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The webexperience of Cisco Live US
The webexperience of Cisco Live US

Over the past week, all the collaboration tech blogs and social media feeds that cover Cisco have been loaded with updates and perspectives on the various keynotes and product announcements at Cisco Live US 2019. With over 30,000 customers, partners, (and surely some interested competitors!), there was A LOT going on in sunny San Diego. One area that was loaded with activity was the Webexperience Theater – home of the Lightning Talks that were given by various Cisco Collaboration executives and SME’s covering a wide array of topics. Across four days there were 35 Lightning Talks and 7 Executive Talks. To give you a little taste of what we talked about, here are some sound bites from those talk.

Selected Sound Bites from CLUS Lightning Talks

  1. On-Premises, Cloud and Hybrid Calling Evolution…  Wade Hamblin (Director, Product Management): “I want to introduce to you today to the new Cisco Webex Collaboration Cloud.  It’s all about how to deliver your calling, your meetings, your team collaboration, and your contact center solutions across award winning devices with enterprise grade security, open & intelligent platforms to build and deploy on, hybrid and cloud architecture that gives you the flexibility and agility to do what you want.”
  2. The New Webex Calling  Sonali Karnik (Senior Manager, Cloud Calling Product Marketing): “Webex Calling is the integration of the Broadsoft acquisition of cloud calling into the Cisco Webex platform.  So this is bringing together the best of cloud calling with the power of the Cisco Webex platform.”
  3. The Power of the Platform…  Jono Luk (Director, Product Management): “If you look at where Webex is going, we’re helping with education, we’re helping with healthcare, we’re helping with verticals where you have to be able to rely on your platform.  That’s the first and most important quality of the collaboration platform.”
  4. Jabber & Teams Working Together…  Shane Long (Technical Marketing Engineer): “What is Jabber Team Messaging Mode?  It’s a relatively new deployment model of Cisco Jabber where it’s a hybrid approach where you can deploy your Jabber client as per usual with UC Manager.  So you’ve got your rich calling feature set from soft phone, desk phone, multi-line, some contact center features, VDI, etc.  however with Jabber Team Messaging mode we’re taking advantage of the power of the Webex Teams Platform.”
  5. Adopting Webex in EducationSuzanne Phillips (Collaboration Adoption Manager): “As I’ve been talking to teachers, the number one most thing they’re excited about is figuring out how do we allow students to collaborate with each other and give them the tools so that even when they’re in classroom times they’re able to work together and pick off each other’s brains or when they’re at home the learning doesn’t have to stop and they can work on things like group projects outside the classroom. Other things people are excited about Webex is when you can have remote virtual experts join your classroom.”
  6. Webex + Meraki…Jing Zhang (Senior Product Manager of Cloud Calling): “We’ll be building bridges between applications: Jabber, Teams, Meetings.  Bridges between the platforms: Webex Meetings, Calling, and also our on prem and cloud altogether as a hybrid.  And we are also building bridges with Cisco Collaboration and other SaaS services:  Microsoft, Google, and Apple.  Today we are going to talk about another bridge.  Another different type of bridge that is bridging the network (Meraki) with collaboration.”
  7. People Insights… Maureen Vild (Technical Marketing Engineer): “What is People Insights? An AI-driven platform, a massive ingestion engine, this huge database.  This engine is constantly pulling information from the web – public information, on people and companies.  We’re starting with Meetings but eventually it’s going to be across our entire collaboration portfolio.  We’re taking that information, we gather it, we parse in, we attach it to a person, and we put it in Meetings in the form of a contact card.  This is going to transform the way you relate to people in meetings.
  8. Intelligent Video Devices…Scott Edwards (Senior Director, Product Marketing for Webex Meetings, Teams, & Devices): “We want to make that technology become invisible to the end users.  We don’t want you to learn the technology. We just want you to have a natural way and a seamless way to have a meeting experience.  And that’s our goal – to make technology to become invisible.”
  9. Jabber VDI…Bryan Morris (Jabber Product Manager): “So basically what we’re trying to do here is bring the capabilities for a VDI user, or a virtualized user, up so they have a comparable feature set (Presence & Instant Messaging, Desk Phone Control, Softphone, Video) to the full desktop users in your organization.”
  10. Webex Edge…Ken Snyder (Business Development Manager Cisco Webex Worldwide Go-to-Market): “[Webex Edge] is one of the most impactful products in the history of Webex.  This enables us to bring our rich heritage, our powerful Cisco networking best-in-breed solutions and combine that with our Webex platform and deliver that to our customer in a seamless connected experience so they have this true hybrid meeting experience that’s going to optimize their costs as well as drive the best, meaningful meeting experience.”
  11. Evolution of the Unified Client Experience…Lorrissa Horton (VP & GM Webex Teams, Jabber, & Intelligence): “Both [Jabber and Webex Teams] are unified clients in their own right.  They do calling, messaging, meetings, one on-prem, one in the cloud.  What we’ve been doing over the last year is really consolidating all of these capabilities into a single platform to minimize the user experience changes and really the overall change cost to you as an administrator and you as a manager training your employees just to get their work done.  So, we’ve taken the overall user experience, the look and feel, and have really made it common across Jabber and Webex Teams so it doesn’t matter if you’re an on-prem architecture or a cloud architecture, your experience is the same.”

How do you summarize a week’s worth of non-stop content and announcements and messaging across our full list into an 800-word blog?  You can’t!  But hopefully these little teaser sound bites will whet your appetite to learn more! Full videos can be found on the Cisco Collaboration Facebook page.

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

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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:

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