Manage RoomOS software on Control Hub
A few years back, we started our journey to the Cloud. There are multiple benefits of having your room devices registered to the Cisco Cloud. We are serious about security, so when you migrate to the Cloud, we can push security updates and important software patches when needed, which is a capability that we are very proud of.
However, throughout the process of making the best and most secure software available we downplayed how important it is for admins to have as much visibility as possible. Visibility into what’s been fixed, what’s in the next release, when it will be pushed, and everything associated with deploying new releases. In the end, these devices are running in your network, and you are responsible for them. Therefore, we have made it easier to know when the latest software is available for your Webex Rooms endpoints.
We have built a new page in Webex Control Hub for Room OS devices to see what has changed since the last release, and what day these changes will hit your production system. This doesn’t stop here – we are also giving everyone the opportunity to have selected devices in an earlier build. We are calling this preview, and the idea is that admins have the opportunity to validate bug fixes and new features before deploying to production. If you find an issue you can simply click Report Issue directly in Control Hub to send us a ticket.
These changes are available today! Go to your Control Hub and find the new page and start playing with it, and of course provide as much feedback as possible so we can keep improving our tools.
Happy New Year! The software team here at Cisco are feeling fresh, rested and full of inspiration, and we hope you are too! This January, we have released two new features that will make things a little easier for both admins and end users.
Admins want control over their software deployment. We get it. That’s why we are releasing a new section inside control hub. You can easily see the date of the next software release, and it gives you transparency into the bugs fixed by this release. We have also made sure to link to the website that contains the information about new features included in the release, so that you can stay in the loop about everything that is new. This new feature is bringing you closer to what you need.
We have also released a new Preview channel. This allows you to have early access to new software releases, and you can roll this out on a few endpoints of your choice. Usually this is available two weeks in advance of the official release. The Preview channel contains everything you would expect to know: the date of the next preview release, bugs fixed, and links to the features in the preview channel.
We value your feedback. It’s what makes us, and the solutions that we deliver better. That’s why we have added a Feedback button, where you can deliver your feedback to our business unit.
Wireless Sharing from Teams App into Personal Mode
When we released personal mode for devices, you were not able to wirelessly share into it. However, this has been on our agenda for a long time, and is finally ready to launch. So, we updated our Teams app so you can wirelessly share into your personal mode device once you are in a call! This really makes content sharing simple and seamless. Just how we like it.
You can also choose to share the full screen, or select an app from your computer. This gives you more control over what you share, and can spare you from the embarrassment of accidentally sharing pictures of your cat instead of the monthly revenue report. Trust me on this one. You can check out the help article here.
That’s all for January, but we have a lot of more in the pipeline. You can expect Guest Pair and Share in the upcoming months – a feature that I know is highly requested.
We are fast approaching the holiday season, which is the ultimate time for getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and catching up with friends and family. The holiday season is also about giving. And this year, the Webex RoomOS team are gifting you with great new features that will make collaboration merry and festive, including a whiteboard improvement for DX that has been highly requested!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could annotate anywhere on your devices? We thought so too, so we made it happen. In this release of Webex RoomOS, we have expanded our annotation opportunities with Annotate Anywhere. Previously, you were only able to annotate on content that had been shared from a laptop or computer. Now we are making it possible to annotate on content in more ways, such as opening a file from a space, or on a webpage accessed by a web app. This allows for a more seamless collaboration experience.
Whiteboard Improvements for DX
I love the Cisco Webex DX. It’s the epitome of sleek, hardworking and smart – it enables me to connect and collaborate with people from remote corners of the world, all from the comfort of my own desk. Now, we have made it possible with real-time whiteboard collaboration between the DX and the Webex Board, through Webex Meetings, which is a feature that has been highly requested by our customers! With this new feature you can enhance your meeting presentations with visuals you can change as you go. Learn more here.
New Workflow for Easily Saving a Whiteboard Session
The best things in life are simple. The smell of coffee in the morning, hugging a loved one, the feeling of grass under your feet… And collaboration is no different – great collaboration solutions should be simple to deploy and utilize. This is why we have released a new feature that makes it easier for you to save and store your whiteboard sessions in Webex Teams spaces and through email. This new workflow equips you with new information, icons and screen displays that streamline and make explicit different actions and outcomes. Saving your work has never been easier. If you want to learn more you can check out these two articles:
New Invited Section on Participant List
Last month, we made it possible to add a participant in the cloud to your call. We have now extended this feature so that you can not only see who has joined the meeting, but also who is invited but has not yet accepted. This is also valuable in other ways – simply speaking the “invited” section will list all users and devices that have a join button and can join at any time.
That’s it for December. But keep your eyes open – a new blog entry will be published soon, going over all the highlights of 2019. Happy holidays!
November already! They say that time flies when you are busy, and here at Cisco we have been super busy working on some new, cool features for RoomOS. These new features will make collaboration and co-creation a breeze.
Friends are great. They have your back, and help you out when you need it. With our newly released Companion Mode feature, your board and device can help each other out, too. This feature is about getting a board and a room device in the same physical room and making them work as one entity by creating a virtual device. This means that you to focus on creating and communicating, while the room systems do all the rough work for you. This frees up precious time, so you and your team can get more done.
This is the first release of the feature, where the configuration currently tested is a double screen device with Webex Board’s on opposite sides of the room, facing each other. It can also be set up with the single screen device and Webex board next to it. If you want to learn more about this feature, check out this article.
Cloud Add Participants (Ad-hoc Calling)
No matter how hard we try, it can be difficult to keep up with who should be included in a meeting. Things change, and in the middle of a call you might remember that you forgot to invite someone. Now you can easily add cloud participants to your call. This feature has been available for on-premises from the start, and we now have finally made it available for cloud, too. If you are wondering about adding PSTN or SIP users, we are working on making that happen, and these two will come in future releases. Learn more here.
Webex Board Touch-Redirect
We also are excited to introduce the Webex Board Touch-Redirect, a feature that has been highly requested by our educational customers. By connecting a laptop to a Webex Board, users can interact with their laptop’s app through the board’s touch interface. In educational settings, teachers can show their students apps that are only available to view on laptops/computers. This allows for a richer, more dynamic learning experience for the students, and teachers will no longer have to manually switch between a board and a laptop- they can focus on what’s really important, the teaching. However, this feature can be applied to multiple settings and scenarios. For businesses, knowledge sharing and interactive training sessions in-house will greatly benefit from this new feature. You can find out more by clicking this link.
In addition to these three features, we have many other interesting things in our pipeline. Our partnership with Microsoft was recently announced, which was born out of our customers need to enhance interoperability between different conference rooms and calling infrastructure solutions.
Check out the Microsoft announcement: here.
And, be sure to read up on how this partnership fuels digital transformation efforts and meets business goals.
We also have a great feature for our on-premise customers wanting to experience cloud services coming up in December. If you want to read up on this while you wait for the release, please go ahead and read Richard’s blog entry.
That’s it for November, and I will be back in December with some new and exciting features.
See all the Webex RoomOS releases
Just say no to conference calls and yes to collaborative meetings
Apply branding to your conference devices
Digital Art Changes How We Ideate: Going Digitally Native with the Webex Board
When machine learning and AI became important in our industry, we gathered some of our brightest minds to implement this into our Webex conferencing devices. Some ideas were better than others, and after rigorous testing quite a few got discarded, while some were pursued further and applied to our devices. One of those features was face recognition.
Face recognition became name labels, and people got excited about being able to identify the person(s) on the other side of the video call by their name. Understandably so – addressing people by their names facilitates trust, something that customer service departments do to make their customers feel more comfortable.
This did not come without challenges. Some technical, but also challenges related to privacy rights and security. We rolled up our sleeves and started working through those challenges, and after many months of hard work we can finally release Name Labels as a general feature in our October release of Webex RoomOS. This is now available to all of our users. Of course, it is up to the organization if they wish to use it, and individuals can decide themselves whether they want to be recognized or not. Consent by the end user is a must.
However, when it is enabled it is powerful. You can sit in a meeting and see the name of all the people you are interacting with. Having a name to the people you are conversing with facilitates memory and recall – and can spare you for many awkward follow-ups asking who said what. Here at Cisco we hope your organization will take good use of this feature, and experience first-hand how useful it is.
Figure 1. Name Labels
Another feature we have been working on for a while is Cloud xAPI. We know the power of API. Many of our integrators and customers are using them daily to create workflows that help them in their day-to-day tasks, and from the moment we launched our Cloud service, we knew we had to develop and create a good story around Cloud API. This was not an easy task. It was important for us to make sure that this had a very high security level, which is key to everything we develop here at Cisco. With security being one of our top priorities, we worked closely with our Webex Teams business unit to develop a powerful way to access the devices API from the cloud. Developers can start porting their on-premises applications to the cloud, making the task of moving to the cloud a lot easier. There was a lot of heavy lifting done from Cisco’s Control Hub group to support the Cloud API in an elegant manner, but we have done it. Richard Bayes will soon be dedicating a whole blog post on this feature, but in the meantime you can click these links to learn more:
Figure 2. Webex devices Cloud API
In August we released WebApps, and in October we are simplifying creating and deploying them. Let me explain. You see, before this release you needed to have a solid understanding of how to create a macro, and be willing to get your hands a bit dirty with code in order to create a WebApp. Nothing too difficult, but we have now made it way easier.
Remember the old in-room control editor? Now it is not only for in-room controls anymore. We expanded it and gave it a fresh retouch to allow for easy creation of WebApps. A contextual menu tells you how to start the process, which can be as simple as inputting the URL of the app you want to have, and the system will even automatically download an icon from the Internet to match your app. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Now – this is all for October, and I am hoping that next month I will have some good news for you around companion mode and touch re-direct which is due to launch very soon.
Interested in Webex video conferencing for your conferencing devices? Sign up for free.
Hello to everyone that is reading this blog. We have been working hard to bring you some new features this month. In the September release, we are delivering new features to our Webex Board and new features for our management suite, Webex Control Hub.
Webex Board Updates
Up until now, when board users called into a Webex meeting, only one board could start and edit a white board. Everyone else could receive this white board as content, but no one could interact with it.
Now, after a lot of work, we made it possible for two or more boards to collaborate during a Webex meeting. Let’s picture this flow. A few remote sites call into a Webex meeting, a couple of boards are in these sites, and in others maybe a Webex Room Kit or any other Webex conferencing device. One of the boards starts whiteboarding, and the second site jumps in to draw some extra information on the original drawing. There’s interaction, there’s collaboration from those two boards, and the Room Kit receives all this as content. Isn’t this a great way of working? You can see the people, you can enjoy the features of Webex devices like speaker tracking and excellent video and audio quality at the same time you are collaborating in a whiteboard from different locations. That’s is just great and simple.
Microsoft OneDrive Integration
Second in the list is the ability to open and view files stored in OneDrive.
Many of our customers are using OneDrive, and we naturally need to provide the best integration with other tools that users need for their basic work. Remember that we introduced WebApps last month? It was with this very same concept in mind. We are a platform, we have to provide a way to improve our customers workflow, adapt and improve to whatever tool belongs to the users workflow.
So, now you can collaborate in OneDrive or SharePoint online documents on the Webex board by opening the files in the files activity of a space.
Many of you have heard about stickies. Many of you have seen demos of stickies. Well, stickies are finally here. They will help you in your brain storming sessions. They can help you get your ideas organized with multiple colors and sizes, and you can even interact with the Teams client while editing or working on stickies. True collaboration!
Undo and Re-do Buttons
Last but not least in the feature list, we have a small feature, that we are sure that many will find useful despite been kind of just a small button. It’s re-do.
If you are drawing, and delete something with the undo button, you can now press and hold that undo button to reveal the re-do button, and re do all traces you have undone.
Finally, the Webex Board is changing layouts. The Webex Board is updating layouts to improve the call experience! The active speaker and the PiPs will always have a clear real state in the screen. The PiPs will no longer overlay the active speaker area, allowing for the active speaker to be in full view at all times and improving the visual hierarchy of the screen.
The PiPs have been updated from circles to squares with rounded corners. You should also notice that the new way to present the PiP is not available in any other device yet, but this is the direction we are moving forward with the portfolio in the near future.
We are sure our users will love these changes, it will make their meeting more comfortable, keeping the productivity Cisco normally provides, but as always, feedback is welcomed!
This change should be in place for October 16.
Control Hub Updates
Now it is possible to configure RoomOS and Webex Share devices from Webex Control Hub through the new Advanced Configurations. Gone are the days that you needed to log into the device web interface to do an advance configuration, such as the default ringtone volume or changing the second monitor role. We know we need to keep pulling in this direction, and offer our admins even more flexibility to achieve their goals, and therefore our next step is to create a framework to support administrators performing these actions in bulk. Just keep tuned, it’s coming soon.
Device Proactive Alerts
We know IT Admin time is valuable and keeping on top of events happening in the collaboration network can be time consuming. A new feature we have released is Device Alerts, this feature allows an IT admin to subscribe to alerts via Webex Teams and when a device goes offline or has an issue an alert is generated. An alert is also triggered when the device comes back online or the issue has been resolved. This should be handy for many of our admins, right?
Great, this is all for now, some new features, some updates, and even a very small peak at the direction we are moving towards.
North hemisphere summer break is finished, and we are excited to share how we have been working hard here at our Oslo offices to bring you the best experiences with our Webex devices.
The August release is not heavy in the number of features we have, but it shows clearly the direction we are going. Our goal is to make your meetings the easiest to join, the ones with the best content sharing, and the ones where you collaborate with local and remote participants in the best possible way.
My blog before this one was all about the Webex board. And this one is not all about it, but we keep adding features to it.
Starting with one of the most important features we have release so far for board: WebApps.
WebApps is based on the web engine we released just a few weeks back. Users can now create buttons in the home screen of the Webex board, which will redirect them to a Web URL, where users can work using the touch interface of the Webex board.
Think about the case where your teams are working on a kanban board directly from the board, moving tasks around, editing text, and after the meeting it’s finished, there’s no need to take a picture, and go to your laptop to re-do all the work, or anything similar. The work is already done in the right tool. If this sounds interesting, please go to the blog post from my colleague Kristian Sandvik, or check out the video from Richard Bayes, PM for integrations has created a nice video about how to create them:
Let’s keep adding to the list of Webex board features. August release includes new pen sizes. Now when you are drawing in the Webex board, you have the option to click and hold the pen button to display different pen sizes, so your drawing gets more details. Easy, intuitive, and useful!
Moving on to a feature available for the whole portfolio: we have the Webex button!
What’s the Webex button? It’s a much easier and intuitive way to join Webex meetings. If your company is using Webex for meetings, then you should be familiar with the emails every participant receives when a meeting has been scheduled. This email has information around how to join the meeting, and our research shows that the most common way is using the long string of digits.
Before this feature was out, you would have to also look for the URI of the meeting, which many times, depending how the meetings were configured for your company, will be the same digits plus a domain, or just a long URI, then the user will need to start the workflow from the call button, assuming the users understand that they have to “call into the meeting”.
Well, we have done things simpler. Now users have to only worry about that string of digits and clicking on the Webex button will not only tell the users you are actually dialing into a Webex meeting, but it will ask only for those digits, which are easy to find in your email invite. Easy, right?
The last feature for this blog is USB headset support. We had USB headset support for the DX80 in the past, but some customer haven been asking us to support it in more devices. I can’t claim support for the whole portfolio yet, but we’ve started with adding support for the Room Kit, Room Kit Mini, and Room 55. More to come later.
Thanks for reading, go and play with these new features, and as always, feedback is very welcomed.
In my last blog, I promised a much richer release. Well, here you have it! The newest Room OS release is very focused on the Webex Board. We are working on some interesting material, particularly for the end-user. Firstly, we have released an end-user guide, highlighting the simplicity of the Cisco Webex Board experience. Following this, we will have videos showcasing how teams collaborate using the Webex Board, which will have everything you need to cover all your creative and collaboration needs with conference equipment in huddle spaces to the boardroom. The timeframe for the release of these assets will be coming in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!
When it comes to features, we have a good line-up:
I’ll start announcing the availability of Webex Board for on-premises deployments. I know, this blog is about Room OS and the Cloud, but I think it’s something important to talk about, and shows how important this product is to us.
When registered on-premises, the Webex Board still has everything you need in order to collaborate effectively with your team.
First, it’s still an all-in-one device that lets you:
- Share your presentations and documents wirelessly
- Create, draw and digitally whiteboard on a blank canvas, or annotate on any screen capture or document. You then have the option to the share the content via email
- Have video conferences
We believe in building bridges and not islands, so if a customer is comfortable staying on-premises, they now have that deployment option and when the journey to the cloud is desired, we offer a seamless transition.
One of the features you’ll love on the Webex Board in the cloud is digital signage. Digital signage is a way to have custom information on the screen by using a web engine, which basically means that as long as the information is on a web page, you should be able to show it in the real state of your Webex devices. That’s right, this feature is not unique to the Webex Board. It also works on the Room series, with the difference that on the Webex Board – the experience is interactive. The signage will show up during half-wake, and an admin decides which page or pages to show.
Virtual assistants are in vogue, and we have our own. Webex Assistant allows users to control our Webex devices with their voices. The idea is simple – instead of reaching out to touch the Webex Board to interact with the device, you can just instruct the device to start sharing by saying: “Ok Webex, start sharing.” The Board is the last of the Webex devices to get this feature – and the list over possible commands is growing quickly.
You read above that you can use voice commands to avoid having to stand up to interact with the Webex Board. Another really convenient option we are introducing from the Board – completely eliminating the need to stand up and walk up to it, is Touch 10 support.. The Touch 10 has to be remotely paired with the Board since the Board doesn’t have a physical port to connect it to, but once you have the Touch 10 paired, you can answer those calls without having to leave your seat.
Following the work we have done with the Touch 10, we also added support for macros and customizations. Now, using a familiar workflow, , you can create macros and in-room controls for the Webex Board. We are always adding more APIs and better ways to interact with them – for example this time we have added HTTP get & post clients.
Until now, the physical Webex Board screen was all the space you could draw and annotate on.. In this release, we added the possibility of having an infinite whiteboard. You can keep drawing and drawing, Just swipe three fingers in any direction and keep drawing – the pinch and zoom and or out to get an overview of what you’ve just drawn.
If you’re not using Webex Teams, but still want to be able to save your annotations, we have now made it possible to save it as a PDF file and send it to any email address.. In this case, an administrator will configure the Webex Board with an SMTP server that will allow anyone using the Board to save their work by sending an email to himself, or any participant in the meeting.
We also have some exciting features for the rest of the Webex device portfolio this month. video on/off is now not only available on the Board – but also on the rest of the Webex video devices. Many customers know of this feature as “video mute”, and it gives more control over the user’s privacy by allowing them to turn off the video with the press of a button. We encourage the use of video, but from time to time we understand that it can make sense to stop the video to avoid unwanted interruptions – like in this case (Funny video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY).
Around a half a year ago, we introduced the Room Kit Mini with the possibility of connecting the device to a USB-C port of a laptop and using it as a USB camera/speaker/mic. In this release, we are improving the behavior of this feature by setting the “do not disturb (DND)” mode on, just when the soft client starts to actually stream something to the device. Otherwise, the device is still available for regular calls, even if the USB-C cable is connected.
Lastly, we are not forgetting our admin friends, and we also have a feature for them. Up until now, in order to activate a Webex device, you had to enter a 12-digit code on the device’s interface, which meant that someone had to be in front of the device to do this job. When we designed this workflow, we designed it with ease of use in mind.Anyone could register a deviceby entering 12 digits, and an admin could send literally anyone to do that part of the job. Now we are allowing admins to actually do it themselves over the network, either with an API or through the web interface of the device. And of course, having an API means we now have ways to script this task, or open for new activation possibilities in the future.
I hope this was as good of a month for you as it was for us. Keep sending us your feedback, and stay tuned for the next post!
Hello again. Here I’m with an update for Webex devices for May 2019.
Room customizations are a huge part of our work. We feel proud that Cisco Webex conferencing devices are so flexible and allow customers to enable their own workflows to improve their day-to-day work. Of course, all this is possible thanks to our partners actively creating and deploying device customizations.
We started the room customization journey by providing APIs and in-room controls, soon to add more powerful tools such as macros. Since then, we have found a broad variety of new ideas that our customers are deploying.We are even turning some of them into standard features in our portfolio. Keep your eyes open for some of these features coming in June.
Macros have been available for most of the Webex room devices for quite some time, and with this release, we are introducing macros support for Webex Board.
There’s no difference to how macros work on the Webex Board in comparison to any other Webex device. You still use our provided editor to create your new macros, you still use java script as development language, and they are deployed the same way you are used to.
Hopefully you know already where to look for examples on macros, but if you don’t, please go and visit our web page where we have a lot of information on APIs, and a library of macros that can be used as an example to get you started, or inspire you to create new flows.
Go ahead and start playing and creating some macros on the Webex Board, and let us know if you think you’ve got some pretty good macros to show off.
We have also just released a brand new “Customizing Webex Devices” video series, giving you lots of exciting ways to get even more out of your Cisco conferencing systems. Click here and subscribe to the playlist and of course, let us know if you have any great topics you’d like us to cover.
This was a short blog for May, probably because we have many features in the oven just waiting to be done. June and July will be full of new and exciting features that will keep you testing and playing the full summer.
I’m Juan Gallardo, Product Manager for Room OS, the software that runs on our Cisco Webex Collaboration Devices. With this new blog series, I will be sharing all our exciting new features with you, and opening a communication channel with our users. I hope you enjoy it and provide as much feedback as possible.
The Webex Meetings experience becomes even better when combined with Webex devices. Joining a Webex meeting from a Webex device gives you the best video and audio quality you can experience on the market. In the March 2019 release, we have therefore focused on unleashing the power of the platform, giving you more flexibility when meetings and apps come together as one Webex.
The Webex Board is a great all-in-one collaboration tool. You can make video calls, share content wirelessly, express your ideas on a blank whiteboard canvas, and annotate on top of your shared content. We are now making it possible for you to share your creative ideas with everyone in the meeting. In this release, anyone using Webex Meetings can view whiteboarding content from a Webex Board. So, whether you join from a Webex device, a 3rdparty device, a laptop or a mobile phone, you’ll be able to see the shared content.
Users shouldn’t need to know if the conference device in the meeting room is registered to the Cloud, or on-premises in order to know which client they should use to share. We are now enabling the ability to share wirelessly out of the call to any device through Webex Teams and Webex Meetings apps– regardless of where they are registered.
Just enter the room, open your laptop, launch your preferred client, and start sharing in your local meeting. Easy, right?
Wireless sharing of video with audio is also now supported on cloud systems, so Webex Teams users connected to a cloud-registered Webex device can share videos, animations, and any dynamic video and audio content to remote sites.
Webex Events Support
Webex Events lets you easily host events and webinars for several thousand attendees at the same time, and what better than combining this experience with powerful Webex devices? Imagine using Cisco’s speaker tracking technology or using some advanced configuration in a customized meeting room while speaking in a Webex Event. That is what we are making available on this release. Speakers and panelists can log into the Webex Event using a Cisco Webex device and enjoy any of these wonderful experiences created by the hardware and software combination that only Cisco provides in this area.
Artificial intelligence is quickly changing our lives and the way we work.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning removes mundane tasks, increases meeting efficiency and builds more meaningful relationships. Webex Assistant is one of the first iterations of what we can do when we pair AI and Webex devices. Using this new feature, users can control room devices by simply using their voice. Just say “Ok Webex” and the system wakes up and waits for your command. Users can then join scheduled meetings, call someone in the directory, join personal rooms, or even adjust some device controls like volume! And this is just the beginning of many ideas we are cooking in our R&D department.
You may have heard about what we are doing with analytics and our conference devices. Our friends on the Webex Teams App side had a great blog post around this a few weeks back. You may want to go and check what they are doing there.
Providing information on how Webex devices are been used is something that our friends in the IT department have been asking for a long time. This information can be used to take intelligent decisions around adding, removing, or changing devices in different rooms based on some actual data. The information is available through Cisco’s Control Hub, where you can find interactive charts that allow you to filter on a specific device type, utilization, etc., everything to provide admins a better perspective of what’s happening in their meeting rooms.
Remember, RoomOS is getting updated quite often, and we are excited about creating these new experiences for you. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date with what’s new so you can enjoy all the fantastic new features we want to create and make your meeting each day better! I would love to hear your feedback below.
Earlier this year, I was super lucky to have the opportunity to visit some of our very important financial and federal customers in Washington DC and Baltimore. The goal was to conduct user research in order to understand their needs and challenges. It is always so valuable to hear customers’ motivations, opinions, and how they use our product first hand!
Of course, as a product manager, it is rewarding to hear the things that our customers love about Webex: how easy it is to schedule and join a meeting and to easily share content. But, it’s also important to hear the things they would love to see in the future and how they would like to see the product evolve. The customers we interviewed have end-users that use Webex Meetings for all types of different interactions: one-on-one meetings, team meetings, workshops, trainings, quarterly reviews, company all-hands. Most use multiple third-party applications before, during, and after their meetings, and the biggest pain-points they shared were around those transitions.
Simplifying customers’ day in the life
We asked our customers to tell us about their ‘day in the life’ and it was very interesting to see how many different applications they use to get their jobs done. For example, one manager told us that many of her meetings are impromptu as a result of a 1:1 or a group chat. So, for her, switching from her messaging app to starting a meeting on Webex happened many times a day. Everyone we talked to told us how important it is for them to be more efficient and ensure that the tools are simple to use and provide flexibility for their end-users.
Webex has one consistent and simple join meeting experience and the best mobile experience on the market, and now we are making sure that it is integrated with our customers preferred third-party collaboration tools. In my last blog, I shared how our integrations team has been building bridges for Webex and delighting our customers with a seamless end user experience. Today, I would like to tell you about another great project that has been in the works: the Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams integration.
Boost productivity by bringing the power of Webex Meetings into Microsoft Teams
If you use Microsoft Teams to chat with your colleagues, you will now be able to schedule, start or join your Webex Meetings from without having to sign out of Microsoft Teams. This will definitely make the day in your life much simpler!
Watch the video:
Schedule, start, or join Webex Meetings directly from Microsoft Teams
We have created a Webex tab within Microsoft Teams that is super user friendly. You can schedule a meeting for the channel by selecting ‘Schedule’, then you can fill in all the details in the dialog pop-up. You can even schedule recurring meetings with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly frequency.
You can also start a Webex personal room meeting or a Webex scheduled meeting from the Webex tab. To make it easy, you can invite all channel members by checking the box right under the ‘Start Meeting’ button.
Webex personal tab
To make it even more user friendly, we also added your very own Webex personal tab, which you can quickly get to from the left rail in the Microsoft Teams app. From there, you can schedule meetings with anyone, whether they are in a channel or not.
Upcoming Webex Meetings list
From the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list on the right side of the Webex tab, you can join your meeting by clicking on the ‘Join’ button, which will be visible once it’s time to join. If you are the host, then you will be also be able to start your meeting from the list.
Notifications in your Webex Tab and in your Microsoft Teams channel
In the Webex tab, in the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list, if a meeting has started, you can see the meeting time elapsed as well as how many people have already joined the meeting. And when you hover over the ‘People’ icon, you can see their names.
In the Microsoft Teams channel, when a meeting has started from the Webex tab, you get a notification so you can join directly from there.
And when the meeting has ended, you get an end-of-meeting notification in the channel.
If you have recorded your meeting, then you will receive a notification in the channel when the recording is available.
Streamlining your day with Webex
By walking in our customers’ shoes from the first coffee and checking that first message of the day until they are ready to call it a day, I learned that streamlining the various transitions that they need to make throughout their day is definitely key to increasing their productivity. That’s why I am so excited to be able to announce this integration! The Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams integration and many other integrations that we have been working are creating a cohesive ecosystem with the aim of enhancing our customers’ daily routines.
Working at the intersection of design, function and technology: Salamander Designs and Cisco Webex RoomsJan 24 2020 — Marte Holt Sannesmoen
Technology alone is not enough
Work spaces should be a source of inspiration. But they can also be a source of stress, frustration and can put a damper on productivity if they are poorly designed. Ever had a “work from home” day impacted by clutter, outdated furniture and half-painted walls? Yeah, me too.
The same thing goes for the office. You want an office environment that inspires productivity. Stepping and almost stumbling across a set of wires to get to your next meeting, only to find that the set-up is all wrong and you can’t even get everyone on camera does not set you up for a great start.
A company that knows a thing or two about aesthetically pleasing, functional furniture is Salamander Designs. They offer huddle stations, mobile stands/carts, videoconferencing all-in-one solutions, and more. Founded in Connecticut more than 25 years ago, Salamander provides furniture that effortlessly integrates with technology – and fully Cisco compatible! Today’s workforce requires more from their employers; not only do they want flexible working arrangements and collaboration technologies that allow them to connect with those who matter, when it matters, but they also want to be in an office that is beautiful and functional. We met up with folks from Salamander for a little chat about all things design, collaboration technology and changing employee expectations.
“Most often, our clients have two priorities. One is all about function and another one is all about design, and we want to get it right and completely satisfy both concerns.” – Scott Srolis, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, Salamander Designs.
Preparing for the unpredictable
New collaboration technologies and nomad-style workers have changed the office environment. Huddle-spaces and hot desking are taking over the traditional stationary office set-ups. These changes are often cumulative or unpredictable – and it can get very expensive. Chris Discotto, Director of Sales for Salamander Designs, sees their furniture as a labor-saving piece, creating flexible solutions that save money in the long run: “When offices get redesigned, you can simply and easily reposition the cabinet, which is much more affordable and faster than traditional construction solutions. If you redesign the office, you just change the location of the furniture, and we can also change the design.”
In this day and age, the discourse is no longer on work-life balance, but work-life compatibility. One’s work and private lives are no longer seen as two separate entities where if one holds more weight than the other the balance is off, but rather as something intertwined. Salamander Designs have seen this shift in the demand for a more domestic aesthetic in commercial places. As Chris mentioned: “We have seen a reinvention of market and meeting spaces. Things used to be very grey, there was only a focus on function, not form. But we have seen that employers want their employees to be more comfortable, everyone is working differently right now with different technologies, so there is a need for furniture to reflect and accommodate that.”
There are many things to take into account for organizations that are redesigning their spaces, starting to employ room systems or are at the beginning of their workplace transformation journey. Webex Rooms are designed with the end-user in mind and has fewer points of pain compared to other meeting and endpoint vendors. Don’t just take our word for it, 23 Red Dot awards speak for themselves. The same goes for Salamander Designs’ furniture solutions. They are intuitive, practical and integrate effortlessly with technology and decor. This frees up precious time, so you can focus on what really matters – getting stuff done.
Or, you know, spend your time actually painting the full wall.
Click here to learn more the Webex Room Series can meet you video-conferencing needs
Balancing work and life
Workplaces are becoming more and more lenient on where their employees can work, due to enhancements in technology, making people accessible wherever they are. As of August 2019, a Global Workplace Analytics survey showed that 40% more U.S employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago.
Video conferencing has been a huge enabler of this shift. Employees no longer need to be in a conference room or office setting to take meetings. Meetings can be taken from a home office, a car, even the sidelines of a soccer match.
A ValueWalk article on work/life balance mentions, “we operate in a world where “balance” can be achieved through advancements in technology. Conference calls have become video calls and most video calling platforms are now integrating other tools that increase the opportunity for collaboration. Most importantly, all of these solutions are available on mobile platforms.”
The ability to work anywhere, anytime, without sacrificing human connection brings more opportunities and flexibility than ever before.
Check out this article to dive deeper on the role mobile platforms play, how team collaboration tools enhance how people collaborate, and how artificial intelligence and virtual assistants are helping people save time on otherwise timely activities.. like taking meeting notes.
And hear what a few Cisco employees thoughts on why they value work/life balance:
Personalize your team meetings with these top four screen sharing features
Cisco Webex Meetings 39.9: Discovering some video conferencing hacks
How web conferencing can be utilized for real-time online collaboration
Webex Devices: Transforming Workspaces So You Can Get Stuff Done
Use of video conferencing in healthcare
Imagine you’re starting to experience pain in your neck. Or you’ve noticed that your lymph nodes are enlarged or swollen. Before panicking, you make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out. Once there, the doctor takes a biopsy and sends it to a lab to be examined and tested.
That’s where Dr. Lester Thompson comes in.
Dr. Thompson started his career as an orthopedic surgeon, but with a passion for pathology, he took a job with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) to render diagnoses and consultations on unusual diseases. After more than a decade, he started Head and Neck Pathology Consultations where he currently works today and has been for the past 16 years, as a consultant pathologist. Tucked away in Woodland Hills, California, he focuses his time and energy on head, neck, and endocrine pathology (think anything below the eyes and above the clavicles). Specifically, he provides a second opinion on pathology cases that are difficult to diagnose. In the nation, there are little more than a dozen other people who do what he does—and in that, there are even further subspecialties.
On a daily basis, he consults with hospitals around the world, primarily interacting with other physicians. Doctors/physicians take samples of tissue or fluids and send them to Dr. Thompson to examine if they are unable to come up with a diagnosis themselves.
Video conferencing with a microscope
Once sent the samples, Dr. Thompson uses his microscope to look for slightest variations between normal and abnormal to give a diagnosis. Once he comes up with a diagnosis, he sends the results back to the requesting pathologist, who then provides the results to the treating physicians who are working with the patient.
The step that enhances this exchange is Webex video conferencing. Pathology is an extremely visual field. Every color, border, size, and shape matters. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth even more”, explains Dr. Thompson. He started using Webex Meetings five years ago to meet with each physician and walk through his pathology reports. He has since taken video conferencing a step further. By attaching a camera to his microscope, he’s able to share his screen in real-time and point out the most important details on the pathology slide, sharing the features that led to his diagnosis. This provides real-time education for the physicians—well beyond anything a static written report could provide—and helps ensure accuracy in the diagnoses for patients going forward. The recorded meetings can be saved to use in further reference and education.
In addition, the security that Webex provides is extremely important in dealing with patient information and records. Because he has complete control over his screen sharing, he can ensure no identifying information is revealed. And with end-to-end encryption, Webex keeps meeting content secure at all times during the meetings.
A bridge from patient anxiety to assurance
While his work typically ends with the physician, he often interacts with the patient directly. One particular case was a little different.
Dr. Thompson received a consultation case for someone in Greece. It was a thyroid case and he was sent a small biopsy of a thyroid tumor to examine. He diagnosed it as an undifferentiated carcinoma, which is a rare and extremely aggressive form of thyroid cancer. The patient had less than a few months left to live.
The doctor in Greece asked Dr. Thompson if he would be willing to speak to the family so they could better understand the severity of the tumor. Through a video conference using Webex, he spoke to the daughter. Rather than using obscure medical terminology, he chose instead to communicate the essence of time. He asked if there was something that her dad (the patient) had always wanted to do, but hadn’t yet done. Upon learning about a family vacation to Hawaii, he told them to do it in the next month or two. Four months later, the daughter sent Dr. Thompson a postcard from Hawaii, where their entire family, including her dad, got to spend time together on a trip they had always wanted to take—about 6 weeks before he died.
Dr. Thompson comments that Webex meetings are time-independent. You can join with anyone around the world, in any time zone and talk to them like you are there in the room. In this case, he was able to communicate with the patient’s family on a much more intimate level, delivering very sensitive and life-changing news. The video functionality allows for real conversations, and diagnoses and relationships to be formed. That is really powerful.
And, there’s more…
The qualitative use cases are numerous, but Dr. Thompson has also benefited in other ways. When he first started, he was being sent 70 cases per year. Now, he gets up to 1,300 cases per year. His caseload has increased by 10% every year for the past five years. And, with video conferencing and being able to talk to physicians individually, he is able to keep up with each case and provide them the care and time they need.
For Dr. Thompson, his job isn’t about curing everyone. It’s about giving the right diagnosis at the right time so a person knows and understands the next course of action- whether that be treatment, or in severe cases, how much time they may have left to live.
Webex video conferencing is the bridge. It can take a patient from anxiety and uncertainty to understanding and assurance in more ways than one.
Try Webex Meetings for free today and watch the video below:
Webex Meetings update: Deep integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams, Smarter background noise detection and suppression, and much, much, more…Dec 11 2019 — Connie Tang
You’ve probably heard us talk about building bridges, not islands. With this month’s Webex Meetings updates, you’ll see that we’ve done a lot to bring the power of Webex Meetings into the tools that you regularly use – like Slack, Microsoft Teams, iOS and Samsung devices, IBM Video Cloud, and more. These integrations, along with other features, will make your Webex Meetings experience more delightful, wherever and however you choose to have a meeting. And of course, simplicity of experience is always our top priority!
Checkout innovative updates with Webex Meetings:
- Webex Meetings integrations with Microsoft Teams lets you have a great meeting experience from within a Microsoft Teams channel – from scheduling to joining and recording. When users schedule a meeting, all channel members are invited and become notified of the meeting. All end-of-meeting and recording notifications will also be posted in the channel in real-time. This is pending availability of the new MS Teams app in the Webex App Hub.
- We recently shared integrations that let you experience the whole Webex Meetings lifecycle within Slack. These further improve your meeting experience from within a channel with features such as user status updates, list recordings for hosts, meeting reminders support, and the ability to launch a Personal Room via a dedicated call button.
