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In March 2020, almost every business without exception was forced to enable immediate, global homeworking in response to the coronavirus crisis. For many, this required rapid investments in technology they didn’t previously have or had but never previously used.
As hundreds of thousands of businesses and private sector organisations quickly stood up videoconferencing and collaboration services, few had the time or resource to take a strategic view. Now, with lockdown restrictions easing and employees slowly returning to the office, businesses are looking to maximise their knee-jerk investments and create long-term collaboration strategies.
The era of hybrid work
Hybrid working is nothing new – but the acceleration and proliferation of blended remote and on-site working caught everyone off guard. As the pandemic grew in length, it was clear the impact would be long-lasting, and the role of the office would change forever.
As employees have become accustomed to the flexibility and convenience offered by remote work, businesses that are most likely to thrive in the new normal have made it a priority to keep delivering this flexibility in post-pandemic era. What most businesses still don’t have, however, is the normal amount of time to develop a strategy and make the right decisions against a backdrop of relentless business demands and pressure to drive recovery after a turbulent 18 months.
Time to choose the right path
During the pandemic, Microsoft Teams was most commonly deployed by businesses, with the platform typically included within Microsoft 365. And, as of April 2021, 145 million people were using it. This was an increase of 26% since the platform reported 115 million daily active users in October 2020. For context, at the beginning of the pandemic, Microsoft had around 32 million daily active users of Microsoft Teams.
So, you’ve deployed Microsoft Teams – and typically several other videoconferencing apps – and survived the pandemic. But with employees now returning under a hybrid work model and most meetings taking place with both physical and virtual attendees, how do you maintain the offer of flexibility using existing equipment, without creating a dependency on Microsoft native clients?
The solution: Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) for Microsoft.
Seamless video collaboration
Originally designed by Microsoft as a stopgap for businesses adopting Microsoft Teams, the pandemic has created a new, longer-term role for CVI. CVI is no longer a transitory tool – but a key enabler of new hybrid work models. In the new normal, meeting rooms need to be multi-purpose. Although Microsoft offer a native Teams Room experience, this can limit the room’s connectivity to other meeting platforms. By using standards-based video conferencing systems and CVI services, users can enjoy the Teams conference experience while retaining maximum connectivity options to third-party solutions.
SCC AVS has partnered with Pexip to deliver CVI for Teams and give businesses the time they need to build a robust, future-proof hybrid work strategy. Pexip CVI enables professional SIP and H.323 video conferencing systems to join Microsoft Teams as if they were native Microsoft clients, so employees working from both home and the office can seamlessly join Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business meetings from the device of their choice, maintaining flexibility and productivity, whilst negating immediate investment in new equipment.
Building for the future
Using CVI for Teams, businesses can ensure a simple, consistent experience for on-site and remote workers, regardless of device or videoconferencing platform. This ensures meeting rooms are truly multi-purpose and support your hybrid work strategy long-term, not just a quick fix, transitory solution. CVI supports sustainability programmes, enabling less travel and negating the need to dispose of legacy equipment, and ensures businesses can retain the full value of every physical meeting room asset for as long as possible.
CVI for Teams gives to the immediate ability to collaborate via Teams and third-party videoconferencing platforms within meeting rooms, without investing in meeting rooms themselves, whilst simultaneously offering a seamless experience to remote and home workers. It represents a significant problem solved, allowing time to breathe and focus on the long-term hybrid work strategy.
Written by Martin Finlayson, UC Consultant SCC AVS
SCC AVS and Pexip in partnership
Pexip delivered by SCC AVS is a security-first, enterprise-grade video conferencing solution using industry-standard encryption and security protocols. Interoperability between video meeting solutions is a priority at Pexip – and a Microsoft-certified CVI partner you can rest assured it works as advertised.
Pexip natively integrates with the Microsoft Teams workflow. Scheduling meetings from Teams or Outlook automatically inserts video conferencing dial-in details. When joining a Teams meeting from a third-party endpoint, everyone benefits from the full Teams experience with HD video, audio, and content sharing. And Pexip provides the full HD audio and video experience, as well as full content sharing between all participants.
Unique to Pexip is its ability to support hybrid cloud/on-prem deployments of CVI. This is especially important to organisations with existing on-prem video infrastructure or those hyper-sensitive to call security. For example, organisations that need to ensure all data is held within the UK or within their own secure environment.
SCC AVS has partnered with Pexip for more than five years and is a Gold Certified Partner. Its team of experienced sales specialists help define strategies and solutions around Pexip deployments, on a multitude of platforms.