Skype Academy – Cloud Video Interop Preview Product Training Summary

Something coming to Skype for Business Online is Cloud Video Interop which is currently in Preview with Polycom. This presentation and content from the Technical Product Training on Skype Academy is marked as subject to change as its still in preview. To sign up for Cloud Interop Preview go here to Quality you do need your company and tenant in North America.

What is Cloud Video Interop ???

This is a cloud based service that provides video interoperability between on premises non native SfB Video Conferencing units or VTCs and Skype for Business users with meeting hosted in Skype for Business Online.

Microsoft provides Skype for Business whilst Partners provides the interop piece and transcoding. Microsoft have partnered up to provide this solution in Preview with Polycom via the real connect solution to bring VTCs into Skype for Business Online Meetings.  Interestingly i didn’t know Microsoft were also qualifying other partners.

Cloud Video Interop is great if you have existing non native Skype VTCs that you want to keep or have an existing large investment that you don’t want to replace but you want them to be able to join Skype for Business meetings with Video , Audio and content sharing in Skype for Business Online Meeting. A high level overview diagram from the presentation is below that shows the Partner (Polycom in Preview) and Microsoft. VTCs register with the Partner and SfB Users with SfB Online.


For On premises SfB server deployment there is the SfB VIS server role that can be deployed although there are quite a few limitations and compatibility is limited to specific Tandberg / Cisco VTCs. There are also solutions from other third parties that provide video interop.

Also of interest maybe the SfB Video Broadcast Ep25 – Featuring Adam Jacobs from Polycom which has a Demo of Cloud Video Interop i recommend you check this out as well.

Presentation Summary and Key Points

This summary will cover a new video on Skype academy was released recently and whilst watching wanted to give a summary of the video.

Link to YouTube Video here




In the presentation Cloud Video Interop is referred to CVI which i guess will be used and it will save my fingers from typing so bonus.

Important Notes

  • CVI is still in preview
  • Presentation is based on todays preview and subject to change and updates
  • features are not final and subject to change
  • Something things may not work 100% (Its still preview remember)
  • Issues found should be logged via 365 Support Portal or Partner (Mentions Partners will be spoke about later)



Starts with the “Why CVI” i touched on this above but great for customer wishing to retain their existing VTCs and bring them into Skype for Business Online Meetings. There has been quite a disconnect between non native Skype VTCs and SfB and sometimes customer use separate solutions for meeting rooms so excluded SfB users. CVI allows users and rooms to be connected in the same meetings !


Then the What is CVI ?


interesting point that more partners are being qualified so it looks like it will not be solely provided by Polycom.

All the transcoding is done via Partners so Microsoft bring the Office 365 API Interface to the party and the partners do all the interop and transcoding between different VTC models and SfB Online.

The current preview is based on Polycom Real Connect

This presentation is focussed solely on Polycom Real Connect.


Launch Preview Partner is Polycom

  • VTCs register to Polycom Real Connect
  • Polycom Real Connect via CVI API Interfaces with SfB Online and Users

Whole solution is called CVI (Partner (Polycom) and Microsoft)

Details on Hosted Polycom RealConnect


  • Allows scheduling via Outlook which i think is KEY to keeping it simple for users and adds “join by Video Conferencing Devices” automatically to meeting invites
  • Additional options will be added to invites. No changes required for users
  • One Touch Dial again keeping it simple for users
  • Any devices again keeping it simple for users (Existing Supported VTCs are mentioned)

Focus on Productivity and Operational Benefits both which are key !

How does this looks to the user with a diagram


1. User schedules from Outlook (Same as scheduling Skype Meeting. Join with Video Conferencing Device is added at the bottom. VTCs recognise this for one touch dial.
2. Click to Join from SfB / Lync client, One touch join from rooms systems
3. SfB users and VTCs join the meeting with Gallery View and native content sharing to both directions. Content sharing is great to have for all users and VTCs, a key part for Skype meeting.

Video displayed in the same way its usefully displayed so it will be different for SfB users and the VTCs


Another diagram showing media flow between Polycom and Microsoft.

I note at the bottom of the Polycom RealConnect it mentions “Supported” VTCs listing Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize Room systems. Listed Supported VTCs are further down.

  • VTCs registers with Polycom RealConnect
  • SfB Users register with SfB Online
  • Polycom RealConnect bridges to bring seamless experience

How is this displayed on the VTCs ?

Depends on the type of VTCs but some examples are below. Note also the differences in SfB user experience as the ITP/Immersive (Telepresence) bring panoramic video view similar to the Polycom CX5000 Roundtable view


Current Supportability with Polycom RealConnect


initially available with Online US Tenants only!

Key POINT Microsoft is not charging directly for licencing so licences have to come from Polycom, licence details are further down with flow charts which are useful. You need a licence for the meeting organiser from Polycom and there’s a separate 365 App to download. Details further down.

VTC Challenges


Multiple Join options required to support various VTCs types meaning every VTC should be able to join the best way they can for the type of VTC. Click to Join, meeting invite, IVR

There are Perquisites for the VTC which means there may be some changes to the existing VTCs required !


  • Internet Connectivity will need to configured for the VTCs themselves !
  • DNS needs to be enabled
  • VTCs must be SIP or H.323
  • VTCs need dial plans
  • Supported VTC
  • SfB Requirements
  • SfB 2016 client ONLY !
  • Polycom required licences

Supported List of Cisco VTCs and Minimum Software Version

Note these are marked as Draft.


This list is subject to change !


Polycom first Partner, other partners launching which will add different VTCs that will be supported.

How to deploy ?

Needs to work with team that manages existing VTCs and ensure prereqs are met and VTC is supported.

Change may be required for support with CIV


Requires Polycom Office 365 App then licences can be added and assigned then service is ready

How do i assign licences ?

The Meeting Organiser requires the CIV licence !




Key to have a CIV licence with scheduling meeting otherwise its not a CIV meeting


  • Codes from Polycom to enable licences
  • You can remove from Apps
  • Costs per user per month or yearly

Once you have the licences you can assign to users via Office 365 Portal or PowerShell, same process are assigning other licences so experience is the same for admins which is good.

Operating CVI and Support

Theres more than one Company involved remember.


Multiple Support teams,

  • Customer
  • Partner
  • Microsoft



If you made it to the end. Thanks you very much and hope this summary was helpful.

Links of Interest

Skype Preview –

Skype Operation Framework Training –

Link to CIV YouTube Video

SfB Meeting Broadcast Episode 25 –


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