- Smarter background noise detection and suppression gives you a better audio experience. Webex reduces background noises coming from room video systems while minimizing voice suppression. The balance of these new features allows speech volume to be preserved during noise suppression.
- Easily move your Webex meeting from your phone to desktop with Samsung’s DeX dual-screen support. We recently did a demo of Webex Meetings working on a DeX display at the Samsung Developer Conference. Samsung mobile users can switch between mobile or external monitors while in Samsung DeX Dual Mode and then share their screen to a monitor via HDMI cable. This creates seamless ongoing Webex meeting transitions. One more feature: You can also use Samsung’s Bixby voice commands to join a Webex meeting.
- Share your own video and rear-facing video with dual-camera support on the Webex Meetings Mobile app for iPhones and iPads. With the dual-camera feature, you don’t have to choose between front OR rear cameras. For example, you can have a video call with an expert to troubleshoot a problem at a remote site – like a manufacturing site – and then send your video and the remote site video with the expert in the same video panel. This feature is unique to Cisco.
- Livestream Webex Meetings: You can already live stream a Webex meeting to Facebook, which is a business-to-consumer solution. We’ve recently added the ability to more options to live stream to an enterprise audience. Webex Meetings’ recent integration with vBrick Rev and IBM Cloud Video means you have two additional channels to live stream Webex Meetings for large enterprise audiences, corporate townhalls, webcasts, and training, etc. This feature is currently in beta.
- Recover your video conference quality more quickly after network congestion and packet loss. Network conditions will not always be ideal. We have enhanced our algorithms so that whenever there is network degradation, Webex Meetings will quickly recover from latency and packet loss within a few seconds to maintain a smooth video experience.
- Improved user upgrade experience by decoupling the Webex Meetings desktop app from productivity tool plug-ins like Microsoft Outlook/Office and IBM Lotus Notes. Mac users who do not have administrative rights can now have Webex Meetings desktop app automatically updated. Transitioning to the O365 add-in requires the Outlook plug-in to be uninstalled, so decoupling allows Outlook plug-in to be uninstalled with no impact to the Webex Desktop App.
- Share pictures from the local device file system into Webex Meetings from Android devices. When presenting from your mobile device, you can share photos from your device’s file system and even annotate it on the photos.
10. Take a shortcut into your personal meeting room: Introduced in October, Webex.new is now officially supported with a quick and easy way to get into your Personal Room– right from the browser. Letsmeet.new and mymeet.new will also get you there.
For more details on the Webex Meetings 39.10 update, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite (WBS39)
See all the Webex Meetings updates here
Connecting video devices with XoWS
Cisco manufactures, hands down, best of breed Collaboration Video Devices in the world. Around April of this year, one of our Technical Leaders, Magnus Ohm, published a fantastic blog about xAPI-over-WebSockets (XoWS). It got our Python developers stoked! Connecting to our award-winning video devices using persistent web socket connections opened tremendous opportunities into delivering some fantastic use cases.
At Cisco, Technical Marketing Engineers help demystify complex architectures. We build out-of-the-box demonstrations and often times, we develop highly specialized proof of concepts. In this blog, I’ll discuss how the XoWS feature was used to articulate the “art of the possible” for one our customers.
While preparing for Cisco Live US in June, I was asked to help solve an interesting customer problem; manage multiple integrator video devices from a single pane of glass. If you’ve been surrounded by Cisco Collaboration as long as I have, then you may already be considering our Telepresence Management Suite application as the viable solution – remember Conference Control Center? What was so unique about this challenge then? Well, for one, the solution needed to manage several on-premises registered video devices, with the potential to control cloud registered (Webex) video devices as well; some potentially registered to different organizations or perhaps no call controller at all. Of course, these devices would be deployed across disparate networks and “Swiss cheesing” firewalls to access every codec’s web-based user interface was out of the question! The users needed a “bulk management” or “white-glove-service” portal of sorts.
Delivering the best solution
To get started, I was provided a handful of requirements –
(1) The users need to Dial / Answer / Hang-up / Transfer calls on the video devices
(2) They would like a preview of the Remote participant currently on a call
(3) 10 or more users would concurrently access this web page
(4) 15 or more video devices would need to be controlled from this web page
(5) Users would access this web page from different locations
(6) The video devices are hosted in different data centers
(7) There may be a mix of on-premises or cloud registered video devices
Surely, I could have wired up a single page application that could connect to every video codec the customer needed to control, but where’s the fun in that? How would you scale gracefully when you’re told ten or more users would tinker with fifteen, maybe twenty or more video devices from different physical locations – concurrently? Now before we go any further, let’s all keep in mind that this was a Proof-of-Concept to be built, not a TAC supported product. Just a creative yet scalable way to solve a problem. If you’re familiar with our XAPIs, or may have used the jsxapi library, your mind may already have connected the dots and creatively “solutioned” the problem, but wait! We had just released support for XoWS with CE 9.7.1! Wouldn’t that theoretically provide a scalable way to accomplish the mission?
Let’s dive into those requirements I mentioned earlier:
Requirement #1 (Need to Dial / Answer / Hang-up / Transfer calls ) – Whether you use the jsxapi library and connect over SSH, or decide to POST over HTTPS, this requirement can be easily fulfilled by understanding the codec’s xCommands. See API Reference Guide
For example, xCommand Dial Number: “12345” Protocol: H323
Eine Minute Bitte! Hold up! Requirements #3 (10 or more users with concurrent access) and #4 (15 or more video devices) suggest we would need a way to send these xCommands to multiple video devices and somehow avoid multiple users from sending redundant commands to the same codec from separate sessions! Does that mean I need to consider managing user sessions, and, communication between these sessions?
Any web server with the right network access would address requirement #5 (Access web page from different locations) and if the video devices are on a routable customer network, requirement #6 (Video devices hosted in different data centers) would be met by this web server as well.
Requirement #7 (Mix of on-premises or cloud registered video devices) sounds tricky. At the time of writing this blog, we did not have the Cloud xAPI feature generally available for our cloud registered video devices. However, since we would deploy a web server for the user interface, why not develop “agents” or “connectors” that could access these video devices using the Integrator or Room Control roles!! Let’s also de-centralize the architecture for scale while we’re at it!
I’ve saved the best for last! Requirement #2 (Remote snapshots) – we do not officially support any way of providing snapshots of the “Remote” participant on a call, unless the call is “unencrypted” – full disclosure, this is a caveat and as such, I will not dive deeper into this topic. The objective here is to highlight the benefit of WebSocket support on our video devices!
Enter Project Codec Commander! A proof-of-concept powered by NodeJS, Redis and leveraging the XoWS feature available exclusively on Cisco Video Devices. For folks new to Cisco Collaboration, the word “codec” is often used to describe a video device.
NodeJS provides us the flexibility to consume it as a web server as well as an “agent”. It’s extremely easy to get started with NodeJS over just an Internet connection; check out Glitch! NodeJS also has several well-documented and mature packages for developing WebSocket client and servers, drivers for datastore connectivity, and your script can also be easily packaged or run as a “forked” process.
Redis is an absolutely fantastic in-memory data structure store. Some readers may argue a case for Kafka, RabbitMQ or others, but when asked to deliver a quick solution, I believe one should do so with the method they are most comfortable executing. In this case, Redis was used for storing JSON objects containing information about the code, but the real magic of commanding numerous video devices was best experienced when Redis was also utilized a message broker! (Illustration below):
What? Message broker? Yes! Think back to the requirements. We need a way to transmit commands from a user’s browser session, across and over to an individual video device, racked in a remote data center somewhere. This system would also need to accept xEvents from every video device, transmit the information back over to every active user’s browser, and manipulate the user interfaces. “Proof-of-concept” by definition is proof that a solution is viable in a very short amount of time and Redis provides the best-fit “Message Broker”, easy to consume on-premise, or inexpensively sourced from a cloud provider like Redis Labs.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty
Now that you have a view into the high-level architecture, let’s dive into some of the design details. (Refer to above illustration)
(A) Client Commander – This is a NodeJS web server that provides the following:
- Web socket server to orchestrate communications to/from and between multiple user sessions
- Redis Publisher to update data and send commands to video devices
- Redis Subscriber to receive notifications from video devices and other systems
(B) Message Broker – this is a Redis server that provides the following:
- Data store containing information about every video device (e.g. Serial #, Name, SIP URI, Display Name, Status etc)
- Pub/Sub broker sending/receiving data payloads across (A) Client Commander and (C) Codec Commander
(C) Codec Commander – These are individual NodeJS scripts that act as “agents”. Each agent is assigned to a particular video device for scalability and resilience. These scripts provide the following:
- Web socket client that connects to the codec and queries configuration data
- Subscribes to assigned codec’s xEvents and xStatus JSONRPC messages to monitor various states
- Sends xCommand and xConfig JSONRPC payloads to it’s assigned codec
- Redis Publisher to update codec data and send events/notifications from video devices
- Redis Subscriber to receive commands destined to the assigned codec
- 3 second preview snapshots using fetch()
In less than 2 weeks, XoWS provided us the ability to build a functional demonstration. Here’s a glimpse of an early release of the web interface:
** UI credits: Lauren Ramgattie & Peter Welburn
Note: I was lucky to have Lauren & Peter help design and develop the user interface.! That’s not my area of forte and I cannot express enough, the importance of partnering with interface designers! No software demonstration or PoC can communicate its value proposition without an effective user interface! Thank you Lauren & Peter!
Deliver the art of possible
In conclusion, the XoWS feature provides developers with exceptional control and scale over Cisco video devices. Starting from release CE 9.7.1 and above, WebSocket connectivity on Cisco video devices will provide persistent connection capabilities for your client applications. It’s availability as a protocol on our Collaboration Endpoint ecosystem creates invaluable opportunities for our customers and partners. XoWS is an extremely powerful differentiator that enables highly scalable and secure ways of codec management, control and transformative workflow integrations. Reach out for more information or tell us more about how you are using XoWS creatively to solve your unique collaboration challenges!
For more information on xAPI-over-WebSockets (XoWS), I highly recommend you read Magnus’ blog posted here
To learn more about Codec Commander, send us an email – email@example.com
Business travel is a major expense for many SMBs. Data from expense management provider Concur has revealed that average SMB employees spend more on airfare, lodging, ground transportation, dining and car rentals than their counterparts at a large enterprise organization. For some SMBs, company-related travel constitutes more than 10% of their budgets, even though it’s not a value-added activity. More money on travel means less for everything else.
There is no shortage of tips and tricks for reducing travel costs, from trying to avoid checked luggage fees to booking cheaper flights with more elaborate connections. But perhaps the most effective is to simply do less travel overall. How can SMBs make this gain without sacrificing their all-important connections with customers, partners and remote teams? Video conferencing solutions provide a great starting point for more cost-effective collaboration.
Why video conferencing is perfect for budget-conscious SMBs
Not all forms of collaboration are equally rich and immersive. For example, a salesperson sending a prospect an email pitch is usually a good way to do introductions, provide a high-level overview and list out the next steps, but it’s hardly ideal for going much deeper than that. A call followed by an in-person meeting will be likely necessary to close the deal. That requires more spending on travel – unless video conferencing can fulfill the same role.
A video conferencing platform allows for in-depth interactions over high-definition (HD) video. In addition to being able to see everyone’s reactions in real-time, the sales team can also harness the power of features such as screen sharing – either of their whole screens or just a particular app or document – or use the video stream to walk through a live product demo. These video conferences also have the benefit of being more focused than an audio-only meeting, as there’s less chance of someone multitasking while on mute.
Moreover, by investing in a video conferencing system like Webex, SMBs can eliminate potentially thousands in business travel expense per year. Almost nine in ten (87%) of respondents to a Wainhouse Research survey cited reduced travel as a benefit of video solution deployment. At the same time, video conferencing saves money in other indirect ways, too. Let’s explore some of the additional benefits of video for SMBs and how they contribute to a more manageable budget and a more productive sales cycle.
Beyond travel: Video’s impact on productivity, decision-making, and more
With video conferencing in place, SMBs can do more than just immediately curtail their travel costs. They can also:
Improve employee productivity
Inefficient meetings are a major drain on the productivity of everyone in them, as well as a substantial opportunity cost for the company. After all, every minute spent in an unnecessary meeting is one that could have been spent on a different, more worthwhile task.
Video conferencing technology helps facilitate more effective meetings:
- Instead of wading through a complex process just to join a conference (long PINs, downloads, etc.), attendees can simply click or tap to join a Webex conference.
- They don’t even have to download a dedicated app if they don’t want to or can’t do so – the entire meeting can be experienced through the browser.
- Clear video keeps the meeting focused and on track. Everyone can be seen and names can be put to faces, so there’s less confusion.
- Meetings can also be easily recorded for later review by anyone who wasn’t there or who needs a refresher.
Support mobile and remote workers
Telecommuting has become more common since the early 2000s, thanks to changes in employee preferences and the emergence of technologies like smartphones and SaaS. There are risks to remote work, however.
The State of Remote Work 2018 report from Buffer found that loneliness and collaborating/communicating were the most cited challenges by remote workers. Video conferencing can address both of these problems.
HD video and crisp audio can make it feel like teams are in the same room with each other, no matter where they are. Paired with features for screen sharing, recording, and more, a video conferencing solution also provides a comprehensive way to collaborate and communicate.
Integrate with other tools and workflows
It’s easy to configure Webex and then integrate it into your SMB’s current workflow. Integrations are available with multiple popular applications, from Salesforce and Google Calendar to Slack and Microsoft Teams.
In other words, Webex can be easily shaped to your organization’s particular requirements and workflows. Whether you plan to use it to help close more sales, provide online trainings to staff or simply host regularly scheduled meetings, Webex can fit the occasion. Learn more by starting your free trial today.
Give everyone the best experiences as they collaborate across the globe, with Cisco team collaborationMay 30 2019 — Deepa Mahendraker
Today, people work from where they can. Work is no longer happening only within the four walls of a single building. In fact, 65% of full-time employees think remote work increases productivity. And this is validated by two-thirds of managers.
In addition, work no longer just happens within a single company. More than 55% of business leaders are extending collaboration to external parties. This means that there is an increase in collaboration between companies, and between people in different locations.
Of course, people expect team collaboration to be seamless. Who wants to spend time working out how to work with someone else depending on their location? In order for people to be able to be as productive as possible, collaboration tools need to be easy to use, and offer great user experiences. They need to enable people to work with others, wherever they are, at any time – that’s a given.
However, at the same time, privacy, security and compliance are a key consideration when selecting a team collaboration solution. And as more people work with others inside and outside their company, and increasingly with more people in different locations, these considerations extend to where important information is located. This study shows that keeping data in-region is now a key consideration.
We understand these needs – privacy, security and compliance are a key factor in Webex solution design. As a truly global service, our Webex Meetings service has a globally distributed architecture, and there are many ways in which Webex helps customers work with the solutions that they have in place, which is key to keeping data in-region.
Security and privacy
As a global service provider, we understand that our customers require their data to be handled securely, with privacy and resiliency. They look to us to solve these problems:
- Keep my data local to my region, for reasons of privacy and regulatory compliance.
- Don’t make my users’ apps hop across oceans to connect to your services – reduce latency
- Ensure service availability
- Allow my users to collaborate with anyone, from any company, why they need to – because collaboration is the fuel that drives innovation and productivity.
- Let me keep an eye on the exchange of information by my users both inside my company and with external people, so I can enforce company policies without stifling productivity and innovation.
The next logical step for us is to introduce new European data centers for Webex Teams itself, to hold personal information and encryption keys for team collaboration. These data centers are located in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and are in addition to our US data centers and provide in-region storage of our customers’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII) data and encryption keys used to encrypt user generated content.
Keeping key information in-region without compromising global team collaboration
What does this mean for you and your users? Well – the answer is that your users get the same great collaboration experience they are used to, while keeping important information in-region. Cisco Webex achieves data locality without compromising on the promise of a global collaboration platform.
What are the potential issues with global collaboration?
Most cloud solutions drive businesses through instance-based workloads, requiring users to sign-in to specific logically separated instances of a service. These cloud services may be multi-tenant, so this approach provides a sense of separation of customer data, although it is not truly a physical separation.
This model introduces cumbersome administrative overhead. It allows cross-organization communications through guest accounts – which essentially replicates a user’s PII in two different logical locations for performant reasons.
Managing such guest accounts is akin to having multiple phones for each company you work with.
In this scenario, the compliance officers of a guest user have no visibility into these communications – leaving a large gap for compliance, eDiscovery and legal requirements. This results in Information Security overseers and CIOs resisting introducing solutions that enable external communication. The effect of this can be to inadvertently encourage other “non-approved” apps for external communications and collaboration, due to business needs.
How does Cisco Webex Teams resolve the issues?
In Cisco Webex Teams, there is a single identity, a single conversation thread, and a single place for all users’ collaboration messages, whiteboard drawings and file sharing. Webex Teams has unique ownership rules for users as they collaborate. And we enable clear visibility to all organizations for multi-organization communications.
Like other cloud service providers, Webex Teams is multi-tenant; but it also allows for co-mingling. Co-mingling allows messages from users from different companies to be associated with a project space. With Webex Teams, compliance managers from each company have visibility of those messages and have the option to control aspects such as:
- Prevent co-mingling, if you want to.
- Enable visibility, if you choose to allow co-mingling.
- Take action, in case of data leaks.
- Hold encryption keys on-premises. Note that Webex Teams provides end-to-end encryption of all user-generated content, whether or not you require this level of control.
How does this model work with global data centers?
As we introduce physically separate data centers with multiple instances of services, how do we meet the needs of global seamless, simple and intuitive collaboration?
Our design leverages the concept of federation to make this happen.
What is Federation?
Federation is a complex capability for services to be able to discover each other, trust each other, communicate information to each other in order to support seamless workloads from the clients. This has to be done without compromising the service’s own integrity and availability in case the other service is no longer available for any reason.
With the European data center, we have the following globally federated services:
- Identity services – single user, single organization, single search. No duplication of PII.
- Authentication services – SAML and OAuth 2.0 standards based global authentication and authorization services.
- Encryption keys – locally stored keys, globally available as needed through secure channels.
Our future phases will introduce locally stored messages, files, whiteboards (all always encrypted) with global access (only if authorized by the customer).
And what you, the Customer, gains..
Through all of the above semi-technical jargon, what do you stand to gain when you use Cisco Webex Teams?
- Your data is stored in your regional data center– you meet regulatory and privacy needs.
- Your users have faster connection times to the collaboration tools you provide them – because clients connect to the data centers closest to them.
- You are assured of improved service availability through service isolation – an outage of a data center in another part of the world should not impact your users.
- You do not have to stifle productivity and collaboration because Cisco Webex supports your need for access and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, any device.
- You are assured of enterprise grade security in your user generated content (messages, files, boards) with end to end encryption and keys now stored in your region.
- You are assured of 100% visibility on the information exchange amongst your users, even when they communicate with external users and across any data center – the global search and compliance capabilities ensure eDiscovery continues to work as expected even if your users’ are collaborating with users from remote data centers
- You can enforce your compliance policies, in case your users inadvertently get out of compliance and share sensitive data with others. Due to the ownership rules and the global nature of our services and CASB integrations, you can continue to enforce DLP policies even if the content is stored in remote data centers
Please also review the blog – Three things to consider for safe and secure team collaboration for more insights on that topic.
Visit our booth at Cisco Live US to learn more about all the latest Webex innovations, and speak to our experts about how we can help you achieve more.
Check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:
Security has been a key concern about video conferencing services since their inception. It was even a hot topic in pieces of popular culture, such as the groundbreaking film “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the animated series “The Jetsons,” that were released before video calling technology was commercially available.
For example, in “The Jetsons,” which is about a family living in the futuristic space age, the characters make extensive use of on-demand video conference software, but are sometimes conscious of how its presence in their homes and workplaces raises the stakes for security and privacy. They use masks and decoys in some episodes to hide their real appearance from the viewers on the other side of the screen.
Today, in the real world, the stakes for video conferencing security are even higher. An unsecured video conferencing solution not only opens up the possibility of meetings being listened in on, it also likely indicates a compromised network, vulnerable to any number of cyberattacks.
As video conferencing services become more popular, security must remain a priority. We’ve compiled a few things you should focus on when shopping for a high-quality solution.
Encrypted video conferencing is the best way to ensure any sensitive discussions and materials don’t fall into the wrong hands. As such, it’s a key requirement in many audits for highly regulated industries including finance, law, and healthcare.
With Webex, organizations in these sectors and others can meet high bars for security while supporting seamless collaboration between their increasingly mobile and remote teams. All communications between Webex clients such as phones or desktops and the cloud are encrypted using strong ciphers and current industry-standard protocols.
Your security team may control and manage Webex encryption keys if needed, configure end-to-end encryption, and safely store some meetings and user data locally. In the latter situation, Webex Meetings will encrypt all passwords with SHA-2 hashing and salting and also Network Based Recordings at both the file and volume level.
Security breaches are costly. One estimate from the Ponemon Institute pegged the average cost per incident between $2.1 million and $5.7 million, depending on the number of records affected. Data loss prevention (DLP) tools have long been the first line of defense against the actions that often precipitate breaches, such as the unusual movement of sensitive files.
But traditional approaches to DLP are now struggling with cloud services that make it relatively straightforward to send data beyond the corporate firewall and to bypass company-owned endpoints altogether. In 2016, Gartner predicted that by 2020 one-third of cyberattacks against enterprises would involve unauthorized shadow IT devices. That would only further confirm the limitations of conventional measures, which are often cumbersome and difficult to scale.
Effective DLP, and by extension overall security compliance, now requires tight integration with modern tools, including video conferencing and cloud-based team collaboration software. Webex empowers compliance managers to integrate their existing DLP policies, in order to secure content sharing with people outside the organization. Integrations are available with Cisco Cloudlock and third-party services, too.
Security options for administrators
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all for video conferencing. Even in the “The Jetsons,” different occasions merited the use of different setups for video calling, such as the specialized Visaphone booth that was utilized instead of a smaller monitor in several episodes. For security purposes, it’s likewise good to have a variety of options at your fingertips, such as configurable security settings.
In Webex, administrators can take actions such as:
- Applying strong password rules to Webex Access Anywhere.
- Requiring authentication for all hosts and attendees wanting to access the site.
- Allowing hosts to customize meeting access security within predefined parameters.
- Letting any meeting be unlisted from calendars.
- Making meetings automatically end after a certain time or if only one attended remains.
- Mandating attendees have a Webex account on the site to join.
- Permitting users to store their email addresses and names to easily join in the future.
- Enforcing various lock controls for Webex Personal Rooms.
The flexibility of Webex means that you can make sure each meeting is done the right way, with appropriate security settings for safe and productive collaboration.
The road to more secure collaboration
Secure collaboration is a balancing act, between meeting end-user expectations for a convenient experience that makes it easy to connect with colleagues, partners, and clients while also satisfying high-stakes requirements for security and compliance.
Webex provides a fully secure collaboration platform that does not compromise on essential features such as content sharing and search. Try Cisco Webex for free today!
Quick poll: Who loves the waiting room? Quick answer: No one.
With its stale coffee, old magazines, and daytime television, waiting rooms are a bastion of lost productivity. Everyone from clients, to your support staff, could be doing something better with his or her time. And then there are no-shows, who cost time and money.
Participants can attend workers’ compensation hearings right from their homes or offices.
Life shouldn’t have to be like this, so fortunately it’s all about to change for the better.
Learn how Cloverhound used the robust Cisco Webex Teams, team collaboration platform to solve the waiting room conundrum once and for all (stale coffee not included).
VirtualCourts™: Solving the problem through video conferencing
Every month, tens of thousands of people are involved in workers’ compensation claims in New York State. There are dozens of people involved in a single hearing: the judge and claimant, of course, but also the stenographers, translators, facilities crew, and many others who make the system work.
The wheels of justice turn slowly, especially when each hearing relies on long commutes and high travel costs.
The New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) realized the loss in productivity—not only for their workforce, but also for the workers, employers, and lawyers they serve. Their desire to increase efficiencies and modernize how they do business drove them to look for a solution to reduce hearing no-shows, streamline the check-in process, and create a virtual-hearing experience.
To accommodate this, Cloverhound developed an easier way to conduct these hearings that Cisco’s Webex blog calls,“a first-in-the-nation solution, built on the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, that allows injured workers and other participants to attend workers’ compensation hearings right from their homes or offices. This solution is a critical piece to removing obstacles and reducing the inherent stress accompanying the hearing process.”
The Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform: Empowering online meetings
Powered by the Cisco Webex Teams, team collaboration platform, VirtualCourts leverages Cloverhound’s VirtualQ™ framework to seamlessly integrate robust case management with Webex APIs to provide an intuitive and efficient solution, requiring zero administration by court staff.
VirtualQ is built using the latest web technologies available through a collaborative agile development process. At the center of the application is a cloud native backend service that uses WebSockets to send real-time updates to a react-based web application. By leveraging a modern cloud architecture, the backend is both scalable and resilient. All processing is stateless and balanced across multiple nodes across multiple data centers, allowing for dynamic scaling (by adding additional nodes) and seamless recovery from failures in any single node. All data is replicated on the fly and is automatically recovered and re-enabled in the case of failures.
The backend is responsible for maintaining the hearing schedule through the court’s case management APIs, enforcing the rules of the check-in process, and routing updates between participants and the judges and support staff. As participants check in to hearings, their information is automatically captured and broadcast in real time to the judges’ dashboards.
Using Cisco’s Webex API, judges can then click to launch their hearing’s Webex room, simultaneously notifying all participants with a link to open Webex and join the hearing. The current implementation requires participants to install the native Webex application to conduct hearings, but the forthcoming iOS (2018) and Android (2019) apps employ the Webex Teams SDK to seamlessly embed WebRTC video conferencing directly within the app.
Once both mobile apps have been officially released, the teams plan to integrate the same SDK into the web application, eliminating any need for web-based participants to install any software.
The application’s core users—judges and court-system support staff—authenticate using SAML Single Sign-On, which allows verified users to securely access the application using their existing corporate login and password. Account metadata from the court system’s Microsoft ADFS site allows the application to route judges and court-system staff to the correct dashboards and to control access to administrative features, such as site-wide messaging and report generation.
The application frontend uses Google’s translation service to support 100 different written languages and variants. All web content complies fully with NYS Policy NYS-P08-005 as described in Federal Government Publication Section 508, which specifies that all web applications used by the state should meet or exceed the standards set in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
Collaborative video conferencing: Four huge efficiency wins.
New York State has rolled out VirtualCourts across 22 of 26 sites with a target of 24 sites enabled before the end of 2018. The remaining sites require architecture changes that are outside the scope of the current project and will be rolled out once their respective changes are performed. This platform has streamlined multiple processes for the State of New York.
First, the hearing check-in process is completely digital. Participants no longer need to check in at a front desk, provide their information, and then wait to be called. No-shows have fewer excuses, and productivity is no longer lost to the waiting room.
Second, judges no longer have to check in with courtroom staff to see which hearings are on the docket. Judges log in to their hearing dashboard quickly and securely to see the status of each hearing.
Third, it increases the accessibility of the hearing process by allowing employers and claimants to be part of the hearings without having to leave their offices or homes. For claimants who suffer from debilitating injuries or are living out of state, the benefits of VirtualCourts are invaluable.
Finally, the virtual hearing solution is now handling 90% of all of NYS WCB hearings with plans to beat 100% (1,250 hearings per day) in early 2019. To date, over 100,000 hearings have been scheduled within the VirtualCourts platform with more than 33,000 of these involving at least one party who appeared remotely–successfully connecting injured workers, law judges, and representatives from all over New York and nationally.
The chart above shows the total number of hearings over time with the 2018 and 2019 numbers as projections based on the data that is currently available. We’re not only talking about the court system benefiting from being able to process more claims; we’re also talking about claimants getting their settlements faster, employers being able to resolve disputes quicker, lawyers being able to provide services to more people in a single year, and fewer people on the road traveling to and from WCB sites.
This platform benefits everyone in the State of New York. You can read more about this implementation of VirtualQ’s VirtualCourts here.
The Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform—revolutionizing how government connects with citizens by using video conferencing.
Cisco and Cloverhound continue to work with the customer to bring new sites online and increase functionality. Other New York court systems are following closely to see how they can leverage the same Cisco technology.
VirtualCourts was praised for revolutionizing how New York handles hearings: “This state-of-the-art, secure technology removes obstacles and stress for hard-working New Yorkers who were injured on the job, as well as for business owners and the professionals who participate in the system,” New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Clarissa Rodriguez said. “Virtual hearings allow injured workers to remain in their homes and other participants to attend from their workplaces. Our successful pilot and now statewide launch demonstrate New York’s commitment to helping people hurt on the job.”
Cloverhound’s VirtualQ framework, powered by Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, is ready for education, healthcare, banking, and other verticals. Parents who struggle to make parent-teacher conferences can make the meetings that matter most, and educators can make the most of their office hours. Patients with mobility issues, who may otherwise struggle to make hospital visits, can still receive care. The applications of the Cloverhound VirtualQ framework are limitless. Visit cloverhound.com to learn more.
And don’t forget to experience the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform for yourself. Sign up for FREE here at www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.
By Scott Edwards, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Cisco Collaboration
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to join over 70 customers and partners who visited our Cisco office in Norway to see the incredible innovation coming out around our Webex video conferencing devices. These customers were some of the biggest names in the Fortune 100. Over the course of a few days, they got to see the technology that truly makes Cisco the leader in audio and video conferencing.
What’s the secret sauce? It really comes down to four areas:
1. How only Cisco Webex creates a simple, consistent user experience across every office space, which is seamlessly connected to purpose-built team collaboration devices.
2. How Cisco creates its industry-leading quality and design in those online meeting devices.
3. How Cisco is leading the market with IoT and analytics around office and space usage.
4. How Cisco’s open APIs and strategic partnerships paved the way for a new age of collaboration.
At the end of this event, one customer exclaimed:
“This year, I’ve toured the offices off all your biggest competitors. But this was by far and away the most impressive, eye-opening experience. No other collaboration vendor even comes close to what you guys are creating in Norway.”
There are many collaboration and video conferencing solutions in the market. But once you see how the applications of Cisco Webex Meetings (video conferencing), Cisco Webex Teams (enterprise collaboration platform), and Cisco Webex Calling all work seamlessly with Webex devices (room conferencing equipment), everything else in the market seems like child’s play. These visitors were able to witness this technology first-hand. They went from room to room, from space to space, seeing the combo of elite, AI-based hardware and software in action. And they also got to see what’s coming in the near future.
Throughout this conference, I was able to interview the top minds in Oslo who are working on these innovations. Luckily, I was able to capture these discussions on video. While going to the Cisco Norway office would indeed blow your mind, you can now at least get a view into what really happens there without having to go. Below, you can find some the video footage we captured that explains this unique story, and how it aligns to the four points I mentioned above.
#1 – Seamless video conferencing user experience—from the pocket to the boardroom
We just announced our entry to the huddle space market. We weren’t the first here, but we are coming in with guns-a-blazin’. Whether your teams need to share, communicate, or co-create, we have solutions for each use case, and all priced for the huddle experience. The Webex Share, Webex Room Kit Mini, and Webex Board 55 all provide the same experience that you’d get from joining a meeting with Cisco solutions—whether it’s from your mobile device, in mid-size rooms, large conference rooms, auditoriums, or executive board rooms.
These devices enable proximity pairing so that when you come in the room, they wake up to greet you. You’re simply one click away from starting your meeting and sharing. See how with these demos on Webex Share, Webex Board 55, and Room Kit Pro and Codec Pro:
#2 – Industry leading design and quality for video conferencing equipment
Twenty-two. That’s the number of Red Dot Awards given to the Cisco devices. To earn just one of these babies is an impressive feat. Each year, over 6,000 products from 54 countries are submitted to be judged by a panel of 40 of the best minds in design. When you are in the company of Apple, Porsche, LG, Phillips, and Rolls Royce, you know you’re in good company. In the collaboration space, no one else even comes close to the number of these awards we’ve won.
In this video, you’ll see why we place such an emphasis on design:
We also got to get a behind-the-scenes look at how quality is manufactured into these end-points. Here’s a rare look and the time and energy that goes into making amazing experiences for you.
#3 – Intelligence throughout the video conferencing hardware and software
One of the great demos I received is that of the Room Kit Mini. The video and audio quality is truly unique. You’ll see the same user experience once again, and you’ll also see some of the intelligence that this device offers. Imagine being the real estate person responsible for tracking the usage of all these huddle spaces. How do you easily do that? With sensors built right into the device. No need to buy competitive solutions (with poor audio and video quality) and then buy room sensors as well. With the Mini, you get intelligent framing, people count, noise suppression, and more. See the demo here:
#4 – Open APIs and strategic partnerships
Today’s office meeting rooms are ripe for innovation. Learn what Cisco is doing to help ensure your taxi driver picks you up after the meeting to rush to the airport, dimming the lights, and closing the blinds—all from the same touch screen interface that can be in any sized rooms. And see how we are opening this up for innovation with the developer community.
Sony & LG screens and cameras are everywhere in offices today. See how Cisco is partnering with each of them to bring high-quality video and sharing to life.
I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is happening in Oslo. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Make sure you take a few minutes to check out these interviews and demos we’ve posted here. When you’re done, see more about our Webex devices at www.webex.com/products/devices.
And don’t forget to experience Cisco Webex video conferencing for yourself. Sign up for a FREE trial at www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.
Silos restrict the free flow of information across an organization and reduce collaboration between its teams. The effects speak for themselves: A 2017 eConsultancy survey of marketers found 40 percent of respondents thought each department in their respective agencies had its own agenda, compared to only 29 percent who reported following collaborative processes. Almost one-third (30 percent) also said they designed and measured customer experience on a channel-by-channel basis, a direct result of siloed workflows that lead to time-consuming and duplicative work.
Granted, bringing everyone together, regardless of role or location, was long challenging due to the technical limitations and usability issues of collaboration tools. Not anymore. With Cisco Webex Meetings for video conferencing and messaging, it’s never been easier to start a meeting anytime, anywhere.
The logic of breaking down workplace silos
Even a seemingly efficient silo can hurt an organization because of how it isolates decision-making processes and places particular pressure on remote and mobile teams, which may feel cut off from everyone else. Company communication, responsiveness to change and general capacity to finish projects on time and under budget are all reduced when silos dominate. Entire movements, such as DevOps in software development, have arisen to eliminate these silos – and for good reason.Read More
Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the same old classroom experience. The start of each school year means one more year of innovation has passed and our classrooms should evolve with our digital world. The days of all learning happening within the bubble of one room with just one teacher are gone; our connected world gives students access to learn beyond traditional boundaries.
Overcoming Concentration Hurdles
Distraction can feel like a losing game in the classroom (or in any interaction with students), but even more so in the screen-laden world of our children. That’s why teachers should meet students where they already are – 70% of children under 12 are using tablets and almost 40% start using mobile tech before kindergarten.
When kids walk into a classroom to see mobile devices, they are not only comfortable with the tech, but excited by the innovation. Any teacher knows when children are excited and comfortable, they are engaged in learning. It’s a “hands on” learning environment with a touchscreen twist, making abstract ideas tangible and within reach.
Visually Engaging with Video
We’ve all heard the term “visual learner,” but did you know all students retain visual information more easily than auditory info? Studies show students recall 65% of what they see but only 10% of what they hear. In a learning environment where 100% of the curriculum matters to make the most of a child’s education, teachers should take this research into the classroom.
Video conferencing and access to online videos can greatly enhance even the most established lesson plans. Through video, students from anywhere in the world can take a visual tour of the Great Wall of China or see inside the machines that make the Hoover Dam so powerful. Video conferencing opens the door to invite students from around the world into the classroom. Imagine students learning about a culture from students their own age living it every day. By tapping into our students’ visual learning skills, we can step outside the classroom and enhance learning.
Collaboration Beyond Boundaries
As our world evolves, so too does the profession of teaching and its importance. A Texas study showed that an effective teacher is 20 times more likely to boost student performance than any other factor. It’s essential, for students and teachers, that we give these teachers the tools to seek out the most current information for their students and connect them with leaders in the fields they teach. Tapping digital collaboration tools is one way teachers can seek expertise beyond their own knowledge.
I saw the power of collaboration outside the classroom in my own son’s excitement. As a fourth-grader, he was tasked to build a sandcastle – and not just any sandcastle. With the help of experts and engineers in San Francisco, he designed a sand-constructed roller coaster. Of course the project was fun – his teachers knew these beach-loving children would jump at the chance to work in sand, one of their favorite mediums – but the value added by the experts will last much longer than their sandy creations.
As I send my son on to his last year of elementary school, I’m hopeful that the passion of the teachers he’s had so far and the exciting tech innovations will make this 5th grade a year of engagement, excitement and, most of all, learning.
Using communication technology to improve relationships
Does technology bring us closer together? It can seem like a weird question to ask, since innovations like VoIP and real-time chat let us more easily connect with friends, co-workers, and others, even over great distances.
But not all technologies are equally effective at forming strong interpersonal connections, which are particularly important in workplace contexts. As more organizations turn to remote and mobile working arrangements, it’s crucial to branch out from the old standbys of email, phone calls, and in-person meetings and invest in alternatives that provide sufficient context and enable rich collaboration from anywhere.
In fact, solutions such as video conferencing and team collaboration tools with intelligence features are the most effective for connecting people regardless of their physical locations. As the 2020s begin, let’s explore some specific examples of how these technologies build connections that last.
