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Microsoft Teams Cisco Integration: The Complete Guide (2021)

This is a complete guide to learn about Microsoft teams Cisco integration.

If you are looking to learn Cisco integration with Microsoft teams, you’ll love this new guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Microsoft and Cisco are working together to simplify the interoperability between Microsoft Teams Rooms and Phone System with Cisco Webex Room devices and IP voice gateways respectively. This partnership aligns with both Microsoft and Cisco’s dedication to openness, interoperability and customer choice. It includes three new initiatives to help our customers to get more out of their current investments:

Skype for Business Server architecture

The different fundamental architectural models through which Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business on premises can be consumed. Start with whichever configuration best suits your organization s needs and future plans. Consider and use others as needed. For example, you might want to consider integration with Exchange and SharePoint or a solution that takes advantage of Microsoft’s Cloud PBX offering.

Three Architectural Models

Skype for Business Online – You consume Skype for Business through a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription model. Microsoft hosts your user accounts and manages your Skype for Business infrastructure. You can take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud-hosted Private Branch Exchange (PBX) offerings and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Calling service.

Skype for Business hybrid solutions – You combine a Skype for Business Online subscription with your on-premises Skype for Business offering. You can incorporate Skype for Business Online services into your overall Skype for Business offering, start building SaaS management skills in your organization, and move your Skype for Business users to the cloud at your own pace. You
can take advantage of Cloud PBX for your users who are homed online while retaining your on-premises PSTN connectivity.

Skype for Business on premises – You plan, deploy, maintain and customize your Skype for Business environment in a datacenter that you maintain.

IT responsibilities

Skype for Business provides a rich set of capabilities no matter how you architect your deployment. The architecture you choose will determine which IT responsibilities you own, and which you pay Microsoft to support through your subscription.

No matter which architecture is best for your organization, there are five core responsibilities that you will always own:

  • Networking and connectivity – Ensure network capacity and availability through firewalls, proxy servers, gateways, and across WAN links by performing a network assessment or by contracting with a partner to do the assessment.
  • Data governance & rights management – Classify your sensitive data and ensure it is protected and monitored wherever it is stored and while it is in transit.
  • Client Endpoints – Establish, measure, and enforce modern security standards on devices that are used to access your data and assets.
  • Account & access management – Establish a profile for normal account activity and alert on unusual activity.
  • Identity – Use credentials secured by hardware or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all identities.
microsoft teams cisco integration

Microsoft Teams architecture

File Storage

A major takeaway here is that, though it’s turned off by default, Microsoft Teams admins can store any files shared in Teams in third-party storage options like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Another important thing Microsoft highlighted was that recordings are only stored in Azure blob for less than 24 hours, never permanently. No customer content is ever sent over to Microsoft. All user data is anonymized, and even channel names are scrubbed out.  

This graphic shows you what gets stored where in Microsoft Teams:

Data Flows & Compliance

Microsoft Teams talks to many external systems. When managing Teams, it is important to understand where inbound and outbound data can flow so you can take the necessary measures to manage it. This chart illustrates further:

Microsoft Teams Client

The Teams client architecture works seamlessly across both Windows software and Macs. Updates are shipped to both at the same time, a nice detail that ensures users can always utilize the latest technology and optimizations available.

  • Teams uses REST based protocol
  • Designed, developed and deployed for the Azure cloud
  • Micro services to scale elastically
  • Frequently iterated and services updated at global scale
  • Same client infrastructure across desktop, mobile and web
  • Managed ecosystem for collaboration and communication
  • Native Devices (Teams Rooms, IP Phones) run Teams clients to support capabilities

New collaboration hub

Microsoft Teams creates a hub for teamwork where people connect, communicate, and collaborate from within a single interface.

Client choice vs Workload choice

Using Microsoft Teams as client doesn’t prevent the possibility to use Cisco for multiple workloads:

  • Meeting (Webex Meetings)
  • Calling (on-prem/cloud)
  • Video endpoint (Webex Devices)

Skype for Business: Intra-company scenario

CMS is the conference platform for video devices Skype for Business is the conference platform for clients. Video Interop is provided by Cisco Meeting Server.

