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Conferencing devices, Webex Board
New release of Webex RoomOs: The latest on Webex Board

In my last blog, I promised a much richer release. Well, here you have it! The newest Room OS release is very focused on the Webex Board. We are working on some interesting material, particularly for the end-user. Firstly, we have released an end-user guide, highlighting the simplicity of the Cisco Webex Board experience. Following this, we will have videos showcasing how teams collaborate using the Webex Board, which will have everything you need to cover all your creative and collaboration needs with conference equipment in huddle spaces to the boardroom. The timeframe for the release of these assets will be coming in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

When it comes to features, we have a good line-up:

I’ll start announcing the availability of Webex Board for on-premises deployments. I know, this blog is about Room OS and the Cloud, but I think it’s something important to talk about, and shows how important this product is to us.

When registered on-premises, the Webex Board still has everything you need in order to collaborate effectively with your team.

First, it’s still an all-in-one device that lets you:

  • Share your presentations and documents wirelessly
  • Create, draw and digitally whiteboard on a blank canvas, or annotate on any screen capture or document. You then have the option to the share the content via email
  • Have video conferences

We believe in building bridges and not islands, so if a customer is comfortable staying on-premises, they now have that deployment option and when the journey to the cloud is desired, we offer a seamless transition.

One of the features you’ll love on the  Webex Board in the cloud is digital signage. Digital signage is a way to have custom information on the screen by using a web engine, which basically means that as long as the information is on a web page, you should be able to show it in the real state of your Webex devices. That’s right, this feature is not unique to the Webex Board. It also works on the Room series, with the difference that on the Webex Board – the experience is interactive. The signage will show up during half-wake, and an admin decides which page or pages to show.

Virtual assistants are in vogue, and we have our own. Webex Assistant allows users to control our Webex devices with their voices. The idea is simple – instead of reaching out to touch the Webex Board to interact with the device, you can just instruct the device to start sharing by saying: “Ok Webex, start sharing.” The Board is the last of the Webex devices to get this feature – and the list over possible commands is growing quickly.

You read above that you can use voice commands to avoid having to stand up to interact with the Webex Board. Another really convenient option we are introducing from the Board – completely eliminating the need to stand up and walk up to it, is Touch 10 support.. The Touch 10 has to be remotely paired with the Board since the Board doesn’t have a physical port to connect it to, but once you have the Touch 10 paired, you can answer those calls without having to leave your seat.

Following the work we have done with the Touch 10, we also added support for macros and customizations. Now, using a familiar workflow, , you can create macros and in-room controls for the Webex Board. We are always adding more APIs and better ways to interact with them – for example this time we have added HTTP get & post clients.

Until now, the physical Webex Board screen was all the space you could draw and annotate on.. In this release, we added the possibility of having an infinite whiteboard. You can keep drawing and drawing, Just swipe three fingers in any direction and keep drawing – the pinch and zoom and or out to get an overview of what you’ve just drawn.

If you’re not using Webex Teams, but still want to be able to save your annotations, we have now made it possible to save it as a PDF file and send it to any email address.. In this case, an administrator will configure the Webex Board with an SMTP server that will allow anyone using the Board to save their work by sending an email to himself, or any participant in the meeting.

We also have some exciting features for the rest of the Webex device portfolio this month. video on/off is now not only available on the Board – but also on the rest of the Webex video devices. Many customers know of this feature as “video mute”, and it gives more control over the user’s privacy by allowing them to turn off the video with the press of a button. We encourage the use of video, but from time to time we understand that it can make sense to stop the video to avoid unwanted interruptions – like in this case (Funny video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY).

Around a half a year ago, we introduced the Room Kit Mini with the possibility of connecting the device to a USB-C port of a laptop and using it as a USB camera/speaker/mic. In this release, we are improving the behavior of this feature by setting the “do not disturb (DND)” mode on, just when the soft client starts to actually stream something to the device. Otherwise, the device is still available for regular calls, even if the USB-C cable is connected.

