Cisco to Extend Webex Interoperability with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet

Bidirectional compatibility will be enabled with RoomOS 11 announced at the WebexOne event.

Jeffrey Schwartz

October 26, 2021

3 Min Read
Cisco Jeetu Patel at WebexOne 2021

Cisco conferencing hardware, now tied with its Webex services, will soon work bidirectionally with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Once resistant to such a move, Cisco revealed Tuesday during its WebexOne virtual event that it will enable the interoperability.

The news is a major win for Cisco conferencing hardware partners and customers. The compatibility promises to make it easier to configure conferencing solutions using Cisco Webex hardware and competing video meeting services.

Cisco is tacitly acknowledging that it can grow its Webex business with a more heterogenous approach connectivity to rival services. Jeetu Patel (pictured), EVP and GM of Cisco’s security and collaboration business units, revealed the plan during his WebexOne keynote.

Patel said the conferencing interoperability effort is part of Cisco’s strategy to provide “unified experiences” among its devices, sensors, security products and management dashboards.

“We’re very committed to having an open ecosystem where we can also deliver native integrations with other video conferencing and meetings products,” Patel said.

While Webex devices support standards-based interoperability with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and others, he said this will enhance those experiences.

Also, Patel revealed that Cisco is working with Zoom to improve interoperability between Webex devices and the Zoom meetings service.

“Now, we’re equally committed to seamlessly integrating our software as well,” he said.

Patel added that all of the capabilities of Webex are available for open API’s and SDKs.

“Not only can third parties integrate into the Webex experience, but Webex can now be embedded seamlessly into these third-party experiences,” he said. “In fact, we’ve prebuilt integrations with numerous different SaaS applications, and many, many more to come.”

Webex RoomOS 11

The interoperability will come to Cisco Webex when the company releases the next version of its Room Operating System software. RoomOS, which includes Control Hub, is cloud-based software that provides management and connectivity to Cisco’s Webex Rooms devices. Look for the interoperability improvements in RoomOS 11, Patel said.

Cisco has long refrained from allowing its room systems to work seamlessly with rival services. But the company has changed its stance. Also, other hardware providers are increasingly making it easier to configure their wares for multiple video meeting services. HP is among the latest, which last week introduced its Presence systems, with native support for Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

“What we are seeing is that this market is evolving, very similar to the way that you’ve seen Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu evolve, where people might have subscriptions to all three of the services,” Patel said in a briefing with media and analysts.

“And what we tell our customers, is that just because you standardize on Webex doesn’t mean that every so often, you might actually have to jump on a Microsoft Teams call, or you might have to jump on a Zoom call, or Google Meet call,” he added. “We will provide interop onto all of those three platforms with our different devices. And that is something we are super excited about.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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