Skype for Business Interoperability

Gateway: Allows Point to Point calling between Room Endpoints and Skype for Business users.

Spaces: Room Endpoints and Skype for Business users all connect on Cisco Meeting Server Virtual Meeting Rooms.

Dual Homed Conferencing: Room Endpoints Meet on Cisco Meeting Server with a connection to Skype for Business meetings as full-featured participants.

Users schedule meetings using the SfB Outlook plug-in. Skype for Business clients have a click-to-join link.

Meetings can be joined via:

OBTP from Cisco video devices
IVR + Conference ID from any Audio or Video device
Dialing confID@videodomain

Business to Business Federation

B2B Federation when On-Premise SfB is available:

  • Local SfB Edge is used as B2B Federation Gateway with Microsoft based Peers
  • Expr-C/Exp-E pair is used as B2B Federation Gateway with Standard based SIP/H323 Peers
  • CMS is needed for A/V Transcoding, also for P2P calls

B2B Federation when On-Premise SfB is not available:

  • Expressway provides B2B Federation with Microsoft, when an On-Premise SfB is not available
  • CMS is needed for A/V Transcoding, also for P2P calls

Federation with Skype for Business online (Intracompany scenario):

It’s an intracompany scenario because the Microsoft 365 tenant is owned by the customer but the interoperability solution relies on the B2B architecture because the Microsoft backend is reachable only from internet.

Microsoft Teams interoperability using CVI gateway

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.

When a meeting is hosted on a Microsoft Teams tenant enabled with CVI, any video device from any company can join it.

CVI is based on a Gateway approach

  • All calls are independently “gatewayed” to the Microsoft Teams.
  • Meetings happen in the Microsoft cloud. All media streams are hair-pinned and mixed by them.
  • The maximum number of visible panes is dictated by the SDK (today it is up to 10).
  • No CMS Dual Homed Conferencing
  • No Point to Point calls

Cloud Video interop Architecture

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.

Plan

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.

Configure

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.

Provision

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.

Schedule

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.

Join

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 tenantkey@domain.
    • 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 ConferenceId@domain.
  • 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).

Example Teams invite

Teams Users create meetings in their calendars using the native Microsoft plugin. Invites include clickable link and PSTN dial-in information. If customer is CVI enabled, additional details for SIP callers are added.

Also Read: Cloud Video Interorp via Pexip Service (Saas)

Microsoft Teams –Interoperability using WebRtc

WebRTC based integration enables video devices to join Microsoft Teams meetings without the need of a CVI solution. Primary use case of WebRTC integration is to join meetings organized by other non CVI enabled companies. Meetings happen in the Microsoft cloud and all media streams are hair-pinned and mixed by the Microsoft. No VMR, No Point to Point calls. WebRTC will be supported on web-engine enabled Cisco Webex video devices only.

WebRTC Cisco implementation

  • Cloud solution requiring no on-premises infrastructure –uses embedded browser in endpoint to directly join a Microsoft Teams meeting as a guest.
  • Deployment: Cisco Video devices must be cloud-registered or registered on-premises using Webex Edge for Devices(cloud aware)
  • Schedule & Join: Calendar integration provides OBTP on Cisco video devices only (no IVR option nor direct dial-in).

WebRTC signaling and media

WebRTC traffic for both cloud registered and cloud aware video devices will directly flow from the customer’s premises to the Microsoft Teams tenant.

