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Updated:November 21, 2006
Cisco® Unified MeetingPlace® Express VT is an integrated voice, video, and Web conferencing solution for Cisco Unified CallManager environments in midsize organizations. The solution enhances the effectiveness of Cisco Unified Communications solutions by integrating rich-media conferencing functions that enable users to simply extend point-to-point voice and video communications to multiparty voice, video, and Web conferences (Figure 1).
The Cisco Unified Communications family of voice, video, and IP communications products and applications helps organizations communicate more effectively-by helping them streamline business processes, reach the right resource the first time, and reduce costs and maximize revenue. The Cisco Unified Communications system is an integral part of a complete, integrated business communications solution for organizations of all sizes that also includes network infrastructure, security, and network management products; wireless connectivity; a lifecycle services approach; and flexible deployment and outsourced management options, end-user and partner financing packages, and third-party communications applications.
Figure 1. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT Brings Remote Users Together for More Effective Impromptu Meetings
Improved Productivity, Accelerated Business
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT helps organizations improve operational effectiveness and speed decision making by providing easy access to virtual meeting capabilities. The solution extends Cisco Unified CallManager video telephony capabilities, which make using video as easy as placing a telephone call, by enabling users to move from point-to-point to multiparty voice and video calls and to easily add Web conferencing to their voice and video communications. Integrating document sharing and multiparty access with face-to-face communications allows dispersed workforces and teams to enhance the quality and effectiveness of their interactions.
Easy Deployment and Management
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT makes it easy and affordable to integrate advanced conferencing capabilities with Cisco Unified CallManager. It is a software solution, installed on a single server, that supports common industry protocols-Skinny Call Control Protocol (SCCP), H.323, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-to ensure connectivity with a range of video endpoints. Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT maximizes an organization's video investments by supporting traditional room-based video conferencing and desktop video telephony environments. And because the solution is tightly integrated with CiscoUnified CallManager, connecting multiple users is as easy as dialing a phone number. Once configured through a simple Web-based administration interface and registered with Cisco Unified CallManager, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT requires little additional administrative support.
Key Features and Benefits
Simple Voice, Video, and Web Conferencing
Initiating a mutiparty voice or video session using Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT is as simple as dialing the user you want to add and pressing the conference or merge button on the Cisco Unified IP Phone, Cisco IP Communicator, or Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. Meeting attendees experience high-quality voice conferencing, and video participants see the person who is speaking or the person who last spoke.
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT also helps users with Cisco Unified Personal Communicator improve the productivity of their voice and video calls by adding Web conferencing. At a moment's notice, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator users can share content through a simple screen-sharing interface served by Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT.
By integrating voice, Web, and video conferencing capabilities, Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT is well suited for interactive meetings and presentations. Web conferencing is built using Adobe's Macromedia Flash technology, which helps ensure rapid and reliable meeting entry, and the interface is streamlined for meeting management and simple screen sharing of applications or the entire desktop. Shared content scales to any screen resolution, so the content being shared always fits into your Web meeting-room window. The full-screen mode lets you maximize your view of the content. Whether on the Windows, Mac, Linux, or Solaris platform, users can easily participate in Web conferences and experience a consistent interface (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Impromptu Voice, Web, and Video Conferencing with Cisco Unified Personal Communicator
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT is a software solution for impromptu voice, Web, and video conferencing that runs on a single Cisco Media Convergence Server using a Linux-based operating system. Its design includes the following capabilities:
• Telephony and video integration-SCCP is supported for telephony integration with Cisco Unified CallManager, and phones and video endpoints supporting SCCP, H.323, SIP, and G.711 can participate in meetings. H.263 or H.264 is supported for video communication.
• Web conferencing access-Web conferencing access is available from Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris using standard browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox) and the Macromedia Flash Player. Encrypted access is supported through HTTPS and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
• Network management-Monitoring and alarming are supported through the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT is deployed on the internal network. It provides access from internal and external endpoints (using voice and video gateways), with Web conferencing access limited to those with access to the internal network.
Table 1 provides specifications of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT.
