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The new Webex Assistant
Meet the new face of Webex Assistant

Your workplace digital assistant has a new look and, coming soon, an expanded experience.

The new face of Cisco Webex Assistant

You may be familiar with Webex Assistant, the AI-powered voice assistant for work. Now known as Webex Assistant for Webex Rooms, our original digital assistant allows you to control compatible Webex Rooms devices with your voice, making it easy to join a meeting with just a few words, manage your meetings and devices from anywhere in the room, and much more.

As we continue to enhance our collaboration platform with new AI-powered features, we’ve made some improvements to help make your day-to-day tasks more enjoyable. As of June, you’ll see that the hexagonal icon in Webex Assistant for Rooms has been replaced with the new, friendly face of Webex Assistant. With engaging visual animations, your digital assistant is ready to support you anytime you need it. Just say “OK Webex, what can you do?” to get started.

Expanding the Webex Assistant experience

Don’t have a Webex Rooms device? No problem. Webex Assistant is also available in Webex Meetings. With Webex Assistant for Webex Meetings, you and your team will benefit from higher levels of productivity and engagement in every meeting.

Young man smile through the desktop using the Webex Assistant experience

Featuring live transcription, automatic note-taking, voice-activated action items and more, Webex Assistant for Meetings makes the best team collaboration experience even better by allowing you to easily capture every detail during the meeting, so you can keep work moving forward after the meeting.

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Webex Assistant for Rooms is available now on compatible Webex Rooms devices. Check out the Webex Assistant adoption toolkit to get started.

To be among the first to experience the latest in video conferencing technology with Webex Assistant for Meetings, sign up for your free Webex Meetings account today.

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Test Drive the Cisco Webex Assistant for Free— Bring Voice Intelligence to Your Meetings

Working at the intersection of design, function and technology: Salamander Designs and Cisco Webex Rooms

The Rise of Webex Rooms

Secure, First-Party Recording Transcripts in Webex Meetings

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Announcing Our Webex Combo Contest Winners!
Announcing our Webex Combo Contest Winners!

I’m delighted to announce the winners of our Webex Combo Contest for November and December 2019!

This is our contest that began in November where anyone can suggest “great combinations” that reinforce our belief in the power of collaboration.

Our new “The best collaborations happen on Webex” marketing campaign shows these great combinations in our ads, such as this one with donuts and coffee:

Our new “The best collaborations happen on Webex” marketing campaign shows these great combinations in our ads, such as this one with coffee and donuts:

To enter the contest, simply think of other “great combinations” that could complete this future Webex ad:

Announcing Our Webex Combo Contest Winners!

… then post your idea to social media using #WebexCombo. It’s that easy!

For more details about the contest, please visit my November 4 Cisco blog.

Contest winners

The first round of our contest began on November 4 and we’ve been amazed by the many creative concepts that have been submitted.  The entries listed on Twitter and other social platforms tagged with #WebexCombo are wonderful!

There have been so many great entries that we’ve chosen these 6 winners for November and December:

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Laura Ruelas – Laura’s entry

Thomas Hütte – Thomas’ entry – and check out his other great entries!

Milk and Cookies

Scott Edwards – Scott’s entry

Cory Treffiletti – Cory’s entry

Tacos and Tuesdays

Chris Palermo – Chris’ entry and check out his other amazing entries!

John Wayne Maioriello – John’s entry and his other wonderful entries

Announcing Our Webex Combo Contest Winners!Contest prizes

These 6 winners will receive Cisco’s new Bluetooth Headset 730 which lets them collaborate in style from anywhere. The 730 has many advanced features including seamless audio transitions between your PC, phone, or other Webex device during a meeting.

The top winning entries may also be used in our future digital and billboard ads! Our creatives think creating ads is their job, but hey, power to the people!  For legal reasons, we won’t use any of your graphics but we’ll use your idea and let our creatives do the artwork.

The contest continues

We’re so impressed with your creativity that we’ve decided to keep the contest running into 2020.  So now you can enter the contest and go after these prizes by posting your combination idea to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram using #WebexCombo.

