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How many video conferencing platforms do you use to connect with your colleagues, clients and vendors? It's probably quite a few.   

Let's say that you and your colleagues use Cisco Webex to meet internally. Your clients send Microsoft Teams invites. And your vendors toggle between Zoom and Google Meet. That's four different platforms for joining and managing meetings.  

According to UCToday, 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use multiple video conferencing platforms to conduct business. 

While this may not seem like a problem at first, it only takes one instance of trying to join a client's Teams meeting in a Webex-enabled conference room to realize how much time can be lost due to differences between video conferencing platforms.

Now, this doesn't mean you need to convince everyone to use the same video meeting platform to avoid meeting blunders. But it does reveal the importance of video conferencing interoperability and the value of being able to join any meeting – no matter the platform – within a single interface.  

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of video conferencing interoperability, real-world examples and next steps for delivering a seamless video meeting experience in your digital workplace.  

What is video conferencing interoperability?

Video conferencing interoperability is the ability for online meeting platforms to connect and communicate with each other to create a streamlined, frictionless meeting experience. This means end users can easily join and schedule different types of meetings --Teams, Webex, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. -- from any conference room or device. 

Video meeting interoperability breaks down the silos between meeting vendors so data and information can flow freely across platforms. Instead of end users logging into individual platform accounts or ensuring their conference room is enabled for a specific meeting type, they're able to join and manage their meetings with the push of a button. 

Video conferencing interoperability vs integration

A common misconception among IT organizations is that video conferencing interoperability and integration are interchangeable. In reality, video meeting integration offers distinct capabilities.

Video conferencing integration pulls applications together within an online meeting platform so they can be easily accessed by end users. Think of it as a shortcut to your favorite applications within a meeting platform. Integration allows end users to work and collaborate directly within external applications without leaving the meeting interface.  

Common video meeting integrations include calendar and room scheduling systems, like Microsoft Outlook and Appspace. More recently, advanced integrations with productivity and digital whiteboarding applications, such as Trello, Miro and Mural; social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter; ServiceNow; and developer tools, including Github and Jira, have also entered the scene.

Whereas interoperability allows two-way communication between platforms, video conferencing integrations are focused solely on providing end users with seamless access to capabilities beyond the video call itself. 

What are examples of video conferencing interoperability?

Due to the shift to remote and hybrid work, many video conferencing platform manufacturers are embracing interoperability to improve the overall meeting experience. Below are a few examples of video conferencing interoperability happening today. 

Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams

In Microsoft Teams, users can add the Webex tab within a team to schedule, view, join and cancel their Webex meetings directly within the application (see how here). This interoperability also allows users to join Webex meetings from Teams-enabled conference rooms and devices, and vice versa. For example, employees can join a client's Microsoft Teams meeting on a Cisco Webex Board with the push of a button or simple voice command.  

Poly endpoints and major cloud video services

Poly video endpoints are interoperable with major cloud video services, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, Dialpad, GoToRoom, RingCentral and StarLeaf. This allows end users to collaborate seamlessly across devices, whether they're in the office, at home or on the go. Watch this brief Poly Room Kit demo to see how simple it is to join a Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Cisco Webex meeting within the device. 

Neat boards for Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings 

Like Poly endpoints, Neat video hardware solutions natively support Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings. Users can easily schedule, start and join their meetings directly within Neat boards and personal endpoints. Check out these Neat Frame and Neat Board demos to see their seamless meeting experience across multiple platforms as well as their ability to enable effective collaboration via digital whiteboarding tools. 

Video conferencing interoperability benefits

There are several reasons to embrace video conferencing interoperability at your organization. The first being that your end users expect it.  

In a recent survey, 41 percent of end users agreed that difficult downloading and joining processes contributed to their poor meeting experiences. Video meeting interoperability not only reduces end-user frustration by creating a seamless experience but enables organizations to achieve the following outcomes:  

  • Better collaboration: Interoperability allows end users to collaborate within the meeting platforms they're already familiar with. For example, Microsoft Teams users can still use Teams. Cisco Webex users can still use Webex. The experience remains the same, allowing end users to share, interact and collaborate how they prefer.
  • Increased productivity: End users spend less time troubleshooting their meetings and more time collaborating and innovating on projects that push the business forward.
  • Simplified IT operations: IT teams receive fewer help desk tickets thanks to reduced complexity across meeting platforms and devices.

Explore interoperability in action

Achieving interoperability is key for any organization juggling multiple meeting platforms, especially in an era of hybrid work that increases video meeting needs. By exploring interoperability now, organizations can simplify and enhance their meeting experience for years to come. 

Our work with Clayco, a leading design and build company, is a prime example of how we help organizations achieve video conferencing interoperability to improve their overall meeting experience and unlock new levels of productivity. 

Our experts helped Clayco evaluate, rationalize and consolidate its nine video conferencing platforms to standardize on Webex and achieve interoperability, enabling employees to easily join Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google meetings with their customers and vendors without the need to create new login accounts. This has resulted in increased productivity, better flexibility, improved employee morale and winning more business than ever before.

Learn how WWT helped Clayco achieve interoperability to create a culture of collaboration. Watch video

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