Aurus Blog

This blog is to share our expertise in Cisco UCM, UCCX/UCCE and Cisco Telepresence.

  • Archive

    «   July 2018   »
    M T W T F S S
                1
    2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    16 17 18 19 20 21 22
    23 24 25 26 27 28 29
    30 31          

All Possible Ways to Set Up PIN for CUCM Meet-Me Conference

  • "How to configure Meet-Me video conference with PIN?"
  • "We need to configure Meet-Me conference with PIN…"
  • "CUCM 10.x Meet-Me with Name announcement and Pin number…"

- try to search the Cisco Support Forum and you'll get dozens of similar tickets.

Yes, the built-in Meet-Me conferencing feature doesn't support PIN authentication, so here goes the list of all possible ways to set it up.

Before we start, let's agree that we only consider Cisco Unified Communications Manager Enterprise or Cisco BE 6000/7000. If you've got CUCM/CallManager Express (CME) you can play with TCL IVR scripts, but that’s definitely another story.

So you're enjoying Cisco UCM Meet-Me conferencing, but you want attendees to hear the voice prompt asking for a PIN needed to join the meeting. You’ve got 4 options:

1. Cisco Unity Express/Connection

If you have Cisco Unity deployed you can use it to achieve the Meet-Me authentication. The attendees call should be transferred via CUC and the User System Transfer Conversation should be used to authenticate the caller (a user is created on CUC). The conversation prompts the caller to sign in to CUC with his CUC ID and PIN and then transfers the call to Meet-Me conference number.

Looks like a kludge? Still it gets the job done.

2. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX)

You can use UCCX as an audio front end to Meet-Me conferences. You may find several UCCX scripts around the web which prompt the caller for meeting ID and password and then transfer the call to the MeetMe bridge. Meeting IDs and PINs are set up by UCCX admin.

This works, but since UCCX is used for something that it’s not initially designed for, this workaround isn’t as feature-rich as you users may require and hard to maintain.

3. The "Conference Now" feature of CUCM 11

The "Conference Now" feature is introduced in Cisco UCM v.11 released in the summer of 2015. It's not the replacement for Meet-Me feature, but allows users to create their personal conference rooms protected (optionally) by the access code. The attendee has to call your conference room number, enter the access code and listen to the music until you start the meeting by joining it.

Quite promising feature but the access code stays the same until you change it, so if I participated in your meeting once, I can use it to join the next time even if I wasn’t invited. Also, no scheduler and conference control tool are available.

4. The “Conference” module of “Aurus PhoneUP” suite

The CUCM Meet-Me conferencing solution from Aurus is designed specifically for CUCM conferencing and allows you to:

  • schedule Meet-Me conferences with a web-interface;
  • use the MS Outlook plugin to schedule the meetings from the Outlook calendar;
  • use the same phone number for meetings (the PIN entered is used to define which meeting you're joining);
  • protect meetings with a randomly generated PIN (the PIN is automatically added to the meeting invitation sent to invitees);
  • control the conference with the web-interface – the meeting host can see the list of participants, join a new attendee and disconnect anyone;
  • start the meeting from any phone - without the necessity to use a Cisco IP phone to initiate the meetme bridge;
  • control the resources of the conference bridge.

So, these are 4 options to secure your Meet-Me conferences. Which one works better for you, depends on your business requirements and Cisco products used. Hopefully, this article will help you to evaluate the pros and cons of each option in relation to your environment.

Cisco’s Conferencing Options Explained

With a wide range of conferencing products offered by Cisco it may be hard to figure out what are the options and what each of them is designed for. This post is going to help you to get a sense of what is happening in the Cisco’s conferencing world.

Audio Conferencing

Cisco UCM has several conferencing features on-board:

  • Ad-Hoc - to escalate the current phone call to audio-conference,
  • Meet-Me – for permanent conferences,
  • ConferenceNow (introduced in CUCM 11) – for personal conference rooms.

