This is something that catches my attention in the release notes. In the previous release, one of the major difference between VCS and Expressway is the ability to register video endpoints. While VCS allows endpoint registrations, Expressway works together with UCM and all the endpoints are registered to UCM as single call control. For UCM centric customers with 3rd party video endpoints, they will need to deploy a pair of VCS just for 3rd party video endpoints registration.
Now with Expressway 8.8, it allows endpoint registrations, which means you can have your DX, SX and MX endpoints register directly to Expressway. It also allows 3rd party endpoint registration, however for this release, only SIP endpoints are supported. H323 will be supported in future releases.
The licensing model for Expressway registrations will follow the UCM UCL / CUWL / Telepresence room systems licensing, instead of the VCS way. It allows you to starts small with relatively less investment. It also makes it easier for existing UCM customers to understand this new licensing model on Expressway.
Can you run Expressway alone without UCM for video centric deployment? Technically you can, however you will lose advance UCM capability such as Jabber, Extension Mobility, SNR, Shared Line, Multiline, VM/UM, etc. If you want to have these capabilities in your environment, registering these endpoints to the UCM is suggested, with Expressway as your collaboration edge for B2B, MRA, CMR Cloud, etc.
Collaboration Edge - Step-by-Step integration guide with UCM: