HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 for Microsoft Skype for Business

HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 2.0 for Microsoft Skype for Business

Citrix has released an update to their optimization solution for Microsoft Skype. In this version of the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Microsoft Skype for Business, developed in close collaboration with Microsoft, optimizes delivery of the Skype for Business client from XenApp and XenDesktop. Users can seamlessly participate in clear, crisp high-definition audio-video or audio-only calls to and from other HDX RealTime users, native Skype® for Business and Lync client users, and other standards-based video desktop and conference room systems. The Optimization Pack consists of the HDX RealTime Connector for Skype for Business, which connects to the Microsoft Skype for Business 2015 client on the virtual desktop, and the HDX RealTime Media Engine which runs on the user device as a plug-in to the Citrix Receiver. The HDX RealTime Media Engine is available for Windows, Linux and Mac devices.

The Optimization Pack also includes the The HDX RealTime Media Engine, which is a plug-in to the Citrix Receiver to support clear, crisp high-definition audio-video calls, particularly with Microsoft Skype for Business. Users can seamlessly participate in audio-video or audio-only calls to and from other HDX RealTime Media Engine users, native Skype for Business and Lync client users, and other standards-based desktop video and conference room systems. The HDX RealTime Media Engine is available for Windows, Mac and Linux devices. For Windows devices, it is also available together with the Citrix Receiver in a bundled package (single download, single install). The HDX RealTime Media Engine has also been updated to version 2.0, and now supports Microsoft Skype for Business Server 2015, Microsoft Lync Server 2013 and Office 365 (Skype for Business Online).

What’s new in version 2.0?

  • Native Skype for Business 2015 UI – Provides the full Skype for Business UI experience and eliminates the limitations of a hybrid UI. Examples of features that were not supported in HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8 but are now available through the native Skype for Business UI include:
    • Call Delegation – Enables setting up a Skype for Business meeting on behalf of someone else. For example, an administrative assistant setting up meetings for a manager.
    • Voicemail access, playback, and delete – Ability to access your voicemail, play it, and delete from Skype for Business.
    • Response groups – Enables the response group feature, which routes incoming calls to groups of people called response group agents. 
    • Team call groups – Set up a team of people who can answer your calls. You add and remove members and specify when they can answer calls for you. Members phones ring and once someone answers the call, the other phones stop ringing.
  • Authentication and SIP signaling  handled exclusively by the Skype for Business client – This release introduces architectural simplifications that improve robustness and user experience (for example, initialization time).
  • Fallback mode controlled by the following registry setting

  • Web proxy support – Enables external access using a web proxy with limitations. For more information, see Limitations in 2.0.
  • Click-to-Run – Devices where Microsoft Office applications have been installed using Click-to-Run support HDX RealTime Optimization Pack. 
  • Pairing Status Indicator – Icon that displays these status states:
    • Connecting – MediaEngine.Net is trying to establish a RealTime Connector connection.
    • Connected – There is a RealTime Connector connection over a virtual channel and the version of remote RealTime Media Engine matches the version of mediaEngine.Net exactly.
    • Fallback – There is a RealTime Connector connection to a local RealTime Media Engine process.
    • Disconnected – A registry setting (policy) prevented MediaEngine.Net from running RealTime Media Engine locally.
    • Version mismatch – Same as Connected but the version match is not exact (different patch or build numbers)
  • Improved audio-video quality – Improvements to the RealTime Media Engine:
    • Improved resilience to packet loss 
    • improved echo cancelation 
  • Skype server settings – HDX RealTime Optimization Pack obeys the Skype for Business Server settings that control whether or not the endpoint can do audio and/or video calling.
  • Active speaker identification – Displays a photo of the current speaker.
  • Call and video call buttons added to the contact card – Enables calls and video calls to be started with a click of a button in the contact card.
  • Automatically join meeting audio controls – You can use Settings to specify how you want to join a meeting:
    • Use Skype for Business (full audio and video experience)
    • Use a phone number
    • Don’t join audio

I will follow up with a demo next week, stay tuned!