Poly Group Series with Microsoft Teams

October 4, 2019 by · 10 Comments 

This article covers how to successfully configure a Poly Group Series to connect to Microsoft Teams meetings.  While several different options, both native and interoperable, were recently outlined for the Poly Trio the Group Series approach is much simpler.  This is due to the facts that (a) there are no applicable audio-only scenarios as the Group Series is not a SIP-based phone at its core, and (b) there are no native Teams options for the Group Series as it does not run Android or Windows, and thus cannot directly run either of the device apps provided by Microsoft to their device partners. 

This means that there is only a single path to Microsoft Teams for the Group Series: an interoperability service like RealConnect.  Thus, the few potential configuration scenarios have more to do with Skype for Business connectivity than Teams.

This article is only applicable to a standalone Group Series deployment. If a Group Series unit has been integrated with a Trio, meaning it is deployed as a Visual Pro, then the aforementioned Trio article should be used as guidance.  In this scenario the registration and call control is handled by the Trio, not the Group Series/Visual Pro.

The valid configuration scenarios fall into two categories:

  1. Interop Only – Both Teams and Skype meetings are joined via the interoperability model by using the RealConnect Service.
  2. Mixed Mode – While the RealConnect Service must be used for Teams meetings, Skype meetings will instead connect natively.

The first option provides for the most configuration flexibility as the Group Series supports both H.323 and SIP, so either protocol can be used to join Teams meetings via the available interoperability solutions: RealConnect for Clariti or the RealConnect Service.

When Skype for Business meetings also need to be supported though, then there are two different options which could impact which protocols are available to use for connecting into Teams meetings.  Essentially, if Skype meetings will be joined natively, then SIP is occupied by the registration to a Skype for Business Server, or Skype for Business Online.  Only H.323 remains available to join Teams, as an attempt to call into an interoperability service for Teams using a SIP dial string would fail as the SIP registrar is Skype and would not understand that call, nor be able to route it correctly.  If RealConnect will be leveraged for joining both Skype and Teams meetings then either SIP or H.323 can be used.

The configuration examples provided in this article will leverage a single Microsoft Office 365 tenant with accounts enabled and homed in Skype for Business Online and Exchange Online.  Additional configuration in the management portal for the OTD service (which is not covered in this article) is required when using room mailboxes homed on an Exchange Server deployment.

Calendar Configuration

The Calendaring Service configuration will be the same across all of these scenarios as, unlike the Trio, the Group Series does not natively support the ability to recognize RealConnect meeting invitations across all possible formats.  This is what the One Touch Dial (OTD) service is designed to address, for multiple different endpoint types.

In many cases the Group Series may already be configured to point to Exchange Online, especially when the system is natively registered to Skype for Business.  If the resource mailbox leveraged by the Group Series has been enabled for authentication, or if a service account has been delegated permissions to the mailbox then those credentials would be included in the calendaring configuration.  In these cases only a single change is needed to the configuration: pointing the system to the Poly One Touch Dial service instead of directly to Exchange Online.

Also make sure to confirm that the Exchange mailbox is correctly configured, as outlined in this article, paying close attention to the DeleteComments parameter.  It is common for a previously created resource mailbox to be left in its default state which would prevent the endpoint from displaying a functional Join button on Skype and Teams invitations.

  • Connect to the IP address of the Group Series in a browser (e.g. https://192.168.1.163) to access the web management interface.
  • Navigate to the Admin Settings > Servers > Calendaring Service menu and, if not already enabled, select Enable Calendaring Service.
  • Enter the primary SMTP address of the resource (or user) mailbox intended for use with the Group Series (e.g. group@msteams.net).
  • Leave the Domain field blank and then in the User Name field enter the User Principal Name of the account with appropriate permissions to the mailbox.  This would either be the mailbox’s own identity (e.g. group@msteams.net) or a service account which has been delegated at least ‘Reviewer’ rights to the ‘Calendar’ folder of that mailbox.  Enter the Password for the provided user account.
  • Ignoring the Auto Discover option manually enter the address of the Poly One Touch Dial service (otd.plcm.vc) in the Microsoft Exchange Server field and then click Save.

