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Cisco has brought the full feature set of its Webex Meetings video conferencing platform into the calling and messaging app Webex Teams. The vendor also now lets businesses power calling in Teams use on-premises telephony gear from third-party vendors.
Despite the shared name, Webex Teams and Webex Meetings are separate products and, until recently, they relied on different cloud platforms. Cisco has been working for more than a year to bring the two apps closer together.
Webex Teams previously provided a limited set of native video conferencing features. Alternatively, users could cross-launch the Webex Meetings app. This week, Cisco said it had updated Webex Teams to include all the features of Webex Meetings, eliminating the need to launch a second app.
Cisco also now lets businesses power the softphone client embedded in Webex Teams using on-premises or hosted PBXs. That includes the Cisco products Unified Communications Manager (UCM) and Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) as well as third-party PBX from vendors like Avaya and Mitel.
The hybrid configuration is called Cisco Webex Edge for Calling. It should be an attractive option for global enterprises, which often use a mix of on-premises and cloud technologies from multiple vendors. Once a company links its existing telephony systems to Webex Teams, Cisco will provide global dial plans and other essential features such as voicemail.
At the same time, Cisco has made Webex Teams modular, meaning that businesses can disable certain feature sets. For example, a company could choose to use Webex Teams only as a softphone client. Plus, customers and service providers can brand Webex Teams with their logos.
Cisco has worked for more than a year to bring together features and interfaces of its cloud and on-premises products. For example, it has redesigned Cisco Jabber to look and feel like Webex Teams.
Cisco unveiled the updates to Webex Teams at Cisco Partner Summit 2019, an annual conference for resellers and technology partners in Las Vegas.
Cisco unveils desk monitor, hardware subscriptions
In other Partner Summit news, Cisco released its first desk monitor in five years, the Webex Desk Pro. The 27-inch monitor comes with a 4K high-definition display and a 71-degree video camera. It succeeds the DX80 monitor, released in 2014.
The Webex Desk Pro connects to personal laptops using a USB-C cord and charges those PCs without a docking station. Cisco designed the device for video conferencing and whiteboarding via Webex.
Cisco also showcased two other new devices: The Cisco Headset 730, a wireless noise-canceling headset for office workers and contact center agents, and the Webex Room Panorama, a three-screen touchscreen video conferencing device for boardrooms.
What's more, Cisco will now let businesses purchase its phones and video devices through a monthly subscription (requiring a minimum commitment of three years). Several other leading hardware-makers have already embraced a monthly pricing model.