2019 was a pivotal year for the development of Cisco Webex Rooms. The whole team pulled together to deliver some amazing new products and experiences. As we are looking forward to showing off our latest innovations to 80.000 visitors at ISE in Amsterdam this week, let´s look back at some of the highlights of the year that passed, all available at our booth to see!
Last year started on a high note with a successful migration of all our Webex Board customers to Webex RoomOS, the operating system for our devices. At last, our beloved, intelligent portfolio of hardware devices was on the same software platform and customers could rightfully expect the feature acceleration that we had promised. And what incredible acceleration did we see! The migration to RoomOS also ensured that all our Cisco Webex Board customers could benefit from the consistent, unified experience that comes from all the hardware running on the same operating system.
Last year, the Cisco Webex Board truly became the “Team Tablet on the Wall” that we always envisioned. An all-in-one meeting and cocreation solution, the Webex Board truly takes collaboration and ideation to the next level. As a testimony to this, the Wainhouse Research Evaluation Q1 2020 just concluded: “Our topline take on the Board is that Cisco has produced a truly remarkable user experience via the combination of the frictionless Meeting Assistant, high-quality video conferencing and teaming applications, a clever and simple user interface, graceful touch and writing experience, whiteboarding, and versatility of Web Apps.”
Coinciding with the move to RoomOS, the Webex Board family expanded with the Board 85S. The smaller siblings also got hardware upgrades to 55S and 70S which enabled Touch Redirect from connected PCs. Imagine a teacher connecting their laptops to a Webex Board, navigating the laptop screen directly from the board’s touch screen! This is truly a game-changer for the education market, and we are seeing more and more use cases from our enterprise customers. In their review of Board 85S, UC Today referred to it as “Larger than Life” and concluded: “for anyone regularly conducting brainstorming sessions Cisco Webex Board 85 could be a lifesaver.”
Then there’s Companion Mode. An industry first, seamless combination of a Room Series and a Board Series device, where they work together as a combined system, allowing you to be completely immersed in co-creation, while not compromising the video experience. This truly is meeting magic.
With the Room Kit Mini shipping in volumes since early 2019, we set a new bar for intelligent, immersive user experience in small huddle spaces and added USB connectivity to allow for easily joining any meeting. We received our 23rd Red Dot design award and analyst Jim Burton at BCS concluded in his review: “It felt like an Apple product.”
The ultimate goal for us at Webex Rooms is to have the technology move to the background so users can focus on what really matters – getting stuff done. There is no better example of this than Webex Assistant; proactive, AI-powered goodness that helps you join and control your meetings through simple, natural language voice commands. And after years of tuning our model and making sure we had all enterprise GDPR requirements covered we also released Face Recognition and Name Labels. In an increasingly interconnected workspace, where names, titles, and tasks are constantly juggled – we should embrace any help we can get.
Early 2019, Proximity, Webex Teams and Webex Meetings were three very different apps when it came to Room device support. Throughout the year, we were able to merge their capabilities, getting closer to the single unified app you will see later this year. On top of this our wireless sharing story vastly improved with much-requested support for video and audio sharing. And to allow you to make efficient use of your screen real estate when not in a meeting we added digital signage capabilities across the portfolio.
Our Single Platform Advantage was very clearly illustrated by Forrester in their 2019 TEI Study, which concluded that there is a 45% benefit uplift to customers that add Webex Rooms to their Webex Teams or Meetings ecosystem. To aid our customers to move to the cloud and start enjoying our gold standard manageability experiences, Webex Edge for Devices was just released and is already seeing massive adoption.
We also announced the new Cisco Webex Desk Pro and Room Panorama, and I am sure one of the highlights of 2020 will be bringing these out to our customers and seeing how these amazing innovations help them on their workplace transformation journey. For customers that are budget constrained for their basic huddle spaces, we have even brought down our entry-level offer further with the recently announced Webex Room USB.
With so much progress and so much fun partnering with some of the largest companies on the planet to transform their workspaces, it is hard to pick our proudest moment. However, a close contender was the keynote from Norwegian Minister of Health Bent Hoie and cancer doctor Petter Brandal at Norway´s National eHealth Conference. They presented a custom Webex Rooms solution for multidisciplinary teams that significantly reduces the time between diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients. Our technology is not only transforming workspaces around the world – but it is also saving lives.
I am excited about what more is in store for Webex Rooms, and judging by what we made possible in 2019, our future has never been brighter!
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