In October 2022 at Microsofts’ Ignite Conference, Microsoft and Cisco announced they were forming a partnership in the Meeting Room space. This was and is huge news in the industry, as this opens up more options for customers and combines some great technologies.

Cisco has owned the meeting room space for as long as I can remember. However, when Microsoft launched Teams and a new meeting room experience, allowing greater collaboration, devices were simply just not enough for communications any longer. The introduction of Microsoft Teams in the Meeting Room space created a big competitor to Cisco which could have got ugly. Instead, however, the two organisations got together to look at how they could complement each other and came to realise, individually they were great, but together were amazing! To me the partnership makes perfect sense as it offers customers quite possibly the best solution and experience in the market, bringing you:

In June 2023, I travelled to Oslo, Norway, to attend a joint Cisco and Microsoft Partners Conference to learn more about what this partnership provides and how we, Symity, can position this and provide customers with a new experience.

When explaining the partnership and what it brings, Richard Bayes, Director of Product Management, Cisco, put it perfectly, saying “It’s no longer and/or…it’s just, and.” This really summed up the sentiment at the event, making it feel like a real collaborative effort.

There were many takeaways from the event but the main thing I want to highlight, which is going to make the Microsoft Teams Meeting Room experience even better for organisations, is the coupling of Cisco Control Hub and Spaces. Yes, Cisco devices are great and there’re some super cool new features such as Framing and AI Director coming soon, but the immediate benefit will be Cisco Control Hub and Spaces, as it adds so much value to your business. One of the biggest challenges organisations struggle with is understanding how office space is being utilized, especially those who are global or have many sites and spaces dotted in various locations. Unless you employ people or services to go and physically stand on every door in every office space to monitor who comes in and how long they stay for over a long period of time, only then will they find out how employees are using their office space. However, this is simply not plausible.

Enter Cisco Spaces! By using in-room sensors and device monitoring you will learn so much regarding your building utilisation. You will see real time occupancy levels, indoor environmental conditions rooms that are occupied and booked, general attendance and which days the office is busiest.

Understanding all of this helps you as a business make informed decisions on your estate in general. It will raise questions like, do we still need this floor or even this building? Do we need more space? Can we close certain areas of the office off to help reduce energy costs and support the businesses sustainability goals as well as many other great burning questions. To get sight of this holds a huge amount of value and will ultimately create a solid business case to implement Microsoft Teams Rooms with Cisco, showing clear return on investment figures. This takes you beyond just a fantastic in-room meeting experience, as it answers all those unknowns.

To summarise, Symity and I are excited about having Cisco as an option for our customers and are looking forward to adding the Symity brick to the Microsoft and Cisco partnership build.

Keep an eye on updates on our blog around this subject or reach out to the Symity Team to learn more or book a demo on Cisco Devices for Microsoft Teams Rooms.

Symity Meeting Space Team at Shure experience centre London

Wesley Budd

Strategic Partner Manager - Microsoft & MTR Vendors