Webex by Cisco and Ford preview the Future of Work On the Go
Earlier this month, Ford made global headlines when they announced the creation of Ford Model e and Ford Blue as distinct electric vehicle and internal combustion businesses to compete against both new EV competitors and established automakers. The change is about revolutionizing the ownership experience for its customers, while also achieving carbon neutrality. Speaking about the focus on EVs, Ford CEO, Jim Farley, said:
“We’re going all in, creating separate but complementary businesses that give us start-up speed and unbridled innovation.”
Ford backed that statement up by saying they will produce more than two million electric vehicles by 2026, accounting for about one third of its global volume. Ford is investing more than $50 billion globally through 2026 to develop these breakthrough EVs and bring them to market at scale. What the iconic automaker is doing is impressive.
Next-gen office spaces for hybrid work
But Ford isn’t just seeing their electric vehicles as a way to get from here to there. They’ve already enticed buyers to their Ford F-150 Lightning by highlighting how it can power your home in the event of an outage, replacing the need for an all-home generator or home battery pack. And Ford isn’t stopping there.
According to Darren Palmer, Vice President, Ford Electric Vehicle Programs, they see their F-150 Lightning and other EVs as next-generation office spaces for hybrid work.
“We’re looking at ways to bring the human connection in. We don’t see why people wouldn’t be using their vehicles as a fantastic quality office, to be able to collaborate together.” Darren says Ford sees their electric vehicles not just as a place to make a call or join a meeting, but making EVs the best place to hold a meeting.”
In the future, your car is going to be the best mobile office experience. They often have the best sound systems, microphone systems, and even screen systems. On top of that, Ford vehicles can massage your back while also cooling or heating your seating area (I’m in!).
Ford sought a collaboration vendor that could provide both a secure and an immersive experience in its vehicles, with solutions that could allow people to work from anywhere to match its vision of the best mobile office.
“Ford is excited to be collaborating with Webex by Cisco for next-gen experiences in our electric vehicles,” Palmer said. “We see Webex as providing a secure and immersive collaboration experience.”
With their new EVs, Ford added a new 15.5-inch screen and entertainment system called SYNC® 4A. It’s a flexible system that uses HTML 5, like a website, to create new software experience and be updated over the internet with new, modern features as they are released. Today, Ford announced it has unlocked the browser experience on SYNC 4A to connect with Webex. And soon, there will be a native Webex app right within the SYNC 4A screen for a seamless, collaborative experience.
Webex on the Go
And that great office experience in the EV vehicle works for the driver and for any other passengers who want to work there. Thanks to Webex Audio Intelligence, users can use the “Optimize for My Voice” Webex feature so that remote participants in a meeting would only hear the person holding a meeting, not anyone else talking!
Of course, safety is a huge priority for Ford. “We take driver distraction seriously, and how we manage that in a vehicle,” Palmer said. “We’ll make sure that any collaboration technology like Webex is deployed only when the vehicle is stationary, or if driving, in audio-only mode.”
This partnership with Ford and Webex is just the beginning of new innovations and announcements between the two companies. Ford has already discussed how it envisions using Webex to connect its customers to its contact centers and dealers. And there is more to be announced later this year.
Next-gen immersive collaboration experiences
And think of how the collaboration and office of the future concepts will shape autonomous vehicles. Ford has already talked about their planned investments of $7 billion into autonomous vehicles through 2025. Undoubtedly, a lot of innovation is coming on this front as well.
Darren shared how he recently spent eight hours in Webex meetings with his co-workers, right from inside his F-150 Lightning. “It was air-conditioned, quiet, with fantastic sound quality. And it barely touched the range of the vehicle, because comparatively, SYNC 4A uses almost no power.”
If you haven’t thought about using your vehicle as your next office, you probably should. I certainly am!
In the meantime learn more about the collaboration with Ford and Webex by Cisco for next-gen experiences in electric vehicles:
Webex by Cisco eliminates the need to carry multiple mobile devices for business and personal use [press release]
Jun 23, 2022 — Tracy Toth