Microsoft Ignite had a lot of very important announcements as the company that very often leads technology introduced and debuted updates and enhancements to its ecosystem. While there will be many articles wrapping up the event, coming from the world of AV myself, one announcement can be summed up as “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
What is WEBRTC?
WebRTC is a free, open-source project that was introduced many years ago with the promise of uniting video services across the internet through browser interoperability. While this was a very ambitious effort and has seen many stumbling blocks, it was where the Microsoft Product Group decided that the Microsoft Teams Room Systems could land to offer one-touch join for services from what used to be seen as their competitors. Of course, all their competitors support WebRTC because it is an open source codec that allows users to join from their PC browsers. And what does every Microsoft Team Rooms system have? A BROWSER! You can find much more about the history and how the product group revolutionized the industry in one announcement from Ilya Bukshteyn here
What does this mean for the Microsoft Teams Room systems?
In short order, this means that every single Microsoft Teams Room system will be able to have a single touch join to the current partners whom have signed on which is Cisco and Zoom and soon to be many more.
You can see in the photo above that there are 3 logos, but they all have the single touch join which is what sells every customer using the Microsoft Teams Room Systems when demoed to customers about their ease of use.
This means I send it a meeting invite with a Cisco WebEx meeting join URL and the unit will join that meeting using WebRTC and a browser session. Very similar to how you would join from your PC, but you are using the technology of the meeting room with speakers, microphones and cameras giving the far end the full video conferencing experience. Lan Ye (Microsoft Community) put together a nice post about the cooperation between Microsoft and Cisco here. The same goes for the Zoom join as well whom have put together a very comprehensive blog post here.
You might ask, why did Zoom and Cisco agree to this? Well its easy, Microsoft offered them the same access for their systems to join into Microsoft Teams, which (not to get political) is indeed a quid pro quo. I was also told there is patent pending technology in this process and that does not surprise me. While this seems very simple and easy, nothing in this world is as easy as it seems, and the work of the Microsoft team is nothing short of revolutionary and the cooperation of Cisco and Zoom should be commended as well.
If you want to see this in action, you can watch the session by Greg Baribault (@gregbari) and Christian Schacht (LinkedIn) here.
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Author: Jimmy Vaughn