It’s easy – no artistic skill is required!  Graphics are nice but you can also just take a photo of great combinations or provide your ideas in words. And feel free to use 3, 4, or more items in your combination.  One of our London ads on an Underground train shows the 5 parts of an English Breakfast!

Congratulations to these winners and thanks so much to everyone who submitted these incredible entries that reinforce the power of collaboration. Have a great holiday season and I look forward to seeing your contest entries in 2020!

Cheers,

Aruna Ravichandran

VP / CMO, Webex Collaboration Global Marketing, Cisco

Learn how to get started with Webex for free today.

Learn More:

How AI Improves Collaboration in the Era of Constant Change

Cognitive Collaboration on Webex.com

Check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free

Want a deeper dive into the topic of AI-driven collaboration? Read the white paper “The Future of Collaboration: How AI is Transforming the Way We Work.”

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Cisco Webex Video Conferencing 39.9 Discovering some meeting hacks
Cisco Webex Meetings 39.9: Discovering some video conferencing hacks

Feature improvements don’t have to be huge to make a big difference. In Webex Meetings 39.9 update, we’re introducing and updating small features that will make your video conferencing meetings easier, more efficient, and (gasp) maybe a little less annoying. These are the meeting hacks of Webex Meetings 39.9:

  • Webex.new
  • Shortened video addresses
  • Fewer video distractions in Events and Meetings
  • Virtual background support for iPad
  • Webex Teams lobby ambassador
  • More support for Web App

A shortcut to your personal meeting room

We introduced Webex.new, letsmeet.new and mymeet.new last month with the launch of Google’s .new domain – shortcuts to common tasks can be accessed from the browser. Webex.new is the new shortcut that takes you directly to your personal room from any browser. Just make sure you’re signed into the Webex Meetings Desktop App, otherwise you’ll be taken to a download page to get the latest app.

Give your dialing finger a break

If you’re using video devices to dial into a Webex video conferencing meeting, you now have less to type because we’ve created shortened, common video addresses that include just the meeting number and Webex extension (e.g., 123456789@webex.com). You no longer need to include the site ID to join (e.g., 123456789@acecloud.webex.com). The new format can be used by Webex devices, Skype for Business users and third-party, standards-based video devices. This is also supported on mobile – both Android and iOS. Please note that this feature is currently in beta and will be generally available by the end of this calendar year.

Better manage Webex Events video

If you’ve hosted a Webex Events or Meetings call, you know sometimes video participants are doing things that are distracting to the meeting. Other than calling them out or privately messaging them, you couldn’t take immediate action. Now, you have the ability to just turn their video off and let the meeting progress more smoothly. Hosts also have ability to lock the main video window on a specific participant and switch between participants without turning off the original participant video. That’s one fewer click and just makes good sense. It also works on mobile.

Choose your virtual background on iPad

We can’t let the iPhone people have all the fun. Now, iPad users joining Webex Meetings can also choose their favorite backgrounds to display from stored photos. This will come in handy when you’re taking meetings from home on your iPad Pro and need to disguise your messy kitchen background with a more professional office look. Blurred backgrounds will continue to be supported.

Choosing a virtual background for your meetings on iPads
Choosing a virtual background for your meetings on iPads

Let them in from Webex Teams

This has happened to me more than a few times – waiting in the lobby long after the meeting has started because the host joined from Webex Teams and has no way to let meeting participants into their personal meeting rooms. Now, Webex Teams hosts will be notified when there are people waiting in their lobby and they can admit them. This feature is in the category of relieving annoyances that I know a lot of people, including me, will appreciate.

More browser support for Web App

In addition to Chrome and Firefox, the Webex Meetings Web App is now fully supported on Microsoft Edge browser with audio, video and share (including high frame rate content) capabilities. On Safari, Web App currently supports computer audio and video (share is not yet available from Apple on Safari). With this, I’m pleased to say that Webex Meetings offers the broadest native web browser support among conferencing vendors.

These are some fun meeting hacks, but we’re delivering a lot more in 39.9. For more details, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New in Webex Meetings Suite (WBS39) – and click on “WBS39.9.”

