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Webex March Summary
Webex takes the stage and gets noticed: Our new innovations unveiled

This March was a big month for Webex. Our vision and our hard work is starting to get noticed, and we’re only getting started. Here are a few highlights from a very positive month.

Cisco Live

At Cisco Live, the spotlight fell on Webex as Jeetu Patel, SVP/GM of Security and Applications, joined other Cisco leaders on the virtual stage to outline our vision of using the power of collaboration to build a more inclusive, more connected future.

Be sure to check out all the keynotes and on-demand sessions at ciscolive.com.

Introducing our newest innovations

A few of our newest innovations were highlighted, including:

  • People Insights, an important work/life balance tool that helps workers monitor and manage their own wellbeing.
  • Customer Experience as a Service (CXaaS), which pairs IMImobile’s functionality with the all-new Webex Contact Center to provide a robust and responsive customer experience across the entire life cycle.

Read the latest from Javed Khan, SVP/GM, Cisco Collaboration: Turn it Up with Webex! Collaboration Tools That Enable You to Work Your Way

Brand Partnerships

McLaren Racing Formula 1 Team

We found some partners with an inspiring commitment to innovation and speed. Last month, we kicked off a partnership with the legendary McLaren Racing Formula 1 team and we continue the momentum this month with Team DSM, a competitor on pro-cycling’s World Tour circuit.

I’m proud to be able to say that Webex will be working closely with both organizations, providing and integrating our platform and devices into each team’s daily routines – now riders can stay connected with each other, as well as their support staffs and fans, both in and out of competition. Watch the video to learn more about Team DSM:

Elton John AIDS Foundation

At this year’s Oscars, the title of VIP is no longer limited to few celebrities. Everyone who joins us at Elton John’s spectacular Oscar pre-party on April 25th can claim the title themselves. The Elton John AIDS Foundation pre-party is a long-celebrated charity function, and this year the guest list is much more inclusive, as a virtual audience of up to 400,000 donors will be able to attend via Webex. Please visit here for purchase your ticket.

Future Voices

Another campaign we launched which is near and dear to my heart is Future Voices, our new platform highlighting the innovative ways university students and educators are using Webex. Take a look:

PGA of Australia

In Australia, we’re partnering with the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of Australia to present The Players Series, an exciting run of tournaments where up-and-coming young amateur golfers join Australia’s leading pros to compete for the same prize purse. Webex technology connects the two groups directly, giving new talent the opportunity to be mentored by their country’s best players.

Welcome to the era of hybrid work

Post-pandemic, the world will certainly look different, and organizations need to rethink how they do business – both with employees and with customers. At Cisco Webex, we strive to reimagine and expand the possibility of collaboration. Our hope is our work will help you and your organization find new opportunity in this shifting new world of hybrid work. Watch a safe return to the office in the era of hybrid work and be sure to stay tuned for more to come!

Cheers,
Aruna

Learn more

Neil Patrick Harris and Dua Lipa Join Elton John and David Furnish for the 29th Annual Elton John Aids Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party [Press Release]

Future Voices featuring stories from students and teachers from around the world

Creating Exhilarating and Exciting Experiences with Cisco Webex and McLaren Racing

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
Team DSM
WorldTour Team DSM takes to the road with Webex for a new hybrid sports experience

Cisco Webex named official collaboration partner of Team DSM

The passion of the German licensed Team DSM and their vision of ‘Keep Challenging’ inspire millions of cycling fans worldwide. Fresh from winning multiple stages of the Tour de France 2020 and a double podium of the latest Giro d’Italia, Team DSM is one of road cycling’s most exciting young WorldTour teams.

Check out the new official launch video:

I’m honored today to announce a new strategic partnership with Team DSM and to share in their vision of redefining the sport through cooperation and innovation. That includes a future of hybrid sports experiences, and as a proud extension of their team, Webex will provide the platform and devices to be integrated into their daily activities to bridge in-person and virtual experiences.

Team DSM isn’t just a sports team but a big operation and Webex is helping them to manage it.

