Cisco has been the market leader in video endpoints for years, however with the increase usage of Microsoft Teams, it has posed challenges for customers who have adopted MS Teams due to its inclusion in M365 and tight integration into the M365 suite of applications, which were commonly already in use across organisations.
MS Teams was very much designed initially for meeting experiences where users are on individual devices, and it never extended well into rooms. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into developing the room capability for MS Teams meetings and now there are a number of 3rd party offerings that extend the Teams meetings capabilities into rooms.
With this partnership and Cisco’s new range of room video devices, Teams users will benefit from Cisco’s market leading technology which includes:
- Audio intelligence which removes background noise and optimising active speaker voice detection
- Intelligent cameras that detect the number of faces in a room and automatically adjusts the camera to zoom in on the people in a room
- Cisco’s known reputation for building the highest quality hardware
How does it work?
Cisco Room devices certified for MS Teams will run Microsoft Teams Room Android software, integrating directly into a clients M365 tenancy and Teams Admin Centre for the full functionality of a MS Teams room device. The device will still maintain an enhanced experience for joining Webex meetings and will also be able to join Zoom meetings also.
While the experience will be a full MS Teams Room experience and run the Microsoft Android Team Room software, clients will still be able to manage these devices in Webex Control Hub. This means that IT teams can leverage capabilities like real-time troubleshooting, analytics, workspace optimisation, and user and device management. IT teams can also access advanced workspace analytics like temperature, air quality, and occupancy metrics- with the ability to set capacity limits and real-time notifications when those limits are exceeded.
These capabilities can be integrated into Building Management and Room Booking systems to provide availability and insights into environmental metrics.
What devices will support native MS Teams Room experience?
Cisco has a new range of devices which have just become available, which support the MS Teams room experience. Some of these devices can allow you to retrofit and existing Cisco Room experience and others are brand new devices, bringing Cisco’s market leading features and quality to MS Teams Rooms.
What about my existing Cisco Room devices?
While the MS Teams Room experience is available for these new devices, what about your existing fleet of standards based SIP Room Video devices? And what about external parties that wish to join your meetings from traditional room devices?
Well Cisco still have Video Interoperability for MS Teams (known as CVI), which is a highly recommended add-on to your MS Teams environment. One of the challenges of MS Teams natively is that is doesn’t support SIP based endpoints, which has been a severe limitation for many organisations who have invested heavily into Video Conferencing prior to the pandemic and the rise of MS Teams.
Cisco Video Interop for MS Teams enables your Teams tenancy to accept SIP based dialling from video conferencing units for a rich room based experience including multiple screen support and wireless sharing via Miracast. This effectively brings the capability expected from a modern Meetings platform to MS Teams and overcomes the limitations imposed by Microsoft.
Cisco also offers options for clients who need to join an external MS Teams meeting that doesn’t support SIP based dialling. The MS Teams (and soon to be Zoom) integrations allow you to use Cisco Room and Board devices to join any MS Teams meeting, with the One Button to Join capability offered by the Cisco devices.
The method uses WebRTC (or a web browser) embedded into the device to join any MS Teams meeting. There are some limitations of this method, such as the inability to do a screen share but this can be easily overcome by joining the MS Teams meeting from your laptop, while still allowing everyone in the room to have a rich meeting experience.
Support for multiple meeting platforms
While the majority of organisations are adopting MS Teams, there is still the need to join meetings hosted on the other major platforms including Webex, Zoom and Google Meet. We need our room devices to easily support all of the major platforms and Cisco has acknowledged this. Cisco has been working hard to overcome the challenges imposed by different meeting platform providers to enable their Room devices to be able to easily work with the meeting platform you need, allowing you to have rich meeting experiences irrespective of what platform the host is using.
In summary, Cisco’s latest Room Video developments allow you to enjoy powerful meeting experiences wherever you work. From home, in the office and in meeting rooms. With interoperability being enabled across the major meeting platforms and the option to get all the benefits of Cisco’s market leading technology while being directly integrated into your MS Teams environment, Cisco is providing organisations with the flexibility they need to operate effectively in a hybrid world.
If you want a deep dive into the new capabilities offered by Cisco for Microsoft Teams, please reach out to us for a demonstration.