If you haven’t already, try meetings for free.

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celebrate with Webex
It’s been a great year, let’s celebrate!

We’re excited, and you should be too.

At Webex, it’s our mission to help our customers be successful. It’s what gets us up every morning. Over the past year, we’ve listened to you, we’ve learned from you, and we continue to improve because of you. In other words, we wouldn’t be where we are today, if it weren’t for you.

From delivering the cool new features that make your daily lives more productive (and more fun), to breaking new ground with AI and machine-learning in our cognitive collaboration capabilities, our loyal Webex community has been our North Star.

We’ve been humbled by your positive feedback, like this:

 “The BIG GREEN BUTTON! and video everywhere. We’ve made meetings simple and the usage is really taking off, which is very important for a global company separated by distance. We are building a tighter family.” 

–Brian Kachel, CTO, Premier Research

“Cisco WebEx the most efficient video conferencing software with a shared screen. I love this amazing tool. Cisco Webex has really changed my life. Thanks to it, I can video conference very safely and fast.”

User from small business, accounting

“We wanted a true end-to-end integrated experience with world-class quality video and audio experience, and to save some money while we were at it. So when we looked at the market and we looked at who has that world-class reputation….we chose Cisco Webex.”

Erik Johnson, VP, Colleague Technology Services, Citizens Bank

And we’ve been motivated by industry leading reports, time and time again, bubbling to the top of just about every single category:

When we look back over the past year at what we’ve accomplished together, it makes us want to celebrate…with you.

To show our appreciation, we’re holding a contest.

Here’s how it works:

1. Tell us how Webex helps you be successful and enter to win a cash prize to go towards a celebration for you and your team.

2. Submit your entry by November 8th, 2019 to qualify.

What you could win:

  • One lucky winner will walk away with a grand prize of $3,000.
  • Twenty-five winners will receive $250.

Think of the party potential—a cupcake party, a team outing, or even a team retreat. However you choose, your team will be able to celebrate in style.

And winner or not, we want to see how you’re celebrating. Take pictures of your party and post them on Twitter with the hashtag #WinWithWebex

Cheers to another great year, with the best Webex community.

 


 

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions. Mike Fasciani, Tom Eagle, Adam Preset, September 2019.

Gartner Critical Capabilities for Meeting Solutions. Tom Eagle, Mike Fasciani, Adam Preset, October 2019.

These graphics were published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Cisco. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Note, the report was Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing from 2005 – 2016. In 2017 it was renamed to Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions.

 

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Key Cisco themes at UC Expo 2019 -2
Key Cisco themes at UC Expo 2019

The UC Expo is the UK & Europe’s largest unified communications & collaboration event, with over 6,000 attendees. This year’s event was held at London ExCeL, 15-16 of May 2019.  The event showcased the latest tech in Cloud, Networks, Communications, Security, AI, and Collaboration.  So basically, it’s everything in Cisco’s wheelhouse!  That is why the Cisco team came out in full force to support this event with 2 mainstage keynotes, 3 seminars, 4 panel discussions, 6 partner pods, and 48 square meters for the Cisco booth. Across all this activitity, there were two key areas of focus: Cognitive Collaboration and Webex Calling. I wanted to help break down some of the distilled sound bites and messages from those areas for anyone who wasn’t able to attend.

Cognitive Collaboration

  • Cognitive Collaboration is all about pulling in the intelligence and context across the various means of collaboration without the user needing to lift a finger.
  • This continues to be a key theme for Cisco Collaboration as it expands in feature set and capability and spreads across the product portfolio.
  • It will touch 300 million people worldwide on Cisco collab today.
  • It’s not just for meetings! Cognitive Collaboration will be a key part of calling, devices (already layered inside devices like the Webex Room Kit Mini), team collaboration, and even contact center.
  • Aruna: “Every part of our portfolio will go cognitive.”
  • All of this will augment the experience across the portfolio with extra intelligence and context.
  • As Aruna said, “Cognitive is a game changer, industry first, and only Cisco has it.”
  • Having Cognitive Collaboration across all the modes of collaboration in a unified experience is the game changer.