All of them are audio only and use either the software conference bridge (CUCM service) or hardware conferencing resources (most often – DSP modules in Cisco ISRs). Hardware DSP modules are required to enable the transcoding feature as the software bridge only supports G711.

Since CUCM is not a conferencing platform, these three options only provide basic conferencing features, but may be enhanced with 3rd party add-ons to CUCM. For example, Aurus PhoneUP operates on top of the CUCM conferencing engine providing extra functionality like:

  • meeting scheduler,
  • PIN and Caller ID security,
  • conference control tools.

But still only audio conferencing is available. If you meetings require web collaboration and/or video you have to deploy additional Cisco products.

Web-conferencing and Collaboration

Cisco’s web-conferencing portfolio is based on the Cisco WebEx platform that provides audio/video conferencing as well as web-collaboration tools – white board, presentations, application sharing, chat and so on.

You can join the WebEx meeting over IP (PC or mobile devices) as well as by dialing the call-in number from any phone.

The WebEx platform is available in cloud (Cisco WebEx Meeting Center) or on-premises (Cisco WebEx Meeting Server).

Similar to Cisco UCM conferencing options, WebEx meetings can be:

  • started instantly,
  • scheduled,
  • always available (Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms).

HD-Video Conferencing

Finally, for the best user experience Cisco offers Cisco TelePresence architecture, which provides high-quality HD video conferencing.

The core components of Cisco TelePresence offer are:

  • video-endpoints - desktop, room and immersive,
  • video-conferencing bridges - Cisco TelePresence Serverand obsolete Cisco TelePresence MCU,
  • Cisco Telepresence Conductor - orchestrates the allocation of conferencing resources,
  • Cisco TelePresence Management Suite (TMS) – manages the Cisco TelePresence infrastructure providing engineers with provisioning, meeting control, resource management and meeting scheduling features.

There are also several optional components available from both Cisco and its technology partners like:

  • Cisco TelePresence Recording Server – to record conferences,
  • Cisco Expressway – to allow users outside the firewall to join the meetings,
  • Aurus U-Meet – to improve the meeting scheduling and conference control.

How to Record CUCM (CallManager) Calls

CUCM call recording is one of the most popular topics in the world of Cisco Unified Communications. For companies that deployed Cisco Unified Communications Manager there are several approaches to phone call recording offered by a dozen of Cisco Solution Partners.

Which one to choose and why? Let’s consider briefly.

Call Recording Methods

  • SPAN-based recording (“passive recording”) – is one of the oldest methods of CUCM voice recording. This type of recording software connects to the SPAN (Switched Port Analyzer) port to monitor all network (or VLAN only) traffic and pick out the VoIP packets to store them as audio files.
  • Built-in Bridge recording (“BIB recording”) – is the approach that uses the conference bridge embedded in almost each Cisco IP phone (and Cisco Jabber for Windows as well). With the proper CUCM configuration a Cisco IP phone forks the phone call audio streams to the CUCM recording software that mixes these streams and saves to the audio file.

In the beginning of 2011 Cisco introduced its own recording platform Cisco MediaSense. This solution records audio streams forked by Cisco IP Phones (BIB-recording) or (this is important!) Cisco ISR routers.

Why is it important? Along with Cisco MediaSense Cisco released the new IOS ( Cisco ISR router firmware) that supports the media forking capability. Supplied with this feature, the Cisco gateway can fork the media of conversations to the recording server.

Which leads us to the 3rd method:

  • CUBE recording – the same as BIB-recording, but the media is forked by Cisco CUBE (the software that runs on Cisco ISR router). If Cisco MediaSense can receive and store forked audio streams, why 3rd party recorders cannot?

So, what method to use and which solution to choose for Cisco CallManager recording?

Choosing the Call Recording Approach

Improve the MediaSense user experience with free PhoneUP promo-license which includes MediaSense Gateway module for unlimited number of seats.

