this thread is, for existing Cisco Communications Manager (or VCS customers), that want to add Video Conferencing/Meetings services. (it also applies to new customers that want to keep callcontrol/registration on premises).
We have two options to provide Video Meetings in this case:
a) Video Meetings on-premises // Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) solution
b) Video Meetings on the cloud // Cisco Webex Meeting Center solution
Let's have a look on each of them:
a) Video Meetings on-premises // Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) solution
Assume we have a customer case that has already below components on-premises:
- Call control for voice/video endpoints (Cisco Communications Manager or VCS-Control or Exp-C)
- Video endpoints registered to callcontrol (Cisco DX, SX,MX, Room kits Video endpoints or Jabber softclients)
- B2B (Business-to-Business) Video via Expressway-C/Expressway-E
Customer can do video calls point-to-point and also can accept/make video calls from/to external SIP/H323 video devices over internet in a secure way.
Below is a high level diagram of above case:
Now let's assume that customer wants, apart from p2p video calls, to be able to make video conferences (3 or more people in the same video conference). In order to do this, customer can add Cisco Meeting Server that will act as Video conferencing MCU and would allow video conferences with many participants. See below updated diagram:
CMS (Cisco Meeting Server) offers:
Adhoc, Scheduled or Permanent video meetings
Adhoc meetings: means you go to a video endpoint and add manually desired participants
Scheduled meetings: you can use TMS scheduling application (comes with CMS order) and schedule a video meeting for specific time/day
Permanent meetings : you can have always-on permanent video meetings that makes it easy for the users and saves time from customer admins. These, if desired, could be personal video rooms.
PIN protection if desired for extra security. You can have one PIN for all participants or have a Host PIN and a Guest PIN.
Participants can join via WebRTC browser. This makes easy for external users that do not access to a H323 or SIP video endpoint.
Interop with Lync/S4B customers
Video recording is supported as an option
Note that, apart from Video meetings, CMS can support audio participants in a video meeting (if someone at that moment needs to join from a phone or mobile without video) and could also be used for Audio conferences with PIN protection.
In summary, CMS is a great solution offering various services to a customer that has on-premises deployment. More details:
b) Video Conferencing on the cloud // Cisco Webex Meeting Center solution
Other option that customer has to get a Video MCU on the cloud (instead of on-premises). This is Webex Meeting Center solution.
In that case, high level diagram is as below:
Webex Meeting Center offers Video meetings on the cloud.
It supports up to 75 Video participants (Cisco or 3rd-party SIP or H323 endpoints, S4B/Lync clients) and up to 1000 participants joining via browser(webex participants). It also allows webex participants to connect via VoIP only if desired (it is not necessary to have or enable video).
It offers recording capabilities out-of-the-box.
Offers scheduled or personal always-on video rooms.
Meetings could be PIN protected (for video endpoints) or password protected for webex participants.
Video endpoints that reside on customer premises can dial to Webex meetings via Expressway B2B solution.
Which are the main differences between two options?
a) CMS solution can be ordered once and kept/operated in your premises.
Webex Meeting Center solution is cloud-based and subscription-based.
b) Internet consumption and call flows:
In first case:
-internal participants join Video meetings without going via your Internet feed
-external participants come join Video meetings via your Internet feed
In second case:
-internal participants join Video meetings via your Internet feed
-external participants join Video meetings without passing/consuming your Internet feed
So if you have many internal participants, first case might look more attractive.
If majority of participants are external, then, for this aspect, cloud solution seems to fit more.
c) Interop with Communications Manager and Telephony solution
CMS, being on premises, integrates with your Communications Manager and gives various benefits.
You can have adhoc video meetings. CMS video meetings can belong to internal dialplan.
CMS meetings allow audio participants (local user joins from IPPhone or remote users join via a PSTN number). CMS can be used for audio meetings only, if desired (offering PIN protection).
But note that Webex also supports PSTN join options and lately via Webex Edge solution, SIP trunk via your CUCM is possible.
In first case, recordings remain on customer premises, while in second case are stored in the webex cloud (could be downloaded offcourse and webex has a very strong security architecture to protect your content).
What is the best path? Where should I invest?
There is no right or wrong direction as it depends on customer needs.
My personal opinion is the following:
Today both solutions are very cost effective compared to Video conferencing solutions in the past. So if you have Cisco Communications Manager, adding CMS is a must that will give you all the benefits mentioned above. This will cover many use cases you have for video/audio conferencing, interop, connect with remote external users,etc.
Now there are some use cases that might not best covered with CMS like:
-very large video meetings (with CMS you would need a lot of HW resources to host these where Webex Meetings can support up to 1000 webex and 75 video participants)
- meetings that most of the time have many external participants (for example for your marketing team activites, etc.)
- you have an urgent need and don't have the time to pass the CMS ordering and implementation process
I am interested , what is the next step?
Best way to experience Video Meetings solutions is to use them.
Please contact your Cisco Partner or Cisco Account Manager and schedule a Video Meetings demo.
hope this helps
please rate if you find this useful
DISCLAIMER: this post was created in order to provide useful info to Cisco partners and customers in my area (Greece/Cyprus and Malta). For official and updated information, please consult cisco documentation, datasheets and ordering guides.
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