Less time commuting, more time to focus on strategic projects
Long commutes have become facts of life for millions of workers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,* the average Americans’ commute in 2019 is 27 minutes (just one way), up two minutes from 2009. While that may not seem drastic, over the course of a year, it totals 17 extra hours spent in traffic.
What if there were a way to spend less time in traffic or on the train? It would benefit both the environment and worker morale, as lengthy commutes are one of the main detractors from job satisfaction.
Collaboration technologies make it more practical to avoid commuting and instead work from virtually anywhere:
- With chat apps, you can have a real-time conversation, share files, and search for specific assets from one interface with lots of context.
- Video conferencing allows for face-to-face meetings even at a distance, in high definition and with sophisticated controls.
- Cognitive collaboration solutions can pull information from multiple sources (e.g., public social media profiles and CRM data) to create context around any online meeting.
As long as a worker has access to the internet, these collaboration possibilities and others can allow for productive work, with no taxing commute required. Employees can build better working relationships, too, since the tools in question give them clear insights into what others are doing and thinking.
More eye contact and more immersive meetings through video conferencing
Video technology, in particular, is ideal for simulating the experience of being in the same room as the other attendees in an online meeting, even if everyone is actually located somewhere else.
A modern video platform has several key advantages over communicating via audio-only calls or emails and chats:
- It allows for full visibility into participants’ reactions and body language This insight is useful for understanding how a meeting is really going, and can be especially helpful if there’s a language/culture barrier.
- It helps curb multitasking Although the word gets a lot of lip service in resumes, multitasking is highly impractical in many contexts, as the brain isn’t that great at listening to a call and typing up an email simultaneously, for example. Video puts people in the spotlight and discourages multitasking, which in turn, increases productivity.
- It’s usable from multiple devices, not just dedicated standards-based video conferencing systems PCs, Macs, phones, and tablets can all seamlessly join an online video conference with just the tap or click of a button when it’s time for things to start.
- It’s integrated with other collaboration tech like screen sharing So participants can share their entire screens or desktops, or just a particular app or document as needed, to go in depth while on the video call.
- It can support a variety of use cases, not just internal meetups For example, a video link could be set up for a webinar, training session, or social media broadcast. Accordingly, the clarity of video can build connections across multiple contexts.
Reducing reliance on emails and phone calls
Both email and traditional voice calls often leave a lot to be desired, in terms of how personal they feel as well as how effective they are in enhancing productivity.
Checking and digging through an inbox all day is a huge time sink, not to mention a somewhat impersonal way to interact with people – after a while, everyone can feel like just a name next to a message. Phone calls are similarly problematic and somewhat anonymous, although a bit better since you can at least hear what the other person sounds like.
While moving on from email has long been a priority for many workers and their organizations, only recently has doing so become really practical. Chat apps provide strong alternatives to rifling through emails or setting aside lots of time for phone calls. Messages can be exchanged in real time, so there’s not the delay of email. Plus, files can easily be shared in the conversation, while built-in search makes it straightforward to find what’s needed.
Workplace chat can work well in tandem with video conferencing, too, so that every meeting is set up for success and can be properly followed-up on. Cisco Webex provides the integrated collaboration capabilities, from video to AI-driven meetings, that your organization needs to ensure strong interpersonal connections between your teams.
To learn more, get started with a free Webex plan today.
Control Hub for device management has changed a lot over the last 12 months, and what better way to tell you what you can do then a quick update on some of the biggest features we have released in the past year! Below you will find a subset of all the features we released. And what’s great about it, is that it’s only the beginning.
Taking control over Control Hub
Control Hub is the administration portal for all of the Webex Platform, it covers Calling, Meetings, Teams and Webex Rooms! When it comes to device management, Control Hub is the single pane of glass for all cloud deployments and recently with our new Webex Edge for Devices it can handle some of the On Premises workload as well.
One of most requested features was the ability to edit configurations on devices directly within Control Hub. We delivered this during middle of last year and thus allowed admins to modify settings like Default Call Rate. This even worked if the device was behind a firewall like home offices, giving admins the ability to manage their devices from anywhere.
The next feature we released was Alerts. This allows admins to get proactive notifications from our platform when a device goes offline or online, or has issues. This has been a popular feature to allow admins to remediate device issues before an end user reports it. You can learn more about this here.
Making multi-device management a breeze!
Our goal is to make the Webex Control Hub platform the single pane of glass for all sizes of companies from small and medium businesses, all the way up to large enterprises. Sometimes when you have a multitude of devices, and you want to set a new Signage URL on all of them – you probably do not want to do that one by one. In January 2020 we released the ability to bulk set Signage and Tags on devices, allowing admins to make bulk changes in a second!
One of the benefits of being on the Webex Platform is you never need to manually upgrade your devices! We deploy new software every 2-4 weeks and devices will upgrade over night between 00:00 and 00:30 local time and only when there is no activity. With that being said we wanted to give more control to admins and the ability to preview new bug fixes before they hit the main production systems. In December 2019 we released a new software management page to Control Hub to showcase when the current software was released and when the next version is coming, all together with patch notes.
If that wasn’t enough, we also enhanced the amount of information you receive in the analytics and troubleshooting portals of Control Hub. Now device admins can see how their devices are being used in regards to Calling vs Wireless Share and more! This allows admins to really see the return on investment of their devices and help drive adoption services to locations where maybe device utilization isn’t as high as they expected.
When there is a reported problem on a meeting you need to be able to troubleshoot what caused the issue, sometimes you need to do that while the call is currently active! This is where our new troubleshooting feature comes to let you see up to the minute live stats from a Webex Meeting in Control Hub and see down to the finer details exactly what is causing the reported problem.
Third-party integrations made simple
Last but not least is the ability to use public APIs to get information from Places/Devices and direct access the device via Cloud xAPI, because we built these APIs on our Webex Platform we can give authorization to third parties directly with our authentication model for Bots and Integrations thus opening up a world of possibilities. You want to poll the device for the last call packet loss? No issue! Or send a command to dial into meeting from a white glove service? We got you covered! Check out our APIs over at the Developer Portal.
This is just some of the enhancements we have made to the Webex Platform for Room Devices but we are just getting started, 2020 we will bring more enterprise level features to Control Hub like deploying Web Applications and more bulk configuration options! If Control Hub isn’t a daily tool in your arsenal to manage and monitor Webex Devices, hopefully this changes your mind.
How do you assign services to users in Control Hub?
After adding users, you can assign various Webex services to them. While you can edit the services for an individual user, it can be more efficient to edit multiple user’s services at once. To edit multiple users’ services, go to Users, click Manage Users, select Export and import users with a CSV file, and then click Export. In the file that you download, simply add True for the services you want to assign to each of your users. Import the completed file, click Add and remove services, and then click Submit.
Spread the love with meetings
Valentine’s Day is more than just a chance to show affection to a loved one. It’s also a big holiday for shopping and gift-giving, even for single people – sort of like a mini Christmas.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 45% of Americans over the age of 18 (more than 110 million people) identified as single in 2017, a record high. But Valentine’s-related sales have not suffered despite the huge number of singles out there.
On the contrary, they were estimated at nearly $20 billion in 2018, with average per capita spending of more than $143. And it’s not all on greeting cards or chocolates: Gift cards, jewelry, and even pet treats all do big business each February.
What this trend shows us is that there is a lot of love in the air on Valentine’s Day, not just for your significant other, but for everyone you love in your life—and people tend to want to share that through meaningful gifts. This year let’s spread that love even further, into one of the most historically despised, but necessary areas of business—meetings. That’s right, it’s time to start loving your meetings again.
Love it or leave it behind: Why only the best collaboration technology will do
As the Valentine’s Day numbers above illustrate, shoppers don’t skimp on buying something that they think will really impress a significant other or friend. In other words, they don’t usually settle for a second-rate gift. The same principle should apply to tools for team collaboration and communication.
Think of your organization’s current approach to keeping everyone in the loop. Do you have the right technology in place to bring your teams together and keep them collaborating wherever they are? Is it optimized to make the most out of every meeting or communication? Or does it make you want to break up with your meetings altogether?
Name any fundamental flaw with a meeting (too long, not focused enough, etc.), and subpar collaboration technology will only make it worse. Let’s look at five common day-to-day challenges that are preventing effective meetings.
1. Too much multitasking, not enough participation
The problem: Streaming a movie or TV show on Valentine’s Day? It’s possible that you’ll look at your phone or tablet at some point, even while the video keeps playing. The same thing happens all the time with audio-only conference calls, as participants are directing their attention elsewhere. “Sorry, I was on mute” is often code for “I missed what you said since I was checking my email.” Multitasking is hard and bad for focus.
The solution: Setting up a video conference is a proven way to reduce multitasking since it lets everyone be seen. It’s also a good idea for executives and leadership to set an example by not using other technologies during an online meeting.
2. “We could have just covered this in email”
The problem: It’s a common refrain after an unproductive meeting: “This could have been done over email.” But why don’t more meetings just get offloaded onto email? Because email is a very limited communication medium, and not all that efficient. If your inbox is as filled and cluttered as mine, messages can easily get lost and overlooked, plus hours or days can pass between responses. No wonder companies resort to meetings instead, no matter the flaws involved.
The solution: Taking advantage of real-time chat can be advantageous both during and after a meeting. It’s more streamlined and richly featured than email and lets participants get answers quickly and in context. Modern chat platforms also make it easy to search for old content, share files, and conduct digital whiteboarding.
3. The meeting is too difficult to join and engage in
The problem: Sometimes, issues crop up before the meeting even begins. The process for joining one can be needlessly complicated, with required downloads and PINs or limited device support, so that participants need to be in a certain location to join.
The solution: Modern collaboration technology can make it straightforward to get started with any meeting. Multiple devices are supported and joining is as simple as tapping or clicking a button when it’s time. Mute and audio controls also make it simpler for the host to keep things moving once the meeting does begin.
4. There’s uncertainty on who’s in the meeting
The problem: Imagine a conference call with a lot of people on it. Someone starts talking and you have only a vague idea who they are, having only perhaps seen their name in the calendar invite beforehand. Then someone else joins in and you don’t recognize them at all. These gaps can be a distraction in a meeting, especially if the topic contains sensitive information. Also, it’s challenging to get people to participate if you cannot address them by name.
The solution: Increasingly we are seeing AI coming into meeting and collaboration technology, allowing advanced capabilities like delivering instant profiles of meeting participants pulled from social accounts and other directories. Or voice and facial recognition so you can match the name to the face. Accordingly, the meeting can flow better and have better engagement since everyone has some background information on each person and everyone can be addressed by their name. As the use of AI evolves, meetings are only going to get smoother and more productive.
5. Remote workers have too much trouble connecting
The problem: More people are working outside of traditional offices, which is great for flexibility. However, it can be challenging for these workers to keep in touch if the meeting software they’re supposed to use doesn’t work well across devices or allow for easy collaboration.
The solution: Collaboration tools should work equally well on desktops, phones, tablets, and video conferencing systems, as applicable. That way, they can support remote and mobile workers who might take calls on the go, at home, or occasionally at a company office, too.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think about how you can fall in love with your meetings again. Cisco Webex Meetings brings teams together, for collaboration that leads to greater business outcomes.
Is today the day you fall in love? Let’s see, and try Webex for free.
Does Webex Meetings work with any popular learning management systems?
Webex Meetings has added Blackboard Learn to our already extensive list of popular learning management systems. With this integration, instructors can have the full Webex Meetings experience within the Blackboard Learn environment. Aside from being able to hold virtual classes for distance learning, instructors can also have office hours and ad-hoc meetings with students, and even message students – all within the Blackboard learning interface. These integrations give teachers and students a great way to connect within the environment to which they are accustomed.
Top reasons why video conferencing benefits communication
Communication is key to business. But too often, communication itself gets in the way of how businesses work. Whether it’s aligning sales and marketing or coordinating on project workflow status, efficient and effective communication can be hard to come by. This is especially the case when companies are dependent on traditional conference calls, which can be limiting.
Communicating on strategy or instructions is improved with screen sharing software, which allows meeting participants to integrate video into the proceedings — the next best thing to being in the physical room at the same time.
Video reveals nonverbal expression
Body language and facial expressions matter. Yet these levels of communication are imperceptible on traditional conference calls. Video can make these nonverbal cues seen, which may help increase productivity and provide a better experience over other forms of communication.
When an office worker calls IT for help, for instance, the technical directions can become burdensome to explain over the phone. Also, with traditional calls, remote IT help doesn’t have actual visibility into the situation. Add video, however, and tickets can be resolved more quickly when IT can explain solutions by demonstrating the required steps or live trouble-shooting. These gestures are invaluable to helping a non-IT expert understand the instructions.
Video helps nurture client relationships
Communication in both sales and customer service is improved when video is integrated into processes. Video conferencing software can pay dividends early on in the sales process when reps can hold face to face meetings with prospects. This dimension of communication can help build trust and credibility — don’t discount the value of eye contact when listening to clients explain pain points or their company culture.
Video helps foster a better client experience, which can move the sales process along. Video also comes into play with customer service and retention. Having video on a quarterly or monthly update keeps the client relationship fresh, while also making it easier to explain performance metrics or other details.
Video facilitates creative team collaboration
It can be hard for a graphic designer to get their visual concept across when restricted to the format of the traditional conference call. While they may be able to see the image in their head, or even sketch it out on paper, the other meeting participants don’t have as great a level of insight, which can stunt collaboration.
Video can help solve this challenge by allowing creative team members to share their ideas and or workshop concepts with other attendees in real time and with the aid of a professional tool. A designer may use screen sharing to cast a video of them using a drawing program, while architects on a call could use a building modeling platform to collaborate.
Video provides indelible records
It can be difficult to record every word said on a conference call, even when meeting participants take scrupulous notes. There’s no such gaps or oversights when using the recording feature on a video call.
The preservation of video is a huge advantage to communication. Records-keeping processes are substantially improved and videos can provide reference for future users. For example, a video recording of a sales demo can be archived for training purposes. Besides helping provide ironclad history of instructions or strategy, video can also help with business continuity.
Video helps power remote workforces
Remote workforces are more the norm for businesses these days, from startups and small businesses to enterprise-level companies. Employers have been pressed with increasing expectations for flexible working arrangements, but they’ve also seen the inefficiencies such setups can lead to. Video-powered conferencing is a way to address those productivity drags head-on by giving remote, home-based, and traveling coworkers an engaging and easy way to communicate on a day-to-day basis.
Team members who are miles apart but working on the same project can use video to provide updates or otherwise coordinate on next steps. Video helps companies avoid some of the major pitfalls companies encounter with remote workforces. Managers who have video-based check-ins can better assess performance and help form bonds with a direct report who they’ve never met before.
Video improves onboarding
Onboarding is a crucial stage for both employees and clients. You want to ensure that new hires have the support and information to be productive, and that clients can realize value or return on investment. Information retention is improved with video, while sales reps or managers have a greater ability to course correct during the early stages of the relationship to avoid common obstacles. Familiarity is beneficial at such stages, but something that traditional conference calls can’t provide with only voice.
Video is a powerful and efficient channel for delivering communication. Businesses can leverage video conferencing and screen sharing in internal and external interactions. Interested in learning more about video features and the software needed to support such implementations?
Learn about our screen sharing solution or get started with a free plan today.
Make screen sharing work for sales
Sales meetings need to be well-oiled machines. Any hitch in the process can negatively impact the experience for prospective clients. With the traditional conference call, there’s a lot of risk that something could go wrong, whether meeting participants talk over one another or lack technical coordination.
Such meeting formats can derail the sales process quickly, yet many businesses still depend on traditional conference calls when customer expectations increasingly demand clear presentations and engaging experiences.
Bad meetings waste opportunities
Not only is such inefficiency harmful to the sales cycle, it comes with several costs. According to a report from Swiss online scheduler Doodle, the economic costs of poorly organized meetings in the U.S. reached nearly $400 billion in 2019. A less-than-satisfactory experience may lead to lost revenue opportunities, wasted time, and other costs.
A solution to the organized chaos of traditional sales conference calls is screen sharing. With the help of screen sharing software, sales teams can more effectively engage prospects over the phone and through shared on-screen materials.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why screen sharing works better than traditional sales conference calls.
Screen sharing facilitates efficient meetings
Disorganization is too often the natural state of conference calls without the aid of screen sharing software. Just think about how disjointed personal introductions can be when each new meeting participants dials in and there’s no certainty as to who is actually on the line. At a basic level, screen sharing works to provide this visibility into call attendance with a meeting room dashboard. Practically, this helps sales reps maintain better control so everything runs according to plan.
Coordination in online meetings is significantly improved through screen sharing when it comes time to look at a presentation deck or other piece of collateral. At this point, traditional calls pause as everyone shuffles through papers or frantically searches an inbox for an attachment they never actually ended up receiving, so then more time is spent forwarding a simple one-pager. Ten minutes later the sales playbook is out the window.
With screen sharing, sales reps can instantly cast their screen to others in the meeting room, ensuring they have access to the document that’s currently being discussed. This also ensures that participants can follow in real time, eliminating the disruption posed by questions like “What page are we on?”
Screen sharing improves communication with visuals
Your teams puts a lot of time into creating and personalizing sales presentations; screen sharing ensures that those efforts don’t go to waste. Everyone in the screen sharing session can view documents together. Multimedia can help add dynamism to a sales presentation, and there’s no way to guarantee on a traditional call that everyone is following along at the same rate.
Visual learning is important to overall communication, but especially for sales. Graphical elements presented through screen sharing can help illustrate numbers that lack life on a traditional sales call, as well as reinforce benefits and convey brand identity.
With screen sharing, you can integrate video seamlessly into a presentation without worrying about it crashing for other participants. You could even exit the presentation and easily pull up a YouTube video and have it stream to the entire audience. The power of visuals can truly be harnessed this way.
Screen sharing allows participants to go mobile
Sales reps and prospects are busy people, often on the go and traveling. That can make it hard if someone has to take a call while waiting at the airport gate or otherwise in transit and away from their work set-up. Screen sharing software tackles this potential problem by allowing them to call through a mobile app and view presentation materials through their personal mobile device or laptop.
This level of support is important for remote workforces, which are becoming the standard for many companies, rather than the exception. Enabling a sales staff to sell while on the road is crucial to seizing opportunities.
Screen sharing enhances the experience
Screen sharing and video conferencing make it feel like you’re in the same physical room as other participants (without the cost of plane tickets and hotel bills). In the sales process, fostering this type of close relationship is important to winning over leads, as well as maintaining existing accounts. You can put faces to names, which builds familiarity — and thus trust — with customers.
Not only does screen sharing improve coordination, but also collaboration. Sales people can pass presenter authority to other participants on the call. They could also deviate from the presentation to try to find answers to a question.
There are countless pitfalls to the traditional sales call, and sales teams needn’t try to continually dodge them. With screen sharing software, sales calls are better managed and more engaging, which creates an ideal experience for the prospect or client. Looking for a platform to enable to gain this capability? Cisco Webex has a reliable screen sharing solution to facilitate better sales calls.
Get started with a free plan today.
How to incorporate good presentation skills into a screen sharing session
Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t survive for more than a few years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30% of them fail to make it through their second full year in operation. The causes of failure are diverse and include everything from subpar software and IT infrastructure to basic lack of capital. This article will focus primarily on the latter.
The challenges of not having enough capital to run your SMB
Simply starting a company can require over $10,000. In many instances, SMBs turn to banks for loans to help get through the early stages of business formation. Even with seemingly adequate funding, though, SMBs can still face numerous headwinds right away.
These range from the predictable (needing to procure sufficient inventory) to the more volatile (having to spend more on accounting services/software due to one-off changes in the tax code).
Added to the other costs that SMBs must bear on basics like insurance and office space, it’s no wonder many don’t make it past year two. But it’s possible to make an SMB budget more sustainable by implementing video conferencing software.
How video conferencing tools help with budget crunches
Video conferencing solutions can bring meeting participants together without requiring any pricey travel. Plus, web meetings enable more flexible, less capital-intensive remote working arrangements.
As a whole, video conferencing supports better, more cost-effective collaboration. More than simply helping an SMB optimize its budget, video meetings can also support expansion by connecting employees, recruits, and customers across many locations, in high-definition.
Here are some of the more specific ways in which video conferences fuel SMB success, even on a shoestring budget:
1. Hold productive meetings, no office required
Office space is expensive. The associated costs have spurred organizations across the U.S. to seek smaller workspaces and to take advantage of co-working and hotdesking environments. For example, real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield has charted growing densification of office space throughout the 2010s.
With video conferencing tools, SMB employees can make the most of even a small office or conference room that would be too cramped for a comfortable in-person meeting:
- Anyone can be invited to the video meeting, whether it’s meant to be a small linkup between a specific team or an all-hands gathering.
- It’s easy to join. Meeting participants only need to click a button in the solution when it’s time for the event to start.
- The web meeting can be recorded for later distribution and viewing, so that no one misses out on what was covered.
Video conferencing software empowers teams to lead engaging and useful meetings without being constrained by physical space. That makes SMB expansion more feasible, since huge office spaces aren’t needed when setting up shop in new locales or trying to reach more customers.
2. Hire the right people from multiple locations
Many job searches begin by looking only for nearby candidates who don’t want/need to relocate. This makes sense in some respect, because moving is disruptive and often expensive, plus the position specs might not permit remote work.
But implementing a video conferencing platform allows for more flexibility in hiring. Say your SMB is looking to incorporate in an additional state and bring some employees on board there. Video conferencing would help in multiple ways:
- A crystal-clear video feed could be set up for the interview. The candidate and interviewer would get more insight into each other’s reactions, including body language.
- If hired, the candidate could then use video for their own work, perhaps as part of a remote working arrangement. They could join web conferences, view content through screen sharing, and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere.
- Video conferencing software could also be useful for specific external-facing tasks such as conducting in-depth sales demos. A video conferencing solution is a powerful asset for sales personnel, who can use its built-in screen sharing capabilities to walk prospects through a product or service.
3. Reach audiences on any device or in any location
One of the central challenges for any SMB is building a reliable base of customers. How an organization pursues that goal will vary based on its industry, size, and personnel, but video conferencing will often be a reliable supporting tool along way.
Webinars show how a video conferencing system can expand an SMB’s reach without breaking the bank. A majority of B2B buyers have used webinars to support their purchasing decisions, according to the 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.
Within a video conferencing solution, video feeds can be configured to show, say, a panel of subject matter experts discussing a relevant issue for buyers. But a video conference platform can go even further and enable deep interactivity between presenters and the audience, thanks to features like polling. A solution can also help manage registrations and any follow-up questions.
Audiences can participate in these events from any device. Webex supports phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, and standards-based video conferencing systems.
To learn more about how Webex can help your SMB grow more efficiently and stay within its budget, get started with a free plan today.
Increase your customer base
This is a good time to either own or work at an emerging business, as more operations find their footing in today’s digital-focused climate and carve out a space for themselves in their specific markets. According to recent Bank of America survey of small business owners, 73% of women and 66% of men plan to expand their business over the next 12 months.*
Having laid a stable foundation to establish your business, the next step is to grow and extend your reach. Tap into new markets, expand your customer base, and create new revenue streams to increase profitability. Cisco Webex provides a reliable communication platform to support your business goals and aspirations.
Latest SMB technology to increase profit
Resources may be tighter at a small- and medium-sized business compared with enterprises, but there are plenty of affordable ways to improve operations and expand your market footprint. In particular, the latest SMB technology can help organizations grow their business and rake in more revenue.
Keep an eye on these four technologies, in particular, to expand your business.
- Tap into social media
Social media is an important touch point for any business looking to engage directly with customers and drive more people to its products and services. Take the time to establish a presence on leading social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These platforms are perfect for promoting new products, limited-time deals, and other enticing offers.
Growing businesses can also use social media to manage customer support tasks, addressing any questions or concerns users have in a public setting. It’s a great way to show potential customers the lengths to which your business will go to provide the best experience possible.
- Move to the cloud
It wasn’t that long ago that the cloud was viewed as a disruptive force in the business community. Today, it’s the status quo.
The cloud enables hands-off management of virtually any business process, as well as the scalability to expand functionality along with the organization. Even if your business is already using the cloud, there are likely more ways to take advantage of this technology.
With the sheer wealth of cloud-based services available, combined with their elasticity and reliability, moving core business processes to the cloud is a no-brainer for growing businesses.
- Ramp up your content marketing efforts
Virtually any organization that maintains a presence online conducts content marketing, whether they realize it or not. Running a brand website in itself is an act of content marketing. When done right, these efforts can raise brand awareness, increase your search visibility, drive high-intent search engine users to your site, and produce qualified sales leads.
There are a lot of different ways to approach content marketing: SEO-driven blogs bring users to your site, email campaigns nurture leads, and the aforementioned social media sites work to engage customers and promote content.
One important business tool that often gets overlooked is webinar software. Webinars are perfect for establishing brand authority in a particular field or market and directly engage with a large group of people, including both existing and potential customers. Demo new products, provide expert insights into the latest industry trends, or hold informational user group sessions – the possibilities are endless.
Cisco Webex Events makes it quick and easy to launch webinars supporting up to 3,000 attendees. SMBs can stream those sessions live to as many as 40,000 viewers, helping them grow brand awareness in new markets and expand their footprint.
- Take advantage of remote workforces
Thanks to the widespread availability of mobile devices, cloud services, and high-performance networks, businesses are no longer limited by the constraints of the traditional office. Flexible work schedules are quickly becoming the norm, with workers splitting time between their office, the road, or their homes.
Telecommuting enables SMBs to expand their talent acquisition efforts to new regions and markets and bring in the best employees possible. Remote workers can do their core job responsibilities from virtually any location, provided they have the technology and resources to stay in touch with office-based staff and other remote teams.
Video conferencing software that includes crisp HD resolution, an intuitive interface, and collaboration-building tools like real-time screen sharing allows remote employees to work together on shared projects anytime, anywhere.
Cisco Webex lets users record video conferences to share with team members who can’t attend them or want to go over the material covered at a large time.
The webinar capabilities discussed above keep remote workers in the loop and productive, as well. Use Webex Events to train your remote workforce, walking them through important onboarding materials, reviewing company guidelines, or bringing them up to speed on new product launches. Coordinate efforts with teams located on opposite sides of the country (or even the globe) to bring your entire operation on the same page.
Growing a business is far easier when everyone involved in its day-to-day operations has the tools and resources to communicate, collaborate, and work at the highest level possible.
Get started with a free plan today.
Effective internal communication tools
Establishing and then running a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) isn’t easy. Statistics show that most SMBs eventually fail, and sooner than you might think. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that within a given 10-year period, 70% of all businesses founded in the first year will fail. The failure rate increases steadily by year*, meaning that even if the business survives year one, each year after is just as important. Webex offers a solution that allows your entire team to harness the power of video, voice, messaging, and more from a platform that’s easy to use on any device.
There’s no obvious solution for avoiding failure, or else everyone would already be doing it. Instead, companies have to do the hard work of sustaining growth and profitability even in the face of multiple headwinds, such as hiring staff, buying insurance, and expanding into new markets. Keeping the growth engine going requires diligent action on multiple fronts. In this post, we’ll focus on one of them: improving internal communications. Let’s look at some common challenges there, and how to solve them.
1. Creating and following a clear communication plan
According to the Gatehouse State of the Sector 2018 report, 31% of internal communicators in North America did not conduct any formal planning. That means their communications are often reactive instead of proactive. Whether it’s communication during a crisis or just a routine event like managing a hiring process, inadequate planning for internal communications may leave employees confused.
A better way forward is to create and share guidelines for internal communications. It’s important to take a collaborative approach to such planning, by gathering input from all stakeholders and setting up a common shared resource that everyone can go back to. Look for a solution that can simplify this task by making it easy to share, find, and organize files in dedicated spaces accessible by entire teams.
2. Eliminating operational silos between departments
Silos – i.e., de facto separated units, cut off from the organization at-large – aren’t just issues for large enterprises; emerging businesses can struggle with this issue as well. For example:
- An SMB’s finance department might be disconnected from its other teams, creating significant consequences for the entire company.
- This may lead to accountants and planners making decisions without knowing the full picture of what’s going on elsewhere in the firm.
- As a result of inaccurate budgeting and forecasting, an SMB with already-thin margins may feel even more squeezed.
Silo elimination requires better collaboration. Entire collaborative movements, like DevOps in software development, have emerged to address the silo issue in particular. But suitable tools are needed, too.
Integrated solutions for messaging, calling, white-boarding, and more help address silos by putting all important information and context in one place. Collaborators can enjoy a single “version of the truth”, instead of working on redundant and possibly disjointed workflows.
3. Consistently distributing feedback to employees
SMBs live and die by the engagement of their employees. Since their teams are relatively small, it’s especially important for each member to be as engaged as possible. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, due to issues such as inconsistent delivery of feedback.
A Zenger Folkman assessment found that employees working under managers who provided clear, actionable feedback were three times more engaged** than leaders who weren’t. In fact, those leaders who weren’t great at providing actionable feedback had employees who were three times more likely to quit.
Consistently providing feedback can seem challenging for busy managers, more so if they have to oversee employees who routinely work outside the office. Weaving in tools such as video conferencing and instant messaging can make feedback delivery more streamlined than simply relying on emails (too easily overlooked in many cases) or in-person meetings (often hard to schedule and coordinate).
4. Creating infrastructure to support remote and mobile workers
For some time now, non-traditional remote and mobile working arrangements have been gathering momentum. Giving employees the flexibility to work from virtually anywhere has distinct benefits for them and for the SMBs that employ them. It can reduce costs for travel and office space, improve morale and productivity, broaden hiring searches, and enable more practical expansion.
If there’s a catch, it’s that employees can often feel lonely and disengaged outside the office. Buffer discovered as much in its 2019 State of Remote Work report, in which loneliness and communications and collaboration were cited as the top challenges when working remotely. These challenges of disconnection can dampen the prospects of a business.
The good news is that boosting engagement is realistic with modern collaboration software. Setting up a video conference can make a group of participants feel like they’re in the same room even when they’re far apart. Likewise, using unified collaborative spaces for file sharing and instant messaging can lessen a remote employee’s feeling that they’re somehow missing out on important information and context.
How to upgrade your internal communications
Realizing and addressing these challenges will set your business up for more sustainable success.
Learn more by getting started with a free plan today!
The beginning of the year is a contemplative time for me. I know I’m not alone in this – but my birthday is in early January so it adds another level of reflection. I like looking back on my year and planning what I’d like to focus on for this year. Last year I had ten intentions for the year and I kinda crushed them. Not bragging, just saying.
Webex online meeting tools
Lucky for me, my team also loves to plan our work and crush our plans. Our leadership team was set to meet in person for three days to plan our year, set goals, and, of course, bond during the process. But this year we decided to skip the trip and do the whole thing on Webex. How would this go? Our team spans three time zones and sitting in a Webex meeting for THREE DAYS… in a ROW could be mind-numbing. Our team not only runs on Webex, but we are also responsible for driving Webex adoption for the whole world. If anyone should be able to have the absolute best Webexcellent virtual planning session using the Cisco Webex collaboration suite, it was us.
We blocked our calendars for the full workday – but we chose to shorten the virtual planning sessions to be convenient for all time zones. Rather than requiring our West coast team to come to work at 6 a.m. or our East coast team to stay working until 7 p.m., we started the sessions at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time each day.
Having a shorter window of time required us to create a laser-focused set of objectives for our sessions so the time we spent together was the most efficient. Because we knew we didn’t have a second to waste, we came to the meeting prepared with our ideas and input…. And snacks and drinks within arm’s reach.
The truncated meeting window allowed us to do any required work before the next day’s session. The West coasters had a few more hours of the workday left each day and the East coasters could pick up the work when they got to work three hours earlier the next day.
The flexibility of the Webex meetings meant people could work from home or go into the office if they chose. One day a group met in the office and shared a conference room equipped with a Webex Board (and sandwiches for lunch).
To break up the “sitting in one place all day staring at the same screen” vibe – each day we broke into smaller discussion groups to deep dive on a topic or strategy for 30-45 minutes. Then we’d come back to the larger session to share. Some groups used Teams Calling to spin up an instant video call, and others used their Personal Room.
Whether we were in a conference room with a Webex Board or at home with our DX, our video default was always on. Even for snack time. The video wasn’t just a nice to have – it made sure everyone was seen and heard – even if they weren’t speaking. Video made it easy to see the head nods and the sentiment throughout the sessions. It also just made it fun.
Joining and meeting – made easy
The week before the session we used a Webex Team Space to plan and share all the relevant strategy documents we’d need to be familiar with. All the conversations and files and links were all in one place. It was easy while we were in the meeting to find and share our documents. Throughout the week we added new documents, notes, @mentions to track when tasks were assigned to people, useful links, and color commentary. We’ve continued to use this Space after our session to continue the work we’ve started. I know exactly where all the data is, I can continue to ask my team for input on the projects I’m responsible for completing and get answers to my questions in real-time.
Skipping the trip meant we didn’t interrupt our home life routines. We maintained balance. We all kept our New Year’s resolutions. For me, that meant I didn’t have to book travel, get a dog sitter, and I didn’t miss a day of my workouts.
In just a short time and with the help of Webex Meetings:
- We invested three days to create a solid plan for the year. We set audacious objectives with aggressive key results (OKRs) to hold us to the same high standards we had in 2019.
- We saved money that would have been used for travel, lodging, and food for twelve people for three days.
- We reduced our carbon footprint by avoiding car trips, plane flights, the paper flip charts, print outs
If one of your objectives for this year is to have meetings that are supercharged– we got you. Check out our “30-day video challenge” kit and attend our “Thirty day video challenge” online class. Bookmark our revamped Webex adoption page to keep an eye on everything we add to help you collaborate even better in the new decade.
Or click here to try Meetings for free
On line classes http://cs.co/onlineclasses
All adoption material http://cs.co/webexadoption
30-day challenge ebook: https://ebooks.cisco.com/story/30dayvideochallenge/
Take the first simple step towards the cloud and get the most modern room device management experience
Webex Room devices on the Webex Platform brings the latest innovations and experiences to end users and admins and we are seeing massive uptake of our cloud first room experiences. However, we are also seeing that many customers have made significant investments in on-premises calling infrastructure and have media flow requirements that do not allow them to go full cloud quite yet.
With the recent release of CE 9.10, Webex Rooms customers can now start getting some of the benefits of the Webex Platform through Webex Edge For Devices. This software feature for our Webex Room devices allows customers to link their devices to the cloud without having to migrate calling to the cloud at this point in time. The initial subset of features takes customers one step closer to the full cloud experience.
By connecting devices to the Webex single platform, customers will gain advantages far beyond the room with Webex Control Hub, which offers the most modern and comprehensive device management portal in the market. Control Hub regularly undergoes monthly updates, which means customers will receive more innovations and enhancements moving forward.
There is never a better time to go to the cloud than now! We have released the Cisco Webex Devices tool to allow customers to easily migrate their entire on premises deployment fully to the cloud or connect to Webex Edge for Devices in minutes.
You can download this tool from Control Hub today and immediately get started connecting your on–premise devices to the Webex Platform.
All you need is a supported Webex Room device with the ability to talk over HTTPS to the Webex platform. See the following from our security white paper series of how Webex Edge for Devices works.
The Control Hub features available as part of CE 9.10 are the following:
* Historical Device Usage Analytics
* Online/Offline Connection Status
* Device Diagnostics Messages
* Cloud xAPI access (https://developer.webex.com/docs/api/guides/xapi)
* Device Alerts (Diagnostics Messages proactively sent to Webex Teams)
In addition, the following optional features can be deployed:
- Webex Hybrid Calendar Service allows you to connect Office 365, Google or Exchange environments to send OBTP (One Button to Push) events to the device to enable end users to easily join Webex Meetings.
- Webex Assistant is a voice-driven virtual assistant that can help your users with calling, meetings, and device controls. Combining Webex Hybrid Calendar Service and Webex Assistant, customers can receive proactive meeting join prompts that allow you to join meetings without touching a button.
See the full CE 9.10 Release Notes here and get started on migrating your devices to a more modern experience today!
Employee turnover is an inevitable part of doing business. Whether staff members leave to find new work or are asked to leave due to performance issues, business leaders need to carefully manage these situations to keep morale high and avoid negative fallout.
It’s the responsibility of upper management to address any issues or concerns that may come up as a result of employee turnover, as well as cultivate a working environment and company culture that keeps employee attrition rates low.
Follow these best practices to keep your best staff members in the fold and avoid the often high cost of replacing productive workers.
How does your employee turnover rate stack up?
As noted, some amount of employee attrition is normal, with some industries experiencing higher turnover rates than others. According to analysis conducted by LinkedIn, the technology sector had the highest turnover rate (13.2%) in 2017, barely edging out the retail and consumer product industry (13.0%). The average employee turnover rate across all industries was 10.7%.
When addressing employee attrition, it’s important to look at the root cause and identify any trends. For example, while tech companies and retailers may have similar turnover rates, employees typically leave each of the organizations for vastly different reasons.
LinkedIn analysts noted that while UX designers, data analysts, and software engineers all reported high turnover rates, those are all roles that are in extremely high demand right now. People in those professions most likely aren’t being let go nor are unhappy with their work, but instead are leaving for better career opportunities or higher salaries.
On the other hand, retail salespeople who also reported high turnover rates are often in low-paying, fungible positions, and attrition can be driven by seasonal demand. Many retailers build the cost of employee attrition into their business plans because such scenarios are so frequent.