Lastly, we are not forgetting our admin friends, and we also have a feature for them. Up until now, in order to activate a Webex device, you had to enter a 12-digit code on the device’s interface, which meant that someone had to be in front of the device to do this job. When we designed this workflow, we designed it with ease of use in mind.Anyone could register a deviceby entering 12 digits, and an admin could send literally anyone to do that part of the job. Now we are allowing admins to actually do it themselves over the network, either with an API or through the web interface of the device. And of course, having an API means we now have ways to script this task, or open for new activation possibilities in the future.

I hope this was as good of a month for you as it was for us. Keep sending us your feedback, and stay tuned for the next post!

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branding video conferencing devices
Apply branding to your conference devices

Let’s face it, branding is important. Why? Because the brand of your company is in lock-step with how customers, and anyone from the outside looking in perceives the business you do. This perception comes from the visuals you choose, the messaging you provide, and every detail down to your fonts and color choices. These branding decisions are made carefully and consciously, showing your customers (and potential customers) what you care about. The small details matter.

So, why is branding your video conferencing equipment important? Because again, the small details matter. First, let’s show you what this looks like.

video conferencing devices

Your corporate identity… Everywhere

The more people see your brand and associate it with trust, the stronger it will become. Adding your corporate identity to technology devices that reside within your organization creates more opportunities for customers/partners to see and recognize your brand. Slowly, trust can build, just by a simple placement of a logo or image.

Now, you’re wondering … How can I do this?

To give administrators a way to achieve this, we implemented the ability to place a logo in the bottom righthand corner of your collaboration device screen. In addition, for both the awake and the “half-wake” states, we’ve enabled a touch interface that allows admins to upload a Full HD background which replaces our default “half-wake” background.

We have also recently made it easier to apply branding to all of your cloud registered RoomOS devices within Webex Control Hub. Previously to set branding on devices, an administrator would be required to log into the advanced settings of each device to upload and apply each logo and image. We listened to you, our customers, and took your feedback to heart. Gone are the days of extensive processes  that don’t scale beyond a few systems.

To make adding branding to multiple systems easier, we added a new global setting within Webex Control Hub. This setting gives device admins access  to more control in how they apply branding across all their RoomOS devices in their organization. Now, when an administrator provisions a new device, it will automatically fetch the branding images and apply them!

Within the settings menu, administrators now have three values that they can select:

  • Allow all devices to be edited individually in Advanced Settings
  • Use the Cisco default visuals on all devices
  • Upload your company’s brand visuals for all devices

Using this method, we also support the Webex Share and Webex Board, allowing you to apply branding across the entire Webex Devices portfolio!

This is just the start of how we are going to make it easier for administrators to manage their environments. And keep giving us feedback!

Visit our Customized Branding Article on the Webex Help site to learn more.

If you’re new to Webex, see all that’s possible and consider a 30-day free trial!

 

 

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team collaboration update
February update of Webex Teams: from our team, for your team collaboration

The Webex Teams Product team has been busy over the past number of weeks designing and delivering new features to enhance and enrich your team collaboration experiences. We think you are going to love the new features across all areas of the client including Messaging, Meetings, Calling and Device experience. Let’s get started.

Messaging that brings a 🙂 to your face

We think emojis help capture what we’re trying to say. What better way to say something is awesome than with a 😎emoji? We’ve enriched the Webex Teams client with emojis over the past number of releases and now, we’re excited to deliver Emoticon support in the desktop apps. So, next time you feel like saying you’re happy, your standard emoticon : ) will translate into a beautiful emoji 🙂.

Clarity with a Quote

Have you ever been in a team space conversation when you wanted to use somebody’s previous response to help give your answer more clarity?

Well, now you can. With our new Quote feature, you can use a colleague’s earlier response as part of your reply, giving everybody greater context. I really love this feature as it allows me to quickly address questions in large spaces. I find myself using it on a daily basis as I collaborate with my colleagues.

The Quote Feature in Webex Teams

Another great new feature is an additional right click menu that allows you to perform quick actions on spaces. Hover over a space name, right click and use the new contextual menu to mark the space as a favorite, view space settings, leave the space, and much more. Now, you can get to where you want to go, faster.

