The News: Today Microsoft and Cisco are announcing a partnership that enables Cisco’s Webex video devices to connect to the Microsoft Teams meeting services in multiple ways. First, Cisco Webex will introduce an interop solution that will be certified as a Microsoft Cloud Video Interop (CVI) offering to allow Cisco Webex Room devices and SIP video conferencing devices to join Microsoft Teams meetings with a reliable interop experience.
With today’s announcements we hope to simplify and accelerate interoperability options for our customers as they adopt Cisco Webex Teams and Webex Meetings solutions within their organizations. For more on the announcements, read Cisco’s Blog from SVP Sri Srinivasan.
Analyst Take: I believe that this partnership is very good for both companies. While we have entered an age where technology companies have become quite proficient at vacillating between competitor and partner, this is one of those cases where two is better than one.
An Era of Choice and Interoperability
As it pertains to collaboration, we are in an era where collaboration still isn’t ubiquitous in most organizations and this has been a byproduct of things like choice, shadow IT, device preference, legacy equipment, technical debt and user experience — to name a few.
Cisco leads in end point technology for collaboration and Microsoft has the volume of desktop. Of course Webex has a strong desktop product as well, but this partnership is rooted in Cisco and Microsoft wanting to deliver a consistent user interface to MS Teams users that have room system requirements.
In most organizations there will be a significant distribution of tools used for collaboration (Check out our research that looks at collaboration tool usage), and while Cisco and MS lead, this partnership may be the beginning of a growing trend to enable more interoperability between room based collaboration and software video/collaboration platforms.
Office Volume Drives Adoption, Zoom Also a Factor
Microsoft Teams, will inherently be heavily adopted simply based upon its massive deployment volume within the Office 365 suite. However, room based collaboration is still a necessity for larger group settings in classrooms, boardrooms and even larger huddle spaces where desktop based video is at best a crutch and at worst unusable. With Cisco and Microsoft working together here, the companies can deliver a better hardware based room solution. This is also something that can help both companies compete with Zoom; something that may not immediately come to mind for many hearing about this partnership, but I promise this ability to compete is important as Zoom has been a surprisingly stout competitor to both Cisco and Microsoft.
All in all, It will be interesting to watch how both companies build on this partnership. I’m optimistic that these two companies working together will drive improved collaboration from mobile to desktop to room based systems.
Read more Analysis from Futurum Research:
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
Image: Microsoft Teams