Compare your business’s turnover rate with other members of your industry to get a good sense of how typical your attrition trends are. If they seem higher than average, that’s a clear sign that you may need to revise your employee retention strategy.
Identify the causes for employee attrition
While there are certain general employee turnover trends that affect entire industries, particular factors will vary from company to company. It’s important that upper management actively works to unearth these causes and address them.
Conducting exit interviews with departing staff members is an invaluable way to gather information about employee satisfaction and where your business is coming up short. Employees who are leaving the organization may be more willing to share negative feedback and give an honest appraisal of leadership performance.
The insights gained from exit interviews can help you amend workloads, professional growth programs and flexible working policies to keep employees engaged and address different types of turnover.
Create a tight-knit company culture
There’s a lot that impacts employee satisfaction and, as a result, retention rates. These can include salary, benefits, daily commute, personnel, etc. Some of these items are out of your control – for example, you can’t up and move an office location to accommodate shorter commute times. You may be able to influence other factors, but only to a certain degree. If the budget just isn’t there to significantly raise salaries, your hands are tied.
That being said, there are other ways upper management can boost morale and improve employee retention rates. Your company culture can have a profound impact on staff turnover and your employees’ response to someone leaving the company. If everyone in the organization shares the same values and outlook, it’s easier to move on when a beloved staff member chooses to leave the company.
Establishing a supportive organizational culture that actively rewards and shows appreciation for high performers helps reduce employee turnover. An August 2019 TINYpulse survey revealed that employees who felt they were not being sufficiently recognized at work were twice as likely to look for a new job. Furthermore, they were 34% more likely to leave their organization within the next year.
Making staff members feel valued and validated can be as simple as giving praise for a job well done and handing out additional perks to individuals who consistently do great work.
For instance, allowing employees who are consistently productive to work from home a set number of days each week rewards their good performance while also showing that upper management has faith in them to work without direct oversight.
It also helps address some of those factors listed above that are seemingly out of your control. A long commute can be alleviated with a few work-from-home days, and a modest salary is more enticing when employees don’t have to pay for daycare services or daily transportation.
Keep employees in the loop with UC solutions
One of the struggles that modern businesses cope with is keeping increasingly disparate employees engaged. The downside to telecommuting and remote working opportunities is that those staff members may feel alienated since they can’t interact in-person with co-workers who go into the office every day.
It’s a major challenge maintaining an inviting and supportive company culture when a large percentage of staff members work remotely, but unified communications solutions can help.
Web conferencing tools offer ways for employees to collaborate, even when they are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles. For instance, staff members can use video conferencing software to hold face-to-face meetings regardless of where participants are located.
Upper management can hold training sessions, performance reviews, and team meetings to make remote workers feel like they are right there, sitting in the room. Cisco Webex supports a wide variety of devices and formats, so employees can stay looped in on the latest office developments and participate in collaborative discussions from their laptop, smartphone or tablet, among other platforms.
Employee turnover may be an unfortunate reality of doing business, but there are always steps you can take to minimize its frequency and impact.
Business has almost always been about the numbers: the bottom line, metrics, and data. Yet when it comes time to actually talk about or share those numbers, unless you’re in the same room as your audience, the task can be difficult with traditional communication tools.
Video conferencing allows you to engage meeting participants on the cold, hard numbers, with those in the room with you and those at their computers miles, if not hundreds of miles away. Screen sharing software can power interactive presentations and allow the sharing of real-time data in a meeting environment that is far more efficient than a phone call or email chain.
This advantage is especially valuable when speaking with customers, both potential and existing. Being able to share ROI data in real-time with a prospective client could help make a favorable impression.
Here’s what to know about how video conferencing can support real-time data sharing with customers.
Video conferencing is a big upgrade from voice-only
Any professional who has tried communicating numbers over the phone knows the challenges of doing so — and that’s doubly true when trying to command the attention of 10 other meeting participants. In voice-only environments, call leaders have no real way to prevent multitasking or ensuring their point is fully understood.
Video conferencing solves these common problems by providing a format that facilitates more natural conversations, while also holding meeting participants accountable when it comes to paying attention. Making eye contact with attendees can help reinforce a particular data point and eliminate multitasking concerns.
You want your client’s full attention, but with voice-only, it’s difficult to see if you have it. With video conferencing, your sales reps and customer success teams never have to guess.
Screen sharing improves real-time coordination
Talking about numbers entails referencing them in some way: To grasp the data, one likely has to be able to see it. This can present logistical headaches like ensuring people are paying attention, making sure people have the presentation in front of them, and further, making sure they are on the right page of the presentation that the presenter is walking through. Major points can easily be missed.
Screen sharing removes the hurdles to getting you and your customers on the same page. It’s as easy as casting your screen to the rest of the meeting participants when conducting a quarterly report or presenting a brief for the first time. This ensures that everyone is looking at the same data, as well as able to see the presentation from the start.
Video gives life to numbers
Numbers aren’t the easiest subject matter to engage meeting participants on — at least through voice-only calls. With screen sharing and video conferencing, your teams have all sorts of creative capability to ensure those numbers come to life in real-time and make an impression on the customer.
Suppose your marketing team designs a top-of-the-funnel sales deck so that positive ROI numbers are revealed through an animation. Running the presentation through a screen share means everyone experiences the effect at the same time on the pitch call, ensuring resources and opportunities aren’t wasted.
Screen sharing enables a deep dive into data
With voice-only conference calls, you only have so much time to talk about numbers before the attention span of the meeting as the whole slips away; that, or attendees are attentive yet disengaged. This can complicate meeting agendas if you’re diving through complex or extensive data sets with your client. There’s a limit to the specificity you can get into over the phone while still guaranteeing comprehension and engagement on the part of others.
That restrictive threshold doesn’t apply in the same way to video conferencing. When everyone is looking face-to-face, meeting participants can actually get involved in an earnest, sustained discussion.
Customers can get involved as meeting presenter
When presenting numbers to a customer, engagement is important at a functional level, which means making it possible for them to comment on or examine the data in deeper detail and with the attention on them. That’s difficult to do with voice-only, but in an online meeting, you can pass presenter roles to the customer so that they can share their screen, themselves.
When it takes a few minutes of back and forth to get to the right page of the presentation the client wants, it can negatively impact the meeting experience. When the customer has the presenter controls, however, they can effortlessly navigate to specific data points they want to talk about or ask questions on.
Sharing real-time data with customers is a modern necessity to doing business that traditional communication tools can’t handle. Voice-only calls can limit the effectiveness of your sales, marketing, and customer success teams. With the right screen sharing software, meetings can be elevated to the next level.
Looking for a solution to drive this performance and value? Cisco Webex has a reliable screen sharing solution to facilitate better meetings.
Get started with a free plan today.
Webex Meetings December 2019 update: connect to meetings faster and have a great content share experienceJan 02 2020 — Kim Nguyen
In the last Webex Meetings updates of 2019, we deliver features that primarily make it faster and easier to join your meetings and to give you a richer content experience.
Connect to meetings even faster
As part of our continued effort to make the Webex Meetings join experience as easy and fast as possible, we are enabling users to avoid having to press “1” when they use “Call Me” or a video system to join a meeting. It’s one additional step in creating a frictionless video experience. You can configure it once and then forever bypass “1” from there on out. This is available for Webex Meetings and Events.
Multiple participants can pair to a room device
We’ve probably all had this experience where we can’t figure out all the participants in a room because only one person has connected to the meeting on the cloud-connected room device. But, now, the Webex Meetings desktop app allows all the people in the room to pair to the same device, so you can easily see who’s connected to which device in the Webex Meetings participant panel. Users will be grouped under the device to which they’re connected. We also have a search bar at the top of the participant panel so you can easily search for a particular user. This is initially supported on the Webex Meetings Desktop App but will soon come to the Web App as well.
Optimizing user experience for high frame rate content
We introduced a high frame rate – 30 frames per second – a content sharing in 2019 and have since made a number of media quality improvements to keep the experience as high as possible. When users have packet loss, they may experience some freezing of high frame rate content. With the latest improvements to our media engine backend, we are reducing the incidence of content freezing and improving the overall sharing experience for users.
Great content on mobile
For both Android and iOS, users can now enjoy great content on their mobile apps, which can receive 4K content. This brings the Webex Meetings Mobile App in line with the Desktop App, so users can have a rich content experience whether they’re deskside or on the go.
Short video addresses now available
Finally, just a quick note to let you know that the short video address feature we told you about in November is now available. Like many of the features in this update, it will be easier for you to get into a meeting. The feature is off by default, but your administrator can enable it by reaching out to their Cisco contact.
This month’s features are associated with the Webex Meetings 39.11 update.
For more information on these features or to learn about the other features of this update, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite.
See all the Webex Meetings updates here
Scaling company culture
A company’s culture encompasses all of its values, visions, and goals – in other words, everything that makes it operate the way it does, from its process for hiring personnel to its protocols for communicating via email and video meetings.
While things like catered lunches and unlimited PTO can enhance a culture, culture is so much more. In fact, it’s one of the most important contributors to employee happiness.
A Columbia University study found much less turnover at organizations with a positive culture. Plus, these happy employees who buy into a company’s culture are typically more willing to become advocates for it, in turn helping improve recruitment.*
Building a culture that works
Almost all executives (94%) and employees (88%) think distinct company culture is important to have.**For large and well-established organizations, such a culture may have been in place for many years. But what about small-and-medium-sized businesses that are just getting started? How can they create an appealing culture right away?
An MIT assessment of Glassdoor identified a so-called “big nine” of important cultural attributes that jobseekers prioritize:
- Customer focus
- Execution/process discipline
- Performance recognition
These nine are interrelated. For example, companies that facilitate effective collaboration through video meetings, VoIP calls, and real-time chat are almost always going to be more agile, i.e. capable of rapidly responding to industry changes and seizing key opportunities.
Accordingly, investing in modern audio and video collaboration tools will help businesses put their best foot forward when recruiting, supporting, and connecting employees, no matter where they are physically located. That’s a key competitive advantage in the age of mobile and remote work, and one that contributes to the other components of the big nine, like being able to focus on customers and come up with ideas that fuel product innovation. See how web conferencing can be utilized for real-time online collaboration
Creating a culture of collaboration
Many businesses now launch without a traditional corporate campus or even dedicated desks for their workers. They may also support remote work policies, which have the dual benefits of reducing rent or real estate costs and giving employees greater flexibility.
Such a flexible company structure promotes agility. Businesses that tap into mobile and remote work can hire from – and target customers in – more locations, market themselves more effectively to highly sought-after recruits, and scale their office space usage up or down as needed. Global Workplace Analytics has nicely captured these benefits in numbers:
- More than 80% of employees** think telework is a job perk, illustrating its importance to a positive corporate culture.
- Companies can save six figures or more on office space, as well as on employee relocation expenses and the costs of turnover.
- Remote workers can in some cases be more productive, with one firm seeing increased sales, fewer customer complaints, and lower attrition
So what’s the catch? For starters, many remote workers feel left out, which is a potential risk for companies that rely on these working arrangements.
This is where collaboration solutions, like ones for holding online video meetings from anywhere with an internet connection, can make all the difference. Because collaboration is a core component of appealing company culture, it should be supported with the best available software featuring capabilities that extend far beyond conventional conference calls.
A video conferencing platform, in particular, can bring workers together across multiple locations and make them feel like they’re included, thanks to pivotal features such as:
1) Face-to-face meetings at any time, from anywhere
What do you think feels more conducive to a positive, supportive company culture that can scale: A low-quality, anonymous-sounding voice call, or a lifelike conference over high-definition video?
Video conferencing meetings have the unique benefit of making attendees feel like they’re all in the same room even if they’re actually far apart. They’re perfect for in-depth conversations that provide crystal-clear insights into everyone’s real-time reactions and body language, making them a great addition to anything from a sales demo to a human resources update.
2) Easy usability, both at the desk and on the go
High-quality communications between employees are vital to productive company culture. That’s why issues such as email fatigue and difficulties joining an online meeting can spell trouble for both productivity and morale. But intuitive video meeting solutions can help by making it straightforward for anyone to participate.
In Webex, joining a video conference is as easy as tapping/clicking a button when it’s time for the meeting to begin – no dial-in number required. Joining is simple by PC, tablet, phone, or using a standards-based video conferencing system. Participating doesn’t even require a download, as it’s possible to connect via a web browser.
3) Screen sharing for real-time communication
Remember how we said that a lot of remote workers felt like they were isolated and possibly missing important information? Screen sharing within a video meeting platform helps alleviate some of these concerns and make it easier for everyone to stay engaged. Screen sharing works on both desktop and mobile devices. It can be used to share an entire screen for demoing a particular workflow, or just a specific document or application so that viewers can follow along with the presenter’s explanation.
4) Save the conference for later with meeting recordings
If someone can’t make a video meeting or simply wants to review what happened, later on, they can easily do so thanks to built-in recording capabilities in Webex. After the meeting ends, an MP4 of the session will be emailed and can be viewed with just a click.
Building a positive company culture is essential to the long-term prospects of any business. Video meetings make it easier to ensure that employees are happy no matter where they’re working from.
Learn how to get started with Webex for free today.
- 191 years old.
- 1,100 branches and 2,900 ATMs across 11 states.
- 24th largest bank in the United States.
- 400,000 collaboration meetings/year.
- 75 million minutes of meetings/year.
- $162.7 billion in total assets.*
In numbers, this is Citizens Bank. But there is much more to their story.
Citizens Bank is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions. Their goal? To help the people they serve reach their full potential. With a customer-centric approach, they bring a wealth of knowledge to banking, insurance, and investment services.
In 2018, Citizens Bank saw a growth opportunity for their company. One that could position them as a technologically progressive bank and allow them to compete with even larger banks in their industry.
This opportunity took the form of a digital transformation project.
New collaboration experience
Eric Johnson, Head of Workplace technology of Citizens Bank, was interviewed about the plan. The objective was to select a new, consolidated and integrated collaboration experience for everyone in the company. They wanted the technology they were using, to work together. And they wanted to enable employees to work from anywhere, on any device. Things that used to be manual, like picking up the phone to have a meeting, would now be streamlined. He explained that to do this [transformation project], “they looked at the market to see who had a world-class reputation.” After evaluating vendors, they chose Cisco and migrated the entire company onto the Cisco Collaboration experience. From mobile devices, to the contact center, to desk phones. It sparked a huge cultural shift.
The meeting experience was important for Citizens Bank. It was essential that all colleagues experienced the same thing, whether sitting at a desk, a conference room, at their house, or in their car. Johnson states, “from a cultural standpoint, we ripped the Band-Aid off.” Meaning that they hit the ground running with the Webex deployment, with readily available video conferencing software and conference rooms set up so people could begin collaborating in this new way– all integrated from end-to-end, with top-notch video and audio quality.
Every meeting at Citizens Bank is now video enabled, which has created a more flexible work style and progressed the cultural shift. In addition, Webex technology has made a huge impact on how and where employees work not only with each other, but also with their clients.
Benefits and beyond
The benefits to this project have been numerous. Teams would often have to wait to make a decision until someone came into the office so they could discuss it. But now they make decisions immediately by having a video call, or sharing a file through Webex Meetings and Webex Teams. In addition, technology adoption scores are exceeding growth predications and have improved by 25% in the past quarter alone. And on top of that, hiring at Citizens Bank is no longer limited to applicants in a certain location. They can now hire the best talent for each new opening.
Going forward, Johnson says that Citizens Bank is looking forward to an even tighter integration of the collaboration experience from the branch to the contact center, and from colleagues to customers. They are looking forward to AI capabilities which will continue to streamline meeting workflows, and enable things like automatic note-taking in meetings, which can all be done in the background.
Citizens Bank is leading the way by technologically changing how they work and how they meet.
Learn more about their story and check out their video here:
*Numbers as of June 30, 2019
Try Cisco Webex video conferencing today. Check out the free offer, here.
Screen sharing software can help make your meetings more efficient and productive. However, that’s not all it can do. Increasing engagement between meeting participants is also a key benefit of a screen sharing solution.
Traditional conference calls can often be one-dimensional. All you get is a voice on the other side of the line. With screen sharing, visual elements are also brought into play, which naturally leads to a more engaging meeting format. Presenting a report on the phone with nothing but your voice to 10 other attendees is much different from doing the same with the advantages of screen sharing. Bottom line, screen sharing can streamline workflows and empower your workforce. There are a number of creative screen sharing uses that can provide these benefits, and here are a few of them:
1. An interactive sales demo
Sales on-boarding can be a difficult task, especially when your teams might need to educate clients over the phone. It’s crucial that clients realize value or return on investment as quickly as possible — that means ensuring clients are up to speed on how to use a SaaS solution or other service or product. Being in the same room as the end user would be ideal for training, but often, is not the case.
Instead, screen sharing can help replicate those conditions and support an interactive experience for the presenter and the client. At a basic level, it’s clear to see how valuable it is to be able to look at the screen of the sales rep as they navigate a solution, following along in real time to understand the ins and outs of the product.
Beyond that, it’s possible to present remote control onto the client so they can replicate the same task right after they’ve seen it demonstrated, which can help improve retention of learning. If the client has the solution running on their device, the sales rep can pass presenter credentials and offer advice and guidance as they both watch the new user in real time. This allows for instant troubleshooting during the on-boarding process, which can help resolve user problems that may have otherwise surfaced and hindered an important company implementation.
2. A remote tour of the office
A tour of the office is a staple of recruiting, as well as in the sales process. Taking an applicant or prospective buyer around the headquarters is about impressing them, but not every potential hire or customer is always available for a tour, which can sometimes cinch deals and hiring decision. Here, screen sharing can come in handy in a creative way.
A guided tour of the office can be shared with the applicant across the country, or the world. Easily, and without moving from their computer, they can get a picture of what the work environment is like, or visualize any perks or notable building features. Through video conferencing, you can even get current employees to answer questions an applicant has. Similarly, a sales lead could be entertained by a tour of your office, which helps nurture the sales relationship.
Using a screen sharing mobile app could further heighten the experience, and a tour could be given in real time. Whoever leads the tour can use a mobile device to effortlessly walk about the office and show potential hires and customers all the sights.
3. Collaboration on a creative project
Creative teams often need more nuanced modes of communication than what a traditional conference call format can offer. Explaining a visual concept, for instance, can be difficult when none of the other meeting participants can see what the designer sketches out, or what the ad campaign manager is imagining.
Screen sharing makes that all possible by facilitating collaboration in real time between creative teams and stakeholders. A graphic designer with present credentials can open a drawing or modeling program on their device and cast the image they come up with to other meeting participants. In the same vein, a videographer may use screen sharing tools to play a reel for a producer or other team member who’s at a different shoot location. They can edit together in real time instead of having to work through email and attachments.
4. Illustrating numbers and data
Lastly, presentations with a lot of numbers and data points can be hard to sit through, especially over the phone. Capturing the attention of the meeting can be done with screen sharing. You can present slides that contain animations or other visual elements that bring the numbers to life in a dynamic data plot or an interactive graph. Such presentation features are engaging and keep meeting audiences attentive; they also improve the comprehension of key data trends or insights your presentation is trying to convey.
There are many other creative uses for screen sharing software, which users can discover on their own as they use such tools. The right screen sharing platform can help facilitate meeting efficiency and innovation. Looking for a solution to drive this performance and value? Cisco Webex has a reliable screen sharing solution to facilitate better sales calls. Get started with a free plan today.
Interview conducted with Matt Corbett, IT/End User Experience Manager at Electric Power Research Institute.
In 1965, 30 million Americans lost electricity in the Great Northeastern Blackout. This crisis left people vulnerable and showed society’s great dependence on 24-7-365 electric service. Because of this blackout, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) was established as an objective, nonprofit organization to conduct research and development in all aspects of power production, delivery and use, for the benefit of the public.
On a daily basis, 1200 employees at their U.S. offices and labs and around the world collaborate in a range of programs with their peers, member companies, and stakeholders. Effective communication isn’t just important, it’s essential – for establishing and managing research, for reporting results, and for applying new technologies in power systems around the world.
Creating a new culture with video conferencing
We had the opportunity to talk with Matt Corbett, IT/End User Experience Manager at EPRI, about how EPRI is creating a video-first culture to equip employees to communicate — and collaborate — more easily and effectively than ever before.
When Corbett joined EPRI in January 2017 his first goal was to understand how the company was collaborating. Which aspects were working and providing a good experience, and which needed improvement? He spent his first months just listening. From this, Corbett put together a transformation strategy, aligned directly to EPRI’s unique needs. Alongside key partnerships with the HR and Facility teams, he was able to secure the executive support he needed, and — most important– establish trust across the organization that proved critical in the success of the transformation ahead.
In a workplace driven by collaboration, the goal was to drive seamless continuity and a flawless user experience. At the heart of the transformation was the need to sever ties with old technologies and habits so that the EPRI team could share ideas and foster further research more readily and effectively .
Corbett determined that hardly anyone was using video frequently or effectively. To address this he brought in new software and hardware, and began modernizing EPRI’s offices, conference rooms and other shared spaces. His team focused on creating comfortable meeting rooms and “huddle spaces,” with easy-to-use conferencing systems.
Creating an intuitive, well-supported experience for employees was crucial to the strategy. Video conferencing became seamless for individuals on a desktop, individuals or groups in small conference rooms, or large groups in meeting- and conference-size halls. For all these, a simple push of a button is all that is needed.
As a result, collaboration technology has become more integral to EPRI’s collaborative business model. More people are using video conferencing more often, and its use has moved beyond in-house team meetings. EPRI is now simulcasting all-hands meetings, bringing its far-flung team together with video conferencing software. By using the systems for interview screenings, EPRI is reducing travel costs. EPRI is using video conferencing to deliver externally-facing training and classes on demand, extending its reach globally.
Best advice to others in his position?
Corbett advises: listen and have an open mind. Don’t approach a situation with a solution already in mind. Ask thoughtful, probing questions. Allow people to express opinions and share their experience. Ultimately you want the team to be excited to adopt a new technology. Also, in your various work spaces, don’t default to the same solution for every room. Regardless of the size or shape, determine which technology and configuration best serves the particular needs – even if that means trying a configuration that is a bit different than the norm. At the end of the day, the technology should fit the way you work, not the other way around.
Interested in Webex and ready to give it a try? Check out our free offer, today.
Feature improvements don’t have to be huge to make a big difference. In Webex Meetings 39.9 update, we’re introducing and updating small features that will make your video conferencing meetings easier, more efficient, and (gasp) maybe a little less annoying. These are the meeting hacks of Webex Meetings 39.9:
- Shortened video addresses
- Fewer video distractions in Events and Meetings
- Virtual background support for iPad
- Webex Teams lobby ambassador
- More support for Web App
A shortcut to your personal meeting room
We introduced Webex.new, letsmeet.new and mymeet.new last month with the launch of Google’s .new domain – shortcuts to common tasks can be accessed from the browser. Webex.new is the new shortcut that takes you directly to your personal room from any browser. Just make sure you’re signed into the Webex Meetings Desktop App, otherwise you’ll be taken to a download page to get the latest app.
Give your dialing finger a break
If you’re using video devices to dial into a Webex video conferencing meeting, you now have less to type because we’ve created shortened, common video addresses that include just the meeting number and Webex extension (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). You no longer need to include the site ID to join (e.g., email@example.com). The new format can be used by Webex devices, Skype for Business users and third-party, standards-based video devices. This is also supported on mobile – both Android and iOS. Please note that this feature is currently in beta and will be generally available by the end of this calendar year.
Better manage Webex Events video
If you’ve hosted a Webex Events or Meetings call, you know sometimes video participants are doing things that are distracting to the meeting. Other than calling them out or privately messaging them, you couldn’t take immediate action. Now, you have the ability to just turn their video off and let the meeting progress more smoothly. Hosts also have ability to lock the main video window on a specific participant and switch between participants without turning off the original participant video. That’s one fewer click and just makes good sense. It also works on mobile.
Choose your virtual background on iPad
We can’t let the iPhone people have all the fun. Now, iPad users joining Webex Meetings can also choose their favorite backgrounds to display from stored photos. This will come in handy when you’re taking meetings from home on your iPad Pro and need to disguise your messy kitchen background with a more professional office look. Blurred backgrounds will continue to be supported.
Let them in from Webex Teams
This has happened to me more than a few times – waiting in the lobby long after the meeting has started because the host joined from Webex Teams and has no way to let meeting participants into their personal meeting rooms. Now, Webex Teams hosts will be notified when there are people waiting in their lobby and they can admit them. This feature is in the category of relieving annoyances that I know a lot of people, including me, will appreciate.
More browser support for Web App
In addition to Chrome and Firefox, the Webex Meetings Web App is now fully supported on Microsoft Edge browser with audio, video and share (including high frame rate content) capabilities. On Safari, Web App currently supports computer audio and video (share is not yet available from Apple on Safari). With this, I’m pleased to say that Webex Meetings offers the broadest native web browser support among conferencing vendors.
These are some fun meeting hacks, but we’re delivering a lot more in 39.9. For more details, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite (WBS39) – and click on “WBS39.9.”
If you haven’t already, try meetings for free.
Good communication is essential for any growing business, but all too often, it falls by the wayside. Whether due to personnel failings or technological limitations, many businesses struggle with communications, both internal (between employees) and external (between vendors and/or customers.) Proper staff training is necessary to address the former concern, but the latest video conferencing solutions remove technological communication barriers.
If your staff often runs into trouble clearly communicating with clients, vendors, and each other, then your organization likely faces at least one of the following communication barriers – each of which could be easily removed with a reliable, high-performance video conferencing platform.
1. Miscues and misunderstandings
Employees rely on a number of different platforms to share important information and updates with one another: email, instant messenger, and chat-based apps, to name a few. All are great at providing real-time communication, but can be problematic when discussing complicated problems and projects or attempting to convey nuance to the recipient.
It’s not unusual for messages to get lost in translation when attempting to talk about a complex subject over email or instant messenger. Employees collaborating on a project may misinterpret directions, requiring stakeholders to redo that work and causing delays to other project phases.
In other instances where an email containing next steps is sent to multiple people, it may not be clear who is actually supposed to handle those tasks. Everyone assumes someone else is handling the matter, and nothing gets done.
While some of those cases can be cleared up with a conference call, there is still a risk of project stakeholders receiving the wrong message without a visual component. This is especially likely if callers are reviewing reports, spreadsheets, or other documents over the phone. It’s difficult for everyone on a call to know exactly what is being discussed without a visual aid.
Video conferencing software gives every participant the ability to follow along as presenters run through project documents in real time. They can interject when they want to give feedback or respond to a particular point. Presenter controls can be passed around so every participant has a chance to present their ideas and annotate shared documents with everyone on the line. It’s easier than ever for teams to communicate with that kind of video conferencing software.
2. Missed non-verbal cues
Another communication issue to be mindful about is body language. When employees are sitting in a conference room together, it’s easy to pick up on non-verbal cues like a smirking smile to indicate sarcasm. A good amount of communication is imparted through more than just our words, and that can be easily lost on audio-only conferences and text-based communication methods.
The latest video conference solutions, meanwhile, offer high-definition video so every participant feels like they are standing in the same room as the presenter. Attendees can see every facial feature, movement, and gesture, so no body language goes unnoticed or gets lost in translation.
That also helps boost the impact of video conference presentations. Even the most dynamic public speakers will have their messages undercut to some degree if people cannot see them. Reliable, HD video conferencing tools put participants right there in the thick of the action.
3. Out-of-sync teams
Telecommuting is becoming the new norm as the remote workforce grows. According to a 2019 Upwork study, nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses will have remote workers on staff by 2028. Without proper management and robust communication platforms, it will be difficult for geographically disparate employees to effectively collaborate and communicate with one another.
If remote teams are out of sync and unable to work together on shared projects, the benefits of telecommuting could be undone by the resulting productivity losses. Miscues and communication errors could become the norm, resulting in costly mistakes and delays.
Keeping different teams on the same page, regardless of their location, is far easier with the help of video conferencing software. Employees can collaborate in real time, using screen share features to demonstrate their latest progress and invite meeting participants to update and revise documents while everyone’s on the line.
Offshore teams are never left out of the loop, either: session recording tools allow users to document the meeting and everything discussed so anyone who was unable to attend can get up to speed in no time.
Technological limitations shouldn’t hold your business back from effectively communicating between coworkers, clients, and vendors. The latest free video conferencing tools offer high-quality performance and powerful features for any organization. Get started with your free Webex plan today to remove your organization’s communication barriers for good.
How often during the past 12 months have you started a conference call from your car and finished it at your desk? If the answer is more than once, you know that experience can be cumbersome. Between dialing in, sharing content and taking notes, the switch between outside and inside was anything but seamless.
I said “was” because Samsung and Cisco Webex are working to take that meeting experience to a whole new level. The future of meetings is mobile and both companies are partnering to make the switch between those environments easier than ever.
Let’s start with joining a video conference from your car: taking your attention from traffic to your mobile phone to find your app and join a meeting can be dangerous. That’s why we’ve integrated Webex Meetings with a number of virtual assistants, and soon, we will support Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby. The experience of joining the meeting is as easy as saying, “Hey, Bixby, start my personal room.” Et voilà, Webex Meetings starts and joins your meeting room automatically.
Seamless integration from mobile to desktop
When it comes to switching from a mobile to a desktop, the latest Samsung mobile phones come with an embedded technology called Samsung DeX. Take a cable and connect your phone to a screen and this is the type of desktop experience that will appear.
DeX is not a different operating system; it’s just a different Android experience, optimized for desktop use. As people rely more and more on their smartphones for their primary compute power, this integration with DeX will be increasingly critical for highly mobile customers.
What did Cisco and Samsung do to improve switching from “on-the-go” to “at-the-desk”? We worked on tighter integrations: when you are on a Webex meeting on your mobile phone and need to switch to DeX, the meeting continues seamlessly. You can then share your DeX screen as easily as on a regular desktop. Samsung and Cisco can now help you be more productive, wherever you are.
Samsung Developer Conference
We previewed these innovations this week at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Jose, and the features will be available in Webex Meetings over the next several months. Edward Choi, VP of Alliances at Samsung and Matt MacPherson, Cisco CTO of Wireless, demonstrated these integrations in a Webex meeting with Amy Chang, Cisco’s EVP and GM of Collaboration.
Making life easier in the enterprise is the reason people at Samsung and Cisco innovate every day. We will continue to work hand in hand to bring these innovations in collaboration, networking and security in the future.
Try Cisco Webex Meetings free offer, today.
Keeping all of your employees in sync, in real time, can be challenging, especially as more teams work remotely and on-the-go. Although these flexible working arrangements have numerous operational benefits (for example, lower overhead costs and better worker retention in some cases), they also have the potential to make people feel like they’re out of the loop. A few of the top possible sticking points can be:
- Subpar email or chat communications: Email is a linchpin of collaboration, but it has its limitations. Messages can be misinterpreted, overlooked, inadvertently deleted, or otherwise difficult to locate, all of which result in gaps that harm productivity. The same issues can also apply to channels like chat/instant messaging.
- Time zone differences: With employees spread out across the country or globe, coordinating meetings can be difficult. When a suitable overlapping time comes by, it’s important to make the most of it by having focused online meetings that don’t get derailed by poor audio/video quality on conference calls or complex requirements for dial-in numbers and lengthy PINs.
- Technology problems: Some collaboration software can be difficult to use if someone isn’t seated in front of a PC and capable of downloading a full desktop application. Platforms should be versatile enough to work seamlessly across devices and deliver sufficient performance whether someone is using a wired, Wi-Fi, or cellular internet connection.
These issues and others can frustrate employees and possibly lower their morale, too. But there’s a straightforward solution: collaboration platforms that support screen sharing alongside other functions such as video conferencing.
Screen sharing is the perfect way to share documents, applications, or an entire desktop/mobile screen from any compatible device. Let’s look at four of its most important features and how they personalize online meetings and keep them on track.
1. Share a document for real-time markup and viewing
Many collaborative calls and conversations revolve around reviewing a specific asset, such as a schedule formatted in a spreadsheet, a slide deck containing a presentation, or a text file containing a proposal. Going through the details of these assets is much easier with screen sharing.
It’s simple to share a document or app when holding a meeting within Webex Meetings. That way, everyone in the virtual room can see it in real time, as it’s being updated/used, without having to switch between multiple applications.
This type of screen sharing adds more context to the interaction while saving everyone time that would otherwise be wasted on opening the asset elsewhere. Presenter controls can also easily be passed between users so that different contributors can share their screens or start brainstorming on a digital white board.
2. Share your entire screen
Sometimes, sharing just one document or application view isn’t enough to provide the context needed for productive real-time collaboration. This is where a full screen share is helpful, as it lets you show off even the most in-depth workflow, step by step and in high-definition video.
In Webex Meetings, you can share everything that’s open on your screen with other participants in the online meeting. For example, let’s say you wanted to show how to upload a finished piece of written copy into a content management system. Through the screen share, you could show:
- How to convert the document from Google Docs to the Word Document format.
- Which site to visit to upload the converted document.
- Where to navigate within that site to find the proper interface for uploading it.
- How to perform specific actions such as tagging other users, leaving comments, etc.
3. Share a multimedia viewer
Sharing a recorded video or an animated short can be complicated. The typical size of such assets, along with the restrictions of business email inboxes, makes it impractical to email them, while sharing them via a link to a service like Google Drive can still run into potential problems with playback errors or people not having immediate access.
An easy workaround is to instead show off these videos or animations during a screen share. Using Webex, it’s possible to let everyone see a multimedia viewer and watch a video or animation at 30 frames per second.
This option is just one of the many possible views within Webex Meetings. Screen sharing presenters can switch between multimedia players, application sets, documents, and entire screens with ease to keep the meeting on track.
4. Share from a mobile device
Screen sharing isn’t just for laptop and desktop PCs or web browsers. Webex Meetings supports native screen shares from iOS and Android devices, so nothing gets lost when employees join while on the go. On an iPhone or iPad, it’s also possible to share 3D models during an online meeting.
These capabilities will only become more important as phones and tablets evolve with faster CPUs and GPUs, more RAM, and better displays, all of which make them even more practical replacements for desktop devices in many contexts.
Get started with real-time screen sharing for your growing business
Ready to learn more about how screen sharing can reshape your company’s online meetings? Start with Webex Meetings free offer today using this link.
When Spencer Dinwiddie steps off the court at the end of a game, his day is far from over. Since joining the Brooklyn Nets in 2016, this NBA All-Star has worked hard to build an impressive business résumé, with a line of footwear – K8iros – as well as an investment company and a great deal of philanthropy. He is doing what smart people always seek to do: leverage an asset into greater achievements.
Business of any sort needs tools. You have to work lean. You have to collaborate and keep in touch. You have to stay on top of your industry, and you have to remove waste and inefficiency. Anything less is just burning money and time. Spencer has many people that he needs to work with and communicate with. Investors, suppliers, customers and partners on the business side as well as coaches and teammates on the sports side.
He recently told us a little more about his business communication setup and why he chose Cisco Webex as the machinery behind his growing, multifaceted success.
“Outside of me playing professional basketball for the Brooklyn Nets, using Webex collaboration tools will help drive my business to the next level.” – Spencer Dinwiddie
Basketball: Coaching, review and strategy
Ongoing success in professional sports isn’t all down to athletic ability. You have to have that, of course, but it will all go to waste if it is not reviewed and fine-tuned on an ongoing basis. That’s what coaches are for, after all, to identify the potential in an athlete and then draw it to the surface. It’s not always possible or practical to pull the whole team or even select players into a room to review footage of the last game. But it certainly is possible and practical to do so over high definition interactive video conferencing technology which includes the capacity to mark up and save the visuals.
The clarity of audio and video not only allow for clear analysis and markup, they also contribute to the vital elements of team dynamics: synergy, communication and emotional connection. That’s what exists at the heart of any great team. It’s always a people thing, facilitated through effortless technology.
As someone who has spent thousands of hours on the court, punishing and wearing out hundreds of pairs of shoes, he is not only an expert in what is needed in a sports shoe, but is also hands on in designing them. His K8iros line looks great on and off the court, but like many experts, his sudden inspirations or design changes don’t always present themselves at the opportune time. Or even if they do, calling a meeting of the design and QA team is often highly impractical.
This is why the ability to co-edit his shoe designs from anywhere in the world is something he sees as a game-changer in driving his business forward, even when on the move.
When it is time to actually meet, access becomes a non-issue, both in terms of travel (not needed) and access (one button to push). As he says himself, “With Cisco Webex I know that my meetings will be secured and professional for both internal users and the clients that my business team and I work with.”
So it’s no surprise, at least to us, that he and his teams use Cisco Webex for communicating, collaborating and growing his empire. People often think of Cisco Webex as the go-to tool in the boardrooms and spaces of big glass-tower companies. Sure. We’re there. We’ve always been there. But Spencer’s a great example of the numerous other situations in which people work together in companies large and small. People in business need clarity of communication. They need immediacy and simplicity. They need to build on their momentum and synergy. Their technology should be a facilitator of these needs, and not an obstacle.
Pro-basketball or fashion design may seem more glamorous than some other business lines, but the rules are always the same. Great people make great things happen. The machinery of business helps people to become great – as leaders, team members, entrepreneurs, and customers. One of the present and the greatest achievements that Cisco Webex products can achieve is to become essentially invisible. They are there, in the meeting room and on your phone, quietly and efficiently making things happen. Making meetings run well, bringing people together, allowing ideas to flow unimpeded.
