Cisco Dx80 Microsoft Teams

Posted : admin On 1/2/2022

The concept of team communication and collaboration has been in evolution for over a decade. There have been several players, but in reality it’s developed into pretty much a two-horse race—Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams.

This is a five-day instructor-led course where the students will learn how to Provision and Administer a Cisco WebEx Teams Solution. Students will provision Phones, Video Conferencing Units, WebEx Boards, and Meetings, as well as managing the WebEx Enterprise Meetings Sites.

How Did We Get Here?

Cisco developed their Spark team platform in 2015. Their approach is to provide a platform that integrates a cloud-based voice and video suite that can serve as a customer’s primary communications solution. They have recently rebranded Spark and called it WebEx Teams. WebEx Teams brings together their Spark and WebEx technologies.

Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams in 2017. It serves as the next evolution to their Skype for Business collaboration solution (and Microsoft Lync before that) and is intended to be their default unified communications solution. Microsoft Teams heavily leverages Microsoft Office 365 and other Microsoft solutions and provides a much tighter integration than before.

Feature Similarities between WebEx Teams and Microsoft Teams

  • And it securely connects to your virtual teams through the Cisco® Webex service, via your Cisco Webex Teams™ or Meetings app-enabled devices, so you can take your meetings and content on the road. The Webex Board 85S., featuring an 85-inch LED screen, is designed for your largest collaboration spaces such as auditoriums, training spaces,.
  • In other integration news – now, directly within Microsoft Teams, the Webex Meetings bot will notify you via 1:1 chat when a meeting recording is available. This recording notification also works with Webex Meetings scheduled within the Cisco Webex Meetings tab in Microsoft Teams. A URL link is included along with password (if existing).

Before we start to dissect the differences between the two offerings, it’s worth noting that Microsoft and Cisco have many features in common. There may be some nuance between the features as they are presented by the two solutions, but they’ll be similar. Both are cloud-only applications without an on-premises option, and neither can be single tenant hosted solutions.

Some of the more meaningful similarities include:

FeatureMicrosoft TeamsWebEx TeamsPersistent Messaging in rooms or channels1:1 Text/Audio/Video and screen sharingAbility to Escalate chat to calls with or without videoDocument and Desktop SharingDocument Management, File Share, and UploadsControl within meetings to add/drop/chat/mute individual participantsAbility to add external people into rooms

Cisco Webex Dx80 Microsoft Teams

Access to Third-Party Applications within the platformDigital WhiteboardInability to Federate between Cisco and Microsoft appsAPIs to integrate third-party applications or tie features to external applicationsOne soft client for voice, video, meetings, and messagingSingle Sign-OnAbility to export messages for archivalMobile Client integration with Google and Apple O/S

Differences Between WebEx Teams and Microsoft Teams

Even though the Microsoft and Cisco solutions are similar, there are also several fundamental differences. At the center of their respective approaches is the fact that they each steer the user towards their rest of their proprietary solutions.

Telephony

Microsoft has had the Skype for Business voice and meeting platform. Microsoft Teams includes a next generation voice platform that is even more tightly integrated with Microsoft Office 365. Whereas Skype for Business had both cloud and premises-based solutions, Teams will only offer cloud-based telephony. Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint and a host of other Microsoft tools provide the applications within Teams. The Microsoft Calling Plan provides the PSTN services within Teams should you wish to source these services directly from Microsoft. Cisco WebEx Teams leverages Jabber and Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and Hosted Collaboration Suite platforms.

Security

Cisco provides end-to-end encryptions of all WebEx Teams data, and customers can control their own encryption keys. Cisco encryption addresses the transport of data, but not the storage of encrypted data on devices. Cisco also has federation between different organizations using WebEx Teams, while Microsoft doesn’t yet have intercompany federation. Microsoft relies on their Intune mobile device management and encryption at rest and in motion for device security.

Productivity

Microsoft has made the integration of Office 365 a primary mission within Microsoft Teams. The rich and tight integration has made collaboration, access, and storage within Teams a powerful tool when coupled with their messaging, voice, and meeting platforms.

