At Peak Insight, we often work with organisations that maintain a combination of Cisco and Microsoft collaboration technologies and are exploring integration options to leverage the strength of both worlds.
Whether looking to maximise the return on existing investments, improve the capabilities of a COVID-driven tactical deployment, or to align with a Collaboration Strategy, we encourage stepping back and taking a workforce experience first approach irrespective of the particular tool or vendor.
As such in this blog post will be exploring and comparing a few different options available to seamlessly join Microsoft Teams meetings using the Cloud Video Interop (CVI) service and why the Cisco Webex CVI service is the best option for Cisco video endpoints.
What is Cloud Video Interop (CVI)
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.
The service is offered by Microsoft CVI partners to provide interoperability between existing standards-based video conferencing and personal video device solutions on-premise or in the cloud, and Microsoft Teams. CVI services often have both cloud and hybrid deployment options.
There are currently four CVI certified providers: BlueJeans, Cisco, Pexip, and Poly. For this post, we will be comparing Cisco Webex CVI with the Pexip CVI (SaaS) solution.
Pexip is a cloud-based, enterprise application that enables video conferencing and collaboration across multi-vendor devices and platforms. It connects enterprise communications and collaboration solutions via Virtual Meeting Rooms or operates as a gateway between platforms.
Pexip also offers a Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) service that allows standards-based SIP and H.323 video conferencing systems to join Microsoft Teams meetings as though they were native Microsoft Teams clients.
The Pexip CVI solution is available in two architectures, On-premise/Hybrid and SaaS.
Cisco Webex Overview
Cisco Webex is the world’s most popular Enterprise video conferencing service, offering highly secure integrated audio, video, and content sharing.
Cisco Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) is a Microsoft certified service that enables on-premise registered, cloud registered/aware video endpoints or Webex Rooms, and third-party SIP endpoints to seamlessly join Microsoft Teams meetings. It does not require any on-premises components, nor software upgrades on video devices.
Cisco CVI video infrastructure and the Microsoft integration components are provided by Cisco as-a-service to customers.
Cisco Webex CVI vs Pexip CVI (SaaS)
Key comparison areas include the following criteria:
- Video Experience
- Calling Experience
- Collaboration Experience
- Meeting Join Experience
|Cisco Webex CVI|
Pexip CVI (Saas)
Number of Video Streams
Multi-stream Flexible Layouts
|Yes Dual Screen (Active Speaker + Content)|
Video Layouts Option
|Active Speaker, Active Speaker + last 5 speakers, Overlay, Equal, 3×3 Grid View|
Ability to adjust layout directly from Touch 10 (as per current meeting room experience)
Cisco Video Endpoints PSTN Dialling
|Yes, Webex Calling and On-premise Calling|
Mute Microphone on Cisco Endpoints
|Yes, Webex registered and Cloud aware|
|Yes, HDMI/PC available, Wireless on the roadmap|
|Yes, Unidirectional from Webex Board and Desk Pro|
OBTP for Cisco
|Yes, Webex Registered, Cloud aware and on-premise||One-Touch Join (Licensed feature). Webex registered endpoints not supported. Needs admin access to the endpoint.|
|Yes, Full List|
Touchless Meeting Join
|Yes, Webex Assistant|
Overall Meeting Experience
Misc. Feature Readiness*
|Mute/Unmute Remote Participants, Drop Remote Participants, Start/Stop Recording etc.|
Cisco Video Endpoints
|Cisco On-premise and Webex Cloud-Native Support||Third-Party Integration|
|Australia, Singapore, East US, West US, & EMEA||Australia, Singapore, East US, & EMEA|
|List Price Approx. USD49/per active endpoint||List Price Approx. USD208/per port + USD890/Domain|
*The features are Cisco ready and waiting on Microsoft to publish relevant APIs for implementation.
**These are approximate list price comparisons and do not include vendor discounts.
Why is Cisco Webex Cloud Video Interop (CVI) a Better Option?
We’ve highlighted the primary features and benefits that are often drivers when selecting a CVI vendor. These features not only improve the Microsoft Teams meeting experience, but also improve the meeting room experience by providing superior integration with Cisco video endpoints.
Cisco video endpoints natively register with Cisco Webex, unlike other vendors, automating firmware upgrades and simplifying ongoing management. New endpoint or Webex platform features are first enabled for Cisco endpoints, and may not be available for third-party vendors.
From a technology perspective, at times it can be good practice to have a multi-vendor cross-architecture environment in a campus, however, there must be balance especially when multiple vendors are within a single architecture. Challenges can include not being able to leverage the full native functionality offered due to third-party limitations and/or the delay in feature availability – impacting the user experience and return on investment.
From a support perspective, multi-vendor complexity often leads to further operational challenges such as managing the endpoints, updating the firmware, troubleshooting integration and/or performance-related issues during meetings. For example, if an organisation were to proceed with Cisco as the CVI provider the end to end vendor involvement in a Microsoft Teams meeting may be Cisco, Microsoft, LAN/WAN vendor, and the Internet Service Provider. Alternatively, if an organisation were to proceed with Pexip as the CVI provider the end to end vendor involvement may be Cisco, Pexip, Microsoft, LAN/WAN vendor and the Internet Service Provider – an additional vendor to engage and potentially delay incident resolution.
From a commercial perspective, as highlighted above, Cisco Webex CVI is more cost-effective, especially if an organisation already utilities Cisco Webex for video endpoint registration.
Are you struggling to choose a Cloud Video Interop (CVI) provider for Microsoft Teams?
Would you like to improve the meeting experience for your organisation?
Do you understand the limitations of using a non-Cisco CVI provider such as Pexip with Cisco video endpoints?
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