Categories: Hybrid Work

Reimagine work, with Webex

Looking back over the last couple of years, a lot has changed. Productivity went up, but employee well-being declined. Problems that were once isolated to certain groups, like jumping from one meeting to another with no breaks – became a general issue for everyone. Adoption of collaboration tools accelerated, but managing those tools presented a problem for IT. And while everyone had an equal space on the screen, did they have an equal seat at the table?  

We are on the brink of a massive transition. Hybrid work is both different and harder than how we worked the past two years. Over half of global workers want to work remotely 50% of their time and when they are back in the office, they want it to be on their terms.  Ensuring employees are engaged and productive when some are in the office and others are remote presents new challenges. Interactions of all types and scale will also need to be engaging and inclusive. Workspaces and tools will need to change while organizations identify solutions that balance employee demands with the overall needs of the business.   

Reimagined Workspaces

As people return to office, expectations have changed. Organizations are reconsidering the physical footprint – with those planning for a hybrid strategy 4.5 times more likely to expect a reduction in space of more than 10%. Losing productivity and redesigned workspaces for safe and effective work are also on the minds of workers.  

At Webex, we’re working to solve for both. We’ve completely reimagined workspaces –at home, in the office, and on the go. We’ve also built out our suite of devices and applications so you can deliver the best experiences for your people, no matter how, where, or when they work. Whether you’re working from home or in the office – or from a shared space or dedicated workspace, Webex has you covered.  

For home workspaces, the Webex Desk Camera and Cisco headphones deliver a high-quality experience from any workspace – crisp audio for calls, clear video in meetings, and noise cancellation to help focus. The Webex Desk Mini is portable – you can move it from space to space, use it as a second screen – no more crouching over your laptop at home. The Webex Desk Pro is an all-in-one, AI-powered collaboration workstation. HD cameras and dynamic framing keep you in the frame – even when you get up to stretch your legs. Learn more More than video conferencing solutions: Reimagining work experiences

Many people are already returning to the office – and it will look different than before. Hotdesking is not a new concept – people and companies have shared workspaces for years. But we believe hot desking should be more than a space to work for the day – it should become your personal office – and it needs to deliver an experience that’s the same or better than people had at home.  

So that’s what we’ve done. A new Webex hot desking experience is now available across the Webex Desk series so you can offer more options for shared spaces to meet your footprint requirements, while giving your people the fantastic experiences they expect.  

It’s easy to sign into a device – just scan a QR code, plug in your laptop, or tap your smartphone on a Webex Deskhub. The Webex device transforms into your personal collaboration device, giving you access to your work, your whiteboards, calendars – and you can join a meeting with the push of one button. And it’s included with Webex cloud registration.  

Conference rooms need to change to ensure all participants have an equal seat at the table – no matter where they are. People Focus helps solve this problem. Webex camera intelligence enhances the view of the conference room for remote participants by detecting people in the room and creating individual video streams of each. Each person shows up equally on screen – even when joining 3rd party meeting platforms.  

 

85% of organizations* use more than one meeting platform in a day. I’m pleased to announce that Webex devices now support interoperability with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, so you can join meetings seamlessly throughout the day. No need to switch software or reconfigure your device. And you still use the advanced Webex features that you know and love.  

Organizations also have more options for managing their workspaces with the integrated workspace app on Webex Room Navigator. Room Navigator now supports third party applications, like Humly, AppSpace and UMA. You can use the workspace apps you already have and get great experiences that integrate insights from the Webex Room devices or choose the default Room Navigator. We’re excited to announce that many of the embedded apps you love will soon be available on Webex Desk and Webex Board Series devices, powered by RoomOS 

One more thing… Cisco and Apple began an enterprise partnership six years ago –and I’m pleased to announce that Apple AirPlay technology will now be available in Webex devices. We believe this marks the first AirPlay integration for a dedicated enterprise video conferencing device. Learn how we’re making hybrid work more magical from Jeetu. 

What about when you’re on the go?

Today, people can work from almost anywhere using just their mobile phone. But not everyone wants to give out their personal number for a business interaction. Webex Go solves that problem. Now you can add your Webex business number as a second line in your mobile phone.  Set your work contacts to your business line – and friends and family to your personal line. When the phone rings – you know which line it’s for. No need to download and launch a separate app – it’s built into the native experience on the phone, for a great quality call. No one else has this feature – and it’s now available in Webex Calling – our enterprise grade cloud calling platform. We also hit a big milestone in Webex Calling today – 6 million subscribers and counting. With Webex Calling now available for multi-national companies with branches in India – that number will continue to grow. Learn more Calling reimagined: Connecting everyone and everywhere for hybrid work.

Soon, your car may be the ultimate mobile office. Today, Ford announced it has unlocked the browser experience on the Sync4, a new 15-inch screen system in their new EVs, to connect with Webex. Sync 4 uses HTML 5 to create new software experience that can be updated over the internet with new features as they are released. And soon, there will be a native Webex app right within the Sync4 screen for a seamless collaborative experience. With safety a huge priority for Ford, the Webex solution can only use audio if deployed while driving. When the vehicle is stationary, more Webex collaboration is possible. 