Webex Calling

  • Webex Calling is cloud-based calling built upon the BroadSoft infrastructure which came to Cisco in the 2018 acquisition.
  • Broadsoft cloud calling has been rebranded as Webex Calling and is now part of the Webex brand.
  • Webex Calling gives you the ability to start a call on your mobile device, arrive at your office, with one swipe, transfer from the mobile device to your desk phone.
  • It provides the same experience whether you join on a desk phone, mobile device, or Webex Teams. It’s a single, unified experience to collaborate while receiving all of the features and functionality you would expect to find in a traditional PBX.
  • There will be seamless integration into Webex Teams!
  • Commercially, Webex Calling will be available through the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan offered through Cisco, VAR’s, and SP’s.
  • Webex Calling GA in EMEA was 16thof May – rest of world targeted for 30thof May.
  • Amy Chang, SVP of Collaboration: “On the cloud calling side, with the BroadSoft acquisition, we now own 57% together of the cloud calling market. And that’s just the beginning.”

Other Key Sound Bites

  • Cisco’s commitment to On-Prem…. Amy: “When I first started, Jabber already had 36 million active users.  Today, a year later, we’ve got 45 million active users on Jabber… So yes, you better believe we’re going to continue to provide a phenomenal experience for our customers on our premise based portfolios across the board and continue to invest there.”
  • A unified collaboration experience…. Amy mentioned that many vendors try to have the various pieces of collaboration – calling, messaging, meeting, etc. – but this was something Cisco already had – and had for a long time. And Cisco is making that unified experience around all the various Cisco collaboration products – hardware and software – even tighter from a UI and UX perspective.

I’ll end with a great quote from Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Collaboration Marketing at Cisco, “We are the only vendor in the market who has an end-to-end integrated portfolio which provides the same unified, simple experience regardless of how you’re actually experiencing the collaboration technology.”

Layer the cognitive collaboration elements on top of that end-to-end portfolio and you have a collaboration experience touching calling, meetings, team collaboration, contact center, and devices in a way that only Cisco can.

Additional Viewing

  • Mainstage Keynote #1 (32 min)
    • Who: Amy Chang
    • What: Cognitive Collaboration: Changing the Game

  • Mainstage Keynote #2 (30 min)
    • Who: Aruna Ravichandran
    • What: Workplace Transformation Cognitively Enabled
    • Watch here

Experience Cisco Collaboration for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:

https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html

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Conferencing devices
New release of Webex RoomOS: The power of Webex Meetings & Conference Devices

I’m Juan Gallardo, Product Manager for Room OS, the software that runs on our Cisco Webex Collaboration Devices. With this new blog series, I will be sharing all our exciting new features with you, and opening a communication channel with our users. I hope you enjoy it and provide as much feedback as possible.

The Webex Meetings experience becomes even better when combined with Webex devices. Joining a Webex meeting from a Webex device gives you the best video and audio quality you can experience on the market.  In the March 2019 release, we have therefore focused on unleashing the power of the platform, giving you more flexibility when meetings and apps come together as one Webex.

Whiteboarding

The Webex Board is a great all-in-one collaboration tool. You can make video calls, share content wirelessly, express your ideas on a blank whiteboard canvas, and annotate on top of your shared content. We are now making it possible for you to share your creative ideas with everyone in the meeting. In this release, anyone using Webex Meetings can view whiteboarding content from a Webex Board. So, whether you join from a Webex device, a 3rdparty device, a laptop or a mobile phone, you’ll be able to see the shared content.

Content Sharing

Users shouldn’t need to know if the conference device in the meeting room is registered to the Cloud, or on-premises in order to know which client they should use to share. We are now enabling the ability to share wirelessly out of the call to any device through Webex Teams and Webex Meetings apps– regardless of where they are registered.

Just enter the room, open your laptop, launch your preferred client, and start sharing in your local meeting. Easy, right?