  • Almost 60 athletes
  • More than 370 racing days during 126 races
  • Over 50 full time staff members
  • 500 bikes, 3 touring cars, 3 trucks, 3 motor homes, 3 vans and 25 cars

New era of hybrid sports and how Team DSM will leverage Webex

Webex will:

  • Seamlessly connect the cyclists from their homes, team camps or race locations tothe large, distributed support staff of coaches, nutritionists, physical therapists, doctors, and of course, family. One of the key things Team DSM was looking for was a secure end-to-end collaboration solution that also includes our devices such as Webex Desk Pros, Webex boards and cameras.
  • Enable R&D experts of the Team to link with the innovation partners like DSM.
  • Enable the team to do pre- and post-race media interviews with riders and opening that exclusive experience to partners, VIPs and fans, providing for more meaningful interaction.

Webex enables an inclusive future for all

At Webex, our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all – by breaking down barriers across geography, language, personality and socio-economic levels to give everyone tools to achieve greater personal expression, as well as build more engaged relationships.

This partnership is a great example of how Webex empowers incredible organizations, like Team DSM, to scale their mission, and vision. We’re thrilled to partner with Team DSM as they reimagine the world of pro cycling. It’s an inspiring vision that we’re proud to be a part of and encourages us, too, to ‘keep challenging’ ourselves.

Cheers,
Aruna

Learn more about the new strategic partnership to drive collaboration between Team DSM and the future of sports [Press Release]

Learn more

Scaling glamour. Delivering hope. Our partnership with the Elton John Aids Foundation

Future Voices featuring stories from students and teachers from around the world

Creating Exhilarating and Exciting Experiences with Cisco Webex and McLaren Racing

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
Elton John Aids Foundation
Scaling glamour. Delivering hope. Our partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

You’re invited to the Academy Awards Pre-Party to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation! Tickets for the party can be purchased on Ticketmaster

The Oscars is, of course, an iconic awards show that attracts a yearly audience of millions. It’s also the occasion of glamorous entertainment industry parties and events that offer their own distinct allure. I’m excited to announce that Webex is partnering with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to make this year’s festivities more inclusive – though no less glamorous.

Webex hosts pre-show special open to supporters

On the evening of April 25th, the night of this year’s historic virtual Oscars ceremony, Webex will be sharing one of the most iconic pre-parties of the awards season live with film fans far beyond the confines of Hollywood. The Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Pre-Party has always been an exclusive, Super-A-list event: an exclusive draw for celebrities and their VIP guests. Now, through the power of Webex, all the glamour and spectacle of this pre-party will be available live and online. The party is inclusively open to a much wider virtual audience: people willing to provide financial support to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Every donation goes towards supporting AIDS awareness and research.

This year’s event will be hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, alongside Elton John and David Furnish, and features a full evening of entertainment, including a performance by GRAMMY-winning artist Dua Lipa. But it’s not just about spectacle: this particular Oscar pre-party has always been about delivering hope. Every year since 1992, Elton John has hosted the party to raise money for his AIDS Foundation. AIDS is still with us today with 38 million people living with HIV globally. And this year, the Foundation focus on raising money for at-risk young people living with HIV, specifically.

Webex helps to scale the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s mission

Historically, this private event has been held onsite at the Oscars and had been limited to 1,000 guests. This year, the party is moving off-site in a serious way: through a special arrangement with Webex, this year’s fete will be hosted an unprecedented four times to accommodate different time zones and regions’ Oscar broadcasts. The “guest list” in 2021 has been expanded to accommodate 100,000 guests per region. This opens up the possibility of having as many as 400,000 attendees. Every one of you will now have an opportunity to be included in this event brought to you by Webex.

We’re honored and humbled to be part of this partnership: for us, it makes a lot of sense. At Webex, our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all – by breaking down barriers across geography, language, personality and socio-economic levels to give everyone tools to achieve greater personal expression, as well as build more engaged relationships. The pre-party is a great example of how Webex empowers incredible organizations like The Elton John AIDS Foundation to scale their mission to collaborate with a broader range of interested – and interesting – people.

Webex and the future of hybrid events

While it’s true that humans will never stop meeting in person, we believe that the future of human interaction is hybrid, with a genuine sense of presence for all participants – that is the instinctive knowledge that there are people occupying the same three-dimensional space as you. And in the future, we’ll see even more sophisticated hybrids that focus on that sense of human togetherness. This pre-party with the Foundation –and other events like it — is only the first step in this endeavor. Webex is committed to continue to deliver further innovation and growth for businesses looking to scale and be more inclusive in their future collaborations.