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After applying the changes the Registration Status will initially report Not Connected, but within 30 seconds or so it should update to Registered.

  • Once connected to the mailbox check the calendar display on the Group Series monitor and/or touch panel to confirm that any scheduled Skype or Teams meetings appear and are showing a Join button.

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At this point the Group Series is ready to attempt a call using One Touch Dial, but the remaining configuration options will dictate how those call attempts are actually handled.


Scenario 1 – Interop

The ability to actually connect the call after it has been placed falls primarily on network connectivity which can vary across different infrastructure or cloud service arrangements.  The system could either be unregistered or registered to one or more video infrastructure platforms (Poly RealPresence, Cisco VCS, etc) or cloud services.

Given that a variety of options exist this article will only cover one: using a standalone Group Series along with the RealConnect Service.  No standards-based registrars will come into play, and the communications path to the service in Azure is available by traversing a standard firewall which allows outbound traffic to Azure over the required ports and protocols to successfully reach the service.

In this scenario either or both SIP and H.323 can be enabled and used for placing calls into the RealConnect Service.

H.323 Configuration

Perform the following steps to enable H.323 for outbound calling, if desired.

  • Navigate to the Admin Settings > Network > IP Network menu and then expand the H.323 section.
  • Select Enable IP H.323.
  • Enter the name which will be used to identify the system in Skype and Teams meetings in the H.323 Name field (e.g. Jeff Schertz GS500).
  • Leave the H.323 Extension (E.164) field blank. (It is not required for calls into the service, but it can be populated for other H.323 use cases if desired.)
  • Set Use Gatekeeper to Off (unless an H.323 registrar is available) and then click Save.

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SIP Configuration

Perform the following steps to enable SIP for outbound calling, if desired.  The majority of the settings will typically apply to whether or not a standards-based SIP registrar is available for use, or if unregistered calls are preferred over a specific transport protocol.  The system’s default Auto configuration options can be used, but in the example below the configuration is specifically set to utilize unregistered, secure TLS communications.

  • Navigate to the Admin Settings > Network > IP Network menu and then expand the SIP section.
  • Select Enable SIP.
  • Select Specify for the SIP Server Configuration option and then select TLS as the Transport Protocol.
  • Leave the BFCP transport preference set to Prefer UDP (as this is the better option for content sharing media than TCP).   
  • Leave the Registrar Server Type to Unknown and then leaving the remaining fields blank click Save.

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Dialing Preference

This configuration controls which protocol is used by default when joining a meeting by using the Join button on the calendar or when using the Place a Call option on the Group Series user interface with the remote control or a touch device.

If a call is placed using the Manual Dial option on the Place a Call menu in the web management interface then a drop-down menu can be used to override the automatic behavior (which follows the defined dialing order preference) and use the selected protocol when the call is placed.

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  • Navigate to the Admin Settings > Network > Dialing Preference menu and then expand the Dialing Options section.
  • Select the preferred protocol in the Video Dialing Order Preference 1 field (e.g. SIP).

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One Touch Dial Configuration

The configuration of the OTD service behavior for the current tenant should be verified to validate the desired behavior of the Group Series when receiving meeting invitations which includes additional information for using the RealConnect Service.

  • Sign in to the OTD administration portal (https://otd.plcm.vc) and then go to the Settings menu.
  • Verify that the appropriate Poly RealConnect options are enabled under the Recognize Meeting Invitations sections.

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The configuration above will trigger the Group Series to utilize the RealConnect Service for all Skype and Teams meetings which include the pertinent info for RealConnect.

