VQ Conference Manager DMA – Developing an alternative to Cisco TMS
Building on the long-standing partnership with Cisco, VQ Communications has spent time and effort investing in new functionality to enhance the VQ Conference Manager offering and delivering on customer requests for a modern solution to the challenge of Device Management.
VQ Conference Manager (Device Management and Automation), “DMA”, has been designed from the outset as the replacement for Cisco TMS. DMA is deployed ‘on premise’ as part of a Cisco Meeting Server and Cisco videoconferencing devices eco-system.
Mike Horsley, CEO and founder at VQ Communications says “It’s great to see the phases of DMA being released and becoming reality. It’s been a massive investment and we’re really pleased to see how well it’s being received by customers. Replacing TMS with a modern platform is strategically important for Cisco and VQ and we’re delighted in how well the relationship with Cisco continues to grow.”
Why develop another endpoint management system?
VQ had been asked by numerous customers whether they could expand into device management and were starting to look at the option seriously. At the same time, Cisco wanted to retire TMS.
To retire TMS, Cisco needed to ensure that it wasn’t leaving those customers unable to move to the cloud-hosted service stranded. While DMA’s initial focus was to provide a suitable TMS replacement for customers, the VQ team are clear that DMA is not just about TMS feature parity. Instead, as with the existing Meeting Services capability of VQCM, DMA brings plenty of additional value including:
- Directory Services – includes a ‘folder per address book’ view on Webex Touch and Navigator panels
- Device Configuration – A redefined approach to building, scaling, and managing the complexity of configuration templates for large environments.
- Device Maintenance – advanced endpoint security and certificate management, automation of tasks and workflow and branding/software file storage & management.
Developing and releasing as we go
VQ’s development approach has evolved over the years towards smaller and more frequent releases. The team see the benefit of giving customers and partners new features and functionality when they’re ready rather than wait until the whole release is complete. This allows for VQ to obtain customer feedback along the way, so fixes and improvements can be made rapidly.
It also enables customers to take DMA a module at a time, assess it, test it and deploy/migrate part, or all its services and operations, thus seeing a return on their investment sooner.
What’s the process for migrating from TMS to VQ DMA?
TMS customers have already been migrating meeting scheduling and management to VQCM Meeting Services since January 2022, having been able to assess and adopt phase 1, One Button to Push (OBTP).
As Directory Services was released, they were then able to separately assess it against TMS Phonebooks and, with no disruption to Meeting Services, begin switching video endpoints over to their new source of directory lookup.
The most recent release in March 2023 now adds the Device Configuration & Maintenance functionality. It enables the creation and deployment of configuration templates for all your Cisco videoconferencing devices, replacing the Configuration Templates feature of TMS.
DMA tooling is also provided for the ability to import all your current templates from your existing TMS environment.
This incremental take-up of services approach eventually leads to a full migration to DMA and the customer switching off TMS once the technical and operational handover is complete and running smoothly. It avoids the high-risk requirement to migrate production workloads over in a single, “big bang”, transition.
What’s next for VQ Conference Manager?
As DMA continues to evolve, VQ has plans to extend into other areas of the on-premises Cisco infrastructure and the video endpoints as they evolve, as the latest Webex RoomOS operating system and the range of endpoint hardware are unrivalled for quality and security.
As Microsoft Teams becomes more prevalent in many enterprise environments, VQ have some exciting ideas and plans for a VQ Conference Manager and Teams integration, watch out for more details on this later this year.
Learn more about VQ Communications, join our ASK VQ Webex space, or contact your Cisco representative to set up a demo or for more information on how to take advantage of this partnership.
Mar 27, 2023 — Snorre Kjesbu