Cisco WebEx Teams leverages their meeting apps and a variety of apps and tools from their third-party partners. It’s important to note that Cisco users will still need productivity tools (i.e. Microsoft Office 365, Google, etc.) coupled with WebEx Teams. This is one area where Microsoft Teams is the clear winner. Microsoft Teams allows you to edit office files directly within the application, while in Cisco WebEx Teams you can only view files.

Price

If you already have an Office 365 for Business plan, Microsoft Teams is free. The cheapest plan including Microsoft Teams is $5/user/month (Business Essentials), though of course there are some limitations for add-on licensing with Business Premium.

If you want to add PSTN voice services, then you’ll need an Office 365 Enterprise license (starting at $8/user/month). The PSTN voice services do add to the price and require other licenses.

Cisco offers several different licensing bundles but know that you will be paying for the full features of WebEx Teams with each. You get WebEx Teams with a WebEx Meetings subscription, which start at 13.50/user/month. Calling services add-ons will also add onto this price, similarly to the Microsoft model.

Cisco Dx80 Microsoft TeamsCisco dx80 setup guide

It’s also worth mentioning that both Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams offer free versions of these services with limited—but still pretty impressive—functionality included.

Teams Free Version Feature Comparison Chart

Microsoft Teams FreeOffice 365 Business PlansOffice 365 Enterprise PlansPriceFreeStarts at $5/user/month annual commitmentStarts at $8/user/month annual commitmentGuest Access✓✓✓User limit300300No User limit140+ integrated apps and services✓✓✓File Storage2GB/user and 10 GB of Shared Storage1TB/user1TB – Unlimited storange per user (varies by plan)1:1 and group online audio and video calls✓

Cisco Dx80 Microsoft Teams App

✓✓Channel Meetings✓✓✓Screen Sharing✓✓✓Scheduled Meetings✓

Cisco Dx80 Data Sheet

✓Meeting Recordings✓✓Audio Conferencing and CallingAvailable with Add-onsAvailable in more than 150 countries and 44 languages

Cisco Dx80 Setup Guide

✓✓v

WebEx Teams Free Version Feature Comparison Chart

WebEx Teams FreeWebEx Teams PaidUnlimited teams messagingScreen sharingFile Storage5GB limit5GB – Unlimited (Varies by plan)Unlimited online audio and video calls3-person limit100-person limit130+ integrated apps and services10-app limitunlimitedAudio Conferencing and CallingAvailable with Add-ons

Direction

Microsoft is making Microsoft Teams the focus of their unified communications offering. They’ve made it clear that Skype for Business will eventually be phased out and telephony will be though Teams. At present, you can maintain your Skype for Business environment, but once true feature parity is achieved between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, they’ll expect all clients to migrate to Microsoft Teams.

Cisco’s WebEx Teams is really designed as the next generation collaboration solution for those with an existing investment in Cisco voice and video endpoints. WebEx Teams is part of the Cisco portfolio. It’s a well-integrated solution with their existing WebEx Meetings offering and their on-premises voice technologies.

Other Differences

There are a range of other differences I’ll mention that aren’t significant when it comes to comparing the collaboration features.

Security – Cisco uses third-party telco and cloud services and doesn’t manage those locations directly. Microsoft has their own cloud and controls the physical security on their fibers.

Service Availability – Based on what I could find, Microsoft offers Teams voice calling in approximately 181 countries. Cisco WebEx Teams calling is in roughly 70 countries. Both are clearly multinational solutions. Audio conferencing with WebEx is in 45 countries, and Microsoft conferencing is in over 90 countries.

Federation – Another important note is that neither Cisco WebEx Teams nor Microsoft Teams will federate with one another. It is not currently possible for an organization to integrate a Microsoft Teams environment with a Cisco WebEx Teams environment. The two platforms will not work with one another. You can either run them in parallel (which isn’t practical) or choose one to standardize on.

So…What to Do?

Cisco Dx80 Microsoft Teams Software

Both Cisco and Microsoft have excellent team collaboration applications. What it boils down to is a fundamental question of your current IT investments. Those organizations that have committed to Cisco voice will most likely want to focus on WebEx Teams. If your organization has focused on Microsoft Tools and Office 365, then Microsoft Teams is a natural fit. The high level of integration, coupled with Teams being free in most cases, makes it beyond compelling.

