Microsoft has made it official that they are transitioning from Skype® for Business to Microsoft Teams™. Crestron is now the only original Microsoft partner that has allowed their customers whom purchased the SRSv1 (Crestron RL® 2 hardware) to transition without having to rip and replace equipment in their conference rooms.
Any customers with Crestron RL 2 units now have the ability to purchase the CCS-UC-250-KIT which will allow their Crestron RL 2 hardware to transition from Windows® 7 with the SRSv1 software to a Windows 10 SRSv2 for the latest Microsoft experience. This allows those customers that need to keep TLS1.2 compliant with Microsoft 365 to have a solution for their devices without the need to replace the hardware.
After upgrading your Crestron RL 2 systems, you can install any of the Crestron Flex room systems for other rooms and keep a consistent user experience in all rooms, for a seamless experience. Whether in a Crestron RL 2 upgraded room or any one of the Flex systems (UC-B160-T or UC-M150-T), you are always greeted with the native Microsoft experience that will allow you to take advantage of all of the features that Microsoft and Crestron have planned for this tremendous product line.
While all of the information below will detail specific details, Crestron and Microsoft have provided a hardware room system solution to their customers that has not needed replacement for over 7 years. The RL 2 hardware has served customers from Lync to Skype for Business and without replacement will now also serve them as they transition to Microsoft Teams. Crestron is the only manufacturer to offer this as other manufacturers have not been able to provide this to their customers. Customers whom chose other products have needed or will need to replace hardware along this journey.
Crestron hardware has gone from Lync to Skype for Business and now to Teams.
Around 2012 Microsoft made an announcement of what was then the Lync Room Systems or LRS which Microsoft would be making software to run on many partner devices. At the time there were 4 partners that were planning to come to market with devices running the LRS software. Those partners were Smart, Crestron, Polycom and Lifesize. Smart came to market first with the Smart Room Systems and shortly thereafter Crestron entered the market with the Crestron RL1 system. Polycom then came to market with their CX8000 system which was a re-branded Crestron RL1 system. Crestron then released an upgraded room system with new hardware named Crestron RL 2.
All of these systems were running Windows 7 and the software running is what Microsoft refers to as SRSV1 software. In the background was a Lync client which was upgraded to have a Skype UI through Microsoft updates. These updates came down with Windows update and also had update options for customers whom needed an on-prem update solution.
There are lots of articles that have been written on Crestron’s online help about how to configure and tips and tricks for even programming the systems with Crestron control processors. I will link to a few below in case people want to reference those as well.
Microsoft then at Ignite 2017 introduced a new line of products for meeting rooms that ran on Microsoft’s Surface units and allowed flexibility to IT departments looking for solutions that were familiar to them that could go into conference rooms. These solutions run on what Microsoft now calls SRSv2. The partners introduced were Crestron, Polycom and Logitech. All solutions were required to run a Microsoft Surface device and would allow customers a lower cost room solution for their conference rooms. Later Microsoft added partners Lenovo and HP that did not have the need for the Microsoft Surface.
At Ignite 2018 Crestron introduced the Crestron Flex product line that also does not need for a Microsoft surface and utilizes many of the Crestron products that enterprises have been deploying for years including Crestron Mercury and Crestron’s TSW touchpanel solutions.
Microsoft M365 no longer supporting TLS1.1 and is moving to TLS1.2
Microsoft has recently announced that their previously referenced O365 and now branded as M365 will be moving to only allowing TLS1.2. This is very important because it affects all of the customers that have any of the systems above running SRSv1 software as they are all dependent on TLS1.1. In the post found here Microsoft says:
“In support of our promise to provide best-in-class encryption to our customers, we are planning to discontinue support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) versions 1.0 and 1.1 soon in Microsoft Office 365.”
Because of this M365 change in support, any customers using SRSv1 solutions with an M365 tenant that they use for Skype for Business or Teams, will need to come up with a plan for how they move forward to stay compliant with Microsoft’s M365 service.
What if my exchange and S4B servers aren’t on M365 and are on-prem?
Microsoft and Crestron both anticipate that there will be no more firmware updates to SRSv1 software. This includes all the above packages from all Microsoft partners. The RL 2 units running SRSv1 can continue to run without issue in the current version of firmware as it has been for as long as the customer keeps their on-prem servers at TLS1.1 compliance. The requirement for TLS1.2 is for Microsoft’s M365 service and is not specific to SRSv1 or SRSv2.
RL 2 Upgrade announcement at Microsoft Ignite 2018
At Ignite 2018 Ilya Bukshteyn outlined in session BRK3168 (Intelligent communications across devices in Microsoft Teams) a lot of how these upgrades will be handled by all of the partners above and how Crestron will be allowing customers some options for going from SRSv1 to SRSv2 software on the RL 2 devices specifically. Those customers whom have other systems listed above can work with Crestron by contacting them and providing details on what equipment is currently installed in their solution so Crestron can provide guidance on their upgrade paths. There is more information below about the specifics for each system and how to go through the update. Here is the link to Crestron’s site which has more information about their guidance as well.
Will Microsoft be disabling TLSv1.1 on my tenant on the date that is published?
The short answer is that Microsoft has published a date that TLSv1.1 will no longer be supported, but that does not mean that you are immediately in jeopardy of having your systems become disabled on that exact date. Microsoft will take time to enable this through all of the existing M365 tenants and will give priority to those whom do not have an SRSv1 solution. Microsoft would like all M365 customers whom have a system with SRSv1 software to come up with a plan immediately for how they will address their conference room solutions as this move to TLSv1.2 is not something that will not happen. All customers will eventually need to become compliant and have a solution in place for how they will handle this.
What if I have an RL 2 and I want to update to the new SRSv2 software?
Crestron has made available an upgrade package that will take your Crestron RL 2 which ran Windows 7 and upgrade your RL 2 unit to a platform that runs SRSv2. This upgrade package will include a small cost as there is hardware that is needed to finalize the upgrade. The hardware is a Crestron product that takes an HDMI input and outputs it as USB into the Teams of Skype for Business meeting. The previous connections on the rear of the RL 2 for content (HDMI, VGA, DM) will no longer work once you have completed your upgrade. There are many more details below on this upgrade procedure and how it works.
What if I don’t want to update and I want a new solution?
Microsoft has a full line of partners that make room systems and they are all published here and are also listed above in the Background section under the SRSv2 solutions. Crestron Flex offers customers a very versatile solution for their room systems and all the packages contain everything that is needed and runs Microsofts SRSv2 software.
What is the update procedure for moving the RL 2 units to run SRSv2?
The update procedure will include an administrator going to the location of the RL 2 hardware and then inserting a USB drive and initiating the upgrade. Previous upgrades on RL 2 had been automatic and were network based. This one will not be automatic and will need physical access to the units. Your previous information will all be gone and you will need to reconfigure all aspects of the device including usernames and passwords as this update will be installing a new Windows 10 image on the RL 2 hardware and thus turning it into RL3 which is Windows 10 based running the SRSv2 software.
After I update, can I revert to SRSv1 after the update?
You will not be able to revert your RL 2 units back to SRSv1 once the upgrade completes. If you need to know anything about the SRSv2 software before upgrading, you can find all of the information here.