January 14, 2021
How Cisco Webex Interop Connects with Microsoft Teams
Cisco now plays nice with Microsoft, enhancing the ability to join Microsoft Teams meetings from Cisco Webex video devices.
There are two technologies at play here: Cloud Video Interop (CVI) and Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC).
How Cloud Video Interop Works
Cisco Webex Cloud Video Interop for Microsoft Teams was born out of a Microsoft effort to provide interoperability between standards-based SIP video and Microsoft Teams meetings. Cisco Webex CVI is certified by Microsoft for interoperation with Teams. When a user in your organization is enabled for CVI and schedules a meeting, an extra line of information is added to the invitation — a “VTC,” or standards-based SIP URI address — which can be dialed from a Cisco video endpoint.
Bonus: any standards-based video endpoint can use the address to join the meeting, so this is not limited to Cisco devices. Also, usage is not limited to your organization — anyone in the world with your invitation containing a VTC address can join your Microsoft Teams meeting using standards-based video.
How WebRTC Fits In
All Cisco Webex Room, Board and Desk series devices that register to the Webex Cloud can take advantage of WebRTC to access Microsoft Teams meetings from anywhere in the world, inside or outside of your organization. The WebRTC meeting experience is a bit limited — there is no address to join from, so you must join via One Button to Push with a Hybrid Calendar integration between your Webex device and the Office 365 cloud (read on for more details).
You don’t get a choice of video layouts, and you cannot share content from your Webex device to the Microsoft Teams meeting, though you can at least receive Microsoft Teams presentations from the native Teams app participants in the meeting.
Using Hybrid Calendar and One Button to Push
Tying both CVI and WebRTC into the device workflow is a simple way to delight users. This is achieved by using the Webex Hybrid Calendar service. You can tie your user and reservable room resource Office 365 calendars to their respective Webex devices in the cloud via email addresses. The Hybrid Calendar service has the intelligence to parse meeting invitations for meeting join links and addresses.
Using that information, The One Button to Push service displays a friendly green Join button when a meeting is about to start — not only for regular Webex meetings, but also for CVI and WebRTC-based Microsoft Teams meetings as well. The result is a seamless user experience, no matter what the meeting platform is or the type of meeting access. Webex makes it transparent to the user, giving them one button to push to get connected to all types of meetings.
CVI Versus WebRTC: Use Cases
If your organization has embraced Cisco video devices deeply and is now adopting Microsoft Teams for meetings, CVI is the most flexible and powerful way to make the two work together as deeply as possible, including two-way presentation sharing, flexible video layout selections and video addresses to dial from inside and outside of your organization. This is the “first class” way to integrate your own organization’s meetings between Cisco devices and Microsoft Teams as the meeting platform.
Nearly all organizations can take advantage of WebRTC for external meetings with the rest of the world who may not have CVI deployed in their organizations. Though the user experience is somewhat limited, the functionality is perfect for those that just want to join a meeting with two-way audio and video and view the presentations of the external party during a meeting. It’s a great way to keep the video meeting workflow on one device for both Webex and Microsoft Teams meetings that your users get invited to throughout their busy schedules.
The Cost of Interoperability
WebRTC is an included feature for any Webex Room, Board or Desk series device that is licensed and registered to the Webex Cloud. Webex Hybrid Calendar is also included to use with your Webex Cloud registered devices. Cisco Webex CVI is licensed on a per device usage basis; fundamentally, any video endpoint internally or externally that accesses at least two Microsoft Teams meetings in any 30-day rolling period is counted as a CVI license consumption. You can oversubscribe your purchased licensing with the expectation that Cisco will true-up your licensing based on usage at a later date.
Enhanced Collaboration with Cisco Webex Cloud Video Interop
Both CVI and WebRTC function as expected, delight users and provide extra value in organizations with Cisco Webex video devices that participate in meetings scheduled in Microsoft Teams. CDW has deep expertise in both Cisco and Microsoft Adoption services and can assist your organization with a plan to roll out these interoperability features to your users, increasing your return on investment.