Microsoft and Cisco have announced a partnership that promises to build seamless interoperability for collaboration services. The two technology juggernauts are working together to make direct guest join capability from one another’s video conferencing device a reality.

According to Ilya Bukshteyn, Partner Director for Microsoft Teams, the new approach will deliver a familiar meeting experience driven directly by the meeting services vendor. Put simply, he says, a Webex meeting on a Microsoft Teams Room will look and feel like a Webex meeting, and vice versa. Cisco Webex plans to first introduce the Microsoft Cloud Video Interop (CVI), enabling Cisco’s Webex Video devices to connect to Microsoft Teams meeting services.

For Ignite Collaboration Services Group (Ignite), the announcement signals a bright light at the end of a long tunnel that has been traditionally territorial. Steven Taylor, President and CEO of Ignite, says he’s hopeful that this acknowledgement by the two predominant players in the market indicates a willingness to work together to create an environment where people can truly collaborate.

“If you look across the country, a lot of mid-sized to large enterprises have made heavy investments in both Microsoft and Cisco products. Those investments are not insignificant, and those two technologies need to talk to each other,” Taylor says.

Taylor sees the announcement as a sign that Microsoft and Cisco recognize the upside to working together in the name of customer experience. He says it moves towards a “technology agnostic” environment that’s enjoyable for the user regardless of whether they are a consumer of Microsoft or Webex Teams. By pulling the two together, it offers seamless integration for users that really supports the customer experience – the basis of what Ignite strives for with every customer.

“Technology shouldn’t create obstacles to collaboration, and customers shouldn’t feel like they are forced to choose one vendor’s technology over another,” says Taylor.

As the partnership plays out and solutions are made available, Ignite customers can expect to spend more time utilizing and leveraging their technology investment, and less time battling interop frustrations.

“These solutions will ideally minimize complexity, and we won’t have to worry so much about the technology working together. We’ll be able to spend more time helping our customers with adoption and consumption strategies so they can leverage those investments no matter what,” Taylor says.

And this is just the beginning. In the long-term, Taylor predicts the integration of Microsoft and Cisco collaboration services could logically extend to things like the co-development and co-release of updates and fixes, leading to fewer service calls and fewer interruptions for Ignite customers.

The new features are scheduled for release in the first half of 2020. Follow us to stay informed as more details are announced.