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Skype for Business via Office 365 To Interoperate with Cisco Endpoints

Among the slew of improvements to Microsoft's Skype for Business and Cloud PBX offering announced at this week's annual Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando, Fla., one that stood out was Polycom's new RealConnect, which will allow Office 365 users with Skype for Business to add Cisco devices to meetings.

It's noteworthy because it's an important step by Microsoft and Polycom that extends the reach of Skype for Business Online, permitting users to connect using other vendors' conferencing equipment. Given Cisco is the leading provider of VoIP phones and PBXs with a formidable videoconferencing systems business, it promises to widen the reach of Skype for Business.

"We want to make sure you have a great video experience regardless of what platform your users are on, and regardless of what platform you develop on, that extends across a number of different platforms," said Ron Markezich, Office 365 corporate VP, during his keynote address today at the conference.

Delanda Coleman, a Microsoft product marketing manager, joined Markezich on stage to demonstrate the interoperability capability that Polycom's RealConnect will offer when it's released next month. "Now any legacy Cisco VTC [videoconferencing system] can join the Skype for Business meeting without any problems," Coleman said.

Polycom is the leading provider of Skype for Business handsets and videoconferencing systems. While connecting to Cisco devices is an important step, it also suggests Polycom will look to connect with other devices, software and services. "Polycom RealConnect for Office 365 simplifies the video world by connecting Skype for Business online users with those using other video systems," Mary McDowell, Polycom's CEO stated in Markezich's blog post announcing the Cloud PBX and SfB upgrades. "This cloud service protects customers' investments in existing video systems as it allows these users to join a Skype for Business meeting with a single click."

It's reasonable to presume Microsoft will certify bridging solutions from other partners, which could lead to further usage of Skype for Business over the long haul, even if it means organizations will hold onto those existing systems longer.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/29/2017 at 1:39 PM


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