Categories: Collaboration Devices

Webex Devices are again recognized for Best Product Design in the 2021 Red Dot Awards

Webex Desk and Cisco Microphone Array awarded for breakthrough product design and innovation

I’m beyond excited to share that Cisco Collaboration has once again won in the prestigious Red Dot Awards!

Red Dot Awards is internationally known as one of the most prestigious industry accolades for innovative product design, recognizing and celebrating manufacturers and designers who set new standards of design within their industry. Once again, it’s a great honor to receive this industry accolade on behalf of our close-knit design team, underpinning our relentless focus on user experience, simplicity, sustainability and aesthetics while creating the world’s best collaboration products.

This year marks the 12th consecutive year for us winning, with a total of 29 awards to date! A jury of some 50 international design experts chose our new Webex Desk and the Cisco Microphone Array for breakthrough product design and innovation. However, what makes this year special is that these products were also recognized as key enablers of the fundamental shift we’ve all been experiencing this year in the way we interact and collaborate to get work done.

Webex Desk: clutter-free, hybrid collaboration with a single device

The Webex Desk follows the path we started with Desk Pro: deliver an all-in-one collaboration workstation to help you feel more connected and become more productive by clearing the clutter and optimizing your workflow – either from your home office, in a focus room or at your office desk. Equipped with a smaller 24” multi-touch display, it’s more compact and affordable than its “big sister”, the Desk Pro, but still comes with the same sleek and elegant design. By doing so, we are able to bring high quality video and collaboration experiences to even more people and for more limited workspaces.

Even if it’s smaller, the screen height offers a good ergonomic working position when used as a display. The camera is placed at eye level for the best possible eye contact, and it has microphones both at the top by the camera and at the bottom of the product for excellent beam-forming sound pickup. Behind the interior-inspired fabric grill, high-quality speakers tuned for speech help to give you a lifelike, natural experience that minimizes fatigue when working with others throughout your workday.

The way we design is really about being experience-driven – to fully understand real-life use cases and environments, and the needs derived from there. With Desk, we really wanted to empower people to continue to feel connected in an increasingly hybrid and distributed work environment. Your colleagues, your tools and your workflows become available right at your fingertips. Every single design decision and detail was driven to deliver on that intent. It has everything you need to stay productive and collaborate or create together with others while bringing elegant aesthetics into any home office, huddle space or office desk environment.

Cisco Microphone Array: just as if everyone was in the same room

Our second awarded product this year, the Cisco Microphone Array was born from the idea to take immersive collaboration experience to a next level. I simply cannot imagine smart hybrid meeting experiences to be complete without natural, high fidelity audio for all participants. It was designed to complement last year’s Red Dot winner, the Webex Room Panorama, with this high-end table microphone array providing directional audio.

It´s designed to solve the challenge of providing a natural and high-quality audio experience from larger conference and boardrooms, no matter where people are located in the room. What the intelligent table microphone array does is essentially recognizing which side of the table the speaker is on. It uses advanced audio cancellation techniques to deliver clear audio to remote participants on the same side of the screen where the speaker appears – thus creating the most natural meeting experience for everyone in the meeting.

Each microphone has a simple, compact and clean design, yet is robust for everyday use. Simplified cabling, a capacitive mute button on top with a tri-color LED light, a magnetic attachment to the table adapters and optional cable outlets were all built in to enable a simple, tidy-looking and versatile mounting experience. All of this, to provide remote listeners with a noise-free, spatial sound experience of being in the same room with all participants during calls.  Hearing is believing. It´s really like being in the same room, even when there are thousands of kilometers in between.

Webex Room Navigator: infusing intelligence into the office workspace

Lastly, we have a device that was recognized in last year’s Red Dot Awards, but was still not publicly launched at the time, so we couldn’t talk about it.

Our Webex Room Navigator was designed to elevate the user experience and optimize the utilization of meeting spaces. We were looking at ways to reduce the time to get meetings started, simplify the process of looking for and book an available meeting room, and reduce the negative effect of no-shows and wasted space while supporting employee comfort and wellbeing in the office space.

The goal was really to create the most simple and intuitive controller possible with soft, inviting form language that encourages you to touch it and hold it, gently flip it over to change the angle of the screen or pass it on to a colleague with ease. We have also gone to great efforts in hiding connectors and technical parts inside the foot of the stand, so what you see is only a single cable coming out from the device.

Overall, we have created an easy-to-use yet versatile device that combines controls, an informative display and sensing into an elegant 10-inch touch screen.

I believe that the future of work is about finding simple, natural ways for people to interact –  to keep people feeling connected and present – to their colleagues, their work and workplaces. We believe our devices are an integral part of that hybrid work future.

The Webex Desk and the Cisco Microphone Array will be published online alongside other award-winning products on 21 June 2021 at www.red-dot.org, offering visitors detailed descriptions, high-quality images and further information on the designers and manufacturers. Our products will be also added to the related exhibition in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen. Additionally, the Red Dot Design Yearbook 2021/2022 comprises four volumes and comes out in August, so watch that space.

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