Wireless sharing of video with audio is also now supported on cloud systems, so Webex Teams users connected to a cloud-registered Webex device can share videos, animations, and any dynamic video and audio content to remote sites.

Webex Events Support

Webex Events lets you easily host events and webinars for several thousand attendees at the same time, and what better than combining this experience with powerful Webex devices? Imagine using Cisco’s speaker tracking technology or using some advanced configuration in a customized meeting room while speaking in a Webex Event. That is what we are making available on this release. Speakers and panelists can log into the Webex Event using a Cisco Webex device and enjoy any of these wonderful experiences created by the hardware and software combination that only Cisco provides in this area.

Webex events support-webinar

Cognitive Collaboration

Artificial intelligence is quickly changing our lives and the way we work.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning removes mundane tasks, increases meeting efficiency and builds more meaningful relationships. Webex Assistant is one of the first iterations of what we can do when we pair AI and Webex devices. Using this new feature, users can control room devices by simply using their voice. Just say “Ok Webex” and the system wakes up and waits for your command. Users can then join scheduled meetings, call someone in the directory, join personal rooms, or even adjust some device controls like volume! And this is just the beginning of many ideas we are cooking in our R&D department.

Cognitive collaboration in action

Device Analytics

You may have heard about what we are doing with analytics and our conference devices. Our friends on the Webex Teams App side had a great blog post around this a few weeks back. You may want to go and check what they are doing there.

Providing information on how Webex devices are been used is something that our friends in the IT department have been asking for a long time. This information can be used to take intelligent decisions around adding, removing, or changing devices in different rooms based on some actual data. The information is available through Cisco’s Control Hub, where you can find interactive charts that allow you to filter on a specific device type, utilization, etc., everything to provide admins a better perspective of what’s happening in their meeting rooms.

Remember, RoomOS is getting updated quite often, and we are excited about creating these new experiences for you. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date with what’s new so you can enjoy all the fantastic new features we want to create and make your meeting each day better! I would love to hear your feedback below.

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Team collaboration in action
Cisco Webex: Team collaboration…humanized

It’s early and you wake up to a bunch of emails. Some have threads of responses and you feel fatigued trying to gauge the intent, emotions and priority of what to respond to. You feel exhausted and your productivity wanes even before the day has begun…

E-mail has been the cornerstone of digital collaboration for over 40 years. However, e-mail clients have never been in tune to how humans actually work and emote. I specifically call out emote, because it’s a critical factor to consider in the humanizing of team collaboration.

Why are e-mails not ideal for collaborative work?

  • Emotions: People go through a range of emotions while writing emails – There’s excitement, apprehension, joy, angst and more… but emails have not been designed to capture and express these emotions. It results in dry and robotic conversations. The human mind, however, is quick to attach emotions to what we read. We do this all the time, with books, papers and particularly e-mail.

How often have you ended up misconstruing the intent behind an e-mail?

  • Efficiency: E-mail threads often go deep into a topic and lose the effectiveness of why the thread was even started. How often have you noticed e-mails with too much content and the recipients end up not responding/ignoring the ask? Pretty often, I’d conject. Let’s not even get into the find-ability and just pure “backlog” management that ends up making you less effective at your job.

Emotions in collaboration are hugely unheralded; as is efficiency in terms of response times. With growing global teams & organizations, businesses need to adopt products that support these aspects. Access to content and tools, when you need it and where you need it, is critical. It enables users to connect with each other seamlessly and build strong working relationships.

The Human Element of Cisco Webex

I’ll start with a personal anecdote here. I joined the Webex organization four months ago. Prior to this I interviewed with six leaders on the team. Most of these happened remotely, video conferencing over Webex Meetings. I met my manager, SVP/GM of the Webex organization, Sri Srinivasan, in person 45 days after I started. We hit the ground running with our planned conversation. It was thirty minutes into this meeting that we realized we were meeting for the first time, in person! The quality of audio and video during our prior meetings made it feel like we were sitting right by each other and not in different cities in the US. In addition, with the rich set of features in the Webex Teams Collaboration app, it felt like we’d already built a professional and personal connection.