Spencer’s presence on the court and in the public eye, as a designer, business owner and philanthropist is testament to his hard work and tenacity, from his early years trying hard to join the big leagues of the NBA through to the present and the future. Cisco is proud to know him, and to be, in a mostly invisible way, part of the team.
See more of Spencer’s journey and sign up for your free Webex account.
*Check out this infographic to learn about the integration.
Tackling Interesting and Complex Problems
Recently, at the Women in Product Conference in San Francisco, I was discussing workplace productivity with fellow product managers from various Silicon Valley companies. We were talking about how much more productive and innovative we are now than we were at the beginning of our careers. We agreed that one of the reasons for the increase in productivity is that the way we communicate with each other cross-functionally is much easier, even if we are communicating with teams located all over the world. We now have many great collaboration tools, such as Webex, that make it so simple! However, we also use many other collaboration tools day in and day out, and it would be so great if all those tools would work together.
The problems that we are working on solving today are super interesting and complex, yet we are able to tackle them head on because we can work with the right individuals, from all over the world, at a moment’s notice. At Cisco, we have a very diverse and globally distributed workforce, so it is definitely important that our communication is seamless and continuous. Of course, we are very lucky that we can use Webex Meetings every day and that the experience is as delightful and powerful as ever: meetings are easy to join on any platform, they deliver an optimal video experience, and provide an amazing mobile experience.
Smooth Transitions with 3rd Party Integrations
At work, we are constantly switching gears. For example, in typical day, I may start early with a customer call with a team in Germany, then join a scrum standup, and then I’m off to a 1:1 meeting with a UX researcher to discuss an upcoming product feature. After my meetings, I usually need to follow up on action items and share files and presentations. Making those types of transitions easy and seamless has been my focus this year as part of the Webex Meetings integrations team. Our team has been creating solutions that make transitions between apps a lot more efficient, for anyone who needs to collaborate smoothly across teams.
One of those cool solutions is the Webex Meetings integration with Slack, which is industry leading in terms of feature depth and experience.
Work Smarter with Webex Meetings and Slack
With the work we’ve been doing over the past several months, the entire Webex Meetings life cycle is now available in Slack. This is huge! If you’re a Slack user, your productivity will increase because now you never have to leave your Slack channel to have a great meeting experience. We’ve been working hard to bring together this amazing integration. Here is what you can look forward to:
Schedule, Start, or Join Webex Meetings directly from Slack
You may be having a lengthy chat conversation about a project in your Slack channel and decide that it will be best to have a live face-to-face discussion. You can schedule a meeting by typing in /webexschedule for regular meetings or /webexschedule myroom for your personal room meetings, then a dialog will appear where you can enter meeting details. This deep level of integration with Slack is unique to Webex.
Or you can start an instant meeting by typing /webex in the command line, which shares a notification to everyone in your channel so they can quickly join.
Start or Join Webex Meetings from your Outlook or Google Calendar
You can also connect to Webex Meetings on your Outlook or Google calendar. Directly join a Webex meeting in Slack through the Outlook or Google Calendar app reminder when a Webex meeting is added to the calendar event. Simply click on the Join Webex Meeting button, but note that the Outlook or Google calendar integration must be in place.
Real-time Webex Meeting Status in your Slack Channel
So that you never have to inadvertently miss another meeting, you will see a real-time Webex Meeting status card once the meeting has started, and you can join the meeting from there. This status card will appear in your Slack channel to remind you of your upcoming meeting, and you can even see who has already joined.
Webex Meetings List
You will also have the ability to see your upcoming Webex meetings list from Slack by typing /webexschedule list. If you are the host, you can start or cancel a meeting from within Slack. And if you are an attendee, you can join the meeting directly from the list. Just click the start button. No other meetings vendor has this level of integration within Slack.
End of Meeting and Recording Notifications
After your meeting has ended, you will see a summary in your Slack channel. If your meeting was recorded, then you will get a notification from which you can play the recording. You’ll also be able to see a list of all your recent recordings.
Building Bridges with Webex
So, as you can see, everything from scheduling a Webex meeting, to starting and joining the meeting, to seeing your recording can happen within Slack. This is all done with your convenience and productivity in mind so that you can experience Webex Meetings within the tools you live and love. The Slack integration is one of the many bridges that Cisco Webex has been working on building in order to delight our customers. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it!
Please visit the Cisco Webex App Hub to learn more about the Cisco Webex Meetings for Slack integration: https://apphub.webex.com/meetings/applications/cisco-webex-meetings-for-slack
You have no shortage of options for collaborating with colleagues and customers. From phone calls to instant messaging and screen sharing within a web conferencing solution, it’s never been easier to sync up with someone anytime and anywhere.
But which collaboration tools should you really use? Not all of them tools equally effective. Read to learn why, and about what to look for in a worthwhile solution.
Traditional vs real-time collaboration, and why the distinction matters
To see the difference between ineffective and effective collaboration, think about traditional conference calls, which are tough to set up and participate in. Participants might need to enter a long PIN just to join, only to then face problems with audio quality and not have access to video either.
In contrast, web conferencing services allow for crisp, clear audio and video connections that support rich real-time collaboration. Here are four big ways web conferencing supports better real-time interactions than alternatives like conference calls:
1. Better support for mobile devices
It’s no secret that for many people, tablets and phones have supplanted PCs as their main devices, even in workplace contexts. An SMB Group survey found that 40% of small- and medium-sized businesses reported a decrease in the use of conventional collaboration apps (like email) on desktops due to the ongoing shift to mobile.
These respondents also cited web conferencing as one of the main technologies they were likely to implement to accommodate new workstyles. Indeed, web conferencing software makes it easy to participate from any device with an internet connection.
2. Reliable video conferencing
Video calling opens up new opportunities for productive collaboration. Participants in HD video conferences can evaluate body language, see visual aides, and converse as if they were actually face-to-face in the same room
In turn, that level of interactivity lets workers become more productive. A Forrester survey of SMBs revealed that two-thirds of them reported saving time on internal projects, thanks to the use of services for video and web conferencing within modern unified communications solutions.
Video-enabled web conferencing also helps remote workers feel like they’re on the same page. When Google surveyed 5,600 of its remote employees across four continents, it found that frequent video chats were one of the best ways for creating last connections between far-flung teams.
3. Streamlined webinars and presentations
Webinar attendance rates are often mediocre, in the neighborhood of 40% to 50% of those invited. There are many reasons people don’t show up to these online presentations, including problems reliably joining from any device.
The webinar might not display correctly on all screen sizes. There could also be issues stemming from needing to dial a number and then key in a lengthy access code, at which point a would-be attendee might just give up.
4. Rich screen and content sharing
Working in real time means getting things done in the moment, not in disconnected and less contextual interactions later on. Web conferencing supports real-time workflows through audio, video, and rich screen and content sharing.
When someone hops on a web conference through Webex, they can easily share their entire screen or just a specific document or application. Android and iOS devices are also supported for maximum flexibility and convenience.
How Webex can help
In Webex, a conference can be joined by simply tapping a button when it’s time. Participants can share their screens, set up video, and enjoy clear audio for real-time collaboration.
Webex Meetings also makes webinars easier. One option is to simply set up the Call Me feature, which rings the entered number when it’s time for the webinar to start. Such streamlined web conferencing allows webinars to reach a wider audience and avoid technical complications.
Ready to learn more about how to get the most out of web conferencing? Sign up for a Webex Meetings free plan to get started.
It’s become more common for small- and medium-sized businesses to function without dedicated company offices. Whether employees opt to work from home, a branch office, or a coworking space, there is more flexibility than ever in how an emerging company structures its day-to-day operations. In fact, by the end of 2019, more than 2 million people could work out of coworking setups worldwide.
Not having a main office has a few potential drawbacks, though. For instance, keeping everyone in sync might become more difficult without a physical space – but it doesn’t have to. Thanks to screen sharing software that works on every major operating system as well as in web browsers, employees can enjoy rich collaboration that goes far beyond a traditional phone call or email.
Screen sharing is built into many web and video conferencing solutions, meaning that it’s possible to talk and walk through documents in real time from the same platform, from anywhere there’s an internet connection. If your business operates out of multiple remote sites or coworking or hotdesking environments, here’s what you need to know about screen sharing:
1. It’s possible to share your screen from a mobile device
Even though modern screen sharing has its roots in remote desktop software for PCs, it’s far more flexible than you might think.
Regardless of which devices they’re currently using, employees can let others see what they’re doing with just a few taps or clicks. For example, someone on a phone running Android or iOS can natively share content from their screen for real-time collaboration in Webex.
Screen sharing sessions can be conducted across phones, tablets, PCs, and Macs – in other words, if it has a screen, it can probably do screen sharing. That’s good news for productivity, considering that workers are increasingly reliant on personal devices in the workplace. By 2022, the BYOD market is projected to be over 10 times as large as it was in 2014.
2. You can share the entire screen, or just one app or document
When you think about what screen sharing actually involves, maybe you envision walking a colleague or client through a PowerPoint deck or PDF. Although that’s certainly one of the central screen sharing features and use cases, it’s not the only one.
Let’s say you wanted to show a video. In Webex, it’s possible to share just a multimedia player so that everyone could see it at 30 frames per second.
Sometimes you might want to share your entire screen so that you can provide a guided walkthrough of a product. Other times, simply sharing a specific app or document might be enough.
3. Screen sharing works well within video conferencing tools
Video conferencing software gives a team a virtual meeting room in which participants see each other face-to-face as if they were in the same space. With screen sharing, they can also work like they were side-by-side.
Like video calling, screen sharing is a form of real-time communication. Attendees can talk, see reactions and body language, and share their screen with ease.
In Webex, you don’t even have to worry about passing presenter controls to someone, as anyone can share their screen by default. Everything needed for real-time collaboration is right at your fingertips.
4. You can record a screen sharing session for later viewing
Not everyone can make every call, even if it’s an important walkthrough or screen share-enabled demo. Fortunately, straightforward recording makes this less of an issue.
The entire session can be recorded with just one button press in Webex. An .mp4 copy of the meeting is then emailed afterward and can be played back by simply clicking on the link.
Screen sharing makes it more practical than ever to work from anywhere – no office required. Learn more about how Webex can help by starting for free today.
Throughout the 2010s, one of the biggest trends in economic, cultural, and technological analysis was a focus on what separated the millennial generation from its predecessors.
Millennials, who were born between the years 1981 and 1996, are one of the largest age groups in U.S. history. According to Pew Research, there were 71 million of them as of July 1, 2016, compared to 74.1 million baby boomers, i.e., people born from 1946 to 1964. Pew also expected millennials to be the largest living generation by 2019, a few years after they had already become the biggest segment of the labor force.
Millennial attitudes toward technology in particular have received a lot of attention. A Nielsen survey found that 74% of millennials felt that technology made their lives easier at work, compared to only 31% of Generation X-ers (1965 – 1980) and a mere 18% of boomers.
Millennials, workplace technology, and the generational divide
That gap is somewhat explainable by the fact that millennials came of age during the formative years of the consumer internet.
For instance, many were entering middle school when Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows 95 were introducing straightforward web browsing to a mainstream audience. By the time they began their careers, email, the web, and video conferencing were also firmly established in the workplace. They never really knew a pre-digital reality in the workplace.
Always-on team chat applications such as Webex Teams show how certain technologies can be perceived and used differently across generations, since they’re relatively recent inventions and deliver a distinct experience from other, older forms of collaboration. A co-founder of Butterfly called these apps “the embodiment of the millennial generation’s view on work culture.” They have the potential to affect users differently by generation because they:
- Are more immediate than email, since it’s generally safe to assume that someone sending a message is online and ready to talk at that exact moment.
- Can warp the sense of work/life balance – a growing concern among many workers – since they’re available on any internet-connected device.
- May make previously important and thoroughly honed skills (e.g., drafting emails or working within other collaboration apps) less relevant.
On the bright side, useful and accessible tools can bring workers together regardless of their generations. A 2018 Pew survey found that although millennials exhibited the highest rates of adoption for tech such as smartphones and social media, boomers and Gen X-ers weren’t far behind, showing how it’s possible to get everyone on the same page. Similarly broad uptake of workplace collaboration technology isn’t out of the question, assuming that the solutions combine high usability and rich functionality.
Can video conferencing in the workplace close the generation gap?
For SMBs with multi-generational workforces, video conferencing offers an especially promising way to unite millennials, Gen X-ers, boomers, and the post-millennial zoomers/Gen Z-ers around one easy-to-use platform. Video conferencing stands apart from other forms of collaboration for several reasons:
It updates a familiar experience
Video calling lets people meet face to face from anywhere. In other words, it’s a new spin on an old form of collaboration that’s common in most workplaces. Participants can see facial expressions and body language as if they were all in the same room.
It provides extra convenience
When technologies create barriers between workers, it’s often because they seem too complicated to use well or don’t deliver a clear advantage over what came before. With video conferencing, the value proposition is clear: It’s much easier to meet with someone over a video link than it would be to coordinate all the travel necessary for an in-person meet-up.
It supports in-depth yet intuitive collaboration
At the same time, these interactions via video conference don’t sacrifice anything in terms of quality. High-definition video keeps the meeting focused. Plus, features like screen sharing support real-time collaboration that makes it easy for everyone to follow along.
It’s usable from almost any device
Workers across all generations have moved toward multi-device workflows. With Webex, they can unlock the benefits of workplace video calling whether they’re on a PC, phone, tablet, standards-based conferencing system, or in a web browser. Webex is also well-integrated with popular calendaring software and other business software so that it always feels connected to what’s happening across an organization.
Cisco Webex is the perfect place to start with collaborative technology that can bring everyone in the workplace together. Start for free today!
Is your SMB hiring the best available candidate for every open position?
While you can’t always get the perfect fit for each role on the first try, organizations can miss out on top talent because of solvable problems with their hiring processes.
The possible issues include posting an inaccurate job description (which in turn draws the wrong mix of applicants), struggling to manage large amounts of recruitment data, coordinating interviews, and casting too narrow a geographic net for a position that could probably be performed from almost anywhere. Let’s dig into the second one, as it’s directly addressable by smart use of video conferencing technology.
The missed opportunity to hire remote candidates
Relisting a job in the same location will, predictably, attract a familiar set candidates over and over again. That can be good if you are seeking particular expertise in the local area, but it can also be limiting and costly, especially in the broader context of many employers struggling to hire qualified candidates, surprisingly affecting over half of SMBs in a worldwide survey.
In 2018, the Manpower Group found that 45% of employers cited trouble finding candidates with the skills they needed, up from 40% the previous year and the highest rate overall since it began surveying employers in 2006. What was behind this increase? Changes in the labor market, certainly, but also the fact that technology has reshaped, rather than replaced, many in-demand roles. Plus, one-third of employers have not been able to attract enough applicants for their openings.
While some roles really do require a local presence – for example, a firefighter or police officer working in a specific geographic precinct – others are much more flexible than they appear and could benefit from a geographically wider search. According to Global Workplace Analytics, ½ the U.S. workforce holds a position theoretically compatible with telecommuting.
Opening a job search up to candidates in multiple locations, who are willing and able to work remotely, can help SMBs alleviate the talent crunch and select from a broader pool of candidates. But remote hiring comes with its own challenges.
Distance can make the travel for on-site interviews cost-prohibitive for SMBs. Meanwhile, applicants might struggle to form a clear perception of the company’s culture if they are only interacting via the traditional communications channels of phone and email. This is where a video conferencing solution can make all the difference in connecting you with top talent.
How video conferencing software supports a modern hiring strategy
Conducting introductions and interviews over video has numerous advantages over doing them in-person. While these video conferences might not replace on-site meetings entirely, they do provide more flexibility when recruiting and interacting with candidates.
Less travel, fewer costs
A Webex meeting with high-quality video and audio can be set up between multiple participants, regardless of their respective physical locations. That saves a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent simply trying to get everyone into the same room. SMBs in particular can struggle to keep travel expenses under control due to highly manual processes and outdated tech, so every reduction and simplification on this front helps.
All of the detail, none of the inconvenience
An online video meeting captures details such as body language and facial expressions that wouldn’t come across in other forms of communications. Moreover, with high-definition video feeds, it’s like participants are in the same room despite being far apart. Video conferencing delivers this extra clarity that is useful in evaluating applicants.
Easy meeting setup, simple participation
With Webex, starting a meeting and then participating in it is very straightforward. Attendees can join the conference from a PC, mobile device, or standards-based video conferencing system. Interviewers and applicants don’t even have to download a dedicated app, since they can view the entire meeting within a web browser.
A closeup look at your company, plus a walkthrough of the role
Video conferencing offers a great forum to virtually showcase your business and explain the position you’re hiring for. Candidates get to associate more than just a name with your company, plus you can give them a general sense of what your office looks like. Built-in Webex features such as screen sharing allow for even more detail, as you can walk through a presentation or conduct an assessment in real time. It all adds up to fuller context for everyone involved in the hiring process.
As you think about how to update your hiring strategy for the new reality of remote work and overcome difficulties finding the best person for each opening, video conferencing can help. Try Cisco Webex for free today to get started on the path toward more flexible hiring.
We’ve just released the latest update for Webex Meetings, version 39.7. And while you may think there’s nothing too earth-shattering here, we’ve actually done much to perfect the user experience so that your day-to-day meeting activities can be even more convenient and accessible.
Webex Meetings Version 39.7 brings you the following meeting enhancements:
- Better video conference meeting experience on the web app, despite network conditions
- New ways to pair and share with Webex devices
- Easier and faster meeting join ability through the mobile app
- Extending the Webex user experience to Slack
- Expanding PSTN audio coverage and scale
Better video conference experience on the web app
Whenever you use a web app, your experience is dependent on the speed of your network. Since you can’t always control your network speed, Webex is working to help you have the best possible experience regardless of network conditions. The Webex Meetings Web App for Safari is now supporting multiple resolutions, which also brings feature parity with Firefox and Chrome. Video resolutions supported on Safari now include 720p, 360p, 180p and 90p connection. This will be supported on Safari v12 or higher.
New ways to pair and share with Webex devices
Have you ever shared content locally with a few colleagues in a huddle room, and then wanted to seamlessly transition the content to a video conference so others can see it? You’ve probably had to stop sharing, dial into the video conference and then re-share that same content. Well, you no longer have to take all those extra steps. The Webex Meetings mobile app now supports local pairing and sharing on a Webex device AND the ability to move that shared content into a scheduled meeting or personal room – without having to hang up, dial and re-share. For executives who have eschewed the heavy laptop for a mobile phone or tablet, this feature brings added convenience and a few less steps.
Not to be outdone, the Webex Meetings desktop app also has a cool new local pair and screen share capability on Webex devices. Sometimes, during an active video conference on a Webex device, a person late to the meeting walks in and needs to sharing his/her content. For this person, sharing content from the desktop app to a device in mid call wasn’t possible until now. You may think this is a corner use case, but I’m sure you will appreciate it the next time you walk in late to a meeting and need to present. It has happened to me … and apparently others as well, because this feature came about by special request from a few of our customers.
Webex devices also have a special place in Webex Meetings 39.7, which now allows more advanced co-creation between Webex Boards, and even DX80s, in the conference. With the latest update, multiple Webex Boards and DX80s in a Webex meeting (up to 200) will be able to whiteboard and annotate in the same session. Imagine how collaborative development teams around the globe can be with the ability to co-create across the miles and have everyone in the Webex conference be able to see it.
Easier, faster meeting join through the mobile app
If you’re a Type A personality or, at least for those really important meetings, you probably like to dial into a meeting at least a minute or two early because it’s going some time to get in. But with the latest enhancements to the mobile app, you can have most of that minute back and still get into the meeting on time. One reason for this is we’ve optimized the user experience so that you can bypass a few steps. First time users can skip the audio/video preview step, and return users can set their preferences so that they bypass the preview and go straight into the meeting. This reduces the number of steps and the time that it takes to get into a conference, so you can just about dial in right at the time the meeting starts and that miss a thing.
Meeting you where you work
On the integration front, we continue to focus on bringing the best meeting experience to you within the tools that you use every day. And with that, we will be adding new features to enhance your Webex experience in Slack over the next several updates. Today, we have basic support for Slack users, but a series of changes coming between now and November, will allow you to experience the full Webex Meetings life cycle completely within the Slack channel. Version 39.7 kicks off the first of these changes beginning with Webex Meetings notification support in Slack. Slack users will receive notifications posted in the conversation. You will receive notifications when a meeting starts and ends, or when a participant joins or leaves. This allows you to be fully informed of the status of your meeting without having to leave your Slack channel. There’s much more to come over the next several months, so please stay tuned.
Expanded PSTN audio coverage and scale
We’ve also implemented some major enhancements on our support for PSTN audio that will help you save money and increase scale. First, we’ve doubled our support for PSTN dial to 1000 participants, up from 500, to match the total number of participants supported on a Webex conference. This means all of your Webex Meetings participants could be PSTN dialers if needed. In addition, we’ve significantly expanded the countries where we offer PSTN audio dialing. More details can be found in a blog shared earlier this month. Both of these audio features mean that you can support more PSTN dialers from all around the globe with Webex Meetings.
For more details about Webex Meetings version 39.7, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite (WBS39)– and click on “WBS39.7.”
Start a free trial of Webex Meetings for free today!
When you schedule an in-person meeting, you subject everyone involved to some rather strict limitations. They all have to gather in the same physical location, plus you need to ensure that you’ve actually got an open conference room or office at a time that works for every attendee.
Neither requirement is a given, especially if you’re an SMB with limited working space and employees who regularly travel or telecommute.
It’s sort of the workplace equivalent of visiting a travel agent to plan a trip, despite having the more convenient option of just handling the flight details, car rental and Airbnb or hotel booking online. In this case, the appealing alternative is to use video conferencing solutions.
As SMBs look to enable real-time collaboration without the constraints of in-office meetings, video conferencing software offers a compelling combination of rich functionality, affordable cost, and overall ease of use. SMBs can use such a platform to perform many tasks, from holding internal online meetings with screen sharing to meeting with sales prospects via HD video.
Let’s look at some of these benefits in greater depth, so you can evaluate the different solutions out there and choose the best video conferencing software for your team.
Here are 5 ways your SMB can benefit from video conferencing services:
1. Simpler, more consistent collaboration
When a meeting’s attendees are not all in the same place, it’s crucial that they have a consistent platform they can connect to whether they’re joining from a phone, tablet, computer, or dedicated video calling equipment. Webex levels the playing field with:
- Flexible device compatibility, supporting mobile and desktop devices as well as any standards-based video equipment.
- The option to join from a web client without needing to download anything.
- Call Me functionality to join by just answering the phone.
- Quick joining via Webex Productivity Tools in the toolbar.
Webex’s familiar big green button makes life easier for everyone, no matter whey they are or what device they’re using. A TechValidate survey of Cisco collaboration users found that 93% felt Webex video conferencing improved their interactions and business relationships.
2. Better productivity
At its best, video conferencing software supports productive real-time collaboration from any location. A 2018 Forrester survey found that almost three-quarters of IT decision-makers said their overall number of video calls had increased over the last two years, hinting at big ongoing gains in employee productivity.
Compared to conference calls, video and web conferencing solutions enable better productivity by:
- Minimizing distractions: Audio-only meetings encourage multi-tasking, which distract from their proceedings. Thanks to crystal-clear video, Webex helps attendees stay fully focused.
- Keeping the meeting short: Overlong meetings test everyone’s focus. By simplifying the processes for joining and participating, the best video conferencing software eliminates the delays and technical hiccups that inflate meeting times.
- Providing rich functionality: Video conferencing solutions let you do more than just see who’s on the other end of the line. Screen sharing, online meeting recording, webcasting, and more open up many possibilities for your SMB.
3. Many possible use cases
Small business owners and their teams often have to wear many hats. From sales to customer support, the same employee might perform several different tasks on a daily basis, necessitating a similarly versatile set of collaboration tools. This is where a flexible and intuitive video conferencing solution like Webex pays dividends.
With Webex, you can:
- Hold all-hands meetings to provide informative updates about the company.
- Host a webinar to showcase a new product or pitch a promising partner on a project.
- Conduct trainings for departments such as HR, with Q&A, polling, and screen sharing.
- Offer high-quality, real-time technical support to customers and users around the globe.
- Make it easier for sales teams to collaborate internally and with prospects and customers.
4. Seamless integrations
Video conferencing works best when it’s integrated into your other workflows, such that you don’t even have to think twice about scheduling a meeting. Webex works with all major calendaring software, including Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Office 365. Inviting anyone or everyone is no problem.
Plus, you can launch meetings from inside tools such as Salesforce, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. When you connect with someone via video on Webex, these integrations provide helpful context that fuels better meetings.
5. Reduced travel costs
SMB budgets are often tight, with little room for unexpected expenses. A video conferencing system can help you optimize your costs by reducing the need for pricey travel, whether it’s between company offices, on trips to meet prospects or attend conferences.
The lifelike video conferencing of Webex makes it as if everyone is actually together in one room, even when they’re apart. So save the commute or the business travel, and focus on the projects that matter most to your SMB. Try Cisco Webex for free today!
PCMag is an industry leading online technology guide. They test and review products from monitors to video conferencing technology to headsets, and everything in between.
Looking at pricing, packaging, user experience, and access to help (if needed), the PCMag Editor’s Choice selection is awarded to the products their team has picked as the best after testing and comparing with others in that same technology category.
We take pride in offering various plans so our customers get a simple, high-quality solution, perfect for their business needs.
Here are 3 highlights from the PCMag article we are excited to call-out:
1. Cisco Webex Meetings has a robust offering for everyone, from SMB (small to midsize business) to large enterprise.
“[At] $13.50/month for the Webex Meetings Starter plan, this solution is probably the most broadly applicable and best-suited for small to midsize business (SMB) customers.” – PC Mag
Choose the right plan for your business. Whether you want to meet with two people or thousands, there’s a Webex product for you. The plans we offer include our Free plan, Starter plan, Plus plan, Business plan, and Enterprise plan. This range ensures that we have your business covered, no matter how big or small, with the ability to scale as your business grows. In addition, if you’re trying out our video conferencing solution for the first time, we offer a 30-day free trial that gives you unlimited access to high-definition video conferencing meetings with up to 200 participants and a personal meeting room.
These plans are all available for purchase on webex.com.
2. With all plans, you get HD video, screen sharing, application sharing, cloud recording and storage, and many other features.
“If you’re looking for a screen-sharing and video conferencing service to go along with your existing dial-in conference service, thenCisco WebEx Meetings is a good choice.”- PC Mag
“This Editor’s Choice service is easy to use and includes some features you won’t find in other video conferencing services, including the ability to have the meeting call you rather than you dialing in.” -PC Mag
This means that you get reliable high-definition video with up to 720p, with different options for video viewing. With the screen sharing feature, you can share your whole screen or just an application of your choice, keeping the rest of your screen private. And with recording and storage, you can record and store meetings in the Webex cloud. Available both in video (MP4) and audio formats (M4A). It’s easy to use
Check out the other account management, mobile, integration, and security features here.
3. It’s easy to buy and get up and running quickly.
“Sign-up is as easy as filling in your contact information, creating a password, and opting in or out of email notifications from Cisco WebEx Meetings.” -PC Mag
All you have to do is select “Buy Now” for the plan of your choosing, select your payment plan and number of host licenses, and select any add-on features you’d like. Your subtotal will appear and all you do is click continue. You create your account, enter your billing information, and purchase. You can be using Webex Meetings within minutes of purchase. And, if you need help, every paid Webex account comes with 24×7 technical support.
“The Cisco Webex Meetings UI is easy to use, and the company has done a lot to bring the price down. Therefore, it’s worth taking advantage of the free trial to see if it works for you.” -PCMag
Often, software updates mean bringing the latest and greatest new experience to users. But sometimes it’s equally important to make existing experiences better, by removing distractions that can take away from your video conference experience. We’ve done just that with some of features in latest Webex Meetings Suite update – 39.6 – and also added some new, great features, too.
- Delightful audio experiences
- Web page enhancements: Modern View and People Insights
- Enhanced integrations with the tools you use every day
- Webex for CarPlay
- New lockdown release: Webex Meetings 39.5
Delightful audio experiences
I know we’ve all been disrupted in a meeting when someone starts tapping their pen or typing loudly. In the old days (and sometimes still today), someone would have to ask the offenders to mute themselves. A little more than a year ago, Webex introduced a feature that proactively suggested to the typer/tapper that they should mute themselves – hopefully before anyone else had to it. With the latest 39.6 update, we’ve taken it one step further by automatically lowering the microphone volume if loud typing or tapping is detected – but only if that person is not speaking. Once the person starts to speak (or stops typing/tapping for more than two seconds), the microphone volume will increase back to normal– and no one has to do any awkward shushing.
And we’ve all been annoyed by hearing someone’s voicemail pick up in the middle of a meeting because that person didn’t answer their call-back. This means the meeting has to pause until the voicemail recording finishes playing. The 39.6 update fixes that. A new, smart feature within Webex detects that the call hasn’t been picked up within a certain timeframe and prevents the call from entering the meeting before voicemail is launched. This avoids disruption to the meeting and unburdens the host from having to eject that voicemail from the meeting.
“Modern View” redesign for the Webex site
If you’ve been video conferencing with Webex for a while, you’ll appreciate the efforts we’ve put into modernizing “Classic View” on the Webex site. With “Modern View,” you now see a redesigned look and feel of the dashboard experience – with everything at your fingertips. A centralized search bar gives quick access to important items such as upcoming scheduled meetings, your colleagues’ personal room IDs, and recording playback. If you’re still on “Classic View,” please note that we are defaulting to Modern View for optimal experience.
We’ve also extended People Insights support to the Webex Web App, so you can easily get to know the people you’re meeting, no matter how you join.
Webex bot making integrations better
One of our guiding tenets is to make video conferencing with Webex easy to access within the tools you use every day. So, with the new Slack bot introduced in the 39.6 release, Slack users can now schedule a meeting using the command “/webexschedule,” and members in the channel will be automatically notified of the scheduled meeting. You can also use the command “/webexschedule list” to view scheduled upcoming Webex meetings or meetings you are invited to, as well as listing upcoming meetings for today or tomorrow. You can join a meeting from the list when it’s time, and the host can start or cancel the meeting from within Slack.
In other integration news – now, directly within Microsoft Teams, the Webex Meetings bot will notify you via 1:1 chat when a meeting recording is available. This recording notification also works with Webex Meetings scheduled within the Cisco Webex Meetings tab in Microsoft Teams. A URL link is included along with password (if existing). To better understand how to configure the Webex Meetings tab in Microsoft Teams, please review this help article.
What’s more mobile than Webex in your car?
The 39.6 update now provides CarPlay support for iOS users with existing Siri voice commands. You’ll experience the Webex user interface on your dashboard, with mute/unmute/leave meetings capabilities using their CarPlay buttons.
Also, on iOS, your cameras will now automatically brighten when ambient light is too dim, so you can send well-lit video into Webex Meetings. Auto-brightness will default to ON for new installs.
New lockdown version: Webex Meetings Suite 39.5
If you’re on a lockdown version of Webex, you’ll be interested to know that we will be moving off Webex Meetings Suite 33.6 and onto version 39.5. We’ve made significant improvements since version 33.6, including richer integration between Webex Meetings and devices, high frame rate sharing, Proximity pairing for easy access, one-way whiteboarding with the Webex Board, and People Insights among other great features. We’re also now supportingup to 200 video endpoints dialing into Webex Events so you can deliver Events directly from your Webex videodevices. Please update to the new lockdown version, 39.5, soon so you can enjoy all the latest features that Webex has to offer. You can find more info on 39.5 on the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite (WBS39)– by clicking on “WBS39.5.”
For all the latest features of version 39.6, please visit the Webex Help Portal link above and click on “WBS39.6.”
This feature applies when connected through the “Call using computer” audio option
Personal Room Meetings and recurring meetings are not yet supported
iOS 11+ iPhones only; SmartDeviceLink (SDL) needed to see in-meeting user interface and use of CarPlay buttons.
Webex, the leader in video conferencing.
Everybody has had jobs that they’ve loved, and jobs that they’ve loathed (unless you have been very lucky). Every company has their pros and cons, but when recruiting we often see a commonality in why employees become disengaged: when employers take without giving, and focus only on what they want, not what they employee wants.
There is still time to change your stripes:
3 viewpoints jump out when looking into the research on employee engagement.
1) Mature westernized economies have a productivity problem. Individual productivity is going down, and that is a serious inhibitor to growth, for companies and countries. Deloitte found that a 20% uplift in productivity is required to hit stated business objectives.
The problem for employers is that the workforce of 2020 (the majority of which will be Millennials and Generation Z), do not live to work, they work to live, and they will not sacrifice their wellbeing to support business growth. A significant change from the past.
2) Desire for flexible working is at its highest ever. CBRE Genesis have shown that 53% of millennials will accept a 10% lower wage to work for an employer that supports flexible working.
3) Innovation is the critical differentiation for growth, but the battle for the best talent is the fieriest it has ever been.
Building a bridge between these conflicting requirements, growth and balance.
Technology is critical, but not as an Island. Companies need to look at the entire employee experience: including recruitment and on-boarding, working polices, career development, health and wellbeing.
It is a journey Cisco have been on for several years now, which we call Our People Deal. We have learned a lot in implementing this. This is a 2-way deal, where expectations of the employees are set, and vice versa.
We are a very large company (70,000 + employees), this brings benefits of scale, but challenges for localisation. We have offices in 96 countries, emerging economies to mature economies. Each has their own customs, expectations and openness to change.
Our global workforce, 59% of our staff work in a different location to their manager, and 48% work across multiple time zones daily.
Our People Deal: Connect everything, innovate everywhere and benefit everyone.
Connect Everything. Putting policies in place to allow the staff to work within their communities, for those causes closest to their hearts.
Fostering a rich, caring team experience, that supports globally dispersed teams. It is not uncommon for team members to span the UK, Central Europe, USA and Asia.
Innovate Everywhere. Building an environment where the best ideas make it to the top of the pile, regardless of the location and seniority of the innovator. Providing access to multiple pathways for personal development
Building an incentive package that allows people to pick and mix, chop and change what is most important to them. Whatever life throws at you. Births, deaths, marriages, new jobs, retirement and many more experiences will change employee priorities. Supporting these are critical.
Role of Technology
9% of our workforce work fully remotely, with no identified office. 79% work from home, but go into the office once a week. 50% classify as mobile workers, without a desk to their name. The focus is on performance, not presence. Performance is judged not just on what is achieved, but how it is achieved. We want to win, but win the right way, with our customers, partners and communities.
To support this we provide choice of collaboration experience to all. Prefer working via phone, via chat, calling and messaging apps, or face to face using video, that is ok. We provide a choice of apps for every users preference, be that Jabber, Webex Teams or Webex Meetings.
We further enhance the meeting experiences by ensuring all offices. and our entire salesforce are equipped with market leading Video Telepresence. This spans personal units on the desk of our sellers at home, through to every size and shape of meeting space from huddle spaces to traditional board rooms.
Soft and Hard Benefits
Results wise we have seen a huge uplift, and not just on our revenues. Team engagement has increased 13%, the teams are retaining their employees 2.74x, confidence in leaders has increased by 14%, workplace satisfaction is up 17%, and work/life balance is up 5%
It’s that time again! Here’re some of the exciting new features you can expect to see in our team collaboration tool, Webex Teams, this month…
Threading Made Easier (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android)
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having such a great time using threads that I’m starting to struggle to keep track of them all. The good news is, the answer is here! Instead of scrolling for days to try and find that thread where you were chatting about something important, you can now go to your in-app filters to find a new addition especially for ‘threads’. This dedicated filter will show you all the threads you are a part of in chronological order. How’s that for organized?
That’s not all. We’re also adding some visual updates to in-space thread notifications. There will be separate indicators for an unread ‘normal’ message and an unread ‘reply’ in a thread. In addition, a very distinct banner will appear within threads to show which replies in the thread have not yet been read.
The future is bright for threading and we are planning even more exciting enhancements for this feature in the coming months.
Mute Them All! (Windows and Mac)
Is that a dog barking? A baby crying? Someone tapping on their keyboard or mouse?
These are sounds we hear almost every time we’re involved in a large meeting, leading to the host repeatedly having to ask attendees to mute themselves. Valuable meeting time can be wasted,and conversation flows interrupted while trying to track down the culprits of background noise. Well, fret no more! You can now mute everyone at the same time!
Fear not, we haven’t taken away your freedom of speech. For anyone who has been muted, they can unmute themselves, just so long as they have something more to contribute than background noise! Anyone in the meeting can ‘mute’ or ‘unmute’ all, and everyone in the meeting except the host and the person muting will get muted. Don’t worry, if you’ve already muted yourself (and your barking dog), that won’t change if someone chooses to ‘unmute’ all.
Move your call here, there and everywhere! (Windows and Mac)
Remember that time you started a call in a meeting room you hadn’t booked? And how much of a nuisance it was to stop the call, bring your laptop somewhere else, and start the meeting again on a different device? Yeah, we’ve all been there.
Thankfully this great new feature is going to make situations like that a lot less awkward. With the new ‘Move Call’ feature for On-Prem Webex Devices, you can start a call on your laptop and move it to any on-prem device that you’ve paired with. And move it back to your laptop. Or to another… Okay, you get the drift! The option is available in the call control strip under the ‘three dots’ button.