Table 1. Product Specifications
Cisco Media Convergence Servers
• Part numbers: MCS-7825-H2-RC1, MCS-7825-I2-RC1, MCS-7825-H1-RC1, MCS-7825-I1-RC1, MCS-7835-H2-RC1, MCS-7835-I2-RC1, MCS-7835-H1-RC1, and MCS-7835-I1-RC1
Cisco Linux-based operating system (included with system software orders)
• Operating system: Windows 2000 Pro (SP2 or later), Windows 2000 Server Edition (SP2 or later), Windows 2000 Advanced Server (SP2 or later), or Windows XP (SP1 or later), or Windows Vista (Business or Enterprise)
• Browser: Internet Explorer 5.5 or later; Netscape 7.1 or later; Mozilla 1.6 or later; or Firefox 1.0.3 or later
• Flash Player: 6.0.79 or later
• Operating system: Mac OS 9.2* or Mac OS 10.2 or later
• Browser: Safari 1.1 or later; Netscape 7.1 or later; Mozilla 1.2.1* or 1.6 or later; or Firefox 1.0.3 or later
• Flash Player: 6.0.79 or later
• Operating system: Red Hat 9 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 or later
• Browser: Netscape 7.1 or later; Mozilla 1.4 or 1.6 or later; or Firefox 1.0.3 or later
• Flash Player: 7.0 or later
• Operating system: Solaris 9 or Solaris 10
• Browser: Netscape 7.1; Mozilla 1.4 or 1.7 or later; or Firefox 1.0.3 or later
• Flash Player: 7.0 or later
• H.323 v4
• SIP, RFC 3261
• Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP; RFC 3550)
• RTP Payload for Dual Tone Multifrequency (DTMF) Digits (RFC 2833)
• Session Description Protocol (SDP; RFC 2327)
• Lightweight Directory Access Protocol Version 3 (LDAPv3)
• SNMP Versions 1, 2c, and 3
• SSL Versions 2 and 3 (optional; customer provides certificates obtained from a broadly trusted certificate authority)
• Network Time Protocol (NTP) Versions 3 and 4
MIB-2, SYSAPPL-MIB, CISCO-CDP-MIB, and CISCO-LATITUDE-MIB
Network connectivity and bandwidth
Server: Two 100-Mbps or faster Ethernet connections
• Voice conference: G.711 requires at least 84 kbps of available bandwidth in each direction; less bandwidth is required to the phone if transcoding a compressed codec (such as G.729) to G.711
• Video conference: 64 to 704 kbps (quality increases with bit rate)
• Web conference: At least a 56-kbps modem connection or faster***
* On Mac OS 9.2, Mozilla 1.2.1 is the only supported browser. Sharing a screen from Mac OS 9.2 is not available.
** Sharing a screen from this platform is not available. Viewing and annotating on screens shared from other platforms is possible.
*** Modem users should not be simultaneously using other applications that compete for available bandwidth.
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT can support a variety of combinations of voice, video, and Web conferencing capacity (Table 2). The maximum meeting size is 40 concurrent users of voice conferencing, 40 concurrent users of video conferencing, and 40 concurrent users of Web conferencing. The system supports N/2 meetings, where N is the system capacity.
Table 2. System Capacity
Platform Part Number
Voice Conferencing Capacity
Web Conferencing Capacity
Video Conferencing Capacity *
MCS-7835-H2-RC1, MCS-7835-I2-RC1, MCS-7835-H1-RC1, and MCS-7835-I1-RC1
20 to 40 concurrent users
6 to 40 concurrent users
6 to 40 concurrent users
MCS-7825-H2-RC1, MCS-7825-I2-RC1, MCS-7825-H1-RC1, and MCS-7825-I1-RC1
20 to 30 concurrent users
6 to 30 concurrent users
6 to 30 concurrent users
* Video capacity assumes maximum bit rate of 320 kbps; using a higher bit rate results in reduced capacity
Voice and Video Conferencing
Voice and video conferencing features of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT include:
• Real-time mixing of up to three simultaneous speakers
• Voice-activated switching, which shows each video participant the person who is speaking
• Support for the H.263 or H.264 video codec (per system)
• Video bit rates from 64 to 704 kbps (one per meeting) in Common Intermediate Format (CIF) video resolution
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT has many valuable features for Web conferencing:
• Easy access-Users easily access meetings from a variety of platforms using Web browsers and the broadly installed Flash Player.
• Firewall friendly-HTTP and HTTPS tunneling technologies allow users behind firewalls to participate in Web conferences.
• Connection-speed optimization-Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT optimizes the Web conference performance to available bandwidth based on the user's selected connection speed.
• Screen sharing-Real-time screen sharing allows users to show others' applications, windows, or their entire desktop. A variety of sharing controls is available from the meeting room, the operating system, and the shared applications or windows.
