Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex: Building Bridges
Webex Calling is available through the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan. You must purchase an Enterprise Agreement (EA) plan (for all users, including 50% Workspaces devices) or a Named User (NU) plan (some or all users). Only the person hosting the license will need a license. Participants will not need any license. So if you are going to schedule a meetings for one year you will just need one permanent host license (regardless of the number of participants). See below detailed explanation.
To serve business needs, enterprises often end up installing custom software or using multiple tools to fulfil requirements.
Many tools offer freedom to avail distinct features, but accessing those features from different resources can be a daunting task.
Licenses An allowance for features and services that are provided to users on a Webex services subscription. Cisco and its partners manage the amount of licenses provided to administrators and users. This license resource can be accessed only by an admin. Or, “API Basics for Powershelling Windows Admins” My team has begun rolling out Cisco’s Webex Teams collaboration platform to our internal users. As is often the case, the IT department is the first customer, kicking the tires and exploring different use cases.
That’s where interoperability makes sense.
When two or more applications interoperate, they offer users to have access to all features.
The co-existence of two tools not only provides an extensive list of functionalities but also makes the workplace productivity, and the business process twice as efficient.
Messaging interoperability: Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex
The number of messaging users is rapidly growing.
From around 1.6 billion users in 2014 to 3.8 billion users in 2018, the growth of messaging provides an insight into the need and challenges on interoperability between messaging and collaboration tools.
To meet the distinct demands of the company, more and more enterprises are seeking means to bridge the features of multiple tools in one system.
While many applications can be bridged together, this article mainly addresses the interoperability of Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.
Here, we will highlight the best medium of connecting these two tools, and making the most of it.
Why Microsoft and Cisco is a great combination
Here’s why Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex make for a perfect interoperability combination:
- With Microsoft Teams, the users can avail Microsoft Licenses, Skype for Business features, and integrate natively with Office 365 features
- Given Cisco’s legacy, users get access to hardware like Cisco Webex boards, VoIP handsets, and telepresence solutions
- Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex interoperability is the optimum solution for company acquisitions and mergers where one company’s resources are on Microsoft Teams, and the other one uses Cisco Webex.
- Where Cisco Webex offers core hardware, Microsoft allows integration with leading third-party tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, Trello, Slack, Outlook, Survey Monkey, Wrike, Jira, Folly, and many more
Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex interoperability options
1 – Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams Office 365 integration
Recently, Cisco announced the compatibility of Webex with Office 365. With such an alliance, the users can easily access OneDrive, SharePoint, and even G-Suite applications within the Webex app.
1. You no longer require signing off from Webex to access Office 365 productivity tools like MS words, MS Excel, and Powerpoint
2. Since Office 365 assures robust security to your company’s data, Webex integration will allow you to benefit data governance have to keep your files encrypted
3. Content Created in MS tools can be easily transferred to Webex storage space
1. This combination works fine with different Microsoft Office tools, but the integration of Microsoft Teams is not possible
2. Webex users cannot make changes to Microsoft files
The MS Office 365 and Webex team’s integration is perfect for users who need to access Office 365 tools within Webex, but it’s not a great pick for those looking for MS team’s collaboration too.
2 – Bot integration
IFTTT (If This Then That) allows the collaboration of applications and devices.
Through IFTTT, a rule or function is established for one device or app based on the action or behavior on another device or app.
One example is syncing an Instagram account with Twitter so the photos display on Twitter rather than a link.
In the business world, a similar process is followed when setting IFTTT for both Cisco and Microsoft. So, when a Webex contact sends a text, the bot in Microsoft Teams also gets a notification.
1. Users have the freedom to add customized actions
2. Bot integration has several pre-built activities to choose from across an extensive range of devices and applications
3. The familiar feel and design of IFTTT applications in the business world, that you may be used to from a consumer world
1. Administrative time for adding custom options is lengthy
2. With new users, the administrator is asked to add further actions or recipes
3. Limited features across platforms
Bot integration can facilitate collaboration across Webex and Teams, but the cross-platform experience is not as seamless since notifications are not received in a native app, instead of in the bot itself.
3 –Cisco Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams
Microsoft users who wish to host live meetings can integrate with Cisco Webex.
You don’t have to switch to a different tool since the interoperability allows Microsoft users to host Cisco Meetings directly.
