It was the simplest product requirement I have ever written. Just one sentence: “Bring Telepresence to the desktop and make it CEO-proof”. When we launched in March 2010 industry analyst Andrew Davies at Wainhouse Research wrote: “For most of my life I wanted a Porsche, now I think I want a Tandberg EX90 instead.” At a time where PC based video was still pretty useless and the iPad was not even invented, it became very clear to us that we had totally nailed it.
And never had the timing of a product been better. Less than a month after the EX90 launched, Cisco acquired Norwegian video industry leader Tandberg, and an incredible journey integrating people, cultures and products began.
Back then I didn’t work from home instead of going to the office, I worked from home during evenings and nights to get stuff done across the somewhat unsympathetic 9-hour Oslo-California time difference. And most of the time I did not even think of it as work. It was an adventure getting to know amazingly talented people on the other side of the world and be able to take part in groundbreaking innovations through our own technology that truly eliminates distance.
And, it wasn’t just me. Cisco as a whole began to operate that way. Being able to immerse in video at home was infectious and within a couple of years, thousands of EX90s were deployed across Cisco. Some years later we took a stab at democratizing the experience and released a similar but more affordable DX80. Currently, more than 30.000 DX80’s are deployed in Cisco employees´ homes across the world, and they have set a new high bar for personal video experience across the company.
Some weeks into COVID-19-lockdown my good colleague Amit Barave sent me a message: “It kills me to see all the laptop wielding WFH warriors if they had tried a DX80 they would never go back!” This coming from the product lead of the best video conferencing app on the planet carries a lot of weight. While a PC based solution can get you through a couple of hours of meetings per day without fatigue, a dedicated video device has so many advantages when you spend all day in meetings:
It is very encouraging to see that a growing share of our customers is realizing the power of showing up well in meetings. The DX80, years after it was first released, is tracking towards its strongest quarter ever. At the same time I am extremely excited that our new desktop flagship, the Red Dot Award-winning Webex Desk Pro is now shipping, much anticipated by executives and knowledge workers around the world who require the highest quality collaboration experience. One of our early testers, digital workplace guru Nathan Coutinho recently summed it up for us “If you are looking to deploy the best desktop video experience on the planet – this is the device you want”
We no longer live in a world of “work-life-balance” but one that is blended.A world in which where you work matters less and focus is put on how you work. In Cisco, this has already been my reality for ten years. Trust me – you want one of those devices 😉