Stream on and bring everyone closer together

Here at Webex Teams, we are constantly striving to improve meeting experience and team collaboration for our customers. Our goal is that no matter where our users dial in from, they can experience a feeling of being together in the same room.

You can now stream 30fps video and audio to your colleagues in your Webex Teams Meetings through our Room Devices, and to other Webex Teams users- allowing everyone to have the same great experience.

As part of further enhancements to the Webex Meetings experience in the Webex Teams app, we’ve also added the option for admins to allow the meeting recordings to be stored locally as MP4 local recordings onto the desktop.

Calling- the way you want it to be

As we build out our native calling experience in the Webex Teams application, we’re providing a bridge to allow users of on-premise calling apps to access these capabilities from Webex Teams. With February’s release an administrator can set Jabber to be your default calling application so anytime you want to make a call in Teams, the call will be placed using Jabber, allowing you to leverage Jabber’s rich calling feature set.  You’ll also be able to set any tel protocol registered third party app to launch for calling also if that’s preferred

There’s a lot happening in the Webex Teams world right now. The Product Team are really excited about new and exciting features coming to the app and we’re really looking forward to seeing the 🙂 on your faces.

And hey, you can quote me on that 😉.

Try team collaboration tool for free.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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team collaboration at Cisco Live
The top 7 team collaboration ‘wow’ moments from Cisco Live Europe

If you’ve never been to a Cisco Live, let me try to put it in perspective for you. I’m part of Cisco’s worldwide collaboration sales organization, so I spend my day deeply involved in all-things related to Cisco team collaboration – especially Webex. It would be fair to say that I know our team collaboration tools rather well. Yet still, at Cisco Live Europe this past week, the amount of “WOW!” moments I had… The amount of “I didn’t know that!” moments I had… The amount of “This is SO COOL!” moments I had…  I can’t even count them. It was day after day of constant learning and constant excitement even for those of us who live and breathe Webex – from the main sessions, to breakouts, to “meet the engineer” and other individual sessions, to the World of Solutions – especially the Cisco Showcase – with all the demos and products on display, staffed by all our experts from around the world!

I know there have been a number of updates and highlights already posted on various social media sites.  Rather than take that approach, I wanted to instead present a list of “wow” moments that we experienced that left everyone with a better appreciation for what it means to be “Webexceptional.”

Wow #1: Voice-activated video conferencing

Many customers were interested in seeing the Webex video devices mainly to evaluate the audio and video and overall experience. What they didn’t expect to see was the embedded artificial intelligence that becomes available when you say, “Hey, Webex,” to start meetings, place calls, end meetings, and more, greatly simplifying tasks to make a better meeting experience. And this is just the start of how AI can improve productivity through more efficient, smarter team collaboration. More to come on that in the next few weeks.

Wow #2: The bridge between Jabber + Webex Teams collaboration

There are 40 million Jabber users that, up until recently, were living on an island with respect to Webex Teams. Not anymore. One area that received great buzz were the two bridges that have been built between these two applications. First is “Team Messaging Mode”– a new “mode” for Jabber, that allows the Jabber app to connect to the Webex Teams cloud. This means that anyone using Jabber today who wants to move to the cloud and have team collaboration capabilities can do so without having to give up their existing Jabber app. The second bridge is “Hybrid Message Service” – this is a hybrid integration that provides inter-op between Webex Teams and Jabber IM&P (on-prem) users.

Wow #3: Microsoft OneDrive Integration into Webex Teams

This was on the biggest areas of excitement at the Webex Teams demo. In early January, Webex Teams rolled out this new Enterprise Content Management capability that allows customers to use Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint Online to store their documents instead of the Webex Teams cloud. We are always looking for ways to build bridges between Cisco Collaboration and Microsoft Productivity and this most recent step got some solid feedback.

Wow #4: App Hub & Bots

When I was giving booth tours, one of the more unique areas was the Integrations and Workflows area. It was eye opening for customers seeing the bots and integrations that are currently available on the Webex App Hub. The whole goal is to provide “uninterrupted work” – never leave your productivity and back office applications thanks to integration and bots that bring team collaboration into those apps (like Salesforce.com and Jira among many others).