1. Users can host and schedule Cisco meetings without signing out of Microsoft Teams
2. The meeting app is available for Workplace from Facebook and Slack too
1. During the Webex meeting, from Microsoft Teams, you cannot exchange chats, messages, or files
2. Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams does not support accounts on meetingsIn.webex.com and webex.meetings.com
Webex Teams Licensing
Cisco Webex Host Meetings for Microsoft is an excellent integration, but you’ll have to compromise with limited meeting functionality.
Bridging the gap
Interoperability between Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex is simple.
You don’t need a technical developer, and no longer do you need to shoehorn one app into another. There’s only one tool you need: Mio.
Mio is the only platform to fully sync Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams.
Mio operates through APIs and runs in the background to offer seamless messaging interoperability across channels and messages.
To start connecting your Microsoft and Cisco software, you don’t even need to download a new app, as it’s an entirely native experience.
How to Make Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams Interoperable
You don’t need administrative support or a ton of training to get started. The way Mio allows collaboration across platform is simple.
Here’s how a non-techie can do it:
Step 1: Getting Started
Request a demo here (will open in a new tab).
Sign up by entering your email address and name. A Mio account rep will send you a verification link for account authentication for web-based interoperability experience.
Once your account is registered with Mio, you will need to add basic details that’ll help the system learn which programs or applications you want to sync. Once you have shared account details, Mio will scale to fit your business requirements.
Step 2: Channel mapping and User mapping
The next step involves administering your team and adding the channels of your choice. For example, you can sync the ‘Project Management’ channel in Cisco Webex with the ‘PM’ channel of Microsoft Teams.
If you have dozens of linked channels, you can use the search feature to make the process super efficient.
Step 3: Message Routing
Once you’ve linked your channels, Mio can provide interoperability between these specific teams. There’s also an option to sync all channels in one go. You can also enable future sync so any new channels are automatically synced.
Step 4: People Sync
Mio isn’t restricted to just syncing channels. People Sync allows you to send direct messages between Webex and Microsoft Teams.
Once People Sync is active, Auto Prompt sends automatic prompts to users whenever they receive a message from anyone using Mio so they can start receiving messages from other platforms.
Bridging the gap between Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex in your company
With Mio as a bridging tool, you can easily make your favorite messaging tools interoperable. You no longer need a complicated development or migration strategy if your team’s different applications.
This is a guest post provided by Md Mohsin Ansari, Marketing Manager at Troop Messenger. Troop Messenger is a business messenger that is spreading its wings across all industries by bringing all internal communication to one place. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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Cloud Video Interop (CVI) is a Microsoft Qualified third-party solution that enables third-party meeting rooms (telepresence) and personal video devices (VTCs) to join Microsoft Teams meetings.
With Microsoft Teams, you get rich online content collaboration in meetings that include audio, video, and content sharing. This can be enjoyed through the desktop and web client, as well as through many partner devices that integrate natively with Microsoft Teams. However, many customers have already invested in video teleconferencing and personal video communication devices, which can be expensive to upgrade. Cloud Video Interop provides an easy solution, allowing you to keep using your existing solutions until you are ready to upgrade.
With Cloud Video Interop, Microsoft Teams delivers a native meeting experience for all participants – in meeting rooms or inside of Teams clients.
Is Cloud Video Interop for me?
Cloud Video Interop provides an intermediate service while you transition to a full native Microsoft Teams Solution, using Teams endpoints. The service provided should be part of your migration path.
Cloud Video Interop is intended for customers who meet the following criteria:
- Have a large deployment of meeting room devices and personal video devices deployment (50+ devices) that are not qualified for direct integration with Microsoft Teams
- Are supported by one of our Cloud Video Interop partners
- Want to retain the value of their investment in their current meeting room devices and personal video devices during the migration to a native Microsoft Teams solution
While Cloud Video Interop provides a great intermediate solution, we encourage our customers to look into our native Teams Meeting solutions, such as Teams Room Systems, for the long term.
Office 365 US Government and third-party services
Office 365 provides the ability to integrate third-party applications into SharePoint Online sites, Skype for Business, Teams, Office applications included in Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook), and Outlook Web App. In addition, Office 365 supports integration with third-party service providers. These third-party applications and services might involve storing, transmitting, and processing your organization's customer data onthird-party systems that are outside of the Office 365 infrastructure and therefore are not covered by the Office 365 compliance and data protection commitments. It is recommended that you review the privacy and compliance statements provided by the third parties when assessing the appropriate use of these services for your organization.
