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    April 12, 2024

    Strong as One, Better Together: Analysis of Teams, Webex, & Zoom Rooms

    That’s right, we’re back to talk more about Teams, Webex, and Zoom, the business communication Big Three. This time, however, it’s all about meeting rooms.

    Meeting rooms have been an interesting subject for the past few years. A little thing happened back in 2020 that may have led some people to think that meeting rooms would be obsolete very soon. This didn’t quite turn out to be the case, but the world has changed nonetheless, and meeting rooms have also had to change to accommodate that. Meeting room with Teams, Zoom and Webex logos overlayed on top.

    Now Teams, Webex, and Zoom each have their own meeting room solutions. Our goal here is to break them all down, learn the pros and cons of each one, and see ways in which they are, in fact, better together. 

    Microsoft Teams Rooms 

    Teams Rooms promise to level up your meeting spaces. Any space of any shape and size can be transformed into an inclusive and interactive meeting room equipped with modern technology, including AI integration.  

    These rooms are controlled by a companion device, which can very easily be your smart phone or tablet. Don’t worry, though. With access to Microsoft’s robust security systems, your meetings will remain encrypted end-to-end no matter who’s running them. 

    One thing that Teams Rooms really take pride in is creating a hybrid workplace. You’ve got people in your organization working in the office, while others are working remote. Both types of users can feel included with a Teams Rooms solution thanks to its advanced collaboration features and high-quality audio and video. 

    Now here’s the real question: does your organization have Microsoft 365 licenses? If so, that’s great! Teams Rooms are perfect for your meeting spaces, since they’re a part of the Microsoft ecosystem. If not, things are going to get a little bit trickier.  

    Without Microsoft licenses, price and set up complexity for Teams Rooms goes up. To get the most out of Teams Rooms in that situation, you may need some help from an experienced integrator like Continuant. 

    Cisco Webex Rooms  

    Cisco has its own meeting room solution that also promises to deliver cutting-edge technology to build hybrid meeting spaces. These are Cisco Rooms or Webex Rooms, optimized for a native Cisco environment, but shockingly flexible with third parties. Users on Microsoft Teams and Zoom can easily join meetings in a Webex Room and take advantage of its advanced collaboration features. 

    Cisco offers hardware that fits perfectly in any space. Their flexible Room Bars bring the hybrid meeting experience to small rooms and huddle spaces, while the Board Pro provides a top-notch AV experience with whiteboarding capabilities. For larger rooms, Cisco has Room Kits, complete with flagship collaboration, AI integration, and all the gear the room needs. They can also deploy a Room Wall Navigator to make scheduling easier than ever.  

    And get this, these devices are Teams certified! Even if you don’t have a Cisco environment or dedicated Webex Rooms, you can build rooms with Cisco’s best devices and run Teams. 

    The only real drawback to all these fancy toys is the price tag. High quality comes with high costs, and if you’ve got hundreds of spaces, get ready to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your meeting rooms (and that’s a conservative estimate). 

    Still, having state-of-the-art meeting rooms with technology from Cisco and Microsoft is well worth it. In the words of Cisco and Microsoft themselves, Webex and Teams are... 

    Better Together 

    When Cisco and Microsoft use the phrase “better together,” it means exactly what you think it means. These titans of communications have enabled ways for their solutions to seamlessly interoperate, such as joint security and compliance measures and the ability to connect Teams to Cisco SBCs via Direct Routing. 

    One of their primary focuses, and the one most relevant to this article, is their meeting systems. Teams and Webex allow users on either platform to join meetings on the other with no difficulty.  

    This extends to meeting rooms. Webex users can join a Teams room and vice versa. A long list of mutually certified hardware provides endless customization options for everything from board rooms to huddle spaces.  

    Taking advantage of this whole “better together” idea will give you more flexible and adaptable meeting rooms than ever before. 

    Zoom Rooms 

    Alright, that’s enough about Cisco and Microsoft for now. Before we wrap up, let’s look at another meeting room provider, Zoom. 

    Zoom is a pretty darn popular communication platform. It’s highly intuitive and accessible, and with new features rolling out on a regular basis it may soon be as viable for enterprise communication as its big brothers Teams and Webex. As you can well imagine, it’s got its own meeting room solution. 

    Zoom Rooms provide meeting rooms that operate on Zoom’s easy-to-use interface, creating a consistent experience across all meeting spaces. They work with a wide array of hardware, which can be leased as a service to reduce costs. A Zoom Room can include up to three display screens and as many cameras as space will allow.  

    Most organizations likely have Zoom, or at least have large numbers of users who are diehard Zoom fans. Zoom Rooms will be a natural upgrade for them. For Teams and Webex users, this may not be the case. While they can freely join meetings in Zoom Rooms from these platforms, more advanced integrations may not be possible, and it’s likely that not all Zoom hardware is Teams certified. 

    While Zoom may not be a card-carrying member of the Better Together club (yet), Zoom Rooms are certainly an option worth exploring for many organizations.  

    Massive Meeting Room Integration 

    So, what’s it going to be? Teams Rooms? Webex Rooms? Zoom Rooms? 

    Oh, who am I kidding? We’re not picking just one. 

    Your organization has all kinds of different users and different meeting spaces with a diverse array of needs and goals. To get the most out of your rooms and the meetings that take place in them, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. 

    Deploy Teams Rooms and deck them out with all the best hardware from Microsoft and Cisco. Set up Webex Rooms to take advantage of your Cisco phones. Add some Zoom Rooms into the mix and let your users shake it up a bit. Your organization can and should have the best of both worlds. 

    But is that a little too complicated? It may be. Dealing with Microsoft, Cisco, and Zoom all at once sounds like quite a headache, not to mention costly. Besides, they say that the rooms and their UC software all communicate and integrate with each other, but can you be sure they will in your environment? Will user error be the end of the Better Together club? 

    That’s where Continuant comes in.  

    Continuant has twenty-eight years of experience with enterprise communications. Calling and Meetings is our specialty, so much so that Microsoft named us Partner of the Year for it in 2020. Our teams (if you’ll pardon my phrasing) contain AV and voice experts who have deployed advanced meeting rooms for all kinds of customers, from medium-sized companies to Fortune 500 enterprises. 

    Our expertise doesn’t end with teams. We also know a thing or two about Cisco and Zoom. With our broad knowledge and experience, you’ll get access to a plethora of meeting rooms wrapped together in one intuitive solution. 

    Let us show just how much better together the Big Three really are. 

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    David Shelby

    David Shelby graduated from George Fox University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in English and began writing for Continuant soon after. With the help of Continuant's world-class engineers and subject matter experts, he's dedicated himself to understanding all things business communications. When it comes to UC, AV,...

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