WebRTC Layouts and UX summary

All users get their native Teams experience from Microsoft, depending on the device/technology/use case:

  • Current implementation of MS Teams web app (chromium) provides one layout only
  • Only the Active Speaker is shown on video. Other participants are displayed as avatars at the bottom of the screen
  • Content sharing replaces Active Speaker’s video
  • MS Teams clients users get Continuous Presence 2×2

WebRTC features

  • OBTP Join only
  • Single screen with Microsoft Teams layout
  • Recording Indicator
  • One-way content sharing from MS Teams clients

Supported video devices:

  • Cisco Webex web-engine enabled devices (Room Kits, Room Series, Boards, Desk Pro)
  • Cisco Webex Cloud registered
  • Cisco Webex Edge enabled devices

Webex meetings

The Webex Meetings advantage With Webex video devices:

  • Panoramic Video
  • Wireless content sharing via Proximity
  • Companion Mode between one Room Series device and one Webex Board
  • Continuous teamwork with Webex Teams Integration
  • Straight forward billing via Flex Plan
  • Multistream
  • People Insights
  • Face recognition / name labels
  • Bi-directional whiteboarding
  • OBTP enhanced by Webex Assistant
  • Localized media via Video Mesh

Cisco WebexMeetings for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams users can:

  • Send a message in the channel to share their Personal Room link or a specific meeting link
  • Schedule Personal Room or regular meetings
  • Start or join Personal Room or scheduled meetings from Microsoft Teams
  • View upcoming list of meetings and edit/update from there
  • View meeting recordings list and play recordings from there
  • Get real-time meeting notifications with meeting info and ’Join’ button
  • Get recording notifications with ‘Play’ button

Cisco Webex Meetings Chat Messaging Extension

Microsoft Teams users can use the Webex Meetings messaging extension in a Channel, Group Chat or Private Chat to share a Join button to a meeting in the Personal Room or for a Webex scheduled meeting.

Cisco Webex Meetings Channel Tab for Microsoft Teams

Webex Tab in a channel where Microsoft Teams users can access to multiple enhanced capabilities.

Channel members will see:

Cisco Webex Meetings Personal Tab for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams users now have access to a Webex Meetings personal Tab from the left rail.

Cisco Webex Meetings Notifications for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams default configuration

Native Meeting capabilities enabled:

Native Meeting capabilities disabled:

Webex Meetings integration – Microsoft Teams Rooms

Teams Rooms will join Webex Meeting via Webrtc using the embedded browser capabilities Usual room scheduling mechanism and joining process will be used (invite forwarding) Final details regarding supported feature set still to be shared by Microsoft.

Impact of Microsoft Teams migration on interoperability

Before migrating to Microsoft Teams you should consider that the following interoperability use cases (available with Skype for Business) are not possible anymore:

  • Dual Homed Conferencing: Video mixing happens on both Cisco CMS and Microsoft AVMCU for their respective participants. Media is kept On-premises for video devices
  • Virtual Meeting Room based on CMS or Webex Meetings. (Dial-in from Microsoft clients towards Cisco hosted conference)
  • White gloves service with CMS
  • Point to Point calls
  • If the items above are important to you, the Cisco Webex calling & meeting integrations should be considered as a better option.

Microsoft Teams deployment & integration strategy

Deploy Microsoft Teams either in Islands mode or SFBwithTeamCollab mode. In both cases keep the meeting capability on the SfB side using one of the current interoperability solutions still working fine. As soon as the Cisco CVI cloud Gateway solution will be available start testing it to evaluate the new User Experience and the network impact. Once everything is tested and implemented in production move the meeting capability on the Microsoft Teams side and plan the SfB client removal. At this point users can be switched to TeamsOnly mode.

Webex Edge for on-premises Webex Devices High Level Overview

Deliver insights and diagnostics for on-premises Webex Devices by linking them to the Webex cloud platform.

  • Business-critical calling and media stays on-premises
  • Hybrid deployment and customer migration at their pace
  • “One-click migration” – one button to Cloud Link
  • This feature will enable more cloud services with time in phases.

Summary

  • Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams migration implies a paradigm change, both technical and commercial. Now Cisco and Microsoft provide joint support of their interoperable solutions.
  • Skype for Business interop and Microsoft Teams interop can work simultaneously during the migration process.
  • CVI gateway and WebRTC interop can make your Microsoft Teams Meetings available to any video device.
  • The Webex Meetings integration for Microsoft Teams provides a better alternative for your meetings without the constrains of interoperability.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

That’s how Microsoft teams Cisco integration works.

Which finding from today’s report did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below.

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