Shrinking Images to Save your Data (iOS & Android)
When I’m using Webex Teams on my mobile, there is a high possibility I’m out and about and not in a place where I have a Wi-Fi connection. This means, when there’s a lot of media being shared with me on Webex Teams, I’m draining all my mobile data. Loading an image could mean not having the bandwidth to reply to a message. The same applies when sending media using cellular data.
Now, we’re going to automatically reduce image sizes when they’re being sent, therefore reducing how much data is used both when sending and receiving them. No more worries about hitting that limit!
What’s that you say? We can now whitelist third party apps using APIs from developer.webex.com? Excellent news! Admin controls for third party apps are now available in Webex Teams. This allows customers to ensure only apps meeting their security and data handling standards will be enabled for their users. For more details on this great new feature, check out this article.
Exciting new features Edit Message and Buttons & Cards are coming to Webex Teams shortly – for full details of the release, check out our help center: here.
Try the Webex Teams 30-day free trial today. Sign up here.
Why join a video conference instead of hopping on a phone call or Voice over IP (VoIP) session? Because high-definition video allows you to meet face-to-face with customers, clients, and colleagues, even when you’re far apart.
A modern video conferencing solution can also combine important collaborative functions such as screen sharing, VoIP, audio and video recording, and meeting broadcasts into one easy-to-use platform. With secure single sign-on, web browser access and intuitive mobile apps for iOS and Android, it’s never been simpler to collaborate from any location or device.
If your SMB or enterprise is looking to encourage and improve your collaboration, video conferencing provides a straightforward way to do so. A major Stanford study found that collaborative teams were able to focus on their tasks for 64% longer than their solitary counterparts. In the real world, the unique focus provided by video takes such collaboration even further.
Rather than the lack of transparency with audio-only calls (Is anyone listening? Are they talking but muted? Maybe everyone is checking their phones?) video conference meetings provide maximum clarity. Let’s look at what you can expect from a video solution and how to make the most of Webex.
Video conference meeting FAQ
Not all video conferencing solutions are the same. They vary in their features, pricing, and integrations, while typically revolving around a core set of video and audio calling features. As you assess your options, consider these key questions:
Do I need a specific app to participate?
There are multiple ways to participate in a video conference. For Webex, you can use mobile apps for iOS or Android, any standards-based video conferencing system, the desktop client, or even your web browser. For the latter, no download is required. You may wish to use a headset to minimize feedback and improve audio quality. Dial-ins are another option for connecting to audio.
How do I join the video call?
Joining should be easy – emphasis on “should.” Some solutions may make you jump through hoops first or require a dial-in number and PIN to be keyed-in. With Webex, you can instead easily enter the meeting with just a tap or click, or have the meeting come to you via the Call Me option – just answer the call and you’re in.
What kind of quality can I expect? Is it real-time?
At peak quality with a stable internet connection, video conferencing enables real-time collaboration. Team members can interact almost as if they were in the same room and also present visual aids or share their screens. For example, Webex allows for full screen sharing or sharing a specific app or document. You can also have a video feed running next to the screen share.
What about muting and audio controls for my online meetings?
Distracting background noise is one of the main concerns of video conferencing, but there’s an easy fix: mute buttons. Every Webex participant can mute their own audio with one click. As a meeting host, you have more sophisticated options at your disposal, such as muting specific participants, muting everyone, or enforcing muting upon meeting entry.
Someone can’t make my video conference. What’s the best way to bring them up to speed?
By recording the meeting. Recording and sharing are both straightforward with Webex. You can record the meeting and then email a link to anyone who wants to reference it. Viewing and listening to the recording doesn’t require any specific playback software. Just click the link and it will start playing.
How many people can join my video call?
One of the key benefits of video conferencing is that it’s suitable for both large and small-scale forums. You can set up a video conference with just a handful of your internal team members, or go big and invite thousands of people to the call. Different Webex plans permit up to 100,000 people in a meeting.
Are my online video meetings secure?
The stakes are high for audio and video conference security, since participants have a virtual front-row seat to potentially sensitive discussions. Webex includes multi-layered security features to keep your conferences safe. These include at-rest and in-transit data encryption, advanced password management options (like requiring a password for each meeting and setting minimum password specifications), role-based access, and secure data center and cloud infrastructure behind the scenes.
How do I get started with video conferencing?
A free-to-start trial lets you test the major features of a video conferencing solution before you make a decision about how to proceed. To start your free Webex trial, simply visit this page.
Webex, the leader in video conferencing.
“What do you mean there is a flood in the building?!”
My response to a message I had received as I was making my drive into the office to participate in an Adoption Masterclass that my team was facilitating in conjunction with our great friends and partners at Sei Mani.
More than ever, in the wide world of SaaS, true adoption of solutions is what keeps the providers relevant and feeds the innovation engine. It’s no longer about how many daily users you have or how many log-ons you monitor. It’s about how your solution is playing a part in transforming business and assisting consumers in achieving more than they thought was possible.
In the Webex Customer Success organization, we’ve spent the last several months partnering with Sei Mani to bring together all of the tested techniques that help guide customers towards real success with integrating software into their business. The basis of the methodology is the “Pillars of Success.” These pillars will guide you through everything from launch and implementation plans to ongoing management, communications, and stakeholder engagement. BUT FIRST you have a very clear understanding of why you’re deploying in the first place. The Business drivers for Webex pack will give you guidance on establishing SMART business drivers for your organization.
This entire methodology of becoming an Adoption Master is what our Customer Success Managers are using in their customer engagements and is available to everyone!
But back to the flood. . . so much planning and time and effort and sweat and tears went into planning the two-day Adoption Masterclass workshop that we were about to host in our Rancho Cordova hub. People flew in from across the state and even across the pond to make this event successful – and now it could all be at risk because of a flood in the building. I immediately pulled over (did I mention that I was driving??) and was trying to come up with plan b – was there a nearby park that we could caravan to so that we could carry on with the workshop??
Then I looked back down at my phone and thought – WAIT a minute – I don’t need to panic just yet – I have team collaboration tool, Webex Teams– I can easily get the skinny on the real situation since Teams connects me with everyone that I need to get in touch with to come up with our next steps. I jumped into the space where all of the workshop participants had “gathered” over the prior to weeks, to preview the workshop agenda, learn more about the prework and share their excitement about getting together as a group. I quickly posted a message to quell the anxiety that was developing amongst the participants – “should we still drive in?? is the meeting room flooded too??”
I then typed in the name of our amazing Lobby Ambassador and quickly messaged her on Teams – “How is our meeting room? What do you advise??” then I let out a huge sigh when she said that our room was just fine and the “flood” was actually just a leak on the other side of the building. WHEW! I then used Teams to call my teammate and let her know the good news – that we could carry on with our plans – crisis averted!
One last quick message was sent to the whole group letting them know all was well! YES! We were able to move ahead as planned. In less than 10 mins I went from panic to peace and was back on the road, headed into the office. And the best part? We now have 30+ Adoption Masters ready to share and guide our valued customers on to success with Webex!
Over the past week, all the collaboration tech blogs and social media feeds that cover Cisco have been loaded with updates and perspectives on the various keynotes and product announcements at Cisco Live US 2019. With over 30,000 customers, partners, (and surely some interested competitors!), there was A LOT going on in sunny San Diego. One area that was loaded with activity was the Webexperience Theater – home of the Lightning Talks that were given by various Cisco Collaboration executives and SME’s covering a wide array of topics. Across four days there were 35 Lightning Talks and 7 Executive Talks. To give you a little taste of what we talked about, here are some sound bites from those talk.
Selected Sound Bites from CLUS Lightning Talks
- On-Premises, Cloud and Hybrid Calling Evolution… Wade Hamblin (Director, Product Management): “I want to introduce to you today to the new Cisco Webex Collaboration Cloud. It’s all about how to deliver your calling, your meetings, your team collaboration, and your contact center solutions across award winning devices with enterprise grade security, open & intelligent platforms to build and deploy on, hybrid and cloud architecture that gives you the flexibility and agility to do what you want.”
- The New Webex Calling… Sonali Karnik (Senior Manager, Cloud Calling Product Marketing): “Webex Calling is the integration of the Broadsoft acquisition of cloud calling into the Cisco Webex platform. So this is bringing together the best of cloud calling with the power of the Cisco Webex platform.”
- The Power of the Platform… Jono Luk (Director, Product Management): “If you look at where Webex is going, we’re helping with education, we’re helping with healthcare, we’re helping with verticals where you have to be able to rely on your platform. That’s the first and most important quality of the collaboration platform.”
- Jabber & Teams Working Together… Shane Long (Technical Marketing Engineer): “What is Jabber Team Messaging Mode? It’s a relatively new deployment model of Cisco Jabber where it’s a hybrid approach where you can deploy your Jabber client as per usual with UC Manager. So you’ve got your rich calling feature set from soft phone, desk phone, multi-line, some contact center features, VDI, etc. however with Jabber Team Messaging mode we’re taking advantage of the power of the Webex Teams Platform.”
- Adopting Webex in Education…Suzanne Phillips (Collaboration Adoption Manager): “As I’ve been talking to teachers, the number one most thing they’re excited about is figuring out how do we allow students to collaborate with each other and give them the tools so that even when they’re in classroom times they’re able to work together and pick off each other’s brains or when they’re at home the learning doesn’t have to stop and they can work on things like group projects outside the classroom. Other things people are excited about Webex is when you can have remote virtual experts join your classroom.”
- Webex + Meraki…Jing Zhang (Senior Product Manager of Cloud Calling): “We’ll be building bridges between applications: Jabber, Teams, Meetings. Bridges between the platforms: Webex Meetings, Calling, and also our on prem and cloud altogether as a hybrid. And we are also building bridges with Cisco Collaboration and other SaaS services: Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Today we are going to talk about another bridge. Another different type of bridge that is bridging the network (Meraki) with collaboration.”
- People Insights… Maureen Vild (Technical Marketing Engineer): “What is People Insights? An AI-driven platform, a massive ingestion engine, this huge database. This engine is constantly pulling information from the web – public information, on people and companies. We’re starting with Meetings but eventually it’s going to be across our entire collaboration portfolio. We’re taking that information, we gather it, we parse in, we attach it to a person, and we put it in Meetings in the form of a contact card. This is going to transform the way you relate to people in meetings.
- Intelligent Video Devices…Scott Edwards (Senior Director, Product Marketing for Webex Meetings, Teams, & Devices): “We want to make that technology become invisible to the end users. We don’t want you to learn the technology. We just want you to have a natural way and a seamless way to have a meeting experience. And that’s our goal – to make technology to become invisible.”
- Jabber VDI…Bryan Morris (Jabber Product Manager): “So basically what we’re trying to do here is bring the capabilities for a VDI user, or a virtualized user, up so they have a comparable feature set (Presence & Instant Messaging, Desk Phone Control, Softphone, Video) to the full desktop users in your organization.”
- Webex Edge…Ken Snyder (Business Development Manager Cisco Webex Worldwide Go-to-Market): “[Webex Edge] is one of the most impactful products in the history of Webex. This enables us to bring our rich heritage, our powerful Cisco networking best-in-breed solutions and combine that with our Webex platform and deliver that to our customer in a seamless connected experience so they have this true hybrid meeting experience that’s going to optimize their costs as well as drive the best, meaningful meeting experience.”
- Evolution of the Unified Client Experience…Lorrissa Horton (VP & GM Webex Teams, Jabber, & Intelligence): “Both [Jabber and Webex Teams] are unified clients in their own right. They do calling, messaging, meetings, one on-prem, one in the cloud. What we’ve been doing over the last year is really consolidating all of these capabilities into a single platform to minimize the user experience changes and really the overall change cost to you as an administrator and you as a manager training your employees just to get their work done. So, we’ve taken the overall user experience, the look and feel, and have really made it common across Jabber and Webex Teams so it doesn’t matter if you’re an on-prem architecture or a cloud architecture, your experience is the same.”
How do you summarize a week’s worth of non-stop content and announcements and messaging across our full list into an 800-word blog? You can’t! But hopefully these little teaser sound bites will whet your appetite to learn more! Full videos can be found on the Cisco Collaboration Facebook page.
Experience Cisco Collaboration for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:
In healthcare today, patients are demanding easier and faster access to the care they seek. But current statistics show that when a patient schedules an appointment, the wait time is up to 3+ weeks. This, and other factors result in missed appointments with a cancellation rate at 15-30% in the outpatient setting1.
With this many cancellations, many healthcare providers miss opportunities to fill schedules with other patients who may be available or have an appointment booked further out.
Enter Luma Health. And enter team collaboration tool.
Connecting Patients to their Health Systems
Luma Health is a company founded to connect patients with their healthcare providers in an easy, mobile-friendly way. The Luma Health Patient Engagement platform gives healthcare systems and providers a solution to interact with their patients along their entire care journey from when they call to schedule an appointment to after appointment follow-ups and reminders about health tips and follow-up care.
Recently, Luma Health has created a telehealth bot integrated with Cisco Webex Teams, Cisco’s team collaboration tool. Webex Teams ensures secure work spaces where people/teams can work, message, file share, white board, and host video conferencing calls.
For Luma Health, this integration means they can set up private “room” within Webex Teams so that doctors can video conference their patients and assess them as they would if they were sitting in the doctor’s office. Additionally, Webex Teams is embedded inside the portal, so doctor’s don’t have to navigate between their Luma Health platform and the Webex Teams application.
Let’s talk about that more…
This Luma Health bot/Webex Teams integration comes most into play in a couple scenarios:
- When a patient who is eligible to meet via telehealth (determined by their appointment type/existing diagnosis), pre-schedules an appointment.
- When factors get in the way of a patient making it to a healthcare center (i.e. lack of transportation to get to the appointment-helping reach underserved communities who may not otherwise have good access to health care).
For the patient, the telehealth meeting is easy and painless. The meeting is initiated from the provider while a meeting link is sent to the patient as a text message. No downloads are needed from the patient’s side. Once the meeting is completed, the room is deleted and the recording is exported and stored in the patient records.
Benefits from the integration
Benefits are seen for both the providers and the patients. Not only are healthcare providers able to see more patients, patients that may cancel in-person appointments due to time constraints/lack of transportation can meet with their doctors/providers over Webex Teams video calling. This increases revenue for providers and flexibility for patients, while still maintaining a personal patient/doctor relationship.
If interested in learning more about Luma Health, check out their page here.
Explore ways you can use Webex Teams in your business and start a 30 day free trial: here.
1:Source: Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicaid and Medicare Acceptance Rates, Merritt Hawkins, 2014; Harmony Healthcare IT, 2014; How Patients Want to Communicate with Their Physician, 2014.
I’ve been a teacher for twenty-seven years, covering everything from common and higher education, to courses for faculty members and corporate trainers. I live and work out of the small town of Howe, OK and love the ability to bring new opportunities to my students. Right now, I’m teaching online classes our regional college throughout the year as well as music classes at the local high school. With the help of Cisco Webex video conferencing, I’ve been able to expand on-going learning opportunities for my local and online students, as well as other teachers across the world. Webex is an amazing conduit for learning that isn’t limited to any specific grade, age or station in life. Here’s how it works…
Setting the stage
Learning happens ‘round the clock, but it’s often hard to schedule opportunities to work with individuals outside of the set class time. It is quite honestly one of the most difficult tasks in my teaching. Available times vary wildly from week to week, and between my schedule and those of my students (both online and in the classroom), their parents, and open facility availability, “get-togethers” are difficult to coordinate. Gone are the days of putting up a piece of paper sign-up sheet outside my office door.
How Cisco Webex Education Connector Works
I need to use a tool where both I and my students already “live.” The tool that all my classes have in common is the learning management system. This system is where my assignment due dates, grades and quizzes already live. And now, thanks to the Cisco Webex Education Connector, it’s also how I schedule my office hours at the college, as well as my parent and teacher conferences at the high school. The Cisco Webex Education Connector plugs directly into my course and provides a straightforward way to choose a time, determine a window of “buffer” or “break” between meetings, and give each of my students a unique meeting location, whether on or off campus.
Office hours and parent/teacher conferences aren’t the only use cases. As an educator, I can customize the Webex Education Connector to operate based on my workflow and preferences. From group classroom collaboration, to video conferencing meetings, to office hours, it’s the same process.
Additionally, class rosters are synchronized with the Webex cloud. There’s no worry about who can access what, the connector takes care of all of that. This means that I can communicate with my students or their parents, share files, and automatically distribute reminders to join classes. As a teacher, I can chat with individual learners or groups, and I can also start a live video call with them whenever they need help. It’s so easy! There’s no external place I need to go to. It’s all within the learning management system. The collaboration tool is organically tied to where the class materials exist.
In just a few clicks, I can schedule all my classes for the school year. I can even delete sessions if I know there are holidays or other events happening. Creating everythingonce, via a single interface, keeps it simple. I can choose to record any or all of my class meetings, and every recording is automatically linked inside the LMS with an encrypted password. As a teacher, I have unlimited recording storage. That means I’ll never run out of “space” in the middle of class. When scheduling a live class, I can set up multiple different hosts or team teachers so my they ca start the session for me.
If you’re considering this workflow, Cisco has created a thorough step-by-step guide that helps the adoption of Webex in your educational environment. It includes promotional tools, lesson plans, and specific tips for teachers, students, and admins! There is no cost for this guide and I encourage you to check it out here.
To join the conversation, check out our Webex Teams space to experience and participate in our live discussion from the webinar. While there, you can also connect with other educators and subject matter experts!
Re-watch our latest webinar session and see more pre-recorded quick classes below!
The UC Expo is the UK & Europe’s largest unified communications & collaboration event, with over 6,000 attendees. This year’s event was held at London ExCeL, 15-16 of May 2019. The event showcased the latest tech in Cloud, Networks, Communications, Security, AI, and Collaboration. So basically, it’s everything in Cisco’s wheelhouse! That is why the Cisco team came out in full force to support this event with 2 mainstage keynotes, 3 seminars, 4 panel discussions, 6 partner pods, and 48 square meters for the Cisco booth. Across all this activitity, there were two key areas of focus: Cognitive Collaboration and Webex Calling. I wanted to help break down some of the distilled sound bites and messages from those areas for anyone who wasn’t able to attend.
- Cognitive Collaboration is all about pulling in the intelligence and context across the various means of collaboration without the user needing to lift a finger.
- This continues to be a key theme for Cisco Collaboration as it expands in feature set and capability and spreads across the product portfolio.
- It will touch 300 million people worldwide on Cisco collab today.
- It’s not just for meetings! Cognitive Collaboration will be a key part of calling, devices (already layered inside devices like the Webex Room Kit Mini), team collaboration, and even contact center.
- Aruna: “Every part of our portfolio will go cognitive.”
- All of this will augment the experience across the portfolio with extra intelligence and context.
- As Aruna said, “Cognitive is a game changer, industry first, and only Cisco has it.”
- Having Cognitive Collaboration across all the modes of collaboration in a unified experience is the game changer.
- Webex Calling is cloud-based calling built upon the BroadSoft infrastructure which came to Cisco in the 2018 acquisition.
- Broadsoft cloud calling has been rebranded as Webex Calling and is now part of the Webex brand.
- Webex Calling gives you the ability to start a call on your mobile device, arrive at your office, with one swipe, transfer from the mobile device to your desk phone.
- It provides the same experience whether you join on a desk phone, mobile device, or Webex Teams. It’s a single, unified experience to collaborate while receiving all of the features and functionality you would expect to find in a traditional PBX.
- There will be seamless integration into Webex Teams!
- Commercially, Webex Calling will be available through the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan offered through Cisco, VAR’s, and SP’s.
- Webex Calling GA in EMEA was 16thof May – rest of world targeted for 30thof May.
- Amy Chang, SVP of Collaboration: “On the cloud calling side, with the BroadSoft acquisition, we now own 57% together of the cloud calling market. And that’s just the beginning.”
Other Key Sound Bites
- Cisco’s commitment to On-Prem…. Amy: “When I first started, Jabber already had 36 million active users. Today, a year later, we’ve got 45 million active users on Jabber… So yes, you better believe we’re going to continue to provide a phenomenal experience for our customers on our premise based portfolios across the board and continue to invest there.”
- A unified collaboration experience…. Amy mentioned that many vendors try to have the various pieces of collaboration – calling, messaging, meeting, etc. – but this was something Cisco already had – and had for a long time. And Cisco is making that unified experience around all the various Cisco collaboration products – hardware and software – even tighter from a UI and UX perspective.
I’ll end with a great quote from Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Collaboration Marketing at Cisco, “We are the only vendor in the market who has an end-to-end integrated portfolio which provides the same unified, simple experience regardless of how you’re actually experiencing the collaboration technology.”
Layer the cognitive collaboration elements on top of that end-to-end portfolio and you have a collaboration experience touching calling, meetings, team collaboration, contact center, and devices in a way that only Cisco can.
- Mainstage Keynote #1 (32 min)
- Who: Amy Chang
- What: Cognitive Collaboration: Changing the Game
- Mainstage Keynote #2 (30 min)
- Who: Aruna Ravichandran
- What: Workplace Transformation Cognitively Enabled
- Watch here
Experience Cisco Collaboration for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:
Let’s face it, branding is important. Why? Because the brand of your company is in lock-step with how customers, and anyone from the outside looking in perceives the business you do. This perception comes from the visuals you choose, the messaging you provide, and every detail down to your fonts and color choices. These branding decisions are made carefully and consciously, showing your customers (and potential customers) what you care about. The small details matter.
So, why is branding your video conferencing equipment important? Because again, the small details matter. First, let’s show you what this looks like.
Your corporate identity… Everywhere
The more people see your brand and associate it with trust, the stronger it will become. Adding your corporate identity to technology devices that reside within your organization creates more opportunities for customers/partners to see and recognize your brand. Slowly, trust can build, just by a simple placement of a logo or image.
Now, you’re wondering … How can I do this?
To give administrators a way to achieve this, we implemented the ability to place a logo in the bottom righthand corner of your collaboration device screen. In addition, for both the awake and the “half-wake” states, we’ve enabled a touch interface that allows admins to upload a Full HD background which replaces our default “half-wake” background.
We have also recently made it easier to apply branding to all of your cloud registered RoomOS devices within Webex Control Hub. Previously to set branding on devices, an administrator would be required to log into the advanced settings of each device to upload and apply each logo and image. We listened to you, our customers, and took your feedback to heart. Gone are the days of extensive processes that don’t scale beyond a few systems.
To make adding branding to multiple systems easier, we added a new global setting within Webex Control Hub. This setting gives device admins access to more control in how they apply branding across all their RoomOS devices in their organization. Now, when an administrator provisions a new device, it will automatically fetch the branding images and apply them!
Within the settings menu, administrators now have three values that they can select:
- Allow all devices to be edited individually in Advanced Settings
- Use the Cisco default visuals on all devices
- Upload your company’s brand visuals for all devices
Using this method, we also support the Webex Share and Webex Board, allowing you to apply branding across the entire Webex Devices portfolio!
This is just the start of how we are going to make it easier for administrators to manage their environments. And keep giving us feedback!
Visit our Customized Branding Article on the Webex Help site to learn more.
If you’re new to Webex, see all that’s possible and consider a 30-day free trial!
Dr. Lance Ford and his wife, Carol Ann, live in the quaint town of Howe, OK, home to a dozen streets, 800 people, and zero stoplights. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in innovation, especially at Howe Public Schools.
Dr. and Mrs. Ford first met and fell in love while teaching together. Their shared passion for education and desire to walk alongside and push their students to their highest potential bonded them then and continues to bond them today. Now married for 26 years, Lance’s office and Carol Ann’s classroom share a door at Howe Schools. They even teach a music class together. But teaching at Howe is not Lance’s only job… he also works full time as a Cisco employee.
His journey to Cisco came from presenting on technologies in classrooms to writing a curriculum that trained teachers—the actual users of the technology—how to fully utilize the resources they had at their fingertips. In a single day, he can be on the phone with a school in Switzerland educating on the possibilities of collaboration technology, on a Webex Board, video conferencing with teachers in Hawaii, training them on how to use the technology, and between, walk into the room next door and use the technology to teach music theory to his students. Over the past five years, he has helped bring Cisco collaboration technology into the classrooms in Howe.
Bringing video conferencing into the classroom
Howe Co schools serve 650 students and in the past five years, have invested in Cisco technology, including Cisco Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, IP phones and Webex Boards. So, why have they done this? Ford states, “the goal is to give students opportunities to learn that would otherwise not be available to them.”
This looks like:
- Video conferencing with subject matter experts who give new and exciting lessons to students
- Working on collaborative projects, using Webex Teams to meet, discuss, and whiteboard out solutions together
- Virtual field trips: Howe, OK connected with people at the Great Barrier Reef and Columbus Zoo (trips the students would never have been able to take due to distance)
- Enrollment in college classes: High school students use Webex Meetings to video conference into classes at the local college (last year’s valedictorian graduated high school one class shy of an Associate’s degree).
It doesn’t stop there—they continue to look for creative ways to reach learners into the future. They hope to start using technology to offer professional learning opportunities as well.
Outside the classroom: Breaking communication barriers through team collaboration
It’s not just the teachers and students using this technology. It’s in the hands of the building principals, counselors, security officers, and maintenance. Outside of the classroom, the technology is being fully utilized to enhance communication between everyone in the community. Buses have routers for GPS positioning and access to Teams. The school always knows where the bus is, who is on the bus, and can even notify parents when buses are getting close. In addition, security officers can send emergency notifications to administration, enhancing the safety at the school. Technology has the ability to change the culture of a school and the way it does business.
But regardless of the vertical, every person and company has a chance to teach and to learn. That’s essentially the core of collaboration.
How will you choose to teach and learn today?
Dr. Lance Ford will be joining our webinar on May 30th, discussing the rise of collaboration tools and how to augment them for parent-teacher conferences and office hours for students. The focus will be on how teachers and administrators can transparently open lines of communication between the school and parents/students through collaboration technology. AND use the technology as a conduit to identify and overcome challenges so students have the best opportunity to learn inside the education environment. You won’t want to miss it. Register here.
For more information about Howe Public Schools, visit: https://www.howeschools.org
Why do you schedule meetings in the first place? Most of the time, you’re probably aiming to review strategy with a specific team, facilitate training for a product/campaign, or connect with new prospects or colleagues in other offices. Too often, though, meetings don’t really deliver and instead only waste a lot of everyone’s time.
These unproductive meetings are especially costly now that teams are increasingly remote and mobile. Much of their time spent together is in collaboration software, instead of in person. That raises the stakes for finding just the right video conferencing solution, one that keeps everyone in sync with as few distractions, technical hiccups, and barriers to participation as possible.
Can video conferencing enable better meetings?
Why do so many meetings underdeliver? Start with a practice that is often regarded as a virtue but can be a real vice during a meeting: multitasking.
According to a Microsoft Workplace Analytics study, the typical manager spends more than a quarter of their weekly meeting time multitasking. Since so many meetings now occur via phone or audio conferencing tools, there are more opportunities than ever to do almost anything other than focus on the call at hand.
When someone sends an email during a meeting or can be heard busily typing while someone else is talking, it’s both a distraction and a signal that it’s OK for all meeting participants to do the same. Everyone’s productivity suffers.
Fortunately, there’s a proven solution: video conferencing software. Video conferencing tools such as Cisco Webex allow meeting rooms to be hosted and joined from anywhere with lifelike quality and fewer distractions. The results speak for themselves: Almost 90% of Webex Meetings users report shorter and more effective meetings.
That’s not to say that other modes of collaboration, including instant messaging and desktop sharing, are insufficient – only that they’re best paired with a video conferencing service that keeps participants engaged.
Plus, video conferencing tools have utility beyond internal meetups. They’re also a great way to differentiate your small- or medium-sized business (SMB) by personalizing your customer service operations, with the same benefits for focus, context, and clarity that video brings to your own meetings.
5 features to prioritize to find the best video conferencing software
When shopping for the best video conferencing software for your SMB, focus on the breadth and depth of features it offers, how they fit together, and what they can do to engage mobile and remote workers, not to mention their overall usability.
Let’s go into more detail on where a standout solution will distinguish itself:
1. Video and audio quality
Video conferencing should provide quality far beyond that of a regular phone call, but many potential issues can still mess it up. Background noise, choppy video, and various hardware-software complications are all common stumbling blocks.
You’ve probably been in a meeting or two where some participants joined in an on-site conference rooms and others connected remotely via their laptops or dialed in from their phones while in transit. The quality of these different connections and the ensuing interactions are often highly inconsistent.
To address this problem, Webex is built to deliver unparalleled video quality from anywhere. Customizing the meeting layout is easy and you can join from a wide variety of desktop and mobile devices, plus any standards-based video conferencing system.
2. Ease of joining and participating
The common experience of an in-person meeting that takes too long to start has, unfortunately, made a seamless transition to the video conferencing world. Thanks to features such as complicated PINs, as well as the rigamarole of needing to download dedicated apps, plugins, and more, it’s not unusual for 10+ minutes to be wasted right away.
Simply joining from the device of your choice shouldn’t be the most difficult part of the meeting – and it doesn’t have to be. The best conferencing software—like Webex—puts you in the driver’s seat with options like:
- Joining from any web browser, with no download or configuration required.
- Having the meeting join you, with a convenient Call Me feature.
- Scheduling, starting, and joining from your toolbar with Productivity Tools.
3. Remote technical support
If your SMB maintains several remote offices or provides online customer service, video conferencing paired with features such as Voice over IP (aka VoIP) calling provides a powerful alternative to costly on-site visits and protracted back-and-forths over email.
Video in particular offers unique opportunities for personalized and hands-on support. A representative could walk someone through a fix with the help of visual aids after getting a live look at the issue in question. Other in-session features such as desktop sharing and application access make it easier to get to the heart of the problem without any expensive travel.
Keeping internal users happy helps with morale and engagement, especially if they’re remote and perhaps concerned about receiving adequate assistance from IT.
Meanwhile, the rich real-time customer support possible through Webex leads to more of them coming back. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that customers with the best experiences spent 140% more than ones with the least satisfying interactions.
4. Use case flexibility
Video conferencing is a versatile medium. It can work equally well as a way for a small group to trade ideas and as a forum for literally thousands of meeting participants to listen to a keynote broadcast – as long as the right technology is in place, at least.
You shouldn’t have to second-guess your video conferencing platform (for example, “Will it send a correct invite to everyone’s calendar?”) when you go to schedule a meeting. To make your life easier, the best video conferencing software seamlessly integrates with the most commonly used productivity and collaboration tools. Combined with the platform’s reliable infrastructure, this broad compatibility lets you hold meetings on your terms.
Whether you’re hosting a big conference for 10,000 invitees or huddling up with a remote team, a platform like Webex lets you get everyone together as painlessly as possible. Integrations with all major calendar software in addition to tools like Salesforce make the journey even smoother.
5. Cost-effective collaboration
By itself, a high-quality video conference is a reliable way to ensure more focused meetings. When you add in additional collaboration features such as screen sharing, call recording, and social media sharing, you provide even more of the context and interactivity that make video so useful for today’s teams.
As a small business person, being able to conduct a quick presentation within video chat lets you hold productive, cost-effective meetings from virtually anywhere. No need to herd cats (and invest a lot of your time/money) just to get everyone in one physical location – it’s all in crystal-clear detail on the screen.
Plus, features like call recording preserve and extend the value of the meeting. If someone missed out and needs to catch up, they can easily refer back to the Webex recording.
Ready to chart a new course with your video conferencing software?
Video conferencing can yield powerful strategic advantages to your SMB, and getting started is easy. With just your email address, you can try out Cisco Webex for free today with a 30-day trial. Visit this page for more details!
April has been another busy month for the Webex Teams Product team with a number of new features designed to improve your efficiency and empower your team collaboration experience.
Presents for you… in the form of Presence!
The Webex Teams application currently has the ability to display ‘Out of Office’, ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Active’ presence states, but we’re delighted to announce new Presence support coming with the April release. Now, on your Desktop and Web apps, you’ll be able to quickly see when your colleagues are ‘On a Call’, ‘In a Meeting’, or ‘Presenting’ for better insight into their availability. This feature is a timesaver, showing if the person you want to reach is busy or free to take a call from you/answer a message. These presence states will appear over your colleagues avatars, including on the Contact Card.
Share Files Faster!
I share files every day in my team collaboration room in order to get work done. In April, we’re adding the ability to drag and drop files from the desktop onto the ‘People and Spaces’ list, allowing you send files where you want them to go even faster. Once a file has been dragged and dropped onto a space bricklet, you’ll see the file staged in the compose area allowing you to add some words for context. Simple!
Screen Share – Anytime
Previously, if you wanted to ‘Share your Screen’ in the Webex Teams app you would have needed to be ‘On a Call’ or ‘In a Meeting’. In this release, you’ll be able to start your Share Screen feature at any stage. So, even when you’re messaging a colleague, free feel to kick off a Screen Share to enhance your team collaboration experience. Look out for the new Share Screen activity in your 1:1 spaces.
Screen Share and Re-share
Now with our April release you can quickly change which application or screen you’re sharing, while sharing. No need to stop and restart screen sharing to change application or screen! We’ve supported this on a Mac for a while but we thought we’d let our Windows friends enjoy the feature too! Look out for the new button at the top of the screen while sharing when you’re ready to switch up share!
Messaging Insight for IT Admins
We’ve improved the Messaging Analytics page in Control Hub to provide richer insight on Webex Teams usage for IT Admins. We’ve added key KPIs to the top of the page and two new charts highly requested by customers: 1) Total ‘Message Sent’ trending chart over time to complement the existing Active User chart trending and 2) Mobile vs Desktop usage chart showing how Webex Teams is helping users collaborate while mobile.
Messaging Insight dashboard for IT Admins
Diagnostics End Meeting Reason Codes
For the IT Administrator in your lives, we’ve added End Meeting Reason Codes to the Diagnostics Participant details page. Hey, so why is this important and how will it be used? IT Admins take phone calls from end users about meeting experience issues. Often times the host of a meeting will leave the meeting early, not realizing that when they leave the meeting (without assigning an alternate host), the meeting will end. The End Meeting Reason code tells the IT Admin that the meeting ended because the ‘Host Hung Up’ which helps IT Admins to weed out the real issues from the user issues quickly.
These new features are sure to excite, but this is just a sample of what the Webex Teams Product Team have been busy on over the past month, check out our ‘What’s New’ page to see a full list https://help.webex.com/en-us/8dmbcr/What-s-New-in-Cisco-Webex-Teams.
And Share and re-share it 😎!
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:
Here at Webex, we’re working on some innovative features to help make your online meeting experiences more intelligent and intuitive than ever, with the assistance of AI and machine learning.
We’re excited to share that one of these features, Webex Assistant, is now available for users with compatible Webex devices. You can now join video conferencing meetings by entering a room, make calls with your voice, and much more with hands-free help from the voice assistant for work.
Let’s walk through how this works.
Join a meeting with a few simple words.
Short on time? Just say “OK Webex, start the meeting” and you’re in. Need to quickly hop into a Personal Room? It’s as easy as saying “OK Webex, join my Personal Room” or “OK Webex, join Amy’s Personal Room.”
Manage meetings from anywhere in the room.
We’ve all been there—you’re in the middle of an important meeting and lose your train of thought as you search for the right button. With just a few words Webex Assistant can help with a variety of tasks like sharing your screen, starting a recording or ending the meeting, so you can get back on track in no time.
Make hands-free calls.
Call anyone in your company’s directory by using their name—for example, “OK Webex, call Jane Jones.” You can also accept and reject incoming calls or ask Webex Assistant to dial a number without lifting a finger.
Control your device.
Easily adjust the volume, mute the microphone, or show or hide the self-view on your Webex device with simple voice commands.
To get started with Webex Assistant, locate a conference room with a supported Webex device and say the wake word “OK Webex,” followed by a command from our ever-expanding list of spoken instructions.
Here are a few more examples of tasks Webex Assistant can help you with:
“Start the meeting”
“Record the meeting”
“End the meeting”
“Call John Smith”
“Answer the call”
“End the call”
“Join my Personal Room”
“Join Mary’s Personal Room”
“Turn up the volume”
“Lower the volume to 50%”
“Is this room available now?”
“Is this room available at 4pm?”
“Show me the schedule of this room”
General questions and help
“What time is it?”
“What’s the name of this room?”
“What can you do?”
The Webex Intelligence Team develops innovative experiences by leveraging state-of-the-art machine learning, conversational AI, and information retrieval techniques. Interested in joining us? See our current job openings.
As a collaboration technical solutions architect and a member of the social media generation, I have grown up on video conferencing – not as a nice-to-have – but as the de facto standard for both business and personal communications. I’m newly married, and my husband and I use video to connect when we are traveling. My mom and grandparents live in Hong Kong and video calls are the only way we can really “see” how one another is doing, and this was so important when my grandmother was ill. But some of the things we put up with in personal video use are not acceptable for business communications.
In my work life, video is virtually the only medium I use to communicate with my team – all day, every day with people from all parts of the world. I am very fortunate as a tech nut to have played with a variety of solutions in the market today, so I know that not all solutions are created equal. I’ve collected some best practices about what makes for a great video call, and I want to share my top five considerations for awesome video communications with you!
