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Why Meeting Interoperability is Critical for Success

Today's guest post is by Irwin Lazar, CISSP, Vice President and Service Director, Nemertes: 

After many years of hype, the age of videoconferencing has finally arrived.  According to Nemertes’ “Visual Communications and Collaboration: 2018-19 Research Study” of more than 500 end-user organizations in North America, Europe, and Asia, more than 75% of participants had deployed, or planned to deploy videoconferencing systems to their meeting rooms and huddle spaces.  What’s more, 81.1% were supporting, or planning to support desktop videoconferencing. 

At the same time, the backend platform for videoconferencing is undergoing a rapid change as organizations move to the cloud.  Microsoft customers, especially in the large enterprise, are moving from Skype for Business deployments to Microsoft Teams within Office 365 and leveraging the built-in meetings capabilities within Teams to eliminate formerly separate videoconferencing and meeting applications and services. Already more than 26% of those using, or moving to the cloud for their unified communications are adopting Microsoft’s Office 365-based service.  A significant percentage of those using a single, integrated meeting application providing voice, video, and screen sharing saw tangible benefits including reduction in meeting length, productivity gains, reduction in procurement and operating costs, and improved customer support and sales close rates by adding video to engagements.

Given the momentum behind both videoconferencing room system deployment, and Microsoft Teams, successful organizations must unite these implementation efforts to ensure that existing, or planned room systems are integrated into the Microsoft Teams experience.  This means evaluating platforms that provide interoperability between Teams and legacy room systems from vendors like Cisco, Lifesize, and Poly (the former Polycom).  In many cases, Microsoft Teams customers will seek a cloud-based solution that complements their already underway shift to Office 365.

Nemertes’ “Workplace Collaboration: 2019-20 Research Study” of more than 625 organizations in North America, Europe and Asia, found that nearly 31% of participants were already using a meeting interoperability service, while another 34% planned to do so by the end of 2019, or were evaluating services for potential future deployment.

Meeting interoperability services offer several tangible benefits:

  • Preserving existing investments in room systems
  • The ability to extend meetings to room system participants outside of the company
  • Enabling all meeting participants to join or start meetings via Microsoft Teams, or via a Teams-enabled room controller
  • Providing a consistent user experience whether in a room or on a computer
  • Enabling those within meeting rooms to easily share content
  • Allowing for scheduling of existing room systems via Microsoft Teams
  • Providing IT with end-to-end insight into Teams meeting experiences

IT leaders should converge their plans around videoconferencing and Microsoft Teams, and they should evaluate integration platforms that enable asset protection of existing videoconferencing endpoints, as well as integration of those endpoints into the Microsoft Teams meeting experience.

Irwin Lazar, CISP, is a VP and service director at Nemertes, where he develops and manages research projects, conducts and analyzes primary research, and advises enterprise and vendor clients on technology strategy, adoption and business metrics. Mr. Lazar is responsible for benchmarking the adoption and use of emerging technologies in the digital workplace, covering enterprise communications and collaboration as an industry analyst for over 20 years.

Nemertes is a global research-based advisory and consulting firm that analyzes the business value of emerging technologies. Since 2002, we have provided strategic recommendations based on data-driven operational and business metrics to help organizations deliver successful technology transformation to employees and customers. Simply put: Nemertes’ better data helps clients make better decisions.