It is said that it takes a village to solve a problem, well that depends on the size of the problem. During the recent Smart Spaces Summit & Hackathon, several villages came together and formed a nation to solve some of the most difficult challenges in the workplace. This nation consisted of over 166 attendees, 9 Cisco business units, 11 Cisco partners, 12 independent service vendors (ISV’s) and a multitude of customers!
The usually quiet Cisco office in Richardson Texas, was taken over by a tidal wave of technical genius for a 3-day flurry of events, all centered around Smart Spaces and Workplace Transformation. The events followed a shorthand version of the Google Design Sprint with a Double Diamond Design Process. It included a Business Summit for use cases, a Hackathon for product creation and a Customer Summit for demos and validation, which all fed off each other to deliver some amazing solutions on the final day. The Business Summit included Product Managers, Cisco IT, Workplace Resources, ISBU, sales and covered multiple workplace architectures such as collaboration, security, wireless and other 3rd party technologies to help spur the ideas on what was possible. The summit attendees worked on identifying problems and use cases that plague the everyday workplace.
In a highly proactive session, everyone was encouraged to talk about what they saw as everyday issues in the workplace and then selected which ones needed attention the most.
Here are just some of the highlights of the event:
Pushing the Boundaries of What We Think is Possible for Cisco Collaboration
The top-voted issues included finding a meeting space, protecting your focus time, notifying users for not creating an agenda and the on time boarding of meetings. These issues were discussed and then turned into use cases which were presented to the hacker groups. Based on the cases, the groups were tasked with figuring out the best possible solutions using the available technology and their creativity to create new integrations. The groups themselves were a mesh of various Cisco business units such as Collaboration, Wireless and Security as well as Cisco’s partners and integrated service vendors such as IBM, Wework, Appspace, Schneider Electric, ACA Engine, Mazemap, Phunware, Joan, Time is Limited, 3Data, SharingCloud, Singlewire and OneReach.AI. Also participating was the Momentum Design team to assist in the UX/UI in the hackathon. By creating these cross architectural teams, the groups were able to within the span of 48 hours, 1,9020 ounces of coffee and 216 cans of Red Bull, come up with not only solutions, but also created live prototype demos to showcase.
Every group was on a deadline to create a working solution, and there was a thrilling kind of pressure to create unique solutions.
Speaking to one of the hackers, Grega Pusnik (Visionect) exclaimed, “Seeing so many partners, resellers and Cisco folks working on some really exciting solutions, it’s incredible how all of the integrations and hacks were done in only 48 hours and even produced live demos.” He mentioned that he was excited to be “working on the next big thing with amazing people trying to transform the modern workplace.”
So what is the modern workplace that we are reaching towards and how do we as technology companies look to improve upon it? George Chongris (Presdio) had all the answers.
“As shared physical space in offices continues to evolve in use, need, and adapt to how the modern workforce is meeting and collaborating, Cisco continues to show that they know how to innovate by simplifying what historically has been complicated, modernize it and leverage cloud platforms to do more faster. It was great to see how adding cognitive cloud delivered intelligence to these spaces can make offices & conference rooms fun again and how Cisco will get us there.”- George Chongris (Presdio)
Spot on George! As the workplace continues to evolve and everyone brings their own devices the expectations on how we find and book meeting rooms, meeting experiences and post meeting follow ups are all changing rapidly. Workplace admins can no longer assume having a projector and a remote is good enough. Employee time is valuable and in order for them to run at their best, they need solutions that are seamless, adaptive and intelligent. The workplace needs to behave as an assistant not a hinderance.
While all the solutions presented were innovate, clever and downright fantastical, the ones that were voted as winners in their tracks were truly something to behold. One of the top awards for that included multiple architectures was given to the “Cognitive Meeting Insights” hackathon team. Their solution focused on addressing the issue of customer meeting dissatisfaction in the bank industry gathering data about the customers sentiment throughout the conversation in a video kiosk mode. They also leveraged API’s from DNA Spaces, Meraki, Umbrella, Webex Teams, Webex Devices, Mindmeld and Contact Center. It also utilized ISV’s like Joan and Mazemap for way finding services. By using Cisco’s Room system cameras and correlating the meeting transcripts with Voicea they were able to create a “Cognitive Sentiment Report” using the Emotion Analysis API from Amazon. This report was then integrated into Salesforce and Contact Center to optimally brief the banking agent about the customer, so they are ready with the right resources to improve the next meeting experience.
The overall winning team created a solution that focused on the end user experience and leveraged several cross architecture solutions. Cisco APIs used included Webex Teams, Webex Compliance, Meraki Camera, Webex Meetings, Webex Devices xAPI’s for Touch 10, and TimeisLTD API’s.
The winning team demo included:
Congratulations to the winners!
Hakim, Amy and team talked about the significance of Workplace Transformation and announce awards. Winners were able to take home Webex endpoints, Cisco headsets, and Meraki hardware to do more developer work as well as Webex Ambassador swag!
If solutions such as these, which seem straight out of fictional movies, can be created in only 48 hours, image what we can do with even more time. This series of events drives home that working in silos is never enough. When we work together across technologies, across industries and across our own bias, we are able to create a unified vision for a smarter workplace and transform the everyday hassles of dongles, overbooked rooms and cubical mazes into relics of the past.
Stay tuned for upcoming hackathons and follow @CiscoWebexDev to see the event videos and hackathon demos later this month
About Cisco Smart Spaces Summit
The goal of the summit is to come together and understand the industry direction of Proptech and Workplace Transformation, align on a unified vision to create products and partner services that tie into this story. Partner and Cisco subject matter experts were on site to understand Cisco and ISV API capabilities. A Google Design Sprint/Design Thinking workshop identified customer business outcomes and produced a customer journey code sprint together as a team to present solutions to our developer teams for the hackathon in order to create a working prototype! Cisco Product Managers, Cisco partners and C-level ISV’s were in attendance.
What is a “Smart Space?”
Modern building technology promotes not only the comfort of people in a building but also creates a more flexible, engaging, collaborative and creative work environment that will have a huge impact on the productivity and well-being of people, while optimizing the use of spaces and energy spending. With Webex Devices as the center and focus of collaboration in spaces, the smart space of the future knows what each individual wants and adjusts automatically to his or her changing needs over the course of the day. New experiences can include wayfinding, automated heating & lighting, personal assistance, etc. Behind the scenes, many elements need to work together, e.g. sensors, signage, IoT, analytics, management systems and more.