Introducing Solstice Multi-Room
Solstice Multi-Room enables meeting participants to share content collaboratively across multiple locations and geographies on the same enterprise network. When two or more Solstice Pods (up to 4) are synced in a Multi-Room session, shared content will appear on all Solstice displays in the session regardless of which room/location shared the content.
As with pre-3.0 versions of Solstice, users experience improved meeting productivity with reduced startup time and increased team engagement. Multi-Room expands Solstice’s collaboration capabilities to support multi-location use cases, enabling seamless connection for multiple meeting spaces in the same building, on a campus, or even spread across a global enterprise network.
Solstice Multi-Room requires no additional hardware and comes standard with the v3.0 Solstice Enterprise Edition Release. It integrates with existing voice and audio systems and common meeting tools like WebEx, VoIP bridges, and GoToMeeting.
The Multi-Room capability requires Solstice Enterprise Edition licenses. For more information about Solstice Enterprise Edition and to upgrade your Pods and/or Windows Software licenses, please contact us.
Solstice Multi-Room is currently available on Pods running Solstice version 3.0 or later (Windows Software scheduled for a future release). The Solstice client app on each user device must also be updated to version 3.0 or later. Users that already have the Solstice app installed will be prompted to update automatically when connecting to a Multi-Room enabled Pod.
Create a Multi-Room Meeting
To start a Multi-Room session, first connect to a Pod by following the on-screen instructions and entering the four-digit screen key. If you do not have the 3.0 Solstice client, you will be prompted to update before you can connect.
You are now in a normal Solstice session. To enable Multi-Room, select the ’Meeting’ tab and click ’Start Multi-Room Session’.
Name your meeting in the session name field (required).
Once you start the session, the meeting name will appear as an in-progress meeting in the discovery list visible in other users’ Solstice devices, so be sure to give appropriate meeting names and avoid naming sensitive meeting topics specifically.
Add audio/video conferencing information as needed. This field can be populated with any type of audio information, such as a direct phone line, a conference bridge and PIN, or even a VTC link. Solstice will display this info to additional users that join and parse it intelligently when users click audio/video connection info from their client device. Phone numbers will be auto-dialed from devices with calling capabilities and Solstice will auto-detect VTC links and launch appropriate third-party client apps (e.g. Zoom, Skype, Webex, etc) if they are installed on the user’s device.
When meeting name and audio bridge fields are completed, click ‘Start Multi-Room Session’ to make the session available for connection from users in other locations on your network. If the desired participants are already aware of the meeting, they can see and join the meeting from their locations and the host only needs to approve them into the meeting when they request to join. If the meeting organizer would like to invite guests to join the meeting, the organizer/host can send invitations to the meeting, by clicking the ‘Invite’ icon in the Multi-Room section of the session screen:
Clicking this icon opens an email window pre-populated with the meeting name and any audio/video conferencing information you have provided. The email may be sent to anyone. Users with network access will enjoy full use of Solstice Multi-Room. Users outside of your network will not be able to connect to the meeting with Solstice, however they are able to connect and participate via the audio/video conferencing. The link in the email will open the meeting discovery screen in the user’s Solstice client application if it is installed, or direct them to the installation link if the Solstice client is not yet installed.
When someone requests to join your meeting, you will get an alert in the Solstice client application that allows you to approve or reject the request. If moderator mode is enabled (optional), you will also see an option to accept the user and make them a moderator, giving them the ability to approve or reject future join and share requests.
Discover and Join an Existing Meeting
When Solstice users open their client apps, they will see a list of Multi-Room sessions in progress in addition to Solstice displays available for connection.
This view shows the name of the meeting, the number of linked displays, and the locations or names of those linked displays.
To join a Multi-Room session in progress, click on the session name and enter the screen key visible on the display in the room from which you’d like to join. For security and authentication, users will always be required to enter the four-digit screen key when requesting to join a Multi-Room session.
The owner of the meeting will receive a notification that you would like to join the session from a new location and can approve or reject your request. If the request is approved, the meeting content will appear in your location, and you will be able to share and control content collaboratively with Solstice as if you were in the room with the other participants. You will also see an additional Multi-Room tab providing session information, chat, and third-party conferencing information supplied by the host, such as a dial-in number or Zoom URL.
Voice Interface and Chat
Solstice Multi-Room is designed to run alongside your existing audio and video conferencing tools, providing a collaborative meeting content solution to supplement voice and video conferencing. Solstice users can easily enter audio/video conferencing info into the Multi-Room session which other users can see/access when they join the session.
The meeting organizer can also easily send out the Multi-Room and audio/video call-in info to desired participants via the built in ‘Invite’ option, which auto-generates an email invite using the default mail client on the organizer’s device.
Solstice Multi-Room also has its own chat function to allow users in separate locations to coordinate as needed, especially if users are having trouble accessing the meeting audio or haven’t yet dialed in.
Will I need to update my software to use the Multi-Room feature?