Partners Certified for Microsoft Teams
The following partners have video interop solutions for Microsoft Teams. Your company may choose to work with any combination of these partners within your enterprise.
|Poly RealConnect Service|
|Pexip Infinity for Microsoft Teams|
|BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams|
|Cisco Webex Video Integration for Microsoft Teams|
Cloud Video Interop overview
Cloud Video Interop is a third-party service that is offered by our partners to provide interoperability between existing video conferencing and personal video device solutions on premises, and Microsoft Teams.
The solutions offered by our partners consist of components that can be deployed either fully cloud based or partially/fully on premises.
The following diagram shows the high-level architecture of our partner solutions.
Deploy Cloud Video Interop
When deploying a Cloud Video Interop solution, it's important to understand that you are deploying a partner solution. The general steps you should take to deploy Cloud Video Interop are listed in the following diagram.
During the plan phase, you should identify the devices that you will not replace with a native Teams device, and find a Cloud Video Interop partner that can support these devices.
It's also important to understand that you will need a license for each user who will schedule meetings in which you want a Cloud Video Interop-enabled device to join. Note that exact licensing requirements can be obtained from the Cloud Video Interop partner. Ensure that this is clear before you start your deployment.
The partner that you have chosen for your CVI deployment will provide you with a full deployment document that consists of all the steps needed to deploy successfully within your organization. This will include firewall ports and IP ranges, configuration changes for your devices, and other settings that need to change.
During the provision phase, you will assign licenses to the appropriate users according to the partner configuration guide. You will also need to go through the Azure Consent process to provide the partner access to your Teams environment. See Permissions and consent in the Microsoft identity platform endpoint for more information about the Azure consent process.
After a user is enabled for Cloud Video Interop, any meeting scheduled using either the Teams Meeting Add-in for Outlook or the Teams Client will have the appropriate additional information automatically added into the Teams meeting so that Cloud Video Interop-compatible devices can join these meetings.
Depending on the partner solution, there are several ways to join a Cloud Video Interop-enabled meeting. Exact meeting join scenarios will be provided by your Cloud Video Interop partner. We've listed some examples below:
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
- You can dial in to the partner's IVR using the [email protected]
- When you are in the partner IVR, you will be prompted to enter the VTC conferenceId, which will then connect you to the Teams meeting.
- Direct dial
- You can directly dial in to the Teams meeting without interacting with the partner's IVR by using the direct dial feature, using the full string of tenantkey.VTC [email protected]
- One-touch dial
- If you have an integrated Teams room, you can use the one-touch dial capabilities offered by your partner (without needing to type any dial string).
Manage Cloud Video Interop
After Cloud Video Interop is deployed, you can manage the devices using the solutions provided by our partners. Each partner will provide you with an administrative interface that will include both license and device management.
Reporting is also available directly from the partner administrative interface. For more information on reporting capabilities, contact the partner of your choice.
Troubleshooting Cloud Video Interop
Cloud Video Interop is a partner-provided service. If you are experiencing issues, the first step is to connect a device that has the Teams Client installed and connect it to the same segment as the Cloud Video Interop device that is causing problems.
If Teams functions correctly on this segment, and you have also followed all the networking and configuration guidelines the partner has provided, you will need to contact the partner for further troubleshooting.
Webex Teams App Download
PowerShell for Cloud Video Interop
Webex License Cost
The following PowerShell cmdlets are available for you to (partially) automate the Cloud Video Interop deployment.
- Get-CsTeamsVideoInteropServicepolicy: Microsoft provides pre-constructed policies for each of our supported partners that allow you to designate which partner(s) to use for Cloud Video Interop.
This cmdlet allows you to identify the pre-constructed policies that you can use in your organization. You can assign this policy to one or more of your users by leveraging the Grant-CsTeamsVideoInteropServicePolicy cmdlet.
- Grant-CsTeamsVideoInteropServicePolicy: This cmdlet allows you to assign a pre-constructed policy for use in your organization or assign the policy to specific users.
- New-CsVideoInteropServiceProvider: Use this cmdlet to specify information about a supported CVI partner that your organization would like to use.
- Set-CsVideoInteropServiceProvider: Use this cmdlet to update information about a supported CVI partner that your organization uses.
- Get-CsVideoInteropServiceProvider: Use this cmdlet to get all of the providers that have been configured for use within the organization.
- Remove-CsVideoInteropServiceProvider: Use this cmdlet to remove all provider information about a provider that your organization no longer uses.