Wainhouse Releases Cisco Webex BoardPro Microsoft Teams Room Testing Results
The News: Recently our team at Wainhouse had the opportunity to beta test the Cisco BoardPro 75” running Microsoft Team Room software to understand the value of this solution. After spending weeks testing this new hardware and software combination in day-to-day operation, it’s clear the solution has unique value propositions in comparison to other Microsoft Teams-certified hardware.
Wainhouse releases Cisco Webex BoardPro Microsoft Teams Room testing results
Analyst Take: Since early 2023, Wainhouse has been beta testing the latest offering from Webex and Microsoft, a Webex device operating as a Microsoft Teams Room. This solution may sound similar to competitive third-party Teams-certified hardware, but this solution has an edge over others by enabling a native experience for both Webex and Teams meetings.
To accomplish this, the BoardPro is provisioned as a Microsoft Teams room and operates as such until a Webex meeting is required, at which time the BoardPro launches the native Webex Room experience. Once a Webex meeting is concluded, the BoardPro reverts to the Microsoft Teams Rooms experience, making for a seamless transition between the platforms. While we still don’t know how this solution will fare in the market, it is safe to say this is the first room solution that supports two native experiences without the need for additional processing power or workarounds to accomplish this.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve heard interoperability announcements from multiple vendors, but most are leveraging ‘guest-join’ or ‘guest dial-in’ to accomplish this. The challenge with a guest experience is that it limits the functionality of the participant to just audio and video, leaving necessary context, such as chat, whiteboarding, and third-party software integrations out of the experience. Even in the few cases where some of these elements are provided, it remains a workaround that lacks parity with native room systems. This is where the Webex and Microsoft alliance comes into play, by providing a system that supports full functionality for two platforms, the end-customers are better equipped to engage in meetings and more likely to interact with content.
While details of initial set up and use can be found within our recently published research note, the experience overall was smooth and the device operated as expected once fully provisioned. The inherent benefits of high-quality components and materials is easily recognized when using the BoardPro, as the camera, microphone and speaker AI are consistent across both Microsoft Teams and Webex meetings. By retaining the Webex AI for speaker tracking, framing, and grouping, as well as the audio AI for noise cancelation and suppression, participants enjoy all the benefits of Webex audio and video in Teams meetings. In addition, the quality of the BoardPro touch interactions is not impacted when running Microsoft Teams, minimizing the learning curve when transitioning from a Webex Room to a Microsoft Teams Room.
With public availability for BoardPro as a Microsoft Teams Room imminent and expanded device portfolio support to follow later this year, Webex is the first vendor to operate with two native platforms at the same time. Though the day-to-day operation is a Microsoft Teams Room, the power of having a fully provisioned Webex meeting, followed by a fully capable Microsoft Teams meeting (Android version parity), is compelling for both current and prospective Webex device clients. For a deeper dive and to learn more about this solution’s admin and user experiences, check out the full research note by Wainhouse referenced here.
Disclosure: Wainhouse Research, part of The Futurum Group family of companies, is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Wainhouse Research as a whole.
Other insights from Wainhouse Research:
Wainhouse Releases Q4 Market SpotCheck for Group Video Conferencing Endpoints
ScreenBeam and MAXHUB Announce Technology Alliance to Deliver Seamless Hybrid Meeting Experiences
Cisco Extends Webex Go, its Native Mobile Calling Capability, to the UK
The original version of this article was first published on Wainhouse Research.
Daniel Root is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse – A Futurum Group company. His area of expertise is digital workplace and workforce communications technologies and services.