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How do I control which participant appears in which pane on an endpoint?

From version 2.4, you can use the API pane placement feature to control which participant appears in which pane on an endpoint; the screen layout assigned to the endpoint will affect which panes are shown. The pane position in the layout determines the order of being filled by the video of the important participants. As an example, Figure 1 shows the pane positions on an endpoint with the screen layout set to allEqualQuarters. The numbers indicate the pane position or order of being filled, not an importance value. The pane labelled #1 is filled first, followed by the pane labelled #2 etc.

Figure 1: Pane placement using allEqualQuarters screen layout

 allEqualQuarters screen layout

 

Pane placement is controlled through the API using:

  • the panePlacementHighestImportance parameter set on a coSpace to determine how many panes will be reserved for pane placement,
  • the importance value assigned to participant(s) or Access Method for a specific coSpace, and
  • the screen layout selected for the endpoint.

In the example shown in Figure 1, if panePlacementHighestImportance is set to 4, then:

  • pane #1 will be reserved for a participant with importance set to 4
  • pane #2 will be reserved for a participant with importance set to 3
  • pane #3 will be reserved for a participant with importance set to 2
  • pane #4 will be reserved for a participant with importance set to 1

Note: Pane placement on the  applies conference wide, and is not configurable per participant as on the Cisco MCU.

Note: The way a participant joins a conference does not affect pane placement, for instance there is no affect whether a participant dials in to join a conference or is dialed out to.

Note: The pane placement feature is not currently supported by the Recorder or Streamer. Neither is the feature currently supported on Cisco Meeting Management or Cisco Meeting App or using DTMF on a SIP endpoint. If pane placement is selected through the API, then the ability to set importance is disabled in Cisco Meeting Management for meetings where pane placement is in use. Cisco Meeting App does not display blank panes.


Similarities and differences between assigning importance and pane placement

Pane placement is configured on a per-coSpace basis; if set, any conference started [instantiated] from that coSpace will have pane placement active.
The effect of Importance is determined by how it is applied:

  • if set by applying a PUT method on API object /participants/<participant id>, the Importance value will only last for the duration of the participants' active connection to the conference
  • if set by applying a POST method on API object /calls/<call id>/participant, the Importance value will only last for the duration of the participants' active connection to the conference
  • if set by applying a POST or PUT method on API object /coSpaces/<coSpace id>/accessMethod, the Importance value will last for the duration of the coSpace, so the same Importance value will take effect if a participant leaves a conference then rejoins using the same accessMethod.

Pane placement will display a blank pane if the participant with the assigned importance has not yet joined the conference (either by dialing in or being dialed out to). This has the effect of fixing the position of an important participant on the display, rather than move around as other important participants join and leave the conference, which will occur if importance is used without pane placement.

Using pane placement

Pane placement works only on a per conference basis. To use pane placement:

1.  set a value for parameter panePlacementHighestImportance for the space, this defines the highest importance level to be used in the space:

    • for an existing specific space. PUT to /coSpaces/&lt;coSpace id&gt; the request parameter panePlacementHighestImportance set to the chosen value,
    • to create a new space with pane placement set, POST to /coSpaces with the request parameter panePlacementHighestImportance set to the chosen value.

2.  assign importance values to the important participants that will connect to the meeting, setting the importance value for a participant has been available since version 2.2:

    • create a new participant with the assigned importance for the specified call, POST to /calls/<call id>/participants with the request parameter importance set to the chosen value, or
    • assign an importance to a specified participant in the conference, PUT to /participants/<participant id> with the request parameter importance set to the chosen value

Alternatively, an importance value can be assigned to an Access Method for a specific coSpace (this is new in version 2.4):

    • create a new accessMethod for the specified coSpace, POST to /coSpaces/<coSpace id>/accessMethods the request parameter importance set to the chosen value, or
    • update an existing Access Method for the coSpace, PUT to /coSpaces/<coSpace id>;/accessMethods/<access method id> the request parameter importance set to the chosen value.

Once pane placement is operational, the following rules are applied:

  • Number of participants shown on an endpoint will depend on the layout selected for that endpoint.
  • Participants are placed based on their importance value (highest importance is placed first). A blank pane is inserted if no participants match a specific importance level, for instance because the level was not assigned, the participant has yet to join the meeting or has already left the meeting.
  • Participants with a higher importance than specified in panePlacementHighestImportance for the space, appear “at the top of the layout”, no blank panes are added for importance values between this participant’s importance and the panePlacementHighestImportance value.
  • If some participants have a higher importance value than the panePlacementHighestImportance set for the space, then the will start by using those participants but any gaps between their importance and the panePlacementHighestImportance set for the space won't be represented by a blank pane. This also occurs if an Access Method to the space is configured with a higher importance value than the panePlacementHighestImportance set for the space.
  • A participant never sees themselves, and a blank pane is not shown for them on their endpoint.
  • If a participant with no importance set is reached before the panes on the screen run out, the remaining layout panes will be filled with any participants not yet placed, but are in the active speaker history order (most recent speakers first). Blank panes are not added in between them and participants with assigned importance.
  • If multiple participants are given the same importance value, then they are ordered according to who is the most frequent active speaker. In this mode, there is no reordering of participants to keep them in the same pane, so participants will move between panes.
  • If the conference is split across several Meeting Servers, the participants that are shared across the distribution link appear in the panes according to their importance. If the participant is present, but the video stream isn't sent over the distribution link, an empty pane is inserted. As the most important participants are shared over the distribution link, the more important (higher importance value) panes will always be filled for all participants. However, it will depend on which a participant is hosted on as to whether they see a participant or an empty pane.

For more information on screen layouts and Pane placement see the Administrator Quick Reference Guide on Screen Layouts and Pane Placement.

Removing pane placement

To remove pane placement, leave the panePlacementHighestImportance parameter as unset (leave the parameter value as blank).