With our integrated set of products for Meetings, Team Collaboration and Devices, Cisco Webex has many of the answers to help the above narrative come to life in your work or personal environment. From the video-first experience across the portfolio, to the Webex Teams messaging features, allowing quotes (soon to be released, threading), emoji responses and Giphy, we have your emotional needs covered.

Team collaboration before, during, and after meetings

High quality video and audio. Continuous team collaboration before, during and after meetings.

For productivity, our collaboration platform allows users to engage within the context of a topic and bring their tools of choice into a conversation – be it Microsoft’s office suite, access to files on Box, or even a shared Whiteboard that stays digitally live during the life of that conversation. No more arduous context switching. With our recent announcements in the area of cognitive collaboration, we provide a wealth of features that empower you to be better informed and connected with your participants and technology.

Within the Webex ecosystem, the seamless nature of how you transition from an asynchronous conversation, to a live video device meeting with remote participants on any modality (Phones, iPads, Laptops) is truly magical. You can edit a document collaboratively and finally, go back to being asynchronous; making the whole experience feel natural and real.

Team collaboration messaging and whiteboarding

Message, whiteboard, work on files and meet, all in one canvas.

It would be remiss of me to mention that we’ve got it all right. That’s what makes designing and building products for our users, so exciting! We have more great experiences coming down the pipeline and can’t wait for our users to get their hands on it.

Cisco Webex makes collaboration natural and human for you. I’d highly recommend you empower your teams to work better, together with Webex – take a free trial and experience the goodness, first hand! Hey Webex, over to you…

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team collaboration at Cisco Live
The top 10 team collaboration ‘wow’ moments from Enterprise Connect 2019

Enterprise Connect is one of the biggest third-party events for enterprise collaboration that we support during the year.  Sunny Orlando, Florida is descended upon not just by Cisco, but by our customers, our partners, our competitors, their customers, analysts, and other media. It’s a wild scene with thousands of people looking to learn about the latest and greatest in team collaboration and communication!  I spent the week doing a variety of things, but the bulk of my time was spent leading booth tours for customers, potential customers, partners, and analysts at the Cisco booth.  This gave me a front row seat hearing the talk track from our product experts and more importantly, it helped me see and hear that things that the non-Cisco people were saying – what they thought was cool and what impressed them.  With that, here are my top-10 “WOW!” moments that I observed during the week of Enterprise Connect 2019…

Wow #1: Webex Board Sticky Notes 

There were a few new Webex Board features that rolled out last November that continue to catch the eyes of many.  Those features included web browser access, sticky notes, and pinch-to-zoom gestures. The sticky notes seem to be a fan-favorite since they help with a number of use cases from project planning to agile software development.

Wow #2: Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini USB Pass-through

The Room Kit Mini in general continues to wow people but there was one feature of it that a number of booth visitors seemed to like – the USB passthrough.  This feature enables interoperability with ANY cloud service provider.  We’ve said before that we’re all about building bridges and this is another example of that – being able to use the incredible audio and video regardless what you’re using for conferencing software.

Wow #3: People Insights in Webex Meetings

The big theme of the entire conference was Cisco’s X-factor in collaboration.  The X-factor was the concept of ‘cognitive collaboration’ which is the use of Artificial Intelligence and Maching Learning to bring context AND intelligence to meetings.  One component of cognitive collaboration is People Insights.  This new feature to Webex Meetings is based on technology that came through Cisco’s acquisition of Accompany in 2018.  People Insights paints a rich, dynamic profile of people joining your meeting – displayed right in the Webex Meetings participant panel – by harvesting public data through web crawling coupled with internal corporate directory data.  No longer will you join a meeting and say to yourself, “Who is THAT??”

Wow #4: Office 365 with Webex Teams Riding Sidecar

“This will totally drive adoption!” That was a customer sound bite during a booth  tour when they saw this soon-to-be-released feature.  It’s Webex Teams baked directly into Microsoft Office 365 apps including PowerPoint, Excel, and Word.  Collaborate in the tools you’re always using without having to switch applications!

