Connecting wireless voice, video and data across networks
With legacy systems coming to an end, organisations look to bridge the gap from the infrastructure they have (which is often on-premise), to incorporate the latest in digital technology (moving to cloud), without experiencing a huge cost implication as the result of embracing a digital transformation. This transformation has been accelerated over the last few months, especially with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and staff being forced to work more remotely. This also means that those legacy systems are not being fully utilised and have seen a significant drop in use and operation over this time.
Ensuring collaboration across a multitude of platforms and endpoints is crucial in any corporate environment, including in the hybrid workplace. Globally, collaboration tools and interfaces are changing the way in which we communicate, opting for rich, online content in virtual meeting rooms, that include audio, video, and content sharing features. Meeting face to face is no longer the only option to ensure strategic and innovative business goals and objectives are met. It is therefore imperative to ensure that businesses have sound strategic collaboration strategies and systems in place that is not only effective but also cater for a range of unique business requirements.
With a strong array of collaboration products, Cisco has long been known to provide advanced solutions to meet business’ unique requirements. In partnership with systems integrator, Outcomex, who have valuable and extensive experience integrating Cisco platforms, customers are provided with robust and effective solutions that not only met their unique requirements, but also offer enhanced security and streamlined operations.
Established on 1 July 2019, The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) was formed after the merging of The Department of Planning and Environment, and the Department of Industry into one government entity. The Office of Local Government and the Office of Environment and Heritage were also merged into this department.
Essentially focused on serving the people of New South Wales by developing well-connected communities, preserving the environment, supporting industries, and contributing to a strong economy, the DPIE has multiple offices and teams across the NSW who are working on long-term planning, planning assessments, infrastructure priorities, natural resources, the environment, energy and growing NSW’s industries.
Providing services to benefit the community and the future of NSW regions and local areas, the DPIE specifically works with the community, businesses, and local government to create places for people in NSW to live and work, developing smart ways to support innovative and prosperous industries.
Since experiencing a significant drop in the use of now-legacy video services, such as Cisco VC bridges and MS SFB Video meetings, because of staff working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DPIE needed to consolidate all outdated virtual meeting spaces onto a single user-friendly platform. The department required the enabling of a Cisco video environment to operate seamlessly with Microsoft Teams and to provide a better end user experience for their multiple staff members. There was a need to provide a solution for the provision of CVI video interoperation services to allow traditional video conference end points to participate with MS Teams meetings.
The solution needed to cater for 120 unique video endpoints each month, most of which needed to join virtual meetings from their own laptops or mobile devices and needed secure access and the ability to join MS Teams and, additionally, have the corresponding web access to do so.
To help the DPIE find a solution to meet their unique requirements, Outcomex strategically leveraged Microsoft and Cisco as the video call control platform, which enabled DPIE staff and customers to collaborate seamlessly, both internally and externally. We delivered Cisco Meeting Service, enabling the video interop between Skype for Business and Cisco.
We deployed Cisco CVI, which is Cisco Webex Video Integration for Microsoft Teams – a Microsoft Certified third-party solution based on Cloud Video Interop (CVI) for Microsoft Teams. As other third-party software clients are not supported, using Cisco CVI will enable Cisco Webex Rooms and SIP video conferencing rooms or personal video devices (VTCs) to join Microsoft Teams meetings easily.
Cisco CVI provides a SIP dialable address that is hosted in the cloud with a service in Microsoft Azure, enabling connectivity to DPIE MS Teams tenant. DPIE video endpoints can join a Microsoft Teams meeting by either manually dialling into the provide SIP address and entering the VTC details or use the One Button to Push (OBTP) to simplify the joining experience to a MS Teams Meeting. By adopting MS Teams video calls as its key video communications method, and through the enablement of CVI, the DPIE can ensure that all device types will be able to connect to MS Teams seamlessly.
DPIE video endpoints will then be onboarded into the Webex control hub for cloud awareness. This means that the Webex Control Hub will monitor any meeting invites in Office 365 resource mailbox of the video endpoint. When there is a meeting found, the Webex control hub will push the details onto the video endpoint to present the one button to push functionality for staff. This will make it easier for staff to join any virtual meetings as they simply need to press the ‘join’ button to connect to any of the MS Teams meetings.
MS Teams as a single video backend will reduce the number of systems that need support, and:
DPIE video endpoints will continue to be registered to the Cisco Call Manager solution on-premise and operate as it is with the additional capability of joining a Microsoft Teams meeting. When a DPIE video endpoints joins a Microsoft Teams meeting, the traffic will traverse off the network via the existing expressway cluster that has been deployed.
Additionally, we provided the Cisco Call Manager Enterprise Agreement (EA) to DPIE. This simplifies license management by consolidating multiple subscriptions and renewal dates normally to a single agreement with unified terms and conditions. Essentially, making an easier software and services management agreement for DPIE.
By providing the collaboration tools and solutions required by the DPIE, the department not only has the assurance that their staff will be able to connect securely from their devices remotely, or on-site, but also ensure that visitors have easy access. With the implementation and deployment of MS Teams as their core video communications method, the DPIE has retired expensive, hard-to-manage on-premise video back-end, such as CMS VC bridges and SFB Video Calls.
The DPIE is now able to connect approved users to their network, to gain visibility into every user and device accessing their network, and grant permissions based on staff roles and requirements. Outcomex’s role was significant, helping the department a secure remote workforce and streamline all virtual video platforms into one consolidated solution.
The DPIE’s collaboration systems now not only allow for effective cost-savings, but ensures their department stays connected digitally in a user-friendly virtual environment.
Collaboration Practice Lead – Outcomex
Technology Design Manager – The DPIE