Optimize for My Voice”, Webex proprietary audio intelligence, enhances the experience for the driver and any passenger who needs to work from the vehicle, making it easier to hear and be heard by singling out and boosting the clarity of an individual’s voice while eliminating distracting background noise and conversations. Ford describes this scenario as both a “Me Work” and a “We Work” office .

Flexible Workstyles

75% of workers think it’s important to retain flexibility over their schedule. With teams distributed around the world, it can be a challenge getting people together at a time and in a way that works best for all. So how do you ensure that everyone can participate fully?

The all-new standalone Webex whiteboarding app enables high quality whiteboarding that makes it easy for everyone to contribute and keep the ideas flowing, across time zones, in real-time, and offline asynchronously.

You can keep your whiteboards in one place – so they’re easy to find, name, and share with anyone, including external participants. The standalone app is available now to a limited number of customers. 

You can also access, pull up, and start using your favorite embedded apps – like Miro or Mural, and Slido – directly from your Webex device.

Webex removes language barriers as well. Whether you need language assistance or simply prefer to read along, real-time translation is now available across the Webex Suite and Devices. Our automated closed captions use natural language processing to translate from English to 108 languages. With the latest additions, we can recognize 13 spoken languages – with more on the way – enabling a more inclusive experience for more people.

Sometimes a meeting isn’t needed. Vidcast – our new async video messaging tool – is a great way to reduce the number of meetings you have while still engaging with others. I use it regularly to connect with thousands of employees around the world and share updates. It’s super easy to use. I can record a video, capture content on my screen, or both, using a browser. Within seconds, it’s ready to share over the channel of my choice. My team can add reactions, comment, and skip between chapters I create, giving me valuable insights into what’s resonating. Now, recorded vidcasts can be integrated into Slido to capture feedback in a more immersive way.

Exceptional Hybrid Events

With in-person events on the rise, a new challenge is emerging. How do we bring together the reach of a virtual event and the personal interactions of in-person events, to deliver the best hybrid event experiences for people, regardless of how they join?

The new Webex Events (formerly Socio) helps solve that challenge. Webex Events is our end-to-end event management platform that supports in-person, virtual, and hybrid events – and today, we’re announcing enhancements across all. With a return to in-person events, health and safety is top-of-mind for many people. Webex Events and CLEAR have teamed up to provide proof of vaccine or test results linked to an attendee’s verified identity, giving attendees and event planners confidence in their safety protocols.

Soon, Webex events will be even more inclusive. We’ve taken the same audio intelligence that makes Meetings and Webinars more accessible and made it part of Webex Events. While participating in an event, you can join from your mobile device, turning it into a real-time translator. Read along as the conversation is transcribed in real-time (from English to 34 languages) and get the most out of your event experience. And now, IT has more visibility and control with Webex Events integrated into Control Hub.  Learn more Enterprise-Ready Hybrid Events: Building connected experiences across virtual and in-person experiences.

Memorable Customer Experiences

Customer experiences will also need to be more inclusive and consider the needs and preferences of the individuals they interact with. Human connection and person-to-person service interactions are ranked as the most critical consideration in “feeling valued by a brand”. People also want the ability to engage with the channel that is most likely to resolve their issue on the first attempt to connect.

Webex Connect (formerly imiconnect) – our enterprise communications platform – helps make this possible. Webex Connect enables businesses to intelligently orchestrate those connections end-to-end to deliver seamless, personalized experiences across customer’s preferred digital channels such as Whats app, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and more. This provides opportunities to offer more interactive messaging, through rich media – links, carousels, and quick replies.

We’ve also made it easier to build these seamless experiences with the addition of Botbuilder to our Developer Sandbox, Google Dialogflow, and the new MindMeld NLU training engine.

And now Webex Connect capabilities integrate with the Webex Contact Center, our out-of-the-box, enterprise-grade cloud contact center, so you can give customers the answers they need in the channel they prefer with exceptional speed and accuracy.

We’ve been working for years on solving the toughest problems for work – from home, the office, and on the go. There’s a lot more news from Webex this week. I encourage you to check out What’s New in Webex and our newsroom.

Sources:

Cisco Devices Decision-Maker Survey – 2022

Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work [Adecco]

Executive views on business in 2022 [PwC Pulse Survey]

Elevating customer service [Deloitte Digital]

Executives share their plans for returning to the workplace [Deloitte]

Learn more

Making hybrid work more magical 

More than video conferencing solutions: Reimagining work experiences

Calling reimagined: Connecting everyone and everywhere for hybrid work

Enterprise-Ready Hybrid Events: Building connected experiences across virtual and in-person experiences

Cloud contact centers and the future of customer experience (CX)

 

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Published by
Javed Khan

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