Cisco reveals new innovations in collaboration
At WebexOne 2022, Cisco made several key announcements, including major updates to the Webex Suite, a new collaboration device and new partnerships to expand its collaboration footprint. To help customers large and small solve the myriad of challenges they’re grappling with as offices reopen, Cisco’s innovations enhance workspaces and empower people with the flexibility to “work their way” – all while being easy to use and manage.
“Hybrid work is both different and harder than how we worked before. Regardless of job function – frontline worker, knowledge worker, IT admin or contact center agent – people expect and deserve an amazing experience no matter where or how they work,” said Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM, Cisco Security and Collaboration. “This requires a holistic solution that only Cisco can deliver with its integrated platform across collaboration software, devices, networking and security.”
Reimagined workspaces in the office, at home and everywhere in between
98% of meetings will have remote video attendees. Yet only 11% of meeting rooms are video enabled (Frost & Sullivan “State of the Global Video Conferencing Devices Market, October 2022”). Both home offices and office spaces require video devices to help people collaborate and feel their best. And with a 2022 survey of customers finding that 85% use more than one meeting platform, it’s critical those video devices provide seamless interoperability with the platforms colleagues and customers use. New partnerships and capabilities:
- Cisco Partners with Microsoft: Cisco is partnering with Microsoft, enabling the Microsoft Teams Rooms experience on Cisco’s industry-leading collaboration devices wherever people choose to work. Customers and IT benefit from the best quality, highly inclusive and manageable set of devices with Cisco, along with the flexibility to choose their collaboration experience.
- New Collaboration Device: The new Cisco Room Kit EQ is one of the industry’s most advanced collaboration device solution for large workspaces. Powered by the Cisco Codec EQ, an AI-based computing appliance, the Room Kit EQ enables true-to-life meeting experiences, bringing seamless integration to video-enable and transform large spaces for inclusive hybrid work.
- Hybrid Workspace Blueprint: For the first time Cisco is offering a repeatable Hybrid Workspace Design Guide, based on its NYC office deployment, to help customers design next-generation hybrid workspaces. It encompasses Cisco’s Smart Building Solutions, collaboration, networking, security technology and more. Cisco’s approach connects the intersection of people, space and technology. It supports triple-screens, offers embedded camera and audio intelligence, including automatic noise cancelation, and the option to switch to bring your own device (BYOD) collaboration, so customers can unlock the true potential of hybrid work.
Flexible workstyles put people at the center
Because there’s no single way of working and an entire spectrum of interaction types, organisations must support all types and styles of work and events. Notable new Webex innovations supporting these interaction types:
- New Whiteboard App: One of the most critical issues of hybrid work is enabling workers in and out of the office to brainstorm or sketch on a whiteboard in meetings or spontaneously. With the new Webex Whiteboard app in the Webex Suite, users benefit from a simple, easy-to-use whiteboarding experience regardless of where they’re working. Anyone can start or join a whiteboard and work together from a browser, the Webex App, or a Cisco device. Whiteboards can be combined with Slido polls, saved and shared in a Webex space for asynchronous ideation.
- Asynchronous Video: To give people time back and free them from endless meetings, Cisco introduced its asynchronous video offering Vidcast, part of the Webex Suite, last year. Vidcast, now generally available, has since saved 47 million meeting minutes and over 40 new innovations make the experience even more powerful. Among the new features will be a new AI-powered editing capability that drastically reduces the time it takes to create polished content, and Slido integration to incorporate polling and audience engagement into shared video content.
- Partnership with Apple: iPhone and iPad users can now share content from the rear-facing or front-facing camera via the Webex Meetings app and annotate over what they’re seeing with Mobile Camera Share. For the first time customers benefit from effective collaboration by leveraging the high-quality video capture capabilities of Apple devices. For example, an architect or frontline worker can share job site progress with clients in real-time instead of sending static images or screenshots.
- Calling Innovations: Significant innovation in Webex Calling includes new integration with Microsoft Teams, enabling users to easily make enterprise-grade Webex Calls seamlessly in the Teams interface for a more flexible workflow. Additionally, Group Call Management is now available for Webex Calling. This capability makes it easy for businesses to activate informal call center services to elevate their customer calling experience, measure performance, improve staff training, and deliver results without needing a separate or specialised contact center application.
- Hybrid Events: Webex Events and Webinars provide the most comprehensive portfolio of hybrid event solutions, all from a single platform. Now users will have access to a new lobby experience for virtual events that will support a variety of customisations, such as agendas, speaker bios, sponsors, and more. New content widgets make it easy to embed any of those elements into external event websites. With new production tools in Webex Webinars, hosts can easily add custom branding and personalisation to every event with the new Stage Manager. Integration into Network Device Interface (NDI) gives event production teams a new tool for professional broadcasts.
Industry-leading collaboration security & manageability
Hybrid work requires comprehensive security and manageability to ensure the supporting IT operations are deployed, optimised, and monitored effectively and securely. New updates put the power into the hands of IT to:
- Audio Watermarking: Audio watermarking uniquely tags audio streams to every participant in a confidential meeting with a marker that cannot be heard by the human ear. This allows organisations to better protect intellectual property in today’s hybrid world with more highly dispersed and remote teams. For example, if an employee were recording a meeting where confidential information is discussed, the company could trace that recording back to the individual regardless of how the audio was shared.
- Webex Control Hub integration with Cisco Spaces: Webex Control Hub is now integrated with Cisco Spaces. This integration offers employees critical information, such as real-time occupancy and air quality updates, that improves their experience when they come into the office. Facilities and real estate teams benefit from real-time data to simplify the complexity of reconfiguring and redesigning workspaces while supporting sustainability goals.
- IT Digital Coach: Control Hub as a Coach offers Webex customers an in-product digital coach that takes the complexity out of improving hybrid work experiences. Control Hub guides IT admins to achieve best practice set up, adoption quality, and create greater efficiency for managing and supporting workers.
The Webex Suite is the industry’s first suite for hybrid work that provides Cloud/On-Premise Calling, Messaging, Meetings, Polling, Whiteboarding, Asynchronous Video, Webinars and Events in a unified, highly secure offering.