If you don’t have a focus on either vendor and are looking to migrate from an old phone system, then you’ll want to conduct a needs analysis and compare the results to the features of each vendor’s offerings. Both vendors are represented by excellent partners. Find a Cisco and Microsoft partner that specializes in Voice and Collaboration in your geography and engage them to help with determining what’s best for you.

Tim Krueger, PEI

With current world events, large numbers of people around the world are now working from home full time. It has caused a lot of conversation around the best kit and devices for working from home.

One question I’ve been asked more than once is, what should we provide our execs with?

In the Cisco world, for the super high end, there have always been dedicated personal endpoints, screen, camera and speakers. Typically for the exec level employee. Initially the Tandberg EX90 (Cisco bought Tandberg), DX80 and most recently Webex Desk Pro. These were initially video conferencing endpoints but are now positioned as collaboration endpoints.

Cisco Dx80 Remote Control

Why would I want a dedicated collaboration endpoint?

Cisco webex dx80 microsoft teams

Cisco just put a blog out, Why You Want a Personal Video Device and they naturally position the benefits of a dedicated unit. Some of these are fair, some I would contest.

The blog states “While a PC based solution can get you through a couple of hours of meetings per day without fatigue, a dedicated video device has so many advantages when you spend all day in meetings:”

It’s certainly fair to say that higher-end devices lead to a much better video/collaboration experience, but you don’t need an expensive dedicated unit. They point out the benefits of

  • Good speakers/headset and microphone
  • High-quality cameras that deal with variable lighting conditions
  • Decent screen
  • not cluttering your desk

You can achieve all of this with a good windows PC or Mac and the right USB devices. I don’t think you’ll be more fatigued using a good PC setup than a dedicated unit.

Most, if not all, workers will need a decent PC or laptop, so you will need to add a good USB camera, and USB headset or personal speakerphone. You are going to get a pretty similar experience for much less money and less desk space. Three are also benefits to working on the same PC you are collaborating from, for example, remote control or co-editing.

However, if you have the budget, I can see the benefits in experience and IT support from a dedicated device

  • Easy end-user experience – the device is a single purpose, hit one button, join the meeting.
  • Limited ability for users to somehow break the experience (not knowing which app to run on their PC for example, not having their PC booted and ready for the call, having issues with their laptop dock USB connection)
  • Easy remote patching and support
  • No risk that other processes on the PC impact performance

In Microsoft world we don’t really have such a device. Potentially you could kind of hack together an all in one PC, good USB speakerphone and camera but it’s not hitting the actual benefits.

Could the new Collaboration bars be good personal collaboration devices?

Microsoft recently announced the first collaboration bar for Microsoft Teams was generally available, the Yealink VC210. The Poly Studio X30 and Poly Studio X50 won’t be far behind. These are designed to be for smaller meeting spaces like focus rooms, huddle spaces and conference rooms designed for one to five people. They are not designed to be dedicated personal devices, but could they potentially be?

Microsoft Teams certified Collab bars are dedicated android based units with a Microsoft Teams app. They are updated directly from the Microsoft Teams service. You plug them in and away you go and they optionally support a touch screen.

The Yealink has a 4k auto framing camera, USB speakerphone and remote control (for non-touch screens), the Poly Studio X30 similarly has a 4k camera and auto framing. Its mic and speakers are built into the bar. Control for non-touch screens s via a touch panel or controls on an optional speakerphone.

Even though they have 4k cameras, they run at 720p. Currently, they are really a meeting join experience, either by clicking join or joining video the Teams mobile app.

Right now there is a limited time very discounted price of $899 for the VC210, through the Microsoft Teams device store (requires discount code “Yealink4Teams” at checkout). Normally it’s $1,299.

I’m fortunate that Yealink has sent me a test VC210 and touch screen that I’m trying out at home right now. I’ll have a bigger blog on my experience with it soon.

I would say a PC/Mac with quality USB devices would be best for most people, but, if you look at the form factor, I think you could see these in the corner of an exec office or home office. We’ll see how the devices develop and how customers deploy them.