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A conference session allows two or more users to share instant message text, audio, and video. The conference participants connect to a single common server-based endpoint known as a Focus. Conference sessions are created by a single user who is then responsible for inviting other users to join the conference session. Peer-to-peer sessions cannot be converted to conference sessions. Instead, one of the peer-to-peer participants must create a new conference session, invite the other peer participant, and then invite other remote users. Whether a custom application is escalating collaboration from a peer-to-peer mode or initiating collaboration as a conference, a conference is created, invitations issued, and users joined. In an escalation scenario, the peer-to-peer client is responsible for terminating an existing peer-to-peer session after all participants of interest have joined the new conference.
Within this section, creating a conference is sometimes referred to as "scheduling" a conference. This form of scheduling is not to be confused with the conference scheduling a user can do within Microsoft Outlook. Whereas a conference scheduled using the Unified Communications Client Platform (UCCP) API is active on a Focus from the moment it is created, an Outlook-scheduled conference can be booked for a future date. In addition, an outlook-scheduled conference is accessible from within the Calendar view of Outlook. A conference scheduled on a Focus server endpoint using this API can be joined using the UCCP API. Using the conference Focus URI provided to an Outlook-scheduled conference, a custom client join the conference in the same way a UCCP-created conference is joined.
Conference session and Conference participant interfaces can be cast to the more generic session and session participant interfaces. Doing so gives a custom client access to the collaboration modalities normally associated with a peer-to-peer session. For example, casting an instance of IUccConferenceSessionParticipant to IUccSessionParticipant exposes the collection of session participant endpoints associated with a conference session participant. Each endpoint in the collection can be cast to IUccConferenceSessionParticipantEndpoint to expose the Type property (modality type). Greater code re-use is possible if a custom client implements wrapper classes for session, IM session, A/V session, and conference session instances. Because conference session and conference session participant interfaces can be cast to the generic session and then to modality-specific interfaces, a custom client can implement conference sessions with IM and AV modalities using these application classes.
All conference participants are connected to the same MCU and receive a merged audio/video stream containing voice and video from the other participants. Whether a client is participating in a peer-to-peer audio video session or a conference session, the audio/video specific interfaces discussed in this section are used. The method for inviting or joining a peer-to-peer audio/video session is different from that used in a conference. See Joining and Leaving Conferences for information about starting or joining conferences.the initiating client must create a conference session supporting audio and video. An audio/video conference session is essentially the same as a peer-to-peer session, except that the remote participant is a conference Audio/Video MCU. All conference participants are connected to the same MCU and receive a merged audio/video stream containing voice and video from the other participants. Whether a client is participating in a peer-to-peer audio video session or a conference session, the audio/video specific interfaces discussed in this section are used. The method for inviting or joining a peer-to-peer audio/video session is different from that used in a conference. See Joining and Leaving Conferences for information about starting or joining conferences.
The concepts discussed in this topic are applied to both the conference-initiating user and the user who accepts a conference invitation.