Tags: Audience Engagement, Audio Intelligence, Cinematic Meetings, Distance Zero, Microsoft Teams, Video Intelligence, Webex AI Codex, Webex and Google, Webex and Microsoft, Webex Devices, Webex Room Series, Webex RoomOS, WebexOne, WebexOne 2023
There’s a discrepancy in meeting rooms today. Consider this: 98% of meetings today include at least one remote participant. Yet, of the 87 million meeting spaces out there, less than 15% are equipped with video conferencing technology. And spaces that are equipped are often equipped with mismatched and entry-level technology.
But “video enabling” your conference rooms with a basic camera and audio solution is not enough for today’s workforce. Simply because, these solutions miss the rich context that makes face-to-face connections so magical. And I don’t just mean facial expressions and nonverbal cues – which are important. It’s the rich in-room context like:
And when today’s employees are overwhelmingly calling for flexibility, remote and hybrid jobs are attracting seven times more applicants than in-person roles. By mandating in-person work, employers are limiting their talent pool. It’s a complex dichotomy of wanting to attract and retain top talent, but also wanting the magic of in-person collaboration to thrive.
Imagine – What if it felt like there was no distance between you and your colleagues? You could sit anywhere in the world, and still experience the creativity, productivity, and innovation that thrives at the office?
This is our north star: to build collaboration devices that deliver the feeling of being there – even when you’re not. Distance Zero, a concept that can only be achieved with RoomOS, reduces the impact of distance by bringing the high-quality, rich context that makes in-person interaction so magical into the virtual space.
This year, I relocated to Cisco headquarters in San Jose, moving away from a large portion of my team sitting in Norway. The only reason this was possible is because of our commitment to minimizing the impact of distance. Cisco devices enable me to lead from anywhere on the globe.
Distance Zero can only be accomplished with powerful AI, bringing the rich, human interaction happening into the meeting room into the virtual space. Think of it in this way – using our Quad Camera as the eyes, our devices see what is happening in the conference room, interpreting powerful video data. Our Table Microphone Pro acts as the ears, listening to collaboration interactions and collecting rich audio data. And every device includes a Codec running our RoomOS software – the brain of our solution, interpreting the video and audio data collected. With this information, our devices learn the parameters of the room and understand the human interaction happening within it.
To accomplish this, Cisco’s collaboration devices feature an NVIDIA system-on-module and have the industry’s most capable AI and machine learning platform, enabling 20x AI capabilities of the previous generation. This will power future-of-meeting experiences, like the groundbreaking Cinematic meetings. Cisco embarked on a partnership with NVIDIA in 2015 to build the RoomOS platform on the Jetson edge AI platform. Years ahead of today’s AI boom, the partnership built a foundation that allows Cisco to be the clear market leader in video devices supporting AI and machine learning.
Today, RoomOS is the industry’s most capable AI and machine learning platform, supporting future-of-meeting experiences like cinematic meetings. And at Cisco, we have the unique advantage of designing devices that are doubly powered by AI: at the edge via RoomOS, and in the cloud via the Webex platform. It’s a duality that allows us to bring more advanced experiences to our customers, like the industry-leading noise removal available across our portfolio.
Powered by NVIDIA Jetson modules, we’ve been designing devices for every room size, use-case and cost point to support deploying distance zero at scale. We created the broadest portfolio because we know that deploying a range of workspaces is important to our customers. Still, we learned in surveys that a wide majority are looking to equip medium and large spaces with reimagined video.
I mentioned that 85% of conference rooms don’t have adequate video, and that’s because video-enabling spaces has historically been complex, requiring integrators to stitch together multiple audio, video, and furniture components, and requiring an on-site specialist to deploy. Combining all of these needs into one integrated device, I am so excited to announce our newest device: The Room Kit EQX.
It’s the simplest way to deploy virtual in-person experiences in flagship spaces, without significant effort from an AV specialist onsite to equip. By eliminating the need for patchwork speaker solutions, mounting options, and furniture enclosures, companies can be certain it’s beautifully and consistently deployed across your offices. And with flexible mounting options, customers have workarounds for permits and building costs. Because of our commitment to sustainability, and to protect your existing investments, we’ve designed the EQX to support existing screens.
With its unparalleled design and performance, the EQX is an easy choice when you need the best experience. And like all of Cisco’s collaboration devices, the Room Kit EQX is fully manageable through Control Hub. But Cisco designs a portfolio of products to fit every user, use case, and every venue. From the Room Bar for huddle and small spaces, to the EQ for large rooms that require customization – our portfolio covers a range of use cases and price points. Just by adding a Cisco device, any workspace can be a destination for remarkable collaboration.
The Distance Zero experience supported by the EQX is the culmination of years of innovation. Since 2016, we have been building audio and video intelligence to support reimagined experiences. Today, with the combination of powerful video and audio AI, Cisco devices follow presenters around the room, intelligently listen for audio cues, and switch between multiple cameras. It’s an oversimplification, but this—combined with framing, zoning, multiple streams and more—is the fundamental technology behind cinematic meetings.
By choosing the best view of the meeting at any moment, our devices make it feel like you’re in the room. Utilizing one or multiple cameras, Cisco devices can follow the action around the room, pick the best camera angle, and seamlessly switch between scenes. It’s a movie-like experience we’re bringing to any space, from everyday conference rooms to complex use-cases. With Cinematic Meetings, we’re fundamentally eliminating distance in any room type.
Take boardrooms, for example. Increasingly, boardrooms must look different to account for in person and virtual attendees. We’re solving for this, by sharing a blueprint for an all-new boardroom experience, available today. As shown above, the center of the configuration are four quad cameras and screens at eye-level, to give in-room participants an immersive view of remote attendees and shared content. This content is just below where the conversation is happening across the table to reduce fatigue and cognitive load.
Outside of the room, remote participants see a clear, straight-on perspective of the sixteen in-room participants, as shown below. This new campfire blueprint enables the feeling of face-to-face collaboration for in-person and virtual participants, reducing the impact of distance and giving everyone an equal seat in round table discussions.
It’s a unique use-case that solves for immersive, inclusive meetings in boardroom experiences. But meetings happen in a myriad of workspaces. To bring the feeling of being in the room to all workspaces, we’re introducing multistream capabilities on Cisco devices in Webex Meetings. With this new view, Cisco devices send multiple intelligent video streams into the virtual space so remote participants can see a close-up of the speaker, and a full view of the room.
We can even eliminate distance in auditorium and training-style rooms. Cisco devices seamlessly switch between a presenter and audience camera to provide remote participants with the best view of speakers, their content and close-up audience reactions. And in a new hybrid presenter mode, a remote and an in-room speaker can seamlessly take the stage together for hybrid presentations:
Our vision is to bring Distance Zero to every interaction. 85% of our customers told us they’re using more than one meeting platform each day. So, we’ve been vigilant in designing RoomOS to support back-to-back intelligent experiences on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Webex and other commonly used tools. And for our customers who have standardized on Microsoft Teams, Cisco and Microsoft announced a partnership that brings the power of Cisco’s AI to our mutual customers.
With Cisco devices, organizations can deliver flexible, inclusive work experiences without compromise. Experience the power of virtually in-person collaboration in any workspace:
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