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Microsoft and Cisco Announce Partnership to Enhance Web Conferencing Interoperability

Microsoft and Cisco have announced a partnership to enhance interoperability between Microsoft Teams Rooms and Phone System and Cisco Webex Room.

Key features of this partnership are:

  • Cisco Webex video devices can connect to Microsoft Teams meeting services. This will be done via Cisco Webex introducing an interop solution certified as a Microsoft Cloud Video Interop solution.
  • Direct guest join capability.
  • Cisco Session Border Controllers will deploy Direct Routing for dial tone in Microsoft Teams. This will be without needing to replace any infrastructure.

All features will be made available early 2020.

Source: SoftwareReviews Web Conferencing Data Quadrant. Accessed November 4, 2019.

Our Take

Info-Tech notes that many organizations have both Office 365 and Cisco Webex. As both suites are not completely interoperable, end-user satisfaction is often low given confusion about which suites’ tools to use when – especially given many of these suites’ tools have overlapping capabilities.

Microsoft and Cisco’s partnership to enhance their respective suite’s interoperability will thus come as a relief to those organizations that have licenses with both vendors. End users will no longer need to switch between these suites for web conferencing tools, streamlining internal and external guest connections.

Indeed, this partnership announcement can largely be viewed as being driven by end-user demand, which urged for a unified communications platform that encouraged mixed-vendor interoperability. Microsoft’s announcement of this partnership certainly referenced user demand to justify each new interoperable feature, leading with: “Over the year’s [SIC] customers have asked us to simplify their deployment complexity in a mixed vendor environment.” Expect this trend to continue: end users will prefer a communication and collaboration suite that is highly interoperable or can be easily integrated with whatever existing platform they are using. Very rarely can one suite cater to all end users’ needs: having a unified communications platform that can joins different suites and best-of-breed apps together satisfies these needs.

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