Popup Demo of Enterprise Voice with Polycom CX

I know the Polycom CX Series (300, 500, 600) have been around a long time, but they still look pretty good by today’s standards. I find it impressive how often I’ve come across these phones deployed, and that they are still requested by clients.

A recent project saw the client select and rollout roughly 250 Polycom CX300 USB desk phones to all staff, and CX600’s to a ‘select few’. Meanwhile, elsewhere I also had the pleasure of seeing a CX500 mounted inside a lift (elevator) – when you see that, you know it’s a company that takes Lync seriously.

It just goes to show the impact Microsoft made with their run of Lync Optimised Devices (Lync Phone Edition / LPE). I’ve yet to see vendor’s own attempts at Lync phones cause as much interest.

I’ve been able to pull a few strings, and call in some favours, and I now own a CX500, and CX600, and have a CX300 on the way. (If anybody wants to send me a Polycom VVX handset or two, perhaps something from Plantronics, Jabra, or┬áSennheiser… well.. it’s safe to say, you will be on my Christmas card list).

Beside the build quality, one of the nicest things about the CX Series phones is the wideband audio (branded as HD Voice), and that’s difficult to hear when you’re just handing lifeless lumps of plastic around a table to stakeholders.

Last weekend, I had an idea…

I already have a small private hosted Lync demo deployment, with a handful of users enabled for Enterprise Voice hooked up to an Internet SIP Trunk. On my laptop I have a virtual machine running Windows Server 2012 R2 with DHCP running on my Ethernet port for Lync Phone Edition specific options, and RRAS to provide NAT from Ethernet to my WiFi. With a VPN to the Lync environment.

Mobile Polycom CX Demos

I have the CX500 signed in with Extension+PIN. Then another account on the Lync Client, with the CX600 tethered, and provide AD Credentials for Better Together.

After showing the CX600 and how Better Together works with the Lync Client, you can disconnect the USB cable from the phone, and it retains the provisioning information, so you can sign into yet another account on the desktop client and show a headset too.

Throw in the Lync Mobile App on a tablet or smartphone, perhaps a colleague back at the office with a webcam, and away you go.

With very little to setup and minimal prep time, you can actually show an awful lot.. for example..

  • Wideband Lync Audio
  • CX500 as a common area phone, and hot-desking
  • CX600 with Better Together, with Exchange integration for calendar, voice-mail, call-history etc
  • Enterprise Voice features such as…
    • Call Transfer (with and without consult)
    • Response Groups
    • Delegation
    • Team Call
    • Group Call Pickup
    • Unified Messaging

Also, this type of setup can unarguably show how Lync paves the way for “Virtual Call Centres”, “Virtual Experts”, and facilitates flexible home working, and more…

I’ve even run this using a 4G dongle, and performance was perfect (for a demo).

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About Graham Cropley

Working as a Senior Consultant for Skype for Business, Exchange, and Office 365.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Graham,

    How do you enable BToE for CX600. I am reading everywhere that it is supported only inVVX handsets or FW 5.0
    I only see FX 4.X for CX600 available

    Please advise

    Dan Bravo

    • Hi Dan,

      BToE (Better Together over Ethernet) was introduced on the Polycom VVX phones. The CX600 requires a USB connection to your computer for that to work.

      The firmware versions are a coincidence, they are two different product lines. The CX Series is dedicated to Lync, that runs the Lync Phone Edition firmware, developed by Microsoft etc. Whereas the VVX is a dual stack H.332 and SIP Phone that also happens to work with Lync as well as other UC systems, and runs their own “Polycom UC” firmware.

      I don’t think the CX Series will ever support BToE, I’ve heard on the grapevine that Microsoft have essentially stopped developing the Lync Phone Edition, if anybody can confirm or deny that, I’d be grateful (they will obviously continue to support and patch). I’ve heard they are looking more to the vendors to develop their own devices, giving a greater variety and choice to the Lync ecosystem.

      So, short answer is no, the CX does not support BToE.

  2. Hadn’t I read somewhere that the Lync Phone Edition firmware was being pushed EOL? Anyway – I took a CX600 home to meet the family back in 2011:

    http://tobiefysh.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/taking-lync-polcom-cx600-home-to-meet.html

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