Join me at the pre-party on April 25th to raise awareness about AIDS and support the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Glam is highly recommended, but optional.

Tickets for the party can be purchased on Ticketmaster

Cheers!

Aruna

Learn more

Neil Patrick Harris and Dua Lipa Join Elton John and David Furnish for the 29th Annual Elton John Aids Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party [Press Release]

Future Voices featuring stories from students and teachers from around the world

Creating Exhilarating and Exciting Experiences with Cisco Webex and McLaren Racing

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
Man thinking and on a Webex meeting
What’s new in RoomOS – March 2021

It’s officially springtime, and the days are getting lighter and warmer. We are announcing 2 new features in RoomOS this month, to make it easier to admit people into a virtual meeting room and to book a physical one. Perfect for the hybrid workplace!

Admit all from devices

Whenever people try to join a locked meeting, they are placed in the lobby to wait for the host to admit them. Previously, hosts had to let people in one by one, but we’ve made it available for hosts to admit everyone who’s waiting in the lobby with a single click. This feature is already available in the Webex app, and implementing this for Webex Room devices helps to bring the Webex experience in closer alignment. Learn more by visiting the help article.

Man thinking and on a Webex meetingRoom booking inside of the room

Last year we announced the Cisco Webex Room Navigator. This intuitive, touch panel offers instant connections to video conferences, room controls, content sharing, and room booking. We are now making it possible to use the Room Navigator inside of the room to book ad-hoc meetings. This is not replacing an existing user experience, but rather adding a new and more immediate alternative to do on demand scheduling of ad-hoc meeting rooms directly from the Room Navigator. If you want to see it in action, you can see a demo here. If you need help with this, please check out the help article.

Worried about touching shared touch devices? We got you. Simply use your voice to book the room. With in-room booking, you can extend your booking or book a room for a spontaneous meeting. If the room is available, Webex Assistant books the room for you. Check out the help article here.

woman on Webex using booking feature

We kept it short and sweet for March, but stay tuned – we have a lot of good things coming.

Learn more

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Resources

What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
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Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

Webex Ambassador Program

I am beyond excited to announce the relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program. Our ambassadors are highly knowledgeable and the backbone of our Webex Community. Whether they’re sharing best practices, offering suggestions on project plans, answering technical questions, or presenting at Webex Community events, Webex Ambassadors add unparalleled value to Webex, the Community, and Webex users and admins.

Webex Ambassadors are lighting the way for seamless collaboration in their organizations while also sharing valuable feedback and knowledge with fellow Webex users and admins so they too can quickly accomplish their goals. Sound like you? Read on.

At Webex, we truly believe in powering an inclusive future for all. Part of this means building a product that betters the lives of our users and gives customers an experience they love. As the VP of Customer Success for Webex, I am always thinking about the success of our customers. If they’re unable to use Webex to simplify how work gets done, to meet their goals, or to collaborate effectively, it doesn’t matter how good we think our products are. Period.

We understand that our customers are our most valuable asset. They help drive smart innovation and their voices provide insight into how we can do better. We listen to their voices closely, so much so in fact, that we drive high-velocity adoption by harnessing the power of their voices and their vast knowledge.

Webex Ambassador Logo

Where customers go to share, learn, and amplify their voice

The Webex Community is where you’ll find these users, admins, adoption champions, and ambassadors. They act as the voice of the customer and share best practices, give feedback, and build knowledge among fellow community members to help make Webex even better.

Customers can easily make the jump from purchasing Webex to adopting and loving it quickly, all in the Webex Community. We connect customers using Webex with those responsible for adoption planning, integrations and deployment, and the Webex teams creating the collaboration vision of the future. This allows everyone to ask questions, share ideas, project plans, and best practices. With over 70,000 members, numerous customer events, and speakers discussing everything from adoption to technical walkthroughs, the Webex Community truly is your go-to space to discuss all things Webex.

Meet the Webex Ambassador Program

We recognize and reward our most active Webex fanatics in many ways, including an invitation to join our newly launched Webex Ambassador Program. This program is all about listening to the voices of our users to gain an understanding of their experience and how we can make it better.