Intelligent, integrated video conferencing devices
When you are on video calls as much as I am, the ability to use powerful video devices that are integrated with the workflow is not a luxury, it is essential – to maximize simplicity and productivity. These dedicated video devices are not just screens that run video. They’re really smart – AI smart. They connect with the meetings apps on my mobile devices and know who I am when I enter the room. I can use the apps to start a call or simply use voice commands and talk directly to the devices. They can count and recognize people and tell me their names. And they can save documents and whiteboard sessions into team spaces so the collaboration can continue long after the meeting ends.
Aside from the hard benefits, the soft benefits are almost invaluable. They say when you can see the whites in someone’s eyes, you actually see the subconscious truth behind what they’re saying. Those visual cues you get from crystal clear video can play a big role in the success of your relationships, and that is one of the key differentiators between being on a dedicated video system versus a laptop with a web cam.
Please be encrypted by default
If you’relike me, you probably have a post-it note or duct tape over your laptop camera “just in case.” But “just in case” is not a standard I want applied to my enterprise video discussions. I want security and encryption to be turned on by default, so every call and every piece of content shared is protected at rest and in transit. Many meeting solutions on the market say they have security, but it is off by default, which means you have to manually turn security on. That’s almost useless in my book and a non-negotiable when considering video conferencing options. I can’t stress this more: Invest in the most secure video option available where encryption is turned on by default!
Look, Ma: No plug-ins
As much as we hate it, the mundane task of scheduling meetings is par for the course. A solution that lets you easily schedule meetings from a desktop or mobile without the need for a plug-in is a god-send. Other solutions will make you download a plug-in, which means you may have to put up with buggy software or constant upgrades just to have a meeting. The first step of most video conferences is the scheduling piece, so make this as simple as possible!
True 1-click to join from any device
I am your typical 21stcentury peripatetic professional. I like to work wherever I am, and that means taking meetings on the road is part of the work/life blend many of us practice today. To be effective, I expect my mobile experience to be as consistent and powerful as the one in my office. One of my favorite features on mobile devices is the ability to automatically join, audio muted – a true one-click join! Actually, the one-click join experience from any device is the standard I’m used to – across all devices and apps. It can’t get any easier than that!
I see cool innovations in video conferencing fairly often, but they don’t have staying power unless they are meaningful innovations. For example, one of the most interesting features I’ve run across is being able to share an augmented reality 3D image that you can manipulate in your meetings! How useful would that be if you were a graphic artist or CAD designer. Some solutions offer features like virtual backgrounds but I’m more impressed by some of the other meaningful features that I use on a daily basis: voice activated controls, automatic noise suppression and directional audio. I love seeing innovation and cool features in video conferencing, especially ones that can add so much value!
If you would like to see these things in action, schedule a live demo with your Cisco sales team :).
And finally, one personal tip: Video is a relationship accelerator, so just turn on your camera and let them see the whites of your eyes. You’ll get more from your contacts, both business and personal, and they’ll get more from you.
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:
There are a host of new features coming from the Webex Teams Product team once again in our March release. Let’s step through some of the main features that you can enjoy for your team collaboration today.
On premise calling
For the first time, you’ll be able to point Webex Teams to your On Premise Call Manager to take advantage of your existing infrastructure for calling within the app. You’ll be able to place, receive, and hold/resume calls with our March release and connect to calling outside your organization with Expressway support. Call Manager support will be in Preview mode from March with many more exciting features unveiling over the coming months.
Unified Call Manager calling in Webex Teams
Notifications that mean more to you
We know that everyone loves using the Mention feature in spaces to grab the attention of a colleague or to nudge everyone in the space to take some action. We’re enhancing this feature by allowing you to filter all these great mentions into two separate filters. @All mentions will reside in the Mentions to Allfilter and mentions to @me will live in the Mentions to Mefilter – allowing you to focus is on the mentions that mean most to you.
Mentions for all types
Increase your output with Keyboard Shortcuts
We introduced a wide range of new shortcut keys to the Desktop Webex Teams apps allowing for quick access to your core actions and activities. These shortcuts will help with navigation and usability across the app – for example shortcuts for answering and managing calls, and other shortcuts for assisting with composing messages. We’ve designed many of these shortcuts to use the native OS style, so you’ll already be familiar with many of them helping to increase your productivity.
Check out the full list here.
Welcome Tour on Web
We have introduced a new feature for our Web customers to help with onboarding new users into Webex Teams. The new Welcome Tour will help users learn common tasks such as Starting a Meeting or Call and guide them around the application as they start using it for the first time.
Analytics adds richer Room Device Insight
Are your teams using Room Devices for a richer, live meeting experience? If yes, we’ve added a nice feature for the IT Administrator to provide business insight into the utilization of these devices to allow for informed decisions based on data. These charts are fully interactive enabling the IT Admin to filter on a specific device type, utilization type, or right down to a specific device to see per-device trending.
Device Analytics in Control Hub
There’s a lot happening in Webex Teams, and we know you’ll love using these features. We can’t wait to hear your feedback!
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free: https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html
Enterprise Connect is one of the biggest third-party events for enterprise collaboration that we support during the year. Sunny Orlando, Florida is descended upon not just by Cisco, but by our customers, our partners, our competitors, their customers, analysts, and other media. It’s a wild scene with thousands of people looking to learn about the latest and greatest in team collaboration and communication! I spent the week doing a variety of things, but the bulk of my time was spent leading booth tours for customers, potential customers, partners, and analysts at the Cisco booth. This gave me a front row seat hearing the talk track from our product experts and more importantly, it helped me see and hear that things that the non-Cisco people were saying – what they thought was cool and what impressed them. With that, here are my top-10 “WOW!” moments that I observed during the week of Enterprise Connect 2019…
Wow #1: Webex Board Sticky Notes
There were a few new Webex Board features that rolled out last November that continue to catch the eyes of many. Those features included web browser access, sticky notes, and pinch-to-zoom gestures. The sticky notes seem to be a fan-favorite since they help with a number of use cases from project planning to agile software development.
Wow #2: Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini USB Pass-through
The Room Kit Mini in general continues to wow people but there was one feature of it that a number of booth visitors seemed to like – the USB passthrough. This feature enables interoperability with ANY cloud service provider. We’ve said before that we’re all about building bridges and this is another example of that – being able to use the incredible audio and video regardless what you’re using for conferencing software.
Wow #3: People Insights in Webex Meetings
The big theme of the entire conference was Cisco’s X-factor in collaboration. The X-factor was the concept of ‘cognitive collaboration’ which is the use of Artificial Intelligence and Maching Learning to bring context AND intelligence to meetings. One component of cognitive collaboration is People Insights. This new feature to Webex Meetings is based on technology that came through Cisco’s acquisition of Accompany in 2018. People Insights paints a rich, dynamic profile of people joining your meeting – displayed right in the Webex Meetings participant panel – by harvesting public data through web crawling coupled with internal corporate directory data. No longer will you join a meeting and say to yourself, “Who is THAT??”
Wow #4: Office 365 with Webex Teams Riding Sidecar
“This will totally drive adoption!” That was a customer sound bite during a booth tour when they saw this soon-to-be-released feature. It’s Webex Teams baked directly into Microsoft Office 365 apps including PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. Collaborate in the tools you’re always using without having to switch applications!
Wow #5: Love for On-Prem with Jabber
There were multiple demos showing the latest with Jabber and on-prem collaboration. The demo lead, Patrick Born, had a great sound bite: “If you’re on-prem, you can stay on prem. We know and love you.” While others in the collaboration space may be saying cloud only, Cisco is saying. “Cloud first but NOT cloud only!” In additional to investing in our on-prem collaboration solutions, we are also offering transition paths to the cloud. Team Messaging mode for Jabber, which came out in preview in November, allows Jabber customers to natively connect to the Webex Teams cloud-based back-end while still using the Jabber app for the front end.
Wow #6: Facial Recognition
Another part of cognitive collaboration is the new facial recognition capabilities within Webex which will become available in June. This gives Webex devices the ability to identify all of the individuals in the room. During a meeting, the system scans the faces of anyone showing up on the video and is able to not only calculate but identify participants by name (and there is a wealth of data privacy built into this but that’s another blog for another day).
Wow #7: Customizable Touch 10
The Cisco Touch 10 is a control unit to help control and interact with Cisco video conferencing systems. I personally never thought much about it but this was one the biggest WOW moments for many people – largely because of the ability to customize and program in macros. This allows users to not just control the video system itself but the ENTIRE CONFERENCE ROOM! Through the use of IoT device interaction, you can program the Touch 10 to control room lighting, room temperature, the blinds or other window controls – basically ANY IoT device with an API interface can be incorporated into a Touch 10 macro.
Wow #8: The Sounds & Picture Quality on the Webex Room 70 G2
It’s datasheet calls out “4K display” and “sophisticated speaker system and amplifier to deliver rich sound”. But those words hardly do it justice. You need to experience this in person to full appreciate it. During one demo session, a movie was loaded up and when the sound was cranked up, one of the demo participants exclaimed with widened eyes, “HOLY #$@*!”
Wow #9: Signage Mode
What do you do when your Cisco video screen is not in use? Up until a few weeks ago, the answer was nothing! It just sat there as a blank screen. But one feature that has been added to Webex video devices is “signage mode”. This mode lets users show web content as digital signage when the screen is in half-wake mode. The possibilities are endless – messages from HR, corporate advertising, how-to conferencing information, company information, images, etc. These capabilities are turbocharged when coupled with Appspace (Cisco integration partner) – which layers on video on demand, published presentations, room scheduling, all done within “signage mode”.
Wow #10: Webex Calling Launched from Webex Teams
While Webex Calling has been around there was a new aspect of it launched at Enterprise Connect. From a person’s contact card in Webex Teams, you can click-to-dial their number which now has the ability to launch into the Webex Calling app to place the call. So we now have robust cloud calling integrated into the Webex Teams platform.
From noon on Monday when they opened the doors to the exhibition floor till 6pm on Wednesday when it closed, it was a CONSTANT flood of people beelining over to the Cisco booth for tours and demos. That Cisco excitement was punctuated by Amy Chang’s (head of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group) keynote on Wednesday morning talking about “cognitive collaboration”. And there’s a reason there was so much buzz. No one is telling the collaboration story Cisco is. Largely because no one else can.
Experience Cisco Collaboration for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:
If you want a glimpse into the future of collaboration, there’s no better place to look than Enterprise Connect. From the startups to the heavyweights, collaboration providers gathered in Orlando last week to demo their latest innovations. And this year, cognitive collaboration, or the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve team collaboration experience, dominated the conversation.
With a few days to reflect on my experience at Enterprise Connect, I’ve come up with 5 predictions on how cognitive collaboration will change the way we work by 2020.
1: Your digital assistant will become an indispensable part of your day
Digital assistants are mainstream with over 100 million devices sold that connect to consumer assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Enterprise-grade assistants with conversational AI capabilities will make your meeting a zero-touch experience, so you can join a meeting, call a contact or start a recording with just your voice. While available now, this is still a burgeoning technology and you’ll see functionality increase rapidly with the ability to assign action items, scheduling meetings and take notes.
2: Distributed collaboration becomes more productive and personable than in-person meetings
AI-driven capabilities will provide you with contextual insight that’s just not possible to get during an in-person meeting. As an example, People Insights for Webex Meetings, which was introduced in Amy Chang’s keynote, provides you with information on the people you’re meeting with, right in your meeting space. No more searching on LinkedIn or Google – our participants’ work history, education, latest blogs, company information and links to social media accounts are a click away. This allows you to discover shared background and interests and ultimately help you build stronger connections. Another example is facial recognition, which will display the names and titles of participants in a virtual meeting – this becomes very useful when a room is occupied by multiple participants.
3: Your collaboration platform becomes an AI-platform
From your team space to meetings and devices, everything in your collaboration suite will be enabled with cross-product AI functionality. Imagine joining a meeting and having your last conversation with someone automatically pop-up or the last whiteboard from your team space becomes available in your virtual meeting without having to search for it because the platform knows you met with the same people earlier to discuss the same topic. On an individual level, this may seem like a small, measurable improvement to your daily work life, but that small improvement scaled across a large organization can have profound effects on collaboration and productivity.
4: Interoperability sets collaboration suites apart
While a platform is critical for leveraging AI use cases across your collaboration tools, interoperability needs to remain a key factor in toolset decisions. During a panel discussion, Sri Srinivasan, SVP/GM of Teams Collaboration Group at Cisco, explained: “We are increasingly driven by end user choice — the culture of how people work matters most. We need to make software that interoperates for the technology mix.” From productivity tools, like Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, to customer relationship management tools, like Salesforce, collaboration solutions need to integrate and work well with other software. One of the important factors to consider is that employee preference for what they use to get their job done is always evolving, so organizations need a solution with a proven history of developing for interoperability.
5: Enterprise adoption of AI hastens future capabilities
AI capabilities will continue to evolve as more organizations adopt the technology. There are two reasons for this:
- The Data: As Michelle Burbick says in her Enterprise Connect roundup blog, “If Data is King, AI is Queen” (it’s worth a read!). The more data available, the more likely AI and machine learning can be leveraged to discover and test new patterns that will lead to unique AI-use cases and greater efficiency gains.
- The Providers: It won’t be long before organizations see the business value of an AI-enabled collaboration suites. This will drive demand for the solutions that are best positioned to deliver capabilities now and in the future. Collaboration technology providers will continue to invest in these capabilities as AI-features become a key way to set themselves apart from the competition.
With the introduction of AI, technology decisions can no longer be based on which point solutions solves a particular problem, here and now. Instead, decision must be about investing in a strategic platform that will fundamentally change the way people work together, how they connect and innovate.
To learn more about cognitive collaboration, join the upcoming webinar: Cognitive Collaboration: How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How We Work and Collaborate
Let’s face it, virtual meetings can be painful. Have you ever joined a last-minute video conferencing meeting only to realize you don’t know who half the people are or what they do? Or participated in a large meeting where someone forgot to hit mute and decides it’s the perfect time to transcribe their doctoral thesis. These are the kinds of meeting experiences that give distributed collaboration a bad reputation, but artificial intelligence (AI) is about to change all of that.
AI has the power to make our meetings more efficient, productive and pleasant. This new era of teamwork is called cognitive collaboration. It’s the application of AI and machine learning to add contextual intelligence to the entire collaboration experience. Here are just a few examples of how cognitive collaboration can transform your entire meeting experience:
Before the Meeting
- A zero-touch digital assistant helps remove mundane tasks like joining a meeting, calling colleagues and adding people to your call.
- If you join from a conference room, the device in the room knows who you are and asks if you’d like to join your meeting.
During the Meeting
- Detailed information about participants’ work history, blog posts, company and links to social media accounts are available directly in your meeting, so you don’t have to search to learn about your meeting participants.
- Facial recognition lets you put a face to a name, so when there are multiple participants in a conference room, you can easily identify the people on screen.
- Keyboard tapping, dogs barking, and other disruptive background noises are automatically detected, and the offending party is alerted with a suggestion to mute.
After the Meeting
- Transcripts of your meeting are available, so you can search for action items or quickly catch up on what you missed in a meeting.
- Collaboration continues in a dedicated space for internal and external participants where you can share files, meetings recordings and a meme or two.
The before, during, and after scenario I describe above is only part of what we’re introducing into Cisco Webex. You can learn more about cognitive collaboration on Webex.com. And if you’d like to dive deeper into the topic of AI-driven collaboration, read the white paper “The Future of Collaboration: How AI is Transforming the Way We Work.”
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:
I hope that you’ve been keeping up with all the exciting news from Cisco Collaboration in the past few months. We’ve had a ton of announcements about new capabilities and experiences. Like how we’re changing the way work gets done, from the Huddle space to the biggest of boardrooms and how we’re changing the way people join meetings with the a single button to join across all of these spaces. Most recently we showed you how our work to integrate file sharing and storage solutions has made the day-to-day lives of end-users so much better! On the heels of that, we wanted to make sure that we also gave you a quick round-up tour of some of the new things that help administrators as well, with a deep dive on security and compliance. Security and compliance are critical aspects of any long-lived and useful collaboration solution – admins want to rest assured that their users are doing the right things in the right places with the right people. So let’s take a quick peek at some of the new capabilities we’ve released in just these past 2 months that further our promises to you, our customers:
Securing your Uninterrupted Workstream
In addition to Webex Teams native file sharing and storage, Cisco Webex Control Hub now allows IT administrators the flexibility to enable Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online as an integration with Webex Teams. With this, users can share and co-edit the latest OneDrive and SharePoint Online files right within their Webex Teams work spaces.
Setup requires just a single toggle in Webex Control Hub. And no changes are needed to your existing file sharing permissions and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies. IT administrators also have full control over which Office 365/Azure AD Tenant they want to enable. This ensures that only IT approved domains are available, and users cannot use personal OneDrive or SharePoint Online documents. This not only eliminates Data Loss risk but also protects against Malware threats. And for the highest level of control, IT administrators can even turn off native file storage in Webex Teams so that all content is routed through their existing enterprise file storage service.
Cisco Webex Control Hub Admin controls allow you to:
- Enable Webex Teams native file storage or Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online, or both
- Block personal or shadow IT OneDrive or SharePoint Online folders, and only permit approved instances
- Enable or disable the entitlement to a subset of users or for your entire organization
Get more information on file storage and sharing Admin Control [link].
Compliance gets easier with Legal Hold
In order to help you with data retention requirements to support legal investigations, we now support also support “Legal Hold”. This makes it easy for your organization to preserve any Webex Teams content related to litigation or investigation, all without impacting end user experience. During a litigation proceeding, you may be required to preserve data for a period that may be longer than your retention policy. In this case you can use legal hold to ensure that relevant information is not purged, but instead but retained until the litigation or investigation is completed.
Get more information on Legal Hold [link].
Better visibility with Admin Audit Logs
Today you can monitor and manage what your end-users do via our Events API, or through some of the powerful DLP and CASB products that integrate with Webex Teams such as Smarsh or Symantec. But equally important is managing administrator actions. Whether it be to prevent accidental changes, carry out root cause analysis or prevent malicious actions. For example, you may want to see:
- Which admin made a change to an org setting?
- Who deleted the CIO’s device?
- Who recently updated Jane’s profile to be an org admin?
The admin audit log provides the data you need for this type of investigation, and even archiving purposes. You can now view significant change actions, such as changes to your organization’s settings. Admin audit logs can be viewed in Control Hub where you can search for actions that have taken place within a specific date range, or for specific actions, or view the actions of a specific administrator. You can also download the logs to a comma separated values (CSV) file. And, to make things easier, we’re working on providing an API so that you can tie this information into your other management experiences.
For more information on the admin audit log feature, see [link].
We keep growing the compliance ecosystem
We know that it’s expensive to get started and set up with security and compliance tools, so we want you to be able to keep using the services and apps you already use. To further this promise, we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently finished our integration with Palo Alto Networks to enable admins to use this app too to monitor and manage their Webex experiences! And ICYMI, Cisco Cloudlock works with Webex too!
Last but certainly not least, do register for our joint webinar with Smarsh [link here], one of our oldest and dearest partners in the Compliance space! Mike Pagani, Senior Director of Product Marketing from Smarsh, and Niraj Gopal, Director of Product for Cisco Webex Security & Compliance offerings will be talking about how Webex and Smarsh make for a better together story for our customers in heavily regulated environments!
While Austin is known for its Tex-Mex and BBQ, next week, the tech industry descends on the Texas capital for the best brain food on the tech conference circuit, the South By South West (SXSW) festival. SXSW spans 10 days and nights from March 8–17, with approximately 432,500 people from over 102 countries participating in the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Events. SXSW Interactive is deemed the World’s largest gathering of creative professionals with 4,967 conference speakers and 2,147 conference sessions.
South By, as it’s affectionately known, was where Twitter famously launched its early beta version. Tech launches at SXSW included Foursquare in 2009, Gowalla in 2009, Highlight in 2012, Meerkat in 2015 and while “Uber didn’t launch at SXSW, according to Fast Company, it was conceived here”. Interactive even hosted speakers such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Ferris, former President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban, Braaam Cohen, Biz Stone, and several worldwide tech leaders.
During the Interactive Festival part of SXSW, innovative companies from all over the world meet, market their innovations, attend pitch sessions, learn from a huge variety of events, and make critical connections. 2016 was the first time the Cisco Collaboration BU supported an event at Capital Factory, the epicenter and heart of showcasing SXSW tech during Interactive. This year, Cisco Webex, Meraki, and DevNet have been working on several projects to bring together an Innovative Center of Cisco Technologies.
Cognitive collaboration is about pairing intelligent workspaces with intelligent workstreams to deliver a heightened and more profitable experience for employees and customers. The Future of Work Experience Center at Capital Factory is designed to be an innovative, world-class effort to showcase Austin tech startups, Cisco Webex technologies, and other disruptive hardware and software partners. You will learn a range of skills including, how you can improve finding a meeting, video translation services, room booking, and analytics tracking with IOT and other sensor technology at this venue.
We will showcase the power of Cognitive Collaboration and innovation with the new features of Webex Meetings, Teams and Devices and Webex ISVs all working together! You will see products like the Room Kit Mini, Webex Share, Webex Board 70”, Room Kit Pro & Plus with Webex Teams, Meetings demos and our top ISV’s as well as Meraki and Kinetic.
Attending Cisco Partner Demos:
Mio – Slack, Microsoft Teams and Webex Teams interop platform
LG – World’s best-selling brand for OLED TVs
Appspace – Digital Signage and Room Booking
Vyopta – Collaboration Monitoring and Analytics
Disruptive Technologies – World’s smallest IOT sensor
Voicea – AI enabled voice first and note-taking assistant
Phunware – Location Based Services, API & SDK’s
Room Ready – Boutique Cisco Video & A/V integrator for Nike and other major companies
We are a few days away from SXSW Interactive and showcasing “The Future of Work Experience Center” at Capital Factory, in Austin, Texas. If you are going to SXSW or know of someone going, please tell them to stop by. We hope to see you there!
The Webex Teams Product team has been busy over the past number of weeks designing and delivering new features to enhance and enrich your team collaboration experiences. We think you are going to love the new features across all areas of the client including Messaging, Meetings, Calling and Device experience. Let’s get started.
Messaging that brings a 🙂 to your face
We think emojis help capture what we’re trying to say. What better way to say something is awesome than with a 😎emoji? We’ve enriched the Webex Teams client with emojis over the past number of releases and now, we’re excited to deliver Emoticon support in the desktop apps. So, next time you feel like saying you’re happy, your standard emoticon : ) will translate into a beautiful emoji 🙂.
Clarity with a Quote
Have you ever been in a team space conversation when you wanted to use somebody’s previous response to help give your answer more clarity?
Well, now you can. With our new Quote feature, you can use a colleague’s earlier response as part of your reply, giving everybody greater context. I really love this feature as it allows me to quickly address questions in large spaces. I find myself using it on a daily basis as I collaborate with my colleagues.
The Quote Feature in Webex Teams
Another great new feature is an additional right click menu that allows you to perform quick actions on spaces. Hover over a space name, right click and use the new contextual menu to mark the space as a favorite, view space settings, leave the space, and much more. Now, you can get to where you want to go, faster.
Stream on and bring everyone closer together
Here at Webex Teams, we are constantly striving to improve meeting experience and team collaboration for our customers. Our goal is that no matter where our users dial in from, they can experience a feeling of being together in the same room.
You can now stream 30fps video and audio to your colleagues in your Webex Teams Meetings through our Room Devices, and to other Webex Teams users- allowing everyone to have the same great experience.
As part of further enhancements to the Webex Meetings experience in the Webex Teams app, we’ve also added the option for admins to allow the meeting recordings to be stored locally as MP4 local recordings onto the desktop.
Calling- the way you want it to be
As we build out our native calling experience in the Webex Teams application, we’re providing a bridge to allow users of on-premise calling apps to access these capabilities from Webex Teams. With February’s release an administrator can set Jabber to be your default calling application so anytime you want to make a call in Teams, the call will be placed using Jabber, allowing you to leverage Jabber’s rich calling feature set. You’ll also be able to set any tel protocol registered third party app to launch for calling also if that’s preferred
There’s a lot happening in the Webex Teams world right now. The Product Team are really excited about new and exciting features coming to the app and we’re really looking forward to seeing the 🙂 on your faces.
And hey, you can quote me on that 😉.
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On February 14, we hosted a webinar around huddle spaces and their importance to the future of work and team collaboration.
Alan McGinty, Senior Director of the Global Workplace Innovation Group at Cisco presented on how the traditional workplace, one that looks similar to a cube farm array, is evolving to meet the needs of current workers and the new generation entering the workforce.
But what does this evolution look like?
The quick answer is: people need the right type of space for specific types of work.
A 2-minute recap:
In this webinar, Alan discussed how four large, global workplace trends are validating the need for changes to workspaces. Here they are:
1) Rapidly changing workforce demographic model. The current workplace needs to support four generations in the workplace (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Digital Natives). Baby Boomers are beginning to leave the workforce and 61 million Gen Z’s will be entering workforce (a generation that has grown up with a digital device in hand). Companies need to be able to support their employees in a way they can work most effectively.
2) Demand for flexibility. Work is transforming into what we do, not where we go. People come into an office to engage in culture, be seen, collaborate. People aren’t coming into the office for the free food.
3) Changing work activities. Work is more automated than ever before. The team collaboration we need to support is around innovation/new ideas.
4) Acceleration and advancement of technology. As technology continues to progress, all companies are becoming technology companies.
Luckily, we have the answer to solve for these global workplace trends: Huddle spaces.
A Deloitte survey shows that agility and collaboration are key to company success. And that is the precise goal of huddle spaces: for teams to come together quickly and effectively to collaborate and make decisions.
When you think of a team meeting, what comes to mind? A room with chairs, a table, and videoconferencing device?
While yes, this is a type of huddle space, it’s just one in a sea of many. Huddle spaces can take many forms, in many locations. The most important factors are that the technology and the space create a cohesive user experience and empower employees to perform most effectively to do the work they need to do (ie: sharing content, making audio and video calls, white-boarding).
For more in-depth conversation, including information on huddle space analytics and the importance of space design and location for team collaboration, watch the webinar on-demand: here. The slides presented in the webinar are also accessible: here.
Let us know if you have any comments and/or questions and follow this link here to learn more about Huddle Spaces.
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:
Today, 53 exemplary community leaders around the world were notified that they have received the Webex Masters Award!
Launched at Cisco Live Barcelona in 2018, the Webex Masters pilot class was designed to join together and recognize a community of leaders who have demonstrated their deep commitment to helping others make the most of collaboration technology. They voluntarily share their passion and real-world knowledge of Webex products, often spending many hours answering questions on online forums, and creating books, online blogs, and videos.
What are some benefits of becoming a Webex Master?
* Webex Masters Certificate
* Biography added to the Ambassador Master Directory
* EFT & roadmap access
* Exclusive meetings with Collab Leadership
* Flights, hotels and passes to Cisco Live
* Priority access to Cisco Events
* Access to Product Managers, UX, TAC, Marketing and Sales leadership
* Free Cisco devices
While there are more than 2,500 Webex Ambassadors, Masters are nominated by Cisco peers and other community individuals, and in some cases, self-nominated. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions from the previous year. If you want to learn more about being a Webex Master, visit: https://ambassador.webex.com/ and let us know if you have any questions.
Congratulations to the 2019 Masters
New Webex Masters
Returning Webex Masters
If you’ve never been to a Cisco Live, let me try to put it in perspective for you. I’m part of Cisco’s worldwide collaboration sales organization, so I spend my day deeply involved in all-things related to Cisco team collaboration – especially Webex. It would be fair to say that I know our team collaboration tools rather well. Yet still, at Cisco Live Europe this past week, the amount of “WOW!” moments I had… The amount of “I didn’t know that!” moments I had… The amount of “This is SO COOL!” moments I had… I can’t even count them. It was day after day of constant learning and constant excitement even for those of us who live and breathe Webex – from the main sessions, to breakouts, to “meet the engineer” and other individual sessions, to the World of Solutions – especially the Cisco Showcase – with all the demos and products on display, staffed by all our experts from around the world!
I know there have been a number of updates and highlights already posted on various social media sites. Rather than take that approach, I wanted to instead present a list of “wow” moments that we experienced that left everyone with a better appreciation for what it means to be “Webexceptional.”
Wow #1: Voice-activated video conferencing
Many customers were interested in seeing the Webex video devices mainly to evaluate the audio and video and overall experience. What they didn’t expect to see was the embedded artificial intelligence that becomes available when you say, “Hey, Webex,” to start meetings, place calls, end meetings, and more, greatly simplifying tasks to make a better meeting experience. And this is just the start of how AI can improve productivity through more efficient, smarter team collaboration. More to come on that in the next few weeks.
Wow #2: The bridge between Jabber + Webex Teams collaboration
There are 40 million Jabber users that, up until recently, were living on an island with respect to Webex Teams. Not anymore. One area that received great buzz were the two bridges that have been built between these two applications. First is “Team Messaging Mode”– a new “mode” for Jabber, that allows the Jabber app to connect to the Webex Teams cloud. This means that anyone using Jabber today who wants to move to the cloud and have team collaboration capabilities can do so without having to give up their existing Jabber app. The second bridge is “Hybrid Message Service” – this is a hybrid integration that provides inter-op between Webex Teams and Jabber IM&P (on-prem) users.
Wow #3: Microsoft OneDrive Integration into Webex Teams
This was on the biggest areas of excitement at the Webex Teams demo. In early January, Webex Teams rolled out this new Enterprise Content Management capability that allows customers to use Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint Online to store their documents instead of the Webex Teams cloud. We are always looking for ways to build bridges between Cisco Collaboration and Microsoft Productivity and this most recent step got some solid feedback.
Wow #4: App Hub & Bots
When I was giving booth tours, one of the more unique areas was the Integrations and Workflows area. It was eye opening for customers seeing the bots and integrations that are currently available on the Webex App Hub. The whole goal is to provide “uninterrupted work” – never leave your productivity and back office applications thanks to integration and bots that bring team collaboration into those apps (like Salesforce.com and Jira among many others).
Wow #5: The new and improved Webex Meetings video conferencing
When I was taking customers on tours of our team collaboration area, many would say, “I’m familiar with Webex Meetings, so we don’t need to go there.” But when I mentioned that the online meetings experience has gone through some great changes from a UI, UX, and overall functionality perspective, they became intrigued. Some of the areas that resonated with customers were the high frame rate sharing, Webex board whiteboarding and annotation capabilities, integrations with Google and Microsoft, and also existing key areas such as joining from any device, one-button push to start meetings, and the video-centric experience.
Wow #6: Webex Board conference equipment
Two years ago, when the Webex Board first launched, there was a lot of excitement around the board being the shiny new conference equipment thing. We’re past that initial excitement and now we’re seeing great traction for areas like design thinking and agile software development scrums for developers – both which take advantage of the digital sticky notes. It’s more than just a video device and something that balances physical/in-room team collaboration with virtual/remote collaboration.
Wow #7: Huddle Spaces
When I started each tour, I would explain that we were going to explore Meetings, Teams, and Devices. When we’d start with Devices and our video conference equipment, I’d begin with the ones for large conference rooms, then medium, then huddle spaces. That alone was a bit of an epiphany for some – that different devices were optimized for use in specific-sized rooms. And Huddle Spaces brought some of the most interest since there are many buildings with these small meeting spaces with little to no team collaboration capabilities built in. The Webex Room Kit Mini and Webex Share change all that and introduce new team collaboration use cases centered around the flexibility to connect from Cisco Proximity with Webex teams to direct USB-C for various third-party apps.
I know this was just a little flavor but hopefully you see some of the great steps we’ve made to achieve the goal of uninterrupted work – whether you are in the conference room or remote, whether you are on a mobile device, tablet, laptop, or video unit, whether you are collaborating in real time/synchronously or “your time”/asynchronous. Webex bridges it all together. Some great excitement over the team collaboration vision and direction of our collaboration portfolio! Happy to continue the conversation with any questions or comments you have!
See for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:
I’ve been part of corporate America my entire career and have spent the last six years working from a home office. As part of the remote-worker culture, we’re on the phone – a lot. If conference calls are your way of life, you would probably agree not much has changed in four years since YouTube stars Tripp and Tyler created this video to make fun “every conference call, ever.”
As of this past December everything I knew about collaborating with my team has changed. I no longer host conference calls. That’s right. No more random beeping, no more wondering who just joined, no more guessing where to mute barking dogs, no more multi-tasking, no more, “I’m sorry can you repeat that because I wasn’t listening.”
Conference calling is so 2018
I’m new to the Webex marketing team, but I am not “new” to Webex. My previous employers had both been Webex customers. We used the typical VoIP Phones and dialed in with your typical 1-800 number, and used the typical conference codes to start each call. We downloaded the plug-ins and launched Webex Meetings in case we needed to share content – but that was it. I honestly had no idea what I was missing out on.
Since I became part of the Cisco Webex Marketing team, I have not joined one single conference call. We join meetings – and they feel like actual meetings. Crazy, right? We use Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, and Webex Devices every single day to collaborate, brainstorm, and whiteboard.
A whole new world of Collaboration
I wasn’t sure how I would like being on camera every day, but I love the interaction and there’s no turning back. You can feel the difference. You can tell when people have something to say and you can see that people are engaged. In one of my first meetings, I was listening to how Webex Meetings has new integrations for the Education space. Lance Ford was heading up the call. The guy was at his desk, then standing, then pointing at a screen, then moving things around and presenting. All the while the camera was following him, zooming in and tracking his audio. It felt like I was watching the local newscast!
Watch this just to see the cameras zooming and moving… what?!
Then, I visited the San Jose Cisco campus. When you enter any conference room the screen welcomes you and offers to connect and start your meeting… magic! I was immediately connected with zero effort. The room also had a stylus on the table with my name on a screen … begging me to draw something before the meeting started. (Disclaimer: Webex devices don’t beg you to draw things.) Without knowing anything about the device, I could draw, erase, and send a digital copy to my Webex Teams space. More magic.
There were no ancient calling devices with wired microphones that only pick up whatever sounds are coming off the table top. The microphones are hung from the ceiling with built-in technology that knows when to mute and when to listen in.
To top it all off, once the meeting is over, we keep the conversation going in the Webex Teams platform. I am getting added to spaces and am able to catch up without ever asking a question. I can mention people, I can send requests to my team and flag content to come back to.
Maybe I’m easily impressed, but I was one of tens of thousands of folks at my past employers who weren’t using the Cisco Webex suite of collaboration products to their full potential. I had been missing out. I’m wondering how many other end users could tap in to the newest features? Do you even know you have access to them?
Get reacquainted with Webex
If you’re like I was, and are a Webex customer but are still using the platform as a conference line – please do yourself a favor and check out what you’ve been missing. Ask your Webex Administrator to upgrade you to the latest version with entirely new user interface. You won’t have to memorize any conference ID numbers – you push the big green button. Your participants will not have to download anything – ever. Background noises are automatically detected. Content sharing is faster. Annotations are easier. Video streaming is clearer.
There is so much more, you have to see for yourself. https://collaborationhelp.cisco.com/article/en-us/nvby0ee
Learn more about Webex Video Conferencing and try it for free here https://www.webex.com/video-conferencing.html
By working with an abundance of ISV partners, we’re adding more value to the Cisco Webex team collaboration tools ecosystem to further help you and your team. From time to time, we’ll share a roundup of thought-provoking content from our partners’ blogs. Here’s the first one for your enjoyment!
#1 – Interoperability between collaboration messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams
Mio provides interoperability between collaboration messaging platforms, such as Webex Teams to Slack and Webex Teams to Microsoft Teams—with more on the way.
Check out this short video of the Mio Webex Teams to Slack interoperability to see it in action:
Mio is a great example of a developer who engaged with our Innovation team, developed a cool product, got invited to our Integrator Program, and now has just been added to Cisco’s resale program in Cisco SolutionsPlus. Read more about this here: dispatch.message.io/mio-cisco-solutionsplus/.
Want to learn more? You can also visit Mio’s website at m.io/.
#2 – Immersive room experiences for better team collaboration
Oblong provides multi-stream content layered on top of Webex in an immersive room experience—all integrated with Cisco Webex Teams, Webex Board, and Room Kits. Their founder, John Underkoffler, was the tech genius behind the computer interactions in Minority Report and Iron Man. It was so cool, that he started a tech company using those innovative principles.
Check out an overview of their Webex and Oblong Mezzanine integration: www.oblong.com/blog/have-you-seen-webex-mezzanine.
And then read what John Underkoffler had to say at Wired Live: www.oblong.com/blog/next-gen-ui-comes-into-focus-at-wired-live.
#3 – The nexus of team collaboration tools and digital signage
You may know Appspace from their industry leading digital signage, but they are much more than that. They’ve created a digital content management system that allows you to create channels and subscribe to them from any Cisco endpoint or Cisco Webex Teams space.
Appspace is in quite a few of Cisco’s global Customer Briefing Centers, so you can see these integrations live.
Check out this video on Appspace’s integration with Cisco at the Cisco Collaboration Open House in Malvern earlier this year. Be sure to watch for the Webex Board running their web app on its interactive touch screen:
Appspace also recently hosted a customer event in New York City. Check out their recap of Day One (blog.appspace.com/2018/10/appspace-meetup-new-york-one/) and Day Two (blog.appspace.com/2018/10/appspace-meetup-new-york-day-2-recap/).
#4 – Leveraging collaboration tools for multi-casting video and video management
Vbrick is the leader in live-streaming content for town halls, leadership calls, and meet-ups. Anytime you need to get the word out to all your employees at scale, you need Vbrick.