Use BIB recording for all endpoints with built-In bridge on board. Without doubts this is the most reliable approach which also provides the more detailed info about a call.

Use CUBE recording for recording the other media (3rd party SIP devices, analogue phones connected with the voice gateway, CTI-ports, etc.) if your Cisco router supports media forking.

Use SPAN in all other cases, for example – when you don’t have a forking CUBE or you need to record internal calls of endpoints without BIB (the voice traffic is not going through the Cisco gateway).

Choosing the Recording Server

If you have to use the SPAN-recording method you are forced to choose a CUCM recording 3rd party solution.

If IP phone built-in bridges and CUBE can fork everything you need to record, then Cisco MediaSense looks like quite a tempting choice. But from the users’ perspective it only provides a very simple “Search and Play” web-interface - a password-protected web page with call recordings list and basic search capabilities. It is enough for small installations, but most of deployments need a 3rd party call recording solution that integrates with Cisco MediaSense and provides the more convenient user interface with additional features like access rights management, advanced search capabilities and so on.

Some of call recording software vendors added the Cisco MediaSense connector to their solutions. This allows using a 3rd party call recording app to manage Cisco MediaSense recordings and provide users with the rich-featured interface.

How to Extend CUCM (CallManager) Features

Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) is the leading IP PBX in the worldwide market. Only certified professionals can deal with its rich functionality. Nevertheless, dozens of software vendors develop products that empower CUCM (Cisco Unified Communications Manager) functionality with new features.

Aurus, the official Cisco Solution Partner, invites you to learn what new features the Aurus PhoneUP product brings to Cisco IP PBX (Cisco Unified Communications Manager or Cisco BE 6000/7000).

Enterprise Phone Directory for Cisco CallManager

The "Directory" module of the PhoneUP application bundle provides the enterprise phone directory service for employees, and is an alternative to built-in CUCM phone directory. The main differences between the "Directory" module and the out-of-the-box Cisco CallManager directory are:

CUCM"Directory" module
Number of directoriesOneUnlimited number with access control for groups of employees
Integration with external systemsADAD, LDAP, IBM Lotus Notes, CSV, XML, CUCM, SQL database
External contacts supportNoYes
Caller IDInternal numbers onlyAny phone number
Incoming call detailsName / Last Name / CompanyFlexible data that may contain an employee photo
Notification of missed calls via e-mailOnly with UnityYes
DTMF support NoYes
Personal directoriesOne (edited manually or imported from Outlook)Unlimited number of directories synchronized with external sources
Auto-redial featureNoYes


The "Directory" module is integrated with Cisco Jabber. Using the standard contact search field of Cisco Jabber not only you can find an employee, but also search for client, partner and any other contact imported from external datasource. Also, when you get a call from the contact (client for example) stored in the directory Cisco Jabber will show the client's name, status and any other information from the CRM system.

Phone Call Recording (CUCM)

Cisco offers its own solution, Cisco MediaSense for call recording that captures and stores audio, forked by Cisco IP phone bridge or CUBE (Cisco Unified Border Element). But MediaSense is a recording platform that only provides basic features to manage call recordings. Cisco officially recommends using 3rd party solutions developed by technology partners that provide additional functionality.

For example, the "Record" module of PhoneUP can be integrated with Cisco Mediasense to bring you extra-features not implemented in Mediasense:

  • flexible management of user access to call recordings;
  • rich search and filter tools;
  • call recording rules (for example, recording only external calls);
  • IP phone user interface to search and play the call recording;
  • playing the recording into the current phone call;
  • and much more.

Attendant Console

Cisco actively promotes Cisco Jabber, the enterprise collaboration tool. At the same time, some business units need a wider range of call control features including specific ones, for example:

  • top manager assistants need to monitor chief's phone lines and intercept calls during his absence;
  • reception staff and contact center need a visual control of the call queues not to miss client calls or VIP calls that should not be left unanswered;
  • top managers need an intuitive, time-saving interface allowing to perform basic call control actions with easy to use UI supporting drag-n-drop.