The first setting will tell OTD to look for information provided in a Skype invitation under the “Join with a video conferencing device” section, and if that information exists then to parse the dialing information (Tenant Key, Conference ID, and v.plcm.vc FQDN) to assemble the correct dial string and insert those instructions as a token into the invitation before relying the message back to the endpoint.  The Group Series will ignore any of the original information embedded in the invitation and use the token provided specifically by OTD.

The second setting does the same as above, but will look specifically for the string “<ConfID>@h.plcm.vc” in the administrator-defined footer of the meeting invitation as well as the Audio Conference ID provided in the body.

The third setting functions identically to the first, except that the provided hostname in a Teams meeting invitation does not necessarily need to be t.plcm.vc, which is the common default.  If a custom hostname (e.g. video.msteams.net) is configured correctly then the service will parse that information to assemble the correct dial string.


Scenario 2 – Mixed Mode

This scenario leverages the RealConnect Service to join Teams meetings, yet still connects directly to Skype for Business Server or Online meetings natively.  The SIP configuration must be used to natively register to the preferred Skype for Business platform, leaving only H.323 as a viable option for connecting to the RealConnect Service to join Teams meetings.

SIP Configuration

In the event that the Group Series has not already been integrated with Skype for Business, then previous articles includes more detail on registering a Group Series to Skype for Business Server or Online.

In this example the same account (group@msteams.net) which was used for the mailbox is also enabled for Skype for Business Online.

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H.323 Configuration

The H.323 configuration shown here is the identical configuration as what was provided earlier in the Interop scenario.

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Dialing Preference

This step is critical to perform compared to the previous scenario where it did not really matter which protocol was used (assuming sufficient network connectivity was available for both).  Because SIP is occupied in this scenario for the Skype for Business registration then the preferred dialing option must be set to H.323 for RealConnect calls to be routed correctly.

  • Navigate to the Admin Settings > Network > Dialing Preference menu and then expand the Dialing Options section.
  • Set the Video Dialing Order Preference 1 to IP H.323.

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One Touch Dial Configuration

Of equal importance is to properly configure the OTD portal to allow Skype meetings to use the native SIP registration path.  Because the Group Series is unable to ignore the token provided in the invitation processed by OTD, then if any Skype Meetings contain details to join from a video conferencing device this will force the call to go to RealConnect, and not use the desired native SIP registration path to Skype for Business.  To resolve this OTD must be configured to ignore Skype meeting invites and not process them.  Doing so will relay the message unedited, allowing the Group Series to recognize and use the embedded Skype Meeting URL for the ‘Join’ button action.

  • Sign in to the OTD administration portal (https://otd.plcm.vc) and then go to the Settings menu.
  • Disable one or both of the Poly RealConnect with Skype for Business options under the Recognize Meeting Invitations section.

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About Jeff Schertz
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Comments

10 Responses to “Poly Group Series with Microsoft Teams”
  1. Tyrone says:

    Hi Jeff

    Thank you once again for the informative article. I have once question regarding the Visual Pro:

    When trying to sign in on the Trio with my Teams account i get the following error: You need to be invited to Teams as a guest to use the app with a Microsoft account.

    Do you have any idea what could be the problem. The Trio is running on software version: 5.9 and Group Series is on 6.2.2.

    Thanks

  2. amina says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for your article 🙂

    I wondering if Immersive Studio Rooms can be integrated with Teams ?

    We have a MLA server to manage layouts when conference is scheduled on RMX. How MLA will manage cascading with teams and polycom RMX.
    Thanks

  3. James Arber says:

    Mate great article. Definately the way forward for GS owners.

    What happens in a Visual Pro scenario? I’m assuming as the trio is the headend in that case the simplest method would be to switch out the trio with a poly touch panel and go native on the group series?

    Now I just need to actually write that Real Connect article…

  4. Leon says:

    It’s not relevant to this article but to check with you is that possible for Microsoft Teams Live Events leverage enabled Polycom RealConnect CVI?

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