Categories: Innovation

Hybrid Work + AI: Reimagining How and Where We Work.

New generative AI capabilities in Webex deliver unrivaled experiences for the modern work era.

Hybrid work is no longer a buzzword or trend; it is now an integral part of the modern work landscape. Like anything new, it’s not without its challenges. Not only do employees expect a certain level of remote work, but organizations realize they need to reimagine their workspaces for this new way of working.

Traditional footprints, with conference rooms, cubicles, and dedicated desks, no longer meet workers’ needs. Now, offices are being used as centers for connection, collaboration, and celebration for their employees. And, of course, whatever experience is provided in the office needs to be replicated for employees working remotely. Parity is required to ensure these experiences are inclusive, intuitive, and intelligent.

Enter generative AI. This advanced technology can play a huge role in equipping businesses and workers for modern work. AI empowers organizations to tackle the challenges of hybrid work head-on, bridging gaps in real-time information, streamlining manual processes, reducing unnecessary meetings, and ultimately delivering exceptional experiences for employees and customers. By leveraging these capabilities, we can unlock new levels of productivity and collaboration.

At Webex, we recognized the potential of these technologies early on and started investing in purpose-built AI decades ago. Our approach spans four main vectors: Audio Intelligence, Video Intelligence, Natural Language Understanding, and Analytics. Our early innovations enabled us to embed these technologies at the core of our products, not as afterthoughts or bolted-on additions.

With AI, Webex has reimagined what is possible for collaboration – both from a technological standpoint and the concept of work itself.

Reimagining Work

One of the challenges faced when transitioning to a hybrid model is ensuring knowledge gaps don’t form across disparate or remote workers. To help employees make faster, more informed decisions, we developed our own generative AI model that leverages Natural Language Understanding to analyze vast amounts of information in real-time.

These technologies provide “knowledge democratization,” which allows individuals to tap into the shared brains of an organization to access information that might be hard to find.

Today, we’re announcing innovations in the Webex Suite that help people come up to speed in seconds. “Catch Me Up” will allow users to quickly catch up on missed interactions in Webex, such as meetings, chats, action items, and mentions within those.

Intelligent meeting summaries offer an overview of key points and action items. Users can opt to automatically generate the most critical elements of a Webex meeting, extract the key points, and capture action items with owners. This will be a massive time-saver for attendees and people unable to join a meeting – eliminating the need to listen to a recording or read through transcripts.

We are also bringing summarization functionality to Vidcast. Automatically generated video highlights, in the form of short clips, make communicating asynchronously even more effective. And with chapters, viewers can quickly navigate to the most important parts of the video.

When you apply generative AI to customer experience, something extraordinary happens! All new Conversation Summaries allows agents to leverage the power of AI to build a real-time knowledge base of customer interactions and automatically generate chat and call summaries – ensuring agents know everything about customers’ interactions and deliver exceptional customer experience at scale.

Mobility & Hybrid Work

One key feature of hybrid work is the ability to work from anywhere, so mobility is critical to a successful hybrid work approach. Organizations need to be able to support their employees’ ability to work from different locations and do so in a way that doesn’t compromise experience, productivity, or security.

To help companies simplify their mobility strategy and provide a fully secure, compliance and managed experience, we are excited to announce a new partnership with AT&T to bring Webex Calling capabilities to AT&T-provided mobile phones and data plans via a single business phone number that becomes your identity for all your Webex Communications. With Webex Go with AT&T, users can access powerful calling features natively from their mobile dialer – no app needed – and enjoy crystal-clear audio. In addition, you can seamlessly elevate the mobile call to the Webex App or Webex Device for a fully immersive collaboration experience.

And when people need to stay productive and connected while on the go, we recently announced upcoming support for Android Auto and a new integration with Audi, CARIAD, and HARMAN, which will make Webex the first collaboration app available in select Audi vehicles, no phone required. Webex for Auto includes our industry-leading audio intelligence features, so there is no compromising on experience while still maximizing safety.

Reimagining Workspaces

When we think about reimagining work and adopting a successful hybrid work strategy, some assume that the in-office component might not need to change. Nothing could be further from the truth. Traditional offices don’t have the necessary tools to deliver the experiences employees want.

We asked facilities experts about their top workspace priorities, and over 70% say that they are most likely to video-enable medium-sized (5-10 people) spaces over the next three years. That’s why we announced the all-new Room Bar Pro, an exceptionally powerful yet easy-to-deploy video bar optimized for medium-sized rooms. In addition, the Room Bar Pro supports our most advanced AI capabilities built into the RoomOS platform, like our new Cinematic Meetings and Meeting Zones.

As organizations upgrade meeting spaces with more advanced devices, Webex delivers workspace insights in a central location – Webex Control Hub. While already IT’s go-to for Webex insights, yesterday, we announced a brand-new device management experience that now includes support for third-party devices along with Cisco devices. Also announced was a new ThousandEyes integration in Control Hub for IT teams to troubleshoot issues with calls and meetings.

Sustainability

Along with AI, another key area of focus for organizations – and frankly, all of us – is ensuring sustainability to help preserve the planet for future generations. This is a critical component of Cisco’s mission to power an inclusive future for all. Earlier this year, we announced Carbon Emissions Insights tracking in Control Hub, allowing companies to see Webex devices’ estimated carbon emissions and usage. We are excited to take this further by announcing support for Data Center Carbon Emissions Insights in Control Hub. Control Hub will now show estimated carbon emissions from our data centers powering an organization’s Webex Meetings, Calls, and Messages. No other tool in the industry comes close to providing the holistic insights that Control Hub does.

We’re announcing so much more this week, so head over to the What’s New Page to catch up on the latest Webex innovations.

At Webex, we’re committed to delivering unrivaled experiences, and with our deep knowledge and expertise with AI, we’re helping customers reimagine work and their workspaces every single day.


Cisco’s Approach to Generative AI

Cisco recognizes generative AI’s role in solving hybrid work challenges and we’re committed to providing employees an efficient, safer, and more productive work experience. For decades, Cisco has leveraged AI with audio, video, natural language understanding, and analytics to create unrivaled experiences for Webex users. New advancements in large language models and generative AI are advancing this even further to deliver amazing hybrid work experiences.

Webex Enterprise AI has established a first set of principles consisting of multi-modal support, permissions, privacy, and accuracy. The design and implementation of Cisco’s generative AI models are built, tested, and operated to protect sensitive conversations. This includes only using data that individuals already have permission to access based on that specific data source’s privacy and security rules.

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Published by
Javed Khan

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