Wow #5: Love for On-Prem with Jabber
There were multiple demos showing the latest with Jabber and on-prem collaboration.  The demo lead, Patrick Born, had a great sound bite: “If you’re on-prem, you can stay on prem. We know and love you.”  While others in the collaboration space may be saying cloud only, Cisco is saying. “Cloud first but NOT cloud only!”  In additional to investing in our on-prem collaboration solutions, we are also offering transition paths to the cloud.  Team Messaging mode for Jabber, which came out in preview in November, allows Jabber customers to natively connect to the Webex Teams cloud-based back-end while still using the Jabber app for the front end.

Wow #6: Facial Recognition

Another part of cognitive collaboration is the new facial recognition capabilities  within Webex which will become available in June.  This gives Webex devices the ability to identify all of the individuals in the room.  During a meeting, the system scans the faces of anyone showing up on the video and is able to not only calculate but identify participants by name (and there is a wealth of data privacy built into this but that’s another blog for another day).

Wow #7: Customizable Touch 10

The Cisco Touch 10 is a control unit to help control and interact with Cisco video  conferencing systems.  I personally never thought much about it but this was one the biggest WOW moments for many people – largely because of the ability to customize and program in macros.  This allows users to not just control the video system itself but the ENTIRE CONFERENCE ROOM!  Through the use of IoT device interaction, you can program the Touch 10 to control room lighting, room temperature, the blinds or other window controls – basically ANY IoT device with an API interface can be incorporated into a Touch 10 macro.

Wow #8: The Sounds & Picture Quality on the Webex Room 70 G2

It’s datasheet calls out “4K display” and “sophisticated speaker system and  amplifier to deliver rich sound”.  But those words hardly do it justice.  You need to experience this in person to full appreciate it.  During one demo session, a movie was loaded up and when the sound was cranked up, one of the demo participants exclaimed with widened eyes, “HOLY #$@*!”

Wow #9: Signage Mode

What do you do when your Cisco video screen is not in use?  Up until a few weeks  ago, the answer was nothing!  It just sat there as a blank screen.  But one feature that has been added to Webex video devices is “signage mode”.  This mode lets users show web content as digital signage when the screen is in half-wake mode.  The possibilities are endless – messages from HR, corporate advertising, how-to conferencing information, company information, images, etc. These capabilities are turbocharged when coupled with Appspace (Cisco integration partner) – which layers on video on demand, published presentations, room scheduling, all done within “signage mode”.

Wow #10: Webex Calling Launched from Webex Teams

While Webex Calling has been around there was a new aspect of it launched at Enterprise Connect. From a person’s contact card in Webex Teams, you can click-to-dial their number which now has the ability to launch into the Webex Calling app to place the call.  So we now have robust cloud calling integrated into the Webex Teams platform.

From noon on Monday when they opened the doors to the exhibition floor till 6pm on Wednesday when it closed, it was a CONSTANT flood of people beelining over to the Cisco booth for tours and demos.  That Cisco excitement was punctuated by Amy Chang’s (head of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group) keynote on Wednesday morning talking about “cognitive collaboration”.  And there’s a reason there was so much buzz.  No one is telling the collaboration story Cisco is.  Largely because no one else can.


Experience Cisco Collaboration for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:

https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html

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team collaboration helps change AI
The 5 ways AI will transform team collaboration

If you want a glimpse into the future of collaboration, there’s no better place to look than Enterprise Connect. From the startups to the heavyweights, collaboration providers gathered in Orlando last week to demo their latest innovations. And this year, cognitive collaboration, or the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve team collaboration experience, dominated the conversation.

With a few days to reflect on my experience at Enterprise Connect, I’ve come up with 5 predictions on how cognitive collaboration will change the way we work by 2020.

1: Your digital assistant will become an indispensable part of your day

Digital assistants are mainstream with over 100 million devices sold that connect to consumer assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Enterprise-grade assistants with conversational AI capabilities will make your meeting a zero-touch experience, so you can join a meeting, call a contact or start a recording with just your voice. While available now, this is still a burgeoning technology and you’ll see functionality increase rapidly with the ability to assign action items, scheduling meetings and take notes.