• Flexible viewing options-Shared content can be viewed in a variety of ways to best suit the user.
– Scaled view-Users see a view of the shared content that scales to fit the space available.
– Scrolled view-Users see a full-size view of the shared content that may require scrolling to see the entire shared screen.
– Full-screen view-Users see only the shared content on their screens. Controls are available to select whether the full-screen view is effective for everyone or individuals, as well as if users can toggle to full screen themselves.
• Annotations-Users can collaborate over shared screens using markup tools such as a pencil, marker, line, rectangle, ellipse, text, and stamper. A variety of options is available to print and edit annotations, including undo, redo, change color, change size, move, and delete.
Meeting Setup and Attendance
Tasks related to meeting setup and attendance are well served by Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT:
• Integrated voice, Web, and video conference setup-Users can quickly and easily start voice and video meetings using the conference or MeetMe button on SCCP-based endpoints. From Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, users can also launch voice and video meetings, plus add a simple screen-sharing interface on demand.
• Meeting types-Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT supports the following meeting types:
– Impromptu conferences-These meetings are initiated using the conference button on SCCP-based endpoints and Cisco Unified Personal Communicator.
– Meet-me conferences-These meetings are preconfigured with a Cisco Unified CallManager extension so they can be accessed through the MeetMe button on SCCP-based endpoints.
Meeting administrators have a rich tool set in Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT:
• Web administration center-A Web interface provides system administration capabilities for system configuration, maintenance, and monitoring.
• System configuration and maintenance-Numerous parameters and options are available to configure and maintain the system:
– Usage configuration-Twelve- or 24-hour time, language configuration, minimum password lengths, password expiration, and alarm dial-out
– Call configuration-SCCP configuration and registration, video codec and bit-rate configuration, and IP voice parameters
– SNMP settings-Community strings and notification destinations
– Licensing-Installing and viewing licenses
– Backup-Backing up and archiving; local and remote configuration
– SSL certificate management-Installing, enabling, and managing SSL certificates
• Reporting and monitoring-Numerous reports and monitoring and alarm tools are provided:
– Disk-usage report-Details about hard-disk usage and available space
– Media-statistics reports-Statistics and information regarding conference media
– System logs-A variety of system logs for monitoring and troubleshooting
– Alarms-Viewing and exporting system alarms
– System status-Viewing a snapshot of system status for monitoring and troubleshooting
• Language support for Web conferencing interface-English (United States), French (France), German, Japanese, or Korean
Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT offers the following security features:
• Dedicated on-net system-The dedicated Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT system is integrated with the organization's private network.
• Encryption-Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT supports encrypted Webpages and Web conferencing traffic using SSL.
Table 3 gives system requirements of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express VT.
Table 3. System Requirements
• Cisco Unified CallManager 4.1 or later
Quality of service (QoS)
• Network enabled with Differentiated Services (DiffServ; RFCs 2474 and 2475) QoS for voice traffic
Endpoints supporting initiation of impromptu voice and video conferences
• Cisco Unified Personal Communicator 1.1.3 or later
• Cisco Unified IP Phone models and Cisco IP Communicator supported by Cisco Unified Video Advantage 2.0 or later
• Cisco Unified IP Phone 7985G models
• Third-party video endpoints using SCCP *
Endpoints that can participate in impromptu voice and video conferences
The endpoints listed previously that can initiate voice and video conferences, plus:
• H.323-based video endpoints registered with Cisco Unified CallManager
• SIP-based video endpoints registered with Cisco Unified CallManager
Endpoints supporting initiation of impromptu voice and Web conferences
• Cisco Unified Personal Communicator 1.1.0 or later
Endpoints that can participate in impromptu Web conferences
The endpoints listed previously that can initiate Web conferences, plus:
• Desktops listed in
Software compatibility-client (Table 1) **
Using the Cisco Lifecycle Services approach, Cisco and its partners offer a broad portfolio of end-to-end services to support the Cisco Unified Communications system. These services are based on proven methodologies for deploying, operating, and optimizing IP communications solutions. Initial planning and design services, for example, can help you meet aggressive deployment schedules and minimize network disruption during implementation; operate services reduce the risk of communications downtime with expert technical support; and optimize services enhance solution performance for operational excellence. Cisco and its partners offer a system-level service and support approach that can help you create and maintain a resilient, converged network that meets your business needs.