Yes. You need to be using Solstice 3.0 or later and you will need Solstice Enterprise Edition to use Multi-Room. If you have current software maintenance, you can update to the latest version in the Pod’s configuration panel or through the Solstice Dashboard. Contact Mersive to update expired maintenance licenses and/or to update your Solstice licenses to Enterprise Edition.
Can older Solstice clients be used with Multi-Room?
No. You need to download a new client from a 3.0 or later Pod or download it from our website. Old clients connecting to a 3.0 Solstice Pod will be offered the new client automatically.
Is special hardware required?
No special/additional hardware is required. Solstice Multi-Room runs on existing Solstice Pods with Enterprise Edition on version 3.0 or later (Gen1 Pod hardware excluded).
Does Multi-Room work with my Solstice Windows Software version?
No, not today. Initially, only the Pod will support Multi-Room. Solstice Windows Software support for Multi-Room is scheduled for a future release.
Can anyone start a Multi-Room session or does it require a special version of the client?
Any user in a Pod-enabled room can enter the on-screen code and start a Multi-Room session. Participants will use the same Solstice client to start a Multi-Room session as they use to connect and share media to any Solstice Display.
How many Pods can join a Multi-Room session?
Up to 4.
Doesn’t this mean that anyone on my network can start a session with any name? What about misuse of this new capability?
Users must be authorized on your corporate network to connect to a Pod and will also need to enter the on-screen key before they can start session. These authentication steps ensure that users can’t connect from outside a room with a Pod. At that point, social convention dictates user behaviors in the same way that a meeting participant can write anything she wants on a whiteboard during the meeting.
Is a special license required for Multi-Room to work?
The Solstice Multi-Room capability is part of the 3.0 Enterprise Edition of Solstice. Any Enterprise Pod on version 3.0 or later can take advantage of Multi-Room. A non-Enterprise Pod will not be able to take part in Multi-Room sessions. Updating a standard Pod to Enterprise Edition is straightforward. Use the Pod’s configuration panel or the Solstice Dashboard to upgrade your Pod(s) or contact Mersive for assistance.
What does it cost?
Multi-Room is included in the 3.0 Enterprise Version. Pods that have current software maintenance can update to Multi-Room capability by updating to 3.0. Enterprise Pods whose maintenance has expired will need to purchase updated maintenance to have access to the 3.0 version of the software. Maintenance is 20% of the purchase price paid annually.
Is Multi-Room compatible with all client platforms (Windows, OSX, Android, and iOS)?
Yes. Users can connect to a Multi-Room session using any Solstice client on any of the supported platforms.
Does Multi-Room support content audio? For example, if I share a video file will participants in other rooms hear the audio soundtrack?
Yes. Multi-Room supports content audio streams. This includes audio from any post being shared from any platform – video files, desktop audio from a PC, and audio from iOS devices that are mirroring into the session. Solstice does not natively support voice as part of the Multi-Room meeting. Instead, users can leverage their existing voice and video conferencing infrastructure in tandem with Solstice Multi-Room.
Does Solstice Multi-Room offer voice calling?
No, but users can make use of their existing voice infrastructure – video teleconferencing software, mobile phones, conference bridges, or desktop lines – in Multi-Room sessions. These voice conferencing systems can be integrated into Multi-Room sessions: a user adds voice dial-in information in their Solstice client and this information is presented to participants when they join the Multi-Room session.
How does Solstice Multi-Room work with my existing Web Conferencing infrastructure?
Solstice provides support for third party voice solutions including web conferencing, audio-bridges, and cellphones. Users put dial-in information into the Solstice client allowing other participants to see and connect to conference audio. For example, by adding a WebEx link and PIN in the Solstice client, a content-centric meeting across multiple locations can leverage WebEx for voice and Solstice for multi-threaded content collaboration.
I currently use Web Conferencing for meetings across multiple locations and geographies. Why would I use Solstice Multi-Room?
Solstice is best suited for meetings between same-company participants because they tend to be more interactive with a heavier reliance on content sharing by multiple participants, and are typically more ad hoc when it comes to scheduling. Solstice Multi-Room is designed to address the needs of today’s meeting culture which relies on rapid setup and breakdown, and on broader engagement leveraging simultaneous streams of content – resulting in increased levels of productivity and higher fidelity decision making and planning. If you want to include participants outside of your company, you can still bridge them into a Multi–Room meeting using your existing conferencing solutions.
I’ve already deployed Solstice throughout my enterprise, and I’d rather not make use of Multi-Room yet. Can it be disabled?
Yes. The Multi-Room feature can be disabled in the Solstice Dashboard. Simply de-select the ‘Enable Multi-Room’ option. Once it’s disabled, the feature will not appear in connected clients and cannot be enabled except through the Dashboard.
How do I know what Multi-Room sessions are available to join?
Multi-Room sessions are discovered using the Solstice client in the same way you discover Solstice rooms. Simply open the Solstice client to see the list of sessions and what rooms/displays have already joined. Note that users must be authenticated on the network to see the discovery list.
Can anyone join an ongoing Multi-Room Session?