2: Distributed collaboration becomes more productive and personable than in-person meetings

AI-driven capabilities will provide you with contextual insight that’s just not possible to get during an in-person meeting. As an example, People Insights for Webex Meetings, which was introduced in Amy Chang’s keynote, provides you with information on the people you’re meeting with, right in your meeting space. No more searching on LinkedIn or Google – our participants’ work history, education, latest blogs, company information and links to social media accounts are a click away. This allows you to discover shared background and interests and ultimately help you build stronger connections. Another example is facial recognition, which will display the names and titles of participants in a virtual meeting – this becomes very useful when a room is occupied by multiple participants.

3: Your collaboration platform becomes an AI-platform

From your team space to meetings and devices, everything in your collaboration suite will be enabled with cross-product AI functionality. Imagine joining a meeting and having your last conversation with someone automatically pop-up or the last whiteboard from your team space becomes available in your virtual meeting without having to search for it because the platform knows you met with the same people earlier to discuss the same topic. On an individual level, this may seem like a small, measurable improvement to your daily work life, but that small improvement scaled across a large organization can have profound effects on collaboration and productivity.

4: Interoperability sets collaboration suites apart

While a platform is critical for leveraging AI use cases across your collaboration tools, interoperability needs to remain a key factor in toolset decisions. During a panel discussion, Sri Srinivasan, SVP/GM of Teams Collaboration Group at Cisco, explained: “We are increasingly driven by end user choice — the culture of how people work matters most. We need to make software that interoperates for the technology mix.” From productivity tools, like Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, to customer relationship management tools, like Salesforce, collaboration solutions need to integrate and work well with other software. One of the important factors to consider is that employee preference for what they use to get their job done is always evolving, so organizations need a solution with a proven history of developing for interoperability.

5: Enterprise adoption of AI hastens future capabilities

AI capabilities will continue to evolve as more organizations adopt the technology. There are two reasons for this:

  • The Data: As Michelle Burbick says in her Enterprise Connect roundup blog, “If Data is King, AI is Queen” (it’s worth a read!). The more data available, the more likely AI and machine learning can be leveraged to discover and test new patterns that will lead to unique AI-use cases and greater efficiency gains.
  • The Providers: It won’t be long before organizations see the business value of an AI-enabled collaboration suites. This will drive demand for the solutions that are best positioned to deliver capabilities now and in the future. Collaboration technology providers will continue to invest in these capabilities as AI-features become a key way to set themselves apart from the competition.

With the introduction of AI, technology decisions can no longer be based on which point solutions solves a particular problem, here and now. Instead, decision must be about investing in a strategic platform that will fundamentally change the way people work together, how they connect and innovate.

To learn more about cognitive collaboration, join the upcoming webinar: Cognitive Collaboration: How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How We Work and Collaborate


Try Webex teams, team collaboration tool, for free.

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Video conferencing improved through artificial intelligence and machine learning

The week is here and we are looking forward to seeing some of you at Enterprise Connect in Orlando. We will be sharing what’s new in collaboration and how we are working hard to transform technology experiences for your teams.

Make sure to attend Amy Chang’s (SVP of Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco) keynote, and check out Cisco’s sessions at Enterprise Connect (EC) for deeper dives into important conversations happening around video conferencing in the cloud, team collaboration growing pains, breaking down enterprise barriers to improve customer experience and so many more.

If you’re interested in learning about how the Webex platform is weaving in artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance video conferencing and team meeting experiences, you’re in luck. Not only can you hear about it at EC, on March 28, Keith Griffin, CTO of Intelligence and Analytics, and Derek Stevens, Collaboration Product Marketing Manager, will be hosting a webinar with Q&A, discussing this topic specifically. We are really excited to share all the new features and capabilities that Webex will be offering. See details below to register.

  • Webinar: Cognitive Collaboration: How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How We Work and Collaborate
  • Date: Thursday, March 28
  • Time: 10am PT
  • Register today
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