In these cases you should pay attention to the "Console" module.

Group paging via Cisco IP phones

Features of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and Cisco IP-phones, as well as API Cisco provides its technology partners, allow to use the IP telephony network for text and audio notifications to employee groups.

Cisco's collaboration product line doesn't include such a solution, and clients need to turn to 3rd party vendors. The "Paging" module of PhoneUP bundle supports both text and audio paging to Cisco IP phones as well as live broadcasting through speakerphones.

Features that improve the security of IP telephony network built on Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM)

Cisco CallManager (CUCM) provides users with the Meet-Me conferencing feature – each conference has its phone number that needs to be dialed to join the meeting. But the "built-in" Meet-Me conferences do not provide the necessary security. Anyone who knows the number of conference room can dial it and join. To avoid this you can use the "Conference" module that works on top of CUCM conferencing feature and protects meetings with PIN.

The "Lock" module is used to lock Cisco IP phone while its owner is away to prevent abuses and frauds. In some ways this is similar to the "Extension Mobility" feature implemented in Cisco Unified Communications Manager, but is designed to improve the security. Unlike Extension Mobility a phone locked with PhoneUP:

  • stays registered to CUCM;
  • can receive incoming calls;
  • is allowed to make outgoing calls to a limited set of directions;
  • denies the access to the personal address book, call history, call recording, etc .;
  • gets locked and unlocked automatically when you log in/out the PC.

XML-services for Cisco IP phones

Cisco Systems provides technology partners with rich capabilities for development of custom XML-applications for Cisco IP phones - with which users can interact via the IP phone keypad and display. The "Inform" and "Hotel" modules of the PhoneUP bundle may be considered as examples of such applications.

Implementing Unified Enterprise Directory in Heterogeneous UC Environment

Despite the fact that PhoneUP is designed for Cisco UCM its “Directory” module can be used to provide the unified enterprise phone directory with Caller ID support in heterogeneous multivendor communication infrastructure.

Here is the case study.

The holding with 15+ companies has a multivendor enterprise communications network with IP PBXs of different vendors (Cisco UCM, CME, Siemens, Asterisk etc) connected with SIP trunks:

Managing 15+ local directories were too labour-intensive and did not provide the unified contacts directory available for every employee of the holding.

The solution implemented includes:

  • Cisco Unified Communication Manager which proxies all the calls of the communications network;
  • PhoneUP “Directory” app integrated with new CUCM and all sources of employee details.

So, what are the benefits achieved?

1. Unified always up to date enterprise directory available for everyone.
PhoneUP Directory is synchronized with the employee database of each company. A set of built-in connectors allowed to integrate it with various datasources like AD, CUCM, HR software etc. The public web-interface is available for any employee and provides sort/filter/group features for fast contact search.

2. Caller ID for any IP endpoint.
Integrated with CUCM PhoneUP Directory supplements each call with the Caller ID string which is displayed on any SIP-endpoint with no matter to IP PBX that receives the call.

If you want to know more tech details about the project, contact us and we’ll share our experience with you.

Cisco IP Phone: Lacking Features

Employee, for the first time getting Cisco IP Phone, discovers all the delights of the enterprise IP telephony described in numerous articles by Cisco Systems and its partners.

Indeed, the high call quality, audio / video conferencing tools and other collaboration services (voice mail, presence indication) make enterprise communications more convenient and efficient.

However, your Cisco IP phone can be supplemented with additional features Cisco doesn't provide, which will increase the ROI of your new enterprise communications network.

Let's start.

Phone directory and Caller ID info

The alternative solution to the out of the box CUCM phone directory allows you to synchronize all company contacts (employees, clients, partners and so on) into the one, always up to date enterprise directory, that provides users with fast search, Caller ID, click to call, call control and other features.

