They might have Cusco devices, Polycom devices or anything else.

Last option you have is. Why bother with O365 at all? In our organization we used meeting Devices with on-prem Lync, only because our organization uses Lync. Otherwise I would never go with that option. I would prefer to go with a setup which is cloud base and can join meetings from any device like this:
https://www.bluejeans.com/products/rooms.

My experience is that if you don't have a reliable and strong Network resource who can work with you to fix constant connectivity issues, or you won't be allowed to NAT your device or connect in a way it can talk directly talk to cloud you will encounter horrible problems. When planning you design you need to add this to your planing to make the connection from the device to the cloud secure and direct.

With O365 if you will use a standard joined PC in you LAN Network or if you will use any device in your LAN network which communicates with Internet over proxy then to avoid any issues you need to bypass scanning for the O365 urls and disable SSL inspection. Otherwise you will have only problems.
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Author

Commented:
Hi Krzysztof,

Thank you very much for all your highly useful explantions.  

The project was in fast track so we already have the meeting rooms (20) ready with the Atlona  https://atlona.com/product/sw-510w/ and Yamaha in wall speaker video camera micro system (which is working well)  I'm not expert in hardware stuff for meeting room so we hired a firm to propose the equipment.  

Our IP phone system is under 3CX, a low end we will maybe change sooner or later.    

The atlona is great, very easy to work with and everyone can (wireless) connect a laptop in one click (employees who are already connected to the corporate WiFi on miracast as well as guests who will use the Atlona WiFi to display the laptop screen to the TV)  or any other device through BYOD

Yamaha is good too.

But I'v very interested to know more about bluejeans so I will read about this.

I was reading about TEAMS just before you replied and I agree.  TEAMS is the best system to use if we use Skype or O365.  

I think we will use PSTN, I have to talk with our team.  Of course one day everyone will be connected, PSTN will no longer be required (But I suspect it will take some time)

I have to read about the bluejeans licensing system.  We already have E3 for rooms, we can upgrade to E5 and all users have at least business premium.  

The first thing users were asking for was to cast their laptop (or guests) laptop on the TV.  That's why we went with Atlona, it's fast (as we work with Revit and some other 3D applications)  But Also we had to provide WiFi for guests, and another WiFi for employees (because they're moving with their laptop in the office so the corporate WiFi is everywhere and powerful) and Apple cast, Google cast, miracast and so on.  

Now I have to understand how we could integrate all this with bluejeans.  I see they have their own equipment too but it can work with existing equipment.  

Thanks again, I'll wait a day or two in case you have something else to add, then I will close the question.
Krzysztof KubiakSenior Windows Server Intel Administrator

Commented:
Too add here.

Blue Jeans is o e example but there are plenty. Blue Jeans would be one of the more expensive cloud collaboration tools but did I know it's a good quality.

Google other services and register for trials. Normally companies will setup you with a Free account.

Few examples here:
https://cloudtweaks.com/resources/15-cloud-based-video-conferencing-services/

And also checkick out pexip. They offer Cloud service or OnPremise service:
https://www.pexip.com/self-hosted

If you Company wants to use a conferencing account conncted to Exchange, then my suggestion is to go With Teams and get you a Cloud service where from your Team account you will join th GW.

I'm also not a expert on that so you did a good decision choosing a company to give you some direction how a meeting Room should. Our Architects didn't do that and our meeting rooms are a mess. They were scratching their heads why after buying Polycom and setting it up only with Lync SIP people can't directly conference in to Cisco devices :). Until I asked them to buy me a Cloud Collaboration service.


So it's important to take time like you do and investigate best options. Trial accounts will help you a lot.

Author

Commented:
Thanks again and last question I'll look at all those solutions, and trials and yes bluejeans is not the less expensive :)  

 But when you talk about teams in Cloud, are you referring to Office 365 with Exchange online or it's something else.  All our users are already use TEAMS and they all have their mailbox on Exchange online.  TEAMS is online too, in the cloud.  It's in sync with the AD local network with Azure AD connect but it's in the cloud.

The room account is also on Exchange online.

Sorry to hear that for your conferencing rooms system.  I guess next time they will get your advice, it seems they already understand.



Thank you very much
Krzysztof KubiakSenior Windows Server Intel Administrator

Commented:
Yes. I'm referring to Exchange Online and Teams.

You are already in a much better spot as from what I understand you don't use Exchange Hybrid which adds more troubles.

So yes now what you just need a Cloud conferencing Gateway which supports any OS, Conferencing device and can join any device into one meeting.

Good Luck.

Author

Commented:
Thank you very much it was very detailed and helpful.

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