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Conference Sessions

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.

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.

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