The Future of Videoconferencing: Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom Join Forces


Written by Jackie Bilodeau

I am the Communications Director for CGNET, having returned to CGNET in 2018 after a 10-year stint in the 1990's. I enjoy hiking, music, dance, photography, writing and travel. Read more about my work at CGNET here.

December 3, 2019

In November, Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom announced agreements to make their respective videoconferencing services interoperable.   Beginning in early 2020, people using either Cisco’s Webex or Zoom Rooms will be able to join Microsoft Teams meetings, and vice versa, all without the purchase of additional licenses or third-party services.   This collaboration hopes to eliminate the frustration companies often face when trying to interact with other organizations using different platforms.

Building Bridges With Microsoft Teams

“We believe in prioritizing the customer experience,” Zoom Chief Product Officer Oded Gal said it a statement. “By working with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Zoom is able to provide a simple meeting experience from any room or device and further deliver happiness to our customers and anyone else using Zoom solutions.”  In their announcement, Cisco’s spokesperson stated “We are listening and are working together to build these bridges to provide the best user experiences with the tools desired to get the job done.”   The collaboration is promising an enriched and seamless experience as the products are integrated.  The goal is to “be impactful in enabling teamwork that leads to better results, higher productivity and engaged employees,” according to Sri Srinivasan, Senior VP and GM for the Team Collaboration Group, Cisco.

Cisco and Microsoft are also partnering on an initiative to develop new capabilities to allow IT to seamlessly connect branch offices to Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN directly using Cisco’s SD-WAN hosted in Azure.

For information on how to schedule, start or join Cisco Webex Meetings from Teams (and other related topics), read this.

For a guide on starting and joining Zoom meetings from Teams, watch this.

More New Features in Teams

Microsoft also announced the following improvements and new features in Teams, some of which are already available, and the rest in early 2020:

  • Private Channels are now available. This feature lets you set up channels within a team that are only visible to certain members of that team.
  • Teams Phone System now supports Dynamic Emergency Calling in the U.S., which means that not only can you use it to call 9-1-1, but it will automatically share your location
  • Multiwindow chats and task integration with To Do will soon be available, as will the ability to share entire email threads from Outlook to Teams.
  • Whiteboard integration is now available in all Teams meetings
  • Teams Rooms is getting some improvements as well. Besides the interoperability with Cisco and Zoom platforms,  Microsoft also said there will be new types of meeting room devices from Yealink and Poly for small workspaces. These devices will have integrated audio, video, and cameras and will run Android.
  • Finally, the Teams client for Linux, announced in September, will be available soon.

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