In early 2023, Cisco and Microsoft joined forces to deliver a better user collaboration and meeting experience for their customers.
This partnership enables Cisco’s Webex video devices to connect to Microsoft Teams meeting services. This collaboration aims to provide customers with simplified and accelerated interoperability options when using Cisco Webex Teams and Webex Meetings solutions.
This was a major announcement at the time, as traditionally Cisco had gone head-to-head with Microsoft competing against Teams with their Webex offering. Times have changed and the vision they had is now a reality and I’m really excited to be able to show this off in our new Client Experience Centre in London.
Collaboration spaces that are agile and innovative.
Post COVID-19 office workplaces are different to what we had before, and organisations are investing heavily in creating workspaces and meeting spaces that are designed for the hybrid way we all work. Every organisation I work with is following new guidelines, rethinking, and creating spaces that are more innovative and agile than ever before.
People are at the forefront of shaping the way work is performed, and they need the right spaces and collaboration technologies to get work done even faster. These tools must work seamlessly together to be impactful in enabling teamwork that leads to better results, higher productivity, and engaged employees. Above all every space and the technology within them needs to work not just with in person meetings but accepting the fact that at least one meeting attendee will be remote ant that not every organisation uses the same collaboration platform, (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom etc.), and some use more than one).
Cisco and Microsoft raise the bar in cross collaboration.
For the past year (almost), we have seen almost all of Cisco’s meeting devices become certified on Teams, but it doesn’t stop here.
Cisco and Microsoft have been working on refining the way cross join works between their Webex platform and Microsoft Teams to create a seamless meeting experience regardless of what platform you join from. This is not only good from working with other organisations that don’t use the same meeting platform as you, but also internally where some departments or regions may use different meeting platforms. Cisco and Microsoft’s approach enables an enhanced direct guest join capability from each other’s meeting/video endpoint their respective meeting service. In the case of Cisco, their need meeting endpoints which are certified on Teams have the ability to natively run both Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams at the same time and switch in real time to the relevant platform without any user intervention.
There are several benefits to this partnership approach and are designed to meet the customer wherever they are on their investment, migration or interoperability need:
1. Simplified Collaboration with Cross Join: The partnership between Cisco and Microsoft simplifies the collaboration experience for users. It enables users to connect and collaborate with teammates, partners, and customers seamlessly using WebRTC (or Cloud Video Interop (CVI). Cisco offer both native meetings on Teams and Webex whilst still providing the ability to access all Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) features along with a full experience for Webex meetings with one touch join. Today, only Cisco devices can do this.
2. Interoperability beyond just meeting join: Users can see the presence status (available, busy, away, or offline) of their contacts within both platforms and can share content (there are some limitations) and also chat between both platforms.
3. Leading Sustainability: Organisations with an existing investment in Cisco Webex technology that want to retain their investment in Cisco Webex whilst also wishing to invest/support Microsoft Teams either within their environment or to improve collaboration with their customers. Cisco hardware has environmental sensors which can monitor air quality, room temperature, ambient noise and light and use up to 70% less power than previous generations of room kit. The Cisco Control Hub software also provides a great job of providing end to end analysis and trends of the data from these sensors not only across their meeting room technologies but also across their network infrastructure.
4. Enhanced User Experience: This capability leverages multiple methods of interoperability along with true cross join between Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams delivers a seamless and enhanced user experience – reducing IT support effort, reducing meeting join friction and resulting in effortless collaboration and more engaged employees. This will presence status sharing and native in platform content sharing is also a game changer.
5. Sensors and Analytics: Cisco Webex devices, along with other network products from Cisco, have various features that improve the user experience. For example, Cisco Room kit has integrated sensors that can sense how many people are in a room and adjust the lighting and temperature accordingly. Room analytics can also provide insights into how meeting spaces are used, such as the number of attendees, the length of the meeting, and the level of engagement. Cisco Thousand Eyes is a service that monitors the performance of the network, internet and SaaS services such as Webex and Microsoft Teams. It gives a comprehensive view of the network path, enabling IT teams to proactively detect and fix issues that affect collaboration. In August 2023, Thousand Eyes Endpoint Agents for Cisco Room OS devices was launched.
6. Competitive hardware pricing: Whilst Cisco is a premium brand, organisations can get extremely aggressive and competitive pricing for Cisco Collaboration devices, especially if they are already invested in other technologies. Working with your Cisco partner there is very competitive pricing, and, in our experience, Cisco pricing is comparable to all other main manufacturers in the market.
Come and see live demos.
On the 25th of January, we (Cisilion), are hosting an in-person event in our new London Client Experience Centre where will be showcasing the Cisco & Microsoft Better Together story and will have expert speakers and tech leads from Cisilion, Cisco and Microsoft.