Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Remote Call Control and OCS Conferencing

One of the new Voice Features to be added in OCS R2 is the ability to “Dial In” to an OCS Conference; this allows users to migrate away from expensive “Cloud” based conferencing solutions.

One of the key differentiators of OCS Conferencing is the ability to control the conference through Office Communicator.

When Enterprise users join an OCS Conference via Communicator they can either use the Computer Audio or use Communicator to dial out to a number such as a desk phone or mobile. This works for Enterprise Voice enabled users, but for users who only use Remote Call Control (RCC) and do not wish to use the Computer Audio, dialling out to another number fails.

This is expected behaviour as RCC users do not have Location Profile or Policies assigned allowing them to do this.

While users can “Dial In” by dialling the access numbers this removes useful features such as using Communicator to control the conference.  Users also have the option to use Communicator Web Access (CWA); this allows users to control conferences when they do not have access to communicator. Leaders join the conference by CWA dialling out to them; the OCS documentation provides details on how to enable this for users which are not enabled for Enterprise Voice.

While using these two methods are possible ways of allowing RCC users to access conferences, it takes them away from Communicator which a lot of companies do not like to do.

The following method can be used to allow RCC users to dial out to a number of their choose while still using Communicator to control the conference; this is a modification on the method used by CWA.

In order to allow RCC users to “Dial Out” a Route needs to be created on the OCS Pool, which routes SIP messages that contain a Phone URI to a mediation server, as shown below:

20-05-2009 21-07-08

By adding this Route users can then Dial Out to their desk phone or mobile allowing them to join a conference and control it via Communicator; as shown below:

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While this does allow users to use Communicator to control the conference it has the following draw backs:

  • It is a Pool wide change
  • It bypass dialling restrictions
  • Only supports a single Mediation Server
  • Users must enter a routable number, there are no normalisation rules to transform the number.

Ideally when deploying Remote Call Control, Dual Forking should be deployed at the same time, this allows users to access OCS Conferencing and at the same time does not have any of the draw backs listed above.

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