It seems like every few months, we hear the term “new normal.” Given how much work and customer experience have transformed, we are now at a place where there never will be a “new” normal. There will only be the “next” normal – and success hinges on one’s ability to adapt quickly and pivot to changing circumstances. It means finding ways to thrive, deliver business results, and ensure resiliency for whatever comes next.
The expectations for what’s next are centered around creating human-to-human connections that deliver amazing experiences. For example, 98% of all meetings moving forward will have at least one remote participant, making every interaction hybrid. Whether in-person or virtual, these experiences must be familiar, frictionless, consistent, and non-fatiguing.
Return-to-office mandates have been tried and failed. To get people back into the office, the office environment should encourage rich collaboration and community-building experiences that people flock to – making the office a magnet, not a mandate.
And in the next normal, customer expectations have never been higher. Customers demand instant and personalized service beyond simply solving a problem. Agents need tools to solve problems faster. And decisions need to be automated and connected to back-office systems to meet customers’ expectations.
All these new realities have one common thread: the need to deliver an incredible experience. And that’s not easy to do. Great experiences require purpose-built technologies.
Even though AI is now dinner table conversation, it is not new to us at Webex – we have decades of experience leveraging our intelligence with audio, video, natural language understanding, and analytics to create unrivaled experiences that ‘wow’ users. What is new are advancements in large language models and generative AI which is now going to allow us to deliver unrivaled collaboration experiences.
AI is core to our entire collaboration portfolio – from the Webex Suite to our devices like headsets, phones, and our award-winning room systems – and deeply embedded in our Customer Experience portfolio. So, while AI is the latest buzzword, I’m proud that our decades of investments and experience with AI are helping customers to optimize collaboration, reimagine workspaces, and maximize customer experience.
With every interaction being hybrid, recent technological innovations have redefined how people can collaborate and communicate. Good enough just isn’t when it comes to what employees and customers need for their collaboration experiences. That’s why the Webex Suite is underpinned by the industry’s best AI, security, and manageability. No wonder we have seen tremendous growth in this part of our portfolio!
Part of that success is due to our purpose-built AI for audio and video intelligence that promotes greater inclusion and well-being. Video intelligence features such as facial and gesture detection, which let you communicate without saying a word, have enabled more inclusive experiences over the past few years.
We are building on this foundation with another use case called Be Right Back. It’s not uncommon that something needs your attention when in a meeting – like a ringing doorbell or a child calling for you. By leveraging our facial detection technology, Webex will sense when you step away and replace your video feed with a sign that says, “be right back.” Another way our video intelligence makes meetings better is Smart Lighting which automatically adjusts the video lighting based on the time of day or even the weather to ensure you look your best in any environment. No need for a special video conferencing light that adds clutter to your desk!
But we aren’t stopping here. We have an even bigger vision for the future of video – Super Resolution. This breakthrough technology will deliver high-definition meetings without high-definition bandwidth, so even users in developing countries or rural areas can maintain video quality regardless of location.
Super Resolution means delivering crystal clear video regardless of the hardware equipment, like a laptop or a low-quality desk camera. It means maintaining video quality, even in low bandwidth conditions. And it means no choppiness, even with packet loss. With this revolutionary technology, we can take a feed and downscale it to save compute resources as the packet travels through the network. Then, when it reaches the user, it is transformed back to 1080p. As a result, the super-resolution video has a higher resolution than the original video!
Regarding audio intelligence, our industry-leading background noise removal technology has removed over 96 billion minutes (about 180,000 years) of background noise. Now, we are extending this capability to PSTN calls with Webex Calling, so users on BOTH ends of the call be heard clearly.
And speaking of calling, last year at Enterprise Connect, we celebrated our six millionth Webex Calling user. Today, we reached a new milestone: we have now reached over 10 million Webex Calling users! On behalf of Webex, I want to thank our customers for allowing us to reach this milestone!
We have been hard at work assembling a whole portfolio of purpose-built devices to help our customers reimagine their workspaces – in the office, at home, and on the go. But when anywhere can be an office, it takes next-level technologies to make the office a magnet, so we’ve doubled down on the secret sauce of our award-winning devices – our patented RoomOS technology that delivers best-in-class collaborative experiences.
Today, we are announcing what’s next for our Cisco Devices. Directed by RoomOS, new Cinematic meetings with multi-camera support will automatically transition between shots to ensure everyone is seen and heard at the right moment. In addition, when rooms have glass walls, the new Meeting Zones feature lets you define a visual perimeter for a meeting, and our AI will only focus on people within that perimeter.
The next normal is also multi-platform. Surveys have shown that 85% of businesses use two or more meeting platforms daily. That’s why we are continuing our commitment to interoperability and are excited to announce the first set of Cisco Devices certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms. This includes support for our AI-enabled audio and video intelligence technologies, so with Cisco Devices, your Microsoft meetings are even better! We also announced that Webex Contact Center is now certified for Microsoft Teams.
Another truth of this next normal is that customer expectations have changed. Digital has risen to meet the new bar of instant and personalized service. Customers now expect businesses to know who they are, to be proactive, and to personalize the experience. Not once – but across the entire customer journey.
For support agents, this new normal is a constant challenge as they try to keep up with growing expectations while keeping customers happy. For the back office and IT staff – it’s all about building and delivering these customer experiences at scale and being resilient to ensure the best possible outcome.
When you bring this all together, businesses are challenged to keep up. This is where Webex can help businesses with our vision for the future. As part of this vision, we are unveiling a contact center powered by machine learning. New capabilities include:
The power of the investments we’ve made in the Webex platform – and leveraging our AI to deliver unrivaled experiences – is that it now powers these modern experiences in the Webex Contact Center.
The next normal requires purpose-built AI to redefine collaboration, reimagine workspaces, optimize collaboration, and maximize customer experience. At Webex, we are committed to delivering unrivaled experiences to deal with whatever comes next.
See more from Webex at Enterprise Connect 2023: