October release of Webex RoomOS
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.
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Sep 16, 2021 — Aruna Ravichandran