Vbrick has been a Cisco partner for a long time, with an extremely close relationship with our product management organizations—that’s what makes their solution so scalable and reliable.
And, because they’ve been a partner for so long, their Webex and Webex Teams integrations keep getting better and better. Check out Vbrick’s recent updates on this subject in their blog: vbrick.com/vbrick-rev-cloud-webex-integration-updates-december-2018/.
In recognition of this great partnership, Vbrick was named the Cisco Collaboration ISV Partner of the Year (vbrick.com/vbrick-recognized-as-cisco-global-isv-partner-of-the-year/).
You’ll also find many excellent articles on thought leadership by visiting their blog. Check out this recent post on content management governance: vbrick.com/why-you-need-a-video-content-management-system-to-ensure-governance-success/.
#5 – Customer intelligence driving amazing customer experiences with collaboration tools
Understanding your customer can make a huge difference for your brand. Local Measure is a leader in aggregating customer social intelligence so companies can deliver exceptional experiences to their guests.
Local Measure embraced Cisco Collaboration because it provides real-time information to the employees, who can then take that information and turn it into an amazing experience for the guest. Check out this blog post from Local Measure for more details: www.localmeasure.com/post/collaboration-software-plus-customer-intelligence-can-extend-your-operational-capabilities.
And, for some thought leadership content from Local Measure, read this blog post about identifying the “shadow guest.” You’ll find it here: www.localmeasure.com/post/identifying-the-shadow-guest.
#6 – Analytics to optimize the collaboration experience
Vyopta is a leader in providing actionable intelligence on unified communication, video, and meeting room usage to make sure your communications infrastructure is delivering for your employees.
They can help provide answers to questions like, “Did your employees have a great audio experience on the call yesterday? If not, where/what was the problem?” Or, “Am I at max capacity for my conference rooms? Are they being used? Should I add more huddle spaces?”
Check out this blog post from Vyopta on how they’ve integrated with Cisco endpoints: www.vyopta.com/blog/video-conferencing/getting-data-cisco-collaboration-endpoints/.
And then read their latest post, which is on collaboration spaces: www.vyopta.com/blog/video-conferencing/the-current-state-of-conference-rooms-and-workplace-transformation/.
#7 – Collaborate with your employees in an emergency
Singlewire is a leader in the emergency notification management space, as related to industries such as education, health care, government, and more.
Check out our latest Webex4Developers blog post, which highlights the Singlewire solution that includes Webex Teams and Meraki integrations: developer.webex.com/blog/emergency-communications-with-cisco-webex-teams-and-singlewire.
Delivering value by integrating with Cisco collaboration, Cisco endpoints, and Cisco APIs
There you have it! Seven great companies delivering critical business value.
We’d also like to invite you to check out our Webex4Developers portal and our collaboration APIs. Come build an app. We’re looking forward to hearing from you. To get started go to developer.webex.com.
If you’re interested in hearing more about any of these solutions, reach out to our ecosystem team at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask your Cisco reseller sales contact.
And finally, check out how Webex Teams can help your team work together more efficiently and productively. Try it FREE at www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html.
Today people are working with peers from different locations more than ever before. I work from a home office just outside London, with multiple teams that span the globe. And I understand first-hand how important it is to be able to easily and effectively meet and collaborate remotely. I rely on video conferencing and team collaboration daily, and I’m confident that many of you do, too.
Video Conferencing and team collaboration that help you work your way
Last month, Cisco transformed the way people meet with Webex Share™, Webex Room Kit Mini™, Webex Board 55™ as well as the Webex Board 85™, all of which enable remote workers to connect with team members in huddle spaces. The new products give us the meeting experiences that we all expect of Webex collaboration tools: high-quality video, audio, and content sharing capabilities, as well as the ability to sketch out ideas on a whiteboard. With these devices, we really can meet as if we were in the same room.
I join remote meetings many times a day, and I find it very important to feel like I am there with my team. I want to see everyone’s expressions, which helps me to be sure that I have really understood the nuances of our discussions. And the ability to share presentations and documents quickly helps me be sure that the discussion flows easily.
To make the best use of our time in the meeting, I like to be able to set aside, in one place, things like documents, links, and images that we need to move work forward. With the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, all the information shared before, during and after a Webex meeting is kept in one space, which is available to all my team members. This means that coming back to that information after a meeting is easy and the follow up goes smoothly.
Security and compliance for remote team collaboration
Chief Information Security Officers and IT need to consider more than just the ease of use and breadth of functionality. Security and compliance in collaboration — making sure that the information that we share is safe, and complies with company data loss prevention policies — is critically important. Collaboration applications and platforms must keep employees and the information that they share safe.
In his recent blog, Jono Luk talked about the security and compliance features of the Webex Teams collaboration platform. He described how data is protected by end to end encryption in Webex Teams — using a single encryption key for each customer. Companies also want to know that information is not shared in ways that break their compliance policies, which is particularly important when people work with others outside their company. Nemertes illustrates that over 55% of team collaboration use cases include people working with others outside their company.
Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) applications and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) applications can be deployed in order to protect shared information. The Webex Teams collaboration platform allows companies to use their existing CASB and DLP applications to protect information that is shared by their own employees with people outside the company, and to implement automated policy-based remediation actions. This means that any information that is shared by a company employee in a Webex Teams space, whether internal or external, is protected by the DLP or CASB application of their own company. Many other collaboration platforms do not provide this ability to have oversight of a user’s behaviour in spaces owned by external organizations.
Keeping shared information safe
Now, why is this important? And what does it mean in practice? As an example, think of a manufacturing company that needs to actively collaborate with a large number of third-party suppliers. While they have to share some detailed information with these vendors, it’s critical not to share too much, and accidentally provide information that would be valuable to competitors. And that’s where CASB and DLP integrations with collaboration applications can help.
The Webex Teams collaboration platform integrates seamlessly with the Cisco Cloudlock CASB, which allows customers to create custom policies to protect information without overwhelming administrators with too many alerts. Cloudlock also offers a wide variety of prebuilt policies to protect against the sharing of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Payment Card Information (PCI), or HIPAA related data.
The integration between the Webex Teams platform and Cloudlock makes it easy for you to protect sensitive data with multiple levels of policy enforcement for both internal and external collaboration. As well, we all understand that the retention and oversight of content is a key requirement for many regulated industries. For added compliance, monitoring and e-discovery functionality, we partner with third parties including Smarsh, an industry leading archiving provider, which services many of the largest banking customers worldwide.
With these capabilities, you can take advantage of the strength of Cisco’s Collaboration and Security expertise. Your users can work together easily and effectively, with people inside and outside your organization, while keeping the information shared in Webex Teams spaces safe and secure.
Check out how Webex Teams can help teams work together effectively, and visit Cloudlock to see how you can better protect sensitive data and collaborate with confidence!
Today’s Santa uses online video conferencing
For over a dozen years, the Cisco teams in Canada, the U.K., and Ireland have been bringing smiles and tears of joy to hundreds of hospital-bedridden children during the holidays through our “Virtual Santa” program. These children are able to speak to Santa Claus himself as he sits in the North Pole and hosts virtual meetings.
How is it done? Through the power of video conferencing tools such as Cisco Webex Meetings, team collaboration, and messaging applications like Cisco Webex Teams, and video conferencing endpoints like the Webex DX80 and Rook Kit Series.
If you want a story that will melt your heart, come hear about the innovations and the teams that make this experience a reality. Sarah Winchester, Cisco Business Analyst, and Rachel de Abreu, Cisco Account Manager, will join to share these heartwarming stories.
Connected North: Video conferencing that bridges remote Canadian communities
Six years ago, Cisco’s Business Development Lead in Canada, Willa Black, and other volunteers installed a high-definition Webex device in a sixth-grade classroom in Iqaluit, Nunavut. These students were then connected to scientists, mentors, song-writers, Olympians, and other kids across Canada through Webex Meetings. The response was immediate and powerful.
Since that one school in the Arctic, an entire program called Connected North came to be, and this year it will reach 41 schools serving nearly 10,000 students—all designed to deliver immersive and interactive educational experiences across remote Indigenous communities for more holiday online meeting cheer.
From the stage of the renowned Globe Theatre in London, England, to the exhibits of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Connected North is now a bridge to new opportunities for remote classrooms across Canada.
There are so many possibilities of how teams and groups from all over the world can collaborate virtually and eliminate boundaries. These are just a couple of ways that Webex is giving back this holiday season, and we’re thrilled to tell their stories.
We’ll talk with the people who make all these smiles possible, while learning more about the Webex technology that’s bringing more hope and expanding possibilities to these kids throughout the world.
Cisco and Google, two strategic technology partners to 21st Century Fox, announced a new era of the partnership on the future of collaboration. Paul Cheesbrough, CTO at 21st Century Fox, interviewed Amy Chang, Senior Vice President of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, and David Thacker, Vice President of Product Management at Google, to find out more about the announcement. Here’s their conversation:Read More
Wondering what’s new in the world of Webex Meetings? We’ve got a lot coming up that we’re excited to share with you. Namely, a brand-new desktop experience for Webex Meetings that’s designed to make your video conferencing meetings even easier.
We have a new desktop app slated to roll out, which will replace Webex Meetings Productivity Tools. It will offer an even better experience designed to deliver simpler, more modern video meetings. Watch our short video to see the new experience:Read More
Video streaming is an especially demanding—and popular—application. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, video accounted for 73 percent of all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic in 2016 and could climb to 82 percent by 2021. This expanding footprint for video also coincides with the rapid growth of mobile data consumption, spearheaded by video-enabled apps like YouTube, as well as the growing ranks of business conferencing solutions.
Still, the highly performance-sensitive nature of video means that even as it becomes a more common fixture of team communications, its quality can never be taken for granted. Ensuring a crisp, lifelike experience for everyone who streams a webinar or participates in a video conference requires threading a few technical needles first:
- For starters, the underlying network infrastructure must be scalable and secure, to handle rising demand and shield against many potential threats.
- Next, solutions such as software-defined wide area networks (aka SD-WANs) may be necessary to avoid the performance hiccups that trickle down to teams as grainy video and glitchy audio.
- Finally, the video conferencing service itself must offer an intuitive cross-platform experience, one that’s as optimized for the telecommuter on his smartphone as it is for the in-office executive on her PC or Mac.
Let’s explore the third one in more depth. As workforces become more mobile and distributed, a video conferencing platform can be a uniquely powerful way to bring them together, to make them feel as if they are in the same shared space despite being potentially thousands of miles apart. Usability is particularly important in capitalizing on video’s potential here.Read More
Summertime is here once again and like you, we’re all in the mood for pool dips, ice cream, and barbeques. But as the saying goes, “the show must go on,” which means taking care of work responsibilities.
Next time you go to a coffee shop, take a moment to notice all the remote workers hunkered down at the tables, laptop to laptop. It’s a common sight all across America now. In fact, the number of people telecommuting in the US has gone up 115% in the last 10 years.1 How did we get here?
In the past, there was a common misconception that if organizations allowed teleworking, team members wouldn’t collaborate well because they weren’t gathered together in the same room. And all business leaders know that team collaboration is essential to productivity, growth, and innovation.Read More
Congrats! Whether you’re a future employee preparing to interview with your dream company or an employer who may have found the perfect candidate for a position, you’ve taken a step forward in the interview process. And quite possibly, one toward your next video conference interview.
In the race to secure top-talent – and the quest to land the ideal gig, regardless of location – videoconferencing has emerged as a connective bridge. Ideal, a company of specialists using artificial intelligence for task automation, found that about 63 percent of organizations use video interviews during their recruitment process. And with two-way video interviews saving as much as 67 percent on necessary travel costs when compared to more conventional recruitment techniques, it’s no wonder videoconferencing’s popularity has grown.
Video conferencing has transformed the interview process for both candidates and employers. Whichever side of the camera you’re on, use these tips to take interview convos from “hello” to “hired.”
It’s common to group teleconferencing and video conferencing solutions together, or even to treat the two as interchangeable. While today’s organizations regularly use them for similar purposes (e.g., scaling to multiple remote and branch offices, and reaching teams regardless of individual locations), these solutions are not identical.
Teleconferencing is the more general term. It can encompass almost any meeting in which the participants are not all in the same physical room, although it often denotes a voice-only call. In contrast, video conferencing is more specific, typically referring to converged platforms such as Cisco Webex Meetings, which contain features supporting unlimited voice and video meetings.
To better separate the two, let’s look at the distinctive advantages and disadvantages of each one:
For years, solutions to unite teams and simplify team collaboration were defined by brands throwing the proverbial technology kitchen sink at their employees. From there, it was up to these teams to stumble and fumble their way to make these various tools work in whatever ways made sense for their job, setting up a perfect storm of incompatible connections, IT woes and communication delays. And while this may have been ok to “get by,” something better for a new world of work – one that calls for more nimble responses from dispersed teams that want to connect and interact in real time – was needed.
Thankfully, that something better has arrived.
Guest post by Janine Kurnoff, founder of The Presentation Company.
As of January of this year, there are an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses just in the United States alone. This is an impressive stat, given recent discussions on women in the workplace, our roles and how we support one another. In light of this and being a member of this “girl power” collective of business owners, I wanted to share my story to perhaps inspire another woman who has a desire to fearlessly pursue her business dreams.
From Flying Solo to Soaring Together…
I’ve always had a passion and a knack for helping people tell their stories, which led me to form The Presentation Company in 2001. When I joined the ranks of millions of women entrepreneurs, I was a one-woman show focused on presentation consulting. But even then, I knew flying solo would only get me so far. Thankfully, six months in, my sister (and now business partner) Lee joined me, bringing her amazing market research and branding skills with her. And we haven’t looked back since.
People tend to be a bit amazed that Lee and I are not only sisters, but successful female entrepreneurs who make things work at work. And though we like to joke that we’re “twins” and have been known to tap into a telepathic “sister” thing, the reality is that finding a partner who shares your passion, is trustworthy, has your back and one who can represent you is the foundation of a successful brand. We have and never will get bogged down with stereotypes about women not being able to work together. Rather, we believe women can soar with another entrepreneur whose goals are as lofty as their own.
Cheerleaders Aren’t Just for a Big Game…
There is something to be said about having a team of “cheerleaders” in your corner. For me, those cheerleaders were my mom and dad.
Our parents immigrated from England, with two young girls in tow, arriving in 1978 at San Francisco’s Pier 35. I often think about what a risk it was for them to leave the familiar to go after their American dreams. Early on, my dad told me “find your passion and the money will follow.” And my mom always encouraged me to believe that I deserved to “have a seat at the table.” Together Lee and I found that passion and confidence. It came in the form of helping talented people tell authentic business stories.
We embraced, honed and followed this vision and our parents were our earliest – and most enthusiastic – cheering force. And their belief in us pushed our belief in ourselves.
Whoever encourages their dreams in the face of the seemingly impossible – these are the people I advise women to surround themselves with to help keep their entrepreneurial fires burning.
Because Mentorship Matters…
As business founders, Lee and I both feel honored to be in our roles. We take pride in empowering the talented women (and men!) on our team. Why? Because the same passion for our work and desire to help brands tell their most authentic stories in the most meaningful way – we see that in them. We’ve witnessed team members blossom before us as we pour into them, growing confident enough to own rooms and command audiences. It’s in these small ways that we mentor and influence other women.
And that doesn’t stop, no matter what professional heights you reach. In many ways, my sister is my mentor; indirectly, we’ve done that for each other. And we are constantly learning from the host of compelling women we meet. For a woman to surround herself with other powerfully productive women in the workplace, it’s empowering and encouraging.
As women, we must believe that we have every right to succeed and not downplay, our talents, abilities and accomplishments. We have to communicate who we are and define our own paths with a clear vision. And because I have daughters, I believe we have to share our stories and show other women and young girls not to “fake it until they make it.” But rather, “fake it until they become it” as Amy Cuddy says. Because they, and all of us, deserve seats at the professional tables of their choice.
From iced-over bridges to snow-covered highways, Old Man Winter has had a firm grip on most of the country recently. And while that may mean a snow day for some, for many, the work day must go on.
Thankfully, video conferencing and team collaboration tools like Webex Meetings and Webex Teams are available to keep teams connected and work moving forward. And even though snow is a rarity in San Jose, over the years, I’ve learned lots of work life “weatherproofing” tips that keep productivity up when inclement weather keeps you away from the office.
1. Morning Consistency is Key
It’s totally understandable how blustery weather would make you want to stay bundled up in your pajamas or work from your laptop in bed. But if you’re working remotely due to the weather, keeping to your morning routine as much as possible can mentally set the stage for a more productive work day.
If you normally exercise outside in the mornings, but can’t, do a quick workout in your living room to maintain your normal pre-work routine. Go to your closet and get dressed, even if you’re just going down the hallway to your home office. Whatever it is that you do to kick off your work day, do it! It will kick start your mind into work mode.
2. Keep Your Desk Ready-to-Go
Speaking of your home office, the moment you hear bad weather may keep you housebound is the time to ensure your work space is work ready. National Clean Up Your Desk Day was great inspiration for me to take a few moments to declutter my home office space. Everything is now in its place, which saves me a rush cleaning job when impromptu WebEx meetings have to happen. An added bonus? Studies show that a decluttered workspace leads to more productivity.
3. Check Your Tech
One minute before a remote meeting or video conferencing call begins is not the time to discover your technology has gone on the fritz. If weather is keeping you housebound, you’ll need to rely on your tech tools to stay connected, so make it a habit to ensure any and all technology software and hardware you use is online and ready to go when you need it.
4. Plan B & C & D Location
If bad weather knocks your power or causes internet connectivity issues for example, having a nearby location to work from is a must.
A nearby coffee shop or even a library are just a couple of options. Wifi is often free and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee if you’re forced to travel to another location.
5. Set Expectations and Boundaries
You know when you’re working from home that you’re actually working. But does everyone else?
When bad weather keeps people who do not work remotely inside, it’s easy to see how they may not understand how you could be carrying on your work day as normal. If you have children, they’re probably home with you if the weather is bad and may not understand that yes – you have real work to do. In these instances, set boundaries and expectations early so everyone understands that even though you’re physically at home, you have to remain focused.
There is definitely something to be said about maintaining a work-life balance, so be open and communicate to your children or friends when you can chit-chat, play games or watch a movie with them.
Has bad weather kept you in the house recently? Share how you’ve been able to stay in work mode with me on Twitter @WebEx, with #WinterWork.
Don’t let the weather keep you from your work. Click here to try a 30 day free trial of Webex teams.
At WebEx, our team is always looking for fresh ways to create a better user experience. If you manage or use collaboration tools for your business, you know that a seamless user experience is essential to keeping everyone connected and making sure tech tools are adopted by your team. And when your tools work together, everyone can spend less time troubleshooting and more time collaborating.
We’re excited to share just a few of the coolest new features we’re rolling out that integrate WebEx with some of your other favorite tech tools. Check them out below and give them a try during your next meeting!
Background audio noise detection
WebEx Meeting Center now automatically detects background sounds like knocking, typing, sirens and dogs barking. You’ll be prompted to mute your microphone after detection, to help eliminate distraction and keep the meeting focused on the task at hand.
The noise detection functionality distinguishes between users who are actively speaking and background noises, so you won’t be cut off mid-sentence if Fido chimes in.
MacBook Touch Bar support
Mac users using the WebEx Desktop App can now access meeting controls directly from their MacBook Touch Bar. Just click the button in the Touch Bar to use some of the most popular WebEx functions, like audio mention, mute/unmute, start/stop video and more.
Control your WebEx Meeting with controls on the MacBook Touch Bar.
Easy controls at your fingertips. What’s not to love?
Google Calendar Integraion
If you use Google calendar to keep track for your work week, you can now schedule and start Personal Room meetings more easily with the Cisco WebEx Scheduler, which you can download here from the Chrome Web Store. You can also. Simply schedule and add join information by typing @webex in the “Where” line of your Google Calendar invite.
This type of compatibility means you can use WebEx with other productivity tools you love.
Cisco WebEx app for Slack
Last but not least, Cisco WebEx is now available in Slack. Add the WebEx app to a Slack channel and quickly share your WebEx meeting or Personal Room URL with your team. Simply type /webex to share your WebEx Personal Room link.
Want to know more? Follow us on Twitter @WebEx to stay up to speed on the latest product updates, or share your ideas for features you’d like to see!
It’s that time of the year again! The days are shorter. The weather is cooling down. And your manager is asking to see your team’s 2018 plan ASAP.
When there’s a lot on your plate between work and home, staying productive and efficient is non-negotiable. Add in the logistics of coordinating a remote team and the stress can add up quickly. But those end-of-year deadlines don’t have to bring your team down. Follow this simple guide for streamlining your workflow to get that annual plan wrapped up. Hint: the key is collaboration.
Step 1: Create a work space
First things first, you need to assemble your key players together in one place. And I don’t mean a conference room.
To work together fluidly, you need a virtual workspace. Create a Cisco Spark room and include everyone who will contribute to the planning process. You can use it to chat about updates in real time, share documents, review feedback, and even add bots to help you with scheduling and project management. Label the room and ask your team to use it for annual planning only, so conversations stay focused and on-task.
Step 2: The kickoff
Next, schedule a WebEx session to kick things off. Share an agenda in advance to keep the meeting structured. Ask your team to turn on their video – having some face-time can go a long way in rallying everyone around a common goal and help ensure you’re all on the same page.
Consider preparing a few slides with an outline of the plan and share your screen during the meeting. Have everyone weigh in with initial ideas about what’s been working, what’s not, and what the priorities should be for the next year.
Before you close the meeting, be clear about the expectations and next steps. What should be included in the plan? What are the deadlines? Recap team assignments so everyone can divide and conquer.
Step 3: Sharing is caring
Now it’s time to get to work. After your meeting, share a recap in the Cisco Spark room to reinforce the next steps and deadlines.
As each member of your team fulfills their assignments, have them share updates and documents in Cisco Spark. It’s a lot simpler than searching through lengthy email chains to find attachments or links.
Collaborate in real-time via chat or call team members directly, all within Cisco Spark. Bouncing ideas around in as they come up will help move things forward quickly, and you can keep your team in-the-know if things change.
Step 4: Review and revise
Once your plan is drafted, it’s time to start editing. Set up another meeting with your team to review the plan together as a group. Ask yourself a few essential questions along the way. Does the presentation tell a clear story? Did we accomplish what we set out to do? Is our data presented in an impactful way?
Make edits in real-time during the meeting, and continue any follow up via Cisco Spark if you need to add finishing touches.
Step 5: The final presentation
This is where all of the team collaboration will pay off. It’s Showtime!
Schedule a meeting with your manager/stakeholders over WebEx. Have everyone fire up their video and share your deck (just be sure to share your application instead of your entire screen to avoid any distracting notifications). And don’t forget to record the meeting – you can send out a link so anyone who missed out on the presentation can catch up.
Step 6: Celebrate! And keep the conversation going
After you’ve nailed your presentation, congratulate your team and pat yourself on the back. Now that your annual plan is in place, you can keep the work moving in Cisco Spark. Create new rooms for individual projects and initiatives once your plan is approved, and check back in throughout the year.
Having the best collaboration tools makes a big difference when it comes to planning, and every team has a different style that works for them. How does your team approach planning and workflows? Tell us in the comments below!
Sometimes you get so used to things just working that you forget about the amazing convenience of the tools we now have at our fingertips. As part of the Cisco WebEx team, I experience that more than most when it comes to video meetings. On a daily basis, I collaborate with people located across town, across the country, and also across the world. Of course, with video, we’re able to connect face-to-face, which helps develop our relationships and we can make decisions faster – not to mention we cut down on travel costs. This is when I had a few moments of clarity – at the airport, where I was able to appreciate the tools at my fingertips that helped me look like a professional.
I was scheduled to return from a conference on the same morning that I was leading a quarterly project meeting with the global team. While it would be a busy day, I should have had enough time after landing to get to the office and lead the presentation from one of the conference rooms.
As you may have guessed, that’s not how things worked out. My morning layover flight wasn’t delayed — it was cancelled. I knew I couldn’t reschedule the meeting — it had to happen that day. I knew I’d be fine, though, presenting from my mobile phone from the airport.
Moment of clarity number 1: Confidence in my meeting tool
It could have been a major setback. It would have been a major setback if it hadn’t been for the ease of using Cisco WebEx. I had zero anxiety about a situation that would surely be ulcer-inducing for most.
While I sat in the terminal, I noticed a man a couple of seats away who seemed to be having a work-related conversation. There he was, preparing to join a meeting from the airport. And he wasn’t using Cisco WebEx. Things went OK. His meeting got started a few minutes late because he couldn’t find the meeting codes, another participant had to download a plug-in, and he said he couldn’t share his video from his mobile phone, but overall it wasn’t too bad.
Moment of clarity number 2. Makes me look professional
This guy was trying to position his new one-man design shop as an established, trusted company. It was almost time for my meeting to start, so I couldn’t stick around to find out how it went. As I went to find my own quiet space, I had a renewed pride that I get to work with Cisco WebEx. It’s a reliable product that comes with a reputation of professionalism, so I could depend on it.
Moment of clarity number 3. Simplicity – Started the meeting on time
I joined the meeting with a click of a button in my phone app — not just on time, but a few minutes early! For my meetings with Cisco WebEx, I don’t have to worry about those issues. It just works.
One of our partners in London, Sheila, entered the meeting from her Skype for Business account, because Cisco WebEx meetings integrates seamlessly with the third-party solution.
Shameless plug: Cisco WebEx is built to provide excellent audio and high quality video, so — even though I was at the airport on my mobile phone — it felt like I was presenting in person. The team joining from the office was able to start my meeting in my personal room before I even joined because I gave them alternate host privilege. It was easy to see everyone’s expressions, so I could tell when I needed to provide additional detail or clarification.
While I didn’t enjoy the delay flying home, the experience allowed me to appreciate what I take for granted so often. Whether your team is spread across the globe or sitting in separate corners of the same city, an established video conferencing tool that provides reliable and secure service is important to look like a true professional. Cisco WebEx is simple. I connected to my meeting smoothly in a single click, so I could focus on what matters: Leading a successful meeting for my colleagues.
Learn more about Cisco WebEx video meeting capabilities.
Years ago, there was a TV game show that tapped into its contestants’ deepest fears – snakes, bugs, heights, you name it – and placed them in situations where they had to come face-to-face with them. In the end, they walked away with a bit of cash, making it worth their while. And while most aren’t forced to confront their greatest fears during the work day, there is a one part of it that seems to strike a chord of fear.
Video conferencing. (cue dramatic music)
From worrying about how they look on video to public speaking anxiety, people seem to want to “call it in” more often than they wish to hop on a video conference. But in a 2016 study, Wainhouse Research found that approximately 90% of all respondents had used video conferencing at least once in the prior month. So it’s safe to say it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Though I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t always a video conferencing fan, I’m now proud to say I’m now a full-fledged advocate. But if you find yourself still a bit shy of declaring your love for this platform, then read on to see the top three reasons our team loves video conferencing and you should too.
Reason 1: Face-to-Face Connections Matter
I work from home at least three days a week and if a meeting falls on one of those days, sure – I could easily call in. But, there’s something a bit disconnected about collaborating with essential team members over the phone. Facial expressions and body language go a long way in communicating, and an audio-only experience means you miss out on big cues from your team.
The face-to-face connections I’m able to establish with my teams when we use WebEx for example, are critical for establishing strong team rapport. Video conferencing encourages engagement and also foster a community of togetherness.
Reason 2: Finding Focus is Easier
Raise your hand if you’ve ever stolen a moment to daydream or multi-task on a conference call! Yes – my hand is up too. But as I’ve embraced video conferencing, I’ve become more focused in my meetings, because I can see my teams and they can see me.
While some people shy away from video conferencing for this exact reason, it’s more of a selling point to me because it encourages everyone to be as focused as possible to accomplish meeting goals.
Reason 3: Because Real-Time Should Be An Option for Everything
At any given point during the day, I can use a variety of apps to change my home thermostat setting, order household essentials or even send flowers to my wife – all in real-time. And when you’re working with others, ideas can fly fast and furious. So why not share those ideas and follow-up details, in real-time too?
With video conferencing, you can.
Instead of a dreaded flurry of emails, presentations and updates in my inbox after a conference call, I take full advantage of Cisco Spark’s real time sharing options. In my team’s own private Spark room, we use real-time messaging to always stay in the loop with each other. And the Cisco Spark Board feature lets us literally sketch out all of our creative ideas – even a stick-figure Picasso like myself – all in real-time.
As I said – I’m a full-fledged video conference meeting fan. And I know I have some fellow ones out there. Leave me a comment and share why you love video conference too.
Leaders understand their teams better than anyone and that business magic happens when they have the freedom and space to bring their best work to life. When you have great meetings, brilliant ideas are shared, plans are made, and work moves forward. That’s what we like to call #MeetBrilliant.
Now, we’re pairing WebEx Meeting Center with another powerful tool, empowering your teams to create, share and do more whenever and wherever inspiration may strike.
With the addition of Cisco Spark to WebEx Meeting Center, teams now have access to secure, reliable workspaces in the cloud. With the power to meet in personal workrooms with unique URLs, teams can now join work sessions, message one another, upload files and even engage with interactive “whiteboarding” to visualize new concepts. All while still using the crystal-clear video and audio of WebEx Meeting Center.
Imagine all of the possibilities when work moves at the speed of your team. When ideas can be shared in real-time and feedback can be instantaneous. When you can simply answer a phone to join a meeting without the hassles passwords and access codes. When your teams can count on Cisco security, reliability and service.
It’s time to move beyond imagining and embrace the realities. Take advantage of our 30-day free trial of Cisco Meeting Center with Cisco Spark and give your teams the tools and space they need for brilliant meetings.
In spite of the recent winter storms that tagged the country last week, today marks the first official day of spring. In addition to the warmer days that lie ahead, today is also a perfect day to indulge in a bit of spring cleaning – but we’re not talking about a bit of dusting around the house. Today is also the perfect day for you (and your teams) to knock out a bit of digital spring cleaning as well and we’re sharing a few tips to guide you along.
Dust Off Your Digital Work Life
Any one of these tips – or combination of them – will fast track your digital decluttering.
- Find yourself shifting pass the same apps on smartphone or tablet? If you’ve stopped using them or have turned to other products, then delete them! An added bonus? Eliminating unnecessary apps and files, helps your device could run faster.
- There have been times I’ve realized I have dozens or even hundreds of unopened email in my inbox. Since selecting all and hitting the delete button is not a reality for many of us, revisit the “Zero Inbox” method to keep your inbox as clutter free as possible.
- When you’re prompted to change your password for an email account for example, consider changing passwords for all of your work-related accounts. From internal intranet sites to your 401k provider, save yourself some time down the line by taking care of it now.
Get Your Team in the Declutter Game
When everyone gets in on the digital declutter game, your team will already be set to hit the ground running when it’s time to connect and work together.
- Now that you’ve applied the Zero Inbox method, instead of a starting another long email thread filled with attachments, get the entire team onboard with an app like Cisco Spark to share information, whiteboard, edit documents and screen share.
- Have your teams look at all of the meetings and invitations currently on their calendar. If there are some they never find themselves attending or are just simply meetings they don’t need to attend, they should delete them to ensure their calendars are as up-to-date as possible.
- As a leader, do you know what your team members spend their time on each day? Help them optimize their energy and prioritize their day by auditing their time and helping them refocus.
What does all of this digital decluttering leads to? A fresh new digital environment prime for cultivating the most creative ideas and solutions teams have to offer.
- One of the easiest ways to cultivate deeper levels of creativity is to welcome new members – and their ideas. Set up a video meeting with Cisco WebEx and tap into the fresh ideas colleagues across town or around the world may have to share.
- After this deep digital spring cleaning, be sure to keep your digital life nice and tidy. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes each to prioritize your workload, clean out your inbox and check your Cisco Spark work rooms for team updates.
How do you plan on decluttering your digital life today? Share your best tips with us or how these helped you below.
Are meetings a “soul sucking waste of time,” as a columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian suggests?
They could be if they’re unproductive, boring, too many of them, or all of the above. The solution may lie in technology, if used properly. “Technology is essential to innovating the conference call and boosting staff engagement,” according to a Harvard Business Review column.
Video, for instance, may enhance “connectedness between participants” and help them see reactions to one another’s ideas.3 Specific online or video conferencing features that may improve overall engagement include the ability to view multiple video feeds, screen sharing capabilities, document editing, or whiteboard tools and mobile accessibility.
I wake up each morning at 4:30 a.m., often hitting the pavement for a run. It’s early, but these mornings motivate me and are a great time to think. And the other day, I realized that starting my day with a workout is a critical part of achieving the work/life balance that my family and I need.
I also realized this balance is definitely not a sprint, but a daily and personal marathon that takes practice, discipline and thoughtful planning.
In the year 2000, when I was working at a start-up here in Silicon Valley, there were 15 of us, all co-located in the same space. And we were from all over the world. In those days, everyone had to move to the same geography in order to work together. Sometimes that made it difficult to hire the best people – if a candidate couldn’t or wouldn’t move, we had to pass and hire the next best person.
What thoughts come to mind when you think of meetings? Commuting to the office in heavy traffic or driving to the airport to catch a flight to meet with your team in-person?
IDG recently asked industry leaders, and it turns out that online meetings are overwhelmingly popular because it saves them time. They found that voice-only calls can rob leaders of the ability to read body language or put a face to the voices on the phone. And in-person meetings can create undesirable travel costs and logistical nightmares.
Most days, I spring out of bed, ready to greet the world. There’s nothing better than crossing items off my to-do list and the sense of satisfaction that comes along with it.
But, some days get the best of me. If I’m not prepared, I can find myself at the end of a long day wondering where all of my time went.
Today on our social media channels, we announced WebEx, filters to “enhance your presence” during a video conference. Sorry to disappoint you, but WebEx is just our way of having some fun on April Fool’s Day this year. Got ya!
Truth be told, you don’t need to go to extremes to present your best on a video conference. But I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been a bit intimidated by that little camera icon that invites you to show your face and “go live” on video during your meeting.
Thanks in part to an increasingly remote workforce that relies on mobile devices to keep them connected and in the business loop, video conferencing has become an almost daily part of work life. In a recent Gallup poll, thirty-seven percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted and more companies are offering “work from home” options as an employee selling point.
For most sales teams, the first months of a new year mean a fresh start in implementing the strategies needed to meet their sales goals. And one of the most impactful “must-have” tools of the seller’s trade is collaboration technology that make conducting business simple and profitable for sellers, as well as beneficial and positive for clients.
Working in sales is always a competitive adventure, so what should teams focus on to establish meaningful client relationships, meet quotas and optimize the technology available to them? I’ve outlined three focus points that can help give your team the edge.
I can give you a million reasons to join a WebEx meeting – a quick-turn project, a public relations issue, or even an unbelievable business opportunity that fell into your lap. Getting a meeting organized now is sometimes very necessary.
People work in different offices and even time zones – real-time collaboration can get a bit tricky. Thankfully, simple and powerful collaboration is possible with a few clicks.
And now – the pièce de résistance!
In the first two installments of The Presentation Company’s Masterful WebEx Presentation Series, we took a deep-dive into a Sweat-Free Virtual Presentations and then learned 4 Delivery Tips All WebEx Stars Know. Now that you’ve prepared and presented the perfect presentation, it’s time to learn how to leverage the data you gathered from your WebEx tools.
It’s easy to think of IT departments as a dedicated crew of folks sitting in a room unlocking passwords, restoring Internet access and implementing all of the tools that keep a business connected. But for many Small or Medium Businesses (SMBs), the responsibility of choosing and implementing the right technology solutions often falls on business leaders.
When it comes to web-conferencing, selecting the right solutions is even more crucial for these businesses. Having a high-quality, reliable online meeting experience can go a long way in helping SMB leaders juggle the many hats they wear.
Though most of the country is still experiencing summer’s last surge of scorching temps, fall’s arrival is coming fast. Already one of my favorite seasons with the cooler temps and pumpkin-spice everything it brings, fall also ushers in one of the busiest hiring seasons of the year.
We’re faced with a world where it’s becoming increasingly harder to keep up with advances in technology and where our brains hardly have the capacity to grasp what the world might look like even 10 or 20 years down the line. At Cisco’s Collaboration Group we naturally spend a lot of our time on what lies ahead – tackling both the giant technology leaps we need to make in the future as well as the incremental improvements we can make to dramatically impact people’s everyday work lives and productivity. In this post I will give a brief look into what we think are some of the challenges that lie ahead in the collaboration industry, along with a peek at some technologies that may help shape the future of teams and their work together.
Feb 07, 2020 — Webex Team
Dec 17, 2019 — Webex Team
Dec 13, 2019 — Jillian Zimmerman
Nov 18, 2019 — Jillian Zimmerman
Nov 04, 2019 — Webex Team
Oct 30, 2019 — Webex Team
Oct 10, 2019 — Webex Team
Oct 07, 2019 — Rai Johnson
Sep 03, 2019 — Connie Tang
Aug 21, 2019 — Kacy Kizer
Aug 01, 2019 — Connie Tang
Jun 27, 2019 — Mark Miller
May 30, 2019 — Deepa Mahendraker
May 16, 2019 — Juan Gallardo
May 09, 2019 — Jillian Zimmerman
Apr 02, 2019 — Mandy Yeung