Wow #5: The new and improved Webex Meetings video conferencing 

When I was taking customers on tours of our team collaboration area, many would say, “I’m familiar with Webex Meetings, so we don’t need to go there.” But when I mentioned that the online meetings experience has gone through some great changes from a UI, UX, and overall functionality perspective, they became intrigued. Some of the areas that resonated with customers were the high frame rate sharing, Webex board whiteboarding and annotation capabilities, integrations with Google and Microsoft, and also existing key areas such as joining from any device, one-button push to start meetings, and the video-centric experience.

Wow #6: Webex Board conference equipment

Two years ago, when the Webex Board first launched, there was a lot of excitement around the board being the shiny new conference equipment thing. We’re past that initial excitement and now we’re seeing great traction for areas like design thinking and agile software development scrums for developers – both which take advantage of the digital sticky notes. It’s more than just a video device and something that balances physical/in-room team collaboration with virtual/remote collaboration.

Wow #7: Huddle Spaces

When I started each tour, I would explain that we were going to explore Meetings, Teams, and Devices. When we’d start with Devices and our video conference equipment, I’d begin with the ones for large conference rooms, then medium, then huddle spaces. That alone was a bit of an epiphany for some – that different devices were optimized for use in specific-sized rooms. And Huddle Spaces brought some of the most interest since there are many buildings with these small meeting spaces with little to no team collaboration capabilities built in. The Webex Room Kit Mini and Webex Share change all that and introduce new team collaboration use cases centered around the flexibility to connect from Cisco Proximity with Webex teams to direct USB-C for various third-party apps.

I know this was just a little flavor but hopefully you see some of the great steps we’ve made to achieve the goal of uninterrupted work – whether you are in the conference room or remote, whether you are on a mobile device, tablet, laptop, or video unit, whether you are collaborating in real time/synchronously or “your time”/asynchronous. Webex bridges it all together. Some great excitement over the team collaboration vision and direction of our collaboration portfolio! Happy to continue the conversation with any questions or comments you have!

See 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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Unpacking the power of huddle space to enhance team collaboration
Unpacking the power of huddle space to enhance team collaboration

The 24×7 digital economy we operate in today requires us to do things better and faster. Hence, we often hear that “agility is the new currency of business.” As companies look for ways to be nimbler and derive a sharper competitive edge, one of things that gets overlooked is the way they enable their smallest teams. Enter the age of the huddle.

In our upcoming webinar, Unpacking the Power Behind Huddle Spaces, we’ll talk about the popularity of open workspace environments, and the keen need for more spaces that facilitate small team collaboration. In response, we’ll also find out how companies are evolving physical spaces to foster agile teamwork, and how the huddle space is a driving force behind this trend. But those spaces are only as powerful as the team collaboration tools in them. A recent study shows that 78% of users are frustrated with their current huddle space meeting technology, and nearly half don’t have basic audio and video conference tool (Dimensional Research 2018). Getting the right conference equipment to support the needs of your huddle spaces is key.

But beyond agility, well-equipped huddle spaces can have even more influence. Alan McGinty, senior director of Cisco’s Global Workplace Innovation Group, believes in the magnetic power of the huddle: “With the right collaboration technologies in huddle spaces, these spontaneous-use spaces for 2-5 people can attract and retain the best talent, and give them the agility they need to be successful.”

On Feb. 14, Alan will be sharing some great insights about how he has built a workplace strategy that leverages the power of the huddle space, especially with new technologies that Cisco has recently introduced specifically for huddling. Register for the webinar here.

In recent months, Cisco has done a lot to help companies huddle better. We just announced a whole solution set to empower the huddle space. Cisco Webex Huddle Space solutions are specifically designed to help users share, communicate and co-create with their small teams. We showcased these at Cisco Live Barcelona last week, to illustrate just how creative you can be with these Webex huddle space solutions.

With huddle spaces, the possibilities are endless for optimizing your small team collaboration. Tune into the upcoming webinar to learn more about what they can do for your organization.

Webinar: Unpacking the Power Behind Huddle Spaces
Feb. 14, 2019
10 a.m. PST or on-demand
Register today!

 

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