Webex Community members make the best ambassadors because they’re on a mission to help others and to help Webex be the best product it can be by offering unique insights that help us deliver fast-paced iteration. Ambassadors use their voices to share intelligible and actionable insights with our product and adoption teams, which helps us create the best possible products with clear and scalable adoption blueprints.

So, what’s in it for you? When you become a Webex Ambassador, you’ll get:

  • Tailored learning paths for users, IT admins, and adoption advocates
  • Rewards and recognition for sharing knowledge and insights
  • A chance to influence future Webex innovations
  • Opportunities to amplify your voice

As you continue to learn and share your voice, the more access you’ll gain to advanced classes to continue your learning. You’ll also get the opportunity to meet with the Webex teams designing the collaboration tools of the future.

What kind of ambassador are you?

Whether you’re just starting out or know everything about Webex, we have varying levels of ambassadors based on education. You’ll start as a Webex Power User and work your way up from there. Check out each level below.

Webex Ambassador

As a Webex Power User, you’ll gain access to a tailored learning path that will teach you everything you need to know about Webex and help you achieve the next level as an Associate Ambassador.

As an Associate Ambassador, you’ll dive deep into the details of effective technical and adoption practices. People at this level are typically leaders in the Webex Community.

Can you then level up to be a Professional Ambassador. You’ve already been tested on the most advanced levels of Webex products, including driving outcome-based adoption and workflow integrations that help drive continuous collaboration.

The top tier of our ambassadors—the Webex Experts—is a group of nomination-only members who comprise the top one percent of our program. They meet with our business regularly to influence our innovations, present at Webex Community events, and co-create adoption materials alongside our team.

This elite group builds bots and integrations, share real-world use cases, and drive innovation here at Webex. They even created the Aha! Portal that allows customers, partners, and internal teams to submit feature suggestions to our product teams. You can read about how this came to be in this blog.

 Our ambassadors provide invaluable feedback, insights, and innovations to Webex, so we invest heavily in them and their development. We provide professional development, education, and networking opportunities for our ambassadors to ensure that we are providing equity and access for everyone.

Sound like you?

To join the Webex Ambassador Program and hundreds of other Webex users, visit to sign up

About the author

Gaurav Verma

gaurav verma

Meet Gaurav Verma, VP of Customer Success on the Cisco Collaboration Team. Gaurav has a wealth of industry experience that he uses to drive high-velocity, customer-first adoption here at Cisco. He’s passionate about creating high-value customer experiences through the development of culture, by leveraging new strategies and technologies, and by undergoing fast-paced iterations.

 

Learn more

Get the best video meeting experience with Webex Auto Configuration

A broadcasters How to Guide to live stream Webex 

Live streaming with Webex Meetings for your virtual events: What’s new and how to use it

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Innovations from Webex Experts: How Webex Aha! came to be

The Webex Ambassadors Program is a global community of Webex loyalists who receive custom Webex learning paths to help further their careers, earn rewards, and influence the future of collaboration. Our Webex Experts are a top-tier group of members who offer thought leadership and act as counsel to our product and customer adoption teams. In this series, we’ll explore their contributions to the Webex ecosystem and hopefully inspire you to do more than you ever imagined possible with Webex.

The story of Webex Aha

Let’s look back a few years to 2017. We attended regular meetings with the Webex product teams where any of us could give feedback in live sessions and in Webex spaces about new opportunities to improve our products. We would share perspectives, suggest and build integrations and bots, and offer ideas for new features. Teams would take notes, try to prioritize ideas, and then attempt to circle back once they committed to or abandoned an idea. Sometimes, we’d get an update that an idea had been slated as a project, but most of the time, there wasn’t a standard way to communicate whether our ideas were falling into a black hole or actually helping.

This process simply wasn’t working. With so many voices in such an informal setting, it was hard to articulate and quantify the impact and urgency of a request. We wanted to create a systematic way to provide product feedback while helping our teams prioritize requests. This is where we — the Webex Experts — stepped up.