Users that request to join a session from a new location must be approved by a participant already in the session. Joining a session from a location that is already ongoing only requires normal Solstice authentication.
What about privacy? How do I keep people from knowing about a Multi-Room meeting I’ve started?
In the same way that users can ‘discover’ Solstice Displays available for connections, users can also see ongoing Multi-Room session names in their clients. This type of transparency means efficient and real-time feedback about ongoing meetings, but it should also be kept in mind when naming meetings about sensitive topics. Regardless of session name, unwanted requests to join a Multi-Room session can be ignored.
Can I use Multi-Room without enabling the on-screen room code?
No. When the Multi-Room feature is enabled on a Pod, on-screen codes are automatically enabled as well. This ensures that users can join sessions but maintains two-factor authentication/security.
What about users who aren’t on my network? Can they join a Multi-Room session from anywhere on the Internet?
While outside participants not on the network cannot share content directly into a Multi-Room session via Solstice, outside users can be bridged into the session via an internal user leveraging traditional video teleconferencing (VTC) products. A user on the company network can bridge outside users into the meeting by inviting them to a VTC meeting and then sharing that application to the Solstice Multi-Room session. As an example, a WebEx teleconference can be setup in tandem with a Multi-Room session by a company user who then sends an invite to an outside user. The internal user can then share the WebEx desktop application into the Solstice session, displaying the WebEx from the external user across the Solstice Displays in the Multi-Room meeting. That guest’s content, video, and audio will be shared in the Multi-Room meeting.
But how can a guest participant, outside of the company network, also view and control the Solstice meeting?
They can’t. Users outside of the network must use existing video teleconferencing services to participate. While their presentations and video can be shared into the Solstice session, they will not be able to see any other content shared into the Solstice session.
I’m in a room with a Solstice Pod and I want to join a session that’s already underway. How do I join?
Tap the session you want to join and enter the on-screen code shown on the Solstice display in your room. A request to add your room to the session will be sent to the participants that are already connected in the session. Once your request is approved, the display in your room will join the session and your client will join.
I’ve started a session and need to invite participants, can do I do that?
Yes! Once a session is underway, anyone can invite additional participants by clicking the ‘Invite’ link in the Multi-Room tab of the Solstice client. The button opens the default email application on the client’s device – and pre-populates an email message with information about the meeting including the meeting title and audio bridge information. A URL is included in the email that when clicked will automatically launch a Solstice client for anyone on the same network and join it to the session.
I know users who don’t have the Solstice client get one by entering a Pod’s IP address into a web browser, but what happens if a Multi-Room session is already underway and I need to get the client?
Even if a session is already underway, users can enter the IP address of the display in the room. The webpage will give users the option to download the client and join the session in the same way that a standalone Solstice display lets users download a client and connect.
How do I know who has joined a Multi-Room Session?
Solstice denotes user icons (Meeples) along the bottom of the display in the room denoting who has joined. When a Solstice display is in a Multi-Room session, these icons will be grouped by location. In addition, the Multi-Room tab on users’ clients will show more detailed information about participants.
I’d like to control the Multi-Room session using Moderator mode. Can I still moderate participation when a display is in a Multi-Room session?
Yes. Moderator mode operates in the same way as a single-room Solstice session does. In addition to approving new rooms joining the session, moderators can also accept/reject individual user connections, preview content before it is shared to the display and accept/reject new content into the meeting. The only difference is that when in a Multi-Room session, approval requests carry additional information about where each user is located.
I want to schedule a regularly occurring meeting using a calendar invite. Can I do that with Multi-Room?
Yes. We recommend that you include the name of the Multi-Room session that you will create in the invite on your calendar so that users know what session to look for in their client at the time of the meeting. The Solstice client will recognize a commonly-used session name and ‘autofill’ it every time you want to start the meeting. Then, participants that have the meeting on their calendars can launch their Solstice client at the appropriate time, look for the Session name in the client discovery panel, and click to join.
How many users can participate in a Multi-Room session?
Participant numbers are only limited in the rooms that are involved in the session. For example, if two rooms are in session, and each is equipped with an SGE Pod (the four-user version), then up to eight users can participate in the meeting. Unlimited users may join from a room equipped with an Unlimited Pod.
How do I disconnect a specific room when in a Multi-Room session?
In the same way that individual users can be disconnected from a display by a user with appropriate rights to do so, a room can be ‘booted’ from the session by selecting the room name in the on-screen configuration panel and selecting ‘Disconnect’.
I use the Solstice ‘Tags’ feature to quickly filter what displays I see in my client (for example, displays in the engineering department only). Can I also use Tags to filter Multi-Room sessions?
Yes. Multi-Room sessions inherit the Tag set that is assigned to the Solstice Pod that starts the session. If a Pod is tagged ‘Engineering’ then any session started from that Pod will also carry the Tag ‘Engineering’. Users that filter their discovery list by that Tag will see only displays and sessions with that Tag.
How do I disconnect from a Session?
Click the disconnect button in your client in the same way you disconnect from a Solstice display.