The Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, wanted to implement a The SMART Room System for Microsoft Lync (LRS), which is a cost-effective solution for companies that need voice, presence, instant messaging, and collaboration capabilities in a single- or dual-screen configuration. It features an integrated, fixed zoom camera for optimal picture quality during calls.

The LRS can be installed and configured in multiple environments with relative ease. Getting the system up and running involves installing the screens, mounting the camera, and determining the speaker and microphone options. The LRS features a fully functioning console that is touch-enabled and works smoothly to set up the initial system and control the various functions during a teleconference or white boarding session.

Implementing the LRS into existing Lync environments
The LRS essentially becomes an endpoint or another address that can be invited to a call or that can schedule a call from the built-in console of the system. To set up the LRS, existing Microsoft Exchange Server and other credentials are needed. Then, the wizard-driven interface makes all the necessary adjustments, making the process very simple.

Implementing the LRS at the MTC
To ensure that the full range of LRS features can be demonstrated in different usage scenarios to customers participating in engagements at the MTC, we had to first provision the correct infrastructure and services. Our approach was to do this on-premises, because the system is mainly used for demonstrations. But a cloud-based approach would have enabled us to configure the services even faster using Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure services.

The LRS is commissioned inside our local domain. To enable the entire deployment, new application servers were provisioned. This included creating a unique instance of Active Directory in Windows Server 2012, Exchange 2013, and Lync Server 2013, including Lync front-end servers to allow for localized conferencing. We deployed the Mediation Server component of Lync Server 2013 and implemented a dial plan for internal and external SIP and PSTN numbers.

We used edge servers to facilitate federation with the Microsoft corporate network, customers, and federated partners. In addition, we deployed Microsoft Office Web Apps Server so that we can upload content during conference calls. Office Web Apps Server provides browser-based file viewing and editing services for Office files, ensuring that all presentable content is available to all teleconference attendees at the same time, without the need to wait for content to buffer. This can be done upfront.

Next, we installed a single AudioCodes M1K enterprise session border controller to enable connectivity to SIP and local PSTN providers. We provisioned a 20-session SIP trunk through our external Internet access provider, which saved time having another cable provisioned for this service.

We were up and running in less than a week.

 

Rory Martin is a Principal Technical Solutions Professional in Johannesburg, South Africa. Rory has 18 years of experience in Information Technology, specifically focusing on Microsoft Exchange Messaging, Lync Enterprise Voice, IP Telephony, and Infrastructure Solutions. His specialties include architecture and design, implementation of large complex designs, server architecture, unified communications, unified messaging, and enterprise voice. Rory has been a presenter at Microsoft TechEd, MEC, and other Microsoft internal events.