When receiving an incoming call the display of your Cisco IP phone shows the detailed Caller ID info even when the call has come from mobile, PSTN etc.

The list of missed calls contains not just phone numbers, but also the caller info – contact or company name. This allows user to identify the really important missed calls and call them back on time.

These features of Cisco IP phone are provided by the "Directory" module of the PhoneUP bundle.

Cisco IP phone for enterprise paging

The "Paging" module allows using Cisco IP phones for group paging to enterprise employees.

The ability to send text and audio messages to the group of Cisco IP phones allows you to use your IP telephony network for employee notifications. Unlike email and IM, the message sent to IP phone won't be overlooked due to the sound alarm played by the IP phone.

Cisco IP phones can also be used for emergency announcements. With just one button you can put all phone calls on hold and broadcast your message through speakerphones with the max volume.

Pre-recorded text and audio messages can be sent manually or on schedule. The paging may also be triggered by a third-party system (for example alarm system, manufacturing process monitoring tool etc) no notify the group of employees about the incident occurred.

Special call control features

The "Priority" module of the PhoneUP suite provides several special features for managers.

The Forced Connection feature allows top manager to contact any employee even if his phone line is busy – the current call is put on hold and the employee gets connected to the manager.

Silent Monitoring is another useful feature, which helps evaluating the quality of customer service. The supervisors' interface shows the client names sales managers are talking to and allows to listen to any conversation.

Using the Whisper feature the supervisor is able to connect to any call and talk to the agent without making the client aware of the supervisors' presence. With the Barge feature the supervisor is able to add himself to the sales managers' call.

Images from video cameras on the Cisco IP phone display

Even if your Cisco IP phone doesn't support video, its display can still show video frames grabbed from the camera. For example, with just one push of a button the security officer will see who is at the door before opening it, any employee will access the video from the parking lot, the technologist will monitor the manufacturing area from anywhere in the enterprise, etc.

Frequently used info on the Cisco IP phone display

Cisco IP phones are able to display any data from the enterprise software in the real-time mode. For example:

  • exchange rates – for bank cahier,
  • KPI – for top managers,
  • agent performance data – for contact center supervisor.

The benefit of using the IP phone for this purpose is that you only need to push one button to see the data without launching the software and navigating to the certain interface.

This opportunity is provided by the "Inform" module of the PhoneUP bundle.

Cisco IP Phone as an interface to enterprise software

In some cases IP phone can be used to provide the user interface to 3rd party enterprise app. This is useful when the PC is unavailable, but the user interface is simple enough to be run on the IP phone display.

For example, employees can use Cisco IP phone to maintain records of the working time - by pressing a few buttons the employee registers the start / end of the work, and the entered data is transferred to the enterprise software.

Another example - the employee who issues goods needs to enter the order number to verify its status and configuration, confirm the issuance and print necessary documents – these operations don't require a PC, the IP phone with a large display will be enough.

System Requirements

The PhoneUP bundle integrates with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) providing Cisco IP phones with all the features described above.

Supported IP PBX and IP phones:

IP-PBX Cisco:

  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 6.X, 7.X, 8.X, 9.X,10.X;
  • Cisco BE 6000 / 7000.

Cisco IP phones and other endpoints:

  • Cisco 6900 Series (6911, 6921, 6941, 6945, 6961);
  • Cisco 7800 Series (7821, 7841, 7861);
  • Cisco 7900 Series (7906, 7911, 7914, 7915, 7916, 7921, 7925, 7931, 7937, 7941, 7942, 7945, 7961, 7962, 7965, 7970, 7971, 7975);
  • Cisco 8900 Series (8941, 8945, 8961);
  • Cisco 9900 Series (Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971, Cisco Unified IP Phone 9951);
  • Cisco IP Communicator;
  • Cisco Jabber for Windows.