Webex gave us complete autonomy to scope the problem, come up with a viable solution, and ultimately, implement the solution. Once we got approval from Josh Reola, our Webex Ambassador sponsor, and product management executives like Damien McCoy, we explored the group’s needs and the needs of the products teams we were hoping to serve.

We set out to solve a challenge, but we also wanted to provide a mechanism for the Webex product teams to quantify the importance of a specific feature request and streamline the decision-making process. The end goal? Speed up how long it took to get from idea to implementation to innovation. We wanted to drive Webex innovation at the speed of light.

Finding the best solution to a big problem

The first step was to research platforms that would address our numerous needs. After evaluating a few platforms, we settled on Aha! Roadmap Software. We then designed and built the Webex Idea Portal on the platform, taking into consideration the needs of both the product teams and the feedback provider. This allowed us to determine the proper fields, workflow, and process to submit and receive feedback in an automated manner. We also wanted to build a system component that enabled a crowdsourced voting mechanism. This let users add more detail or use cases to give more color to the initial idea request.

Add a new idea

After implementation, we used the Webex Idea Portal to provide feedback to the Webex product teams. We made a few tweaks along the way to modify and add fields based on our experience and the needs of the product teams. The portal housed all requests in a single place where we could prioritize ideas, follow up with submitters, gather more information, and where the product teams could easily gauge urgency. It greatly improved communication, which helped to quantify how long an idea would take to implement.

Because of this and the success Webex saw on the platform, they converted the portal to a corporate-wide tool that was rolled out to internal Webex sales teams and Cisco partners in March of 2018 (less than a year after it was built).

This portal has became a standard tool and was one of the most effective ways for all stakeholders to give input to the Webex teams. Partners, Webex Experts, and internal sales teams could all submit their ideas, vote on them, add customer names, submit additional details, and track their idea’s progress. Product teams were finally able to access this invaluable feedback in one place.

Virtual Background

As Webex Experts, we have unique opportunities (like that with the Webex Idea Portal) to influence and impact the direction of Webex products. This project gave us all the opportunity to optimize a process that significantly improved a critical business process for Webex. We were all excited about the impact it had on Webex.

Damien McCoy’s take on the business impact

When the feedback portal idea was brought to our executive team, I was fascinated, but certainly not surprised. Our Webex Experts have always been problem solvers and transparent about how our products could better serve them. Because of their history of excellence, I was quick to endorse this product and couldn’t have been more impressed with how well they were able to execute a brilliant idea.

The Webex Ideal Portal that our Experts built on Aha! helped us uncover quite a few use cases we had never considered and gave us the unique opportunity to hear perspectives from varying industries. We were gaining an understanding of our customers’ needs, which has been invaluable.

Up until this year, we were gathering feedback in the portal from Experts, partners, and internal teams. But what about our customers? Their voices couldn’t be heard in the portal because they didn’t have access. So, when we launched the Webex Community in May of 2020, we opened the portal to a much broader audience. Now, anyone who uses Webex can utilize this portal to make their voices heard. This level of feedback would not have happened without the work the Webex Experts put in.

Our product teams can now listen to our customers, users, partners, and our Webex Ambassadors. They can respond to and prioritize feedback and ideas. Beyond this, the Webex Idea Portal has given us a way to interact, get all the necessary details, and build direct relationships with those who have generated and contributed to ideas. It allows for open-source ideas and the ability to prioritize, streamline, and speed up innovation.


Webex User Community

In closing

Some of our very best ideas come directly from the Webex Community. We evangelize our Webex Ambassadors to crowdsource solutions to common problems and to share use cases and challenges. I cannot overstate the value our Webex Experts (like Chris, Matt, and Thomas) provide by co-creating solutions alongside us.

If you love finding solutions to problems and want to join an incredible group of talented Webex fanatics, enroll early in our Webex Ambassadors Program. Level up your knowledge. Your network. Your voice.

About the authors

Chris Capasso

Chris Capasso

Chris Capasso has been a Webex Expert since 2017. Find out more about his accomplishments, his experience with the Webex Ambassadors, or his areas of expertise in the Webex Ambassadors directory

Matt Spool

Matt Spool

Matt Spool has been a Webex Expert since 2017. Find out more about his accomplishments, his experience with the Webex Ambassadors, or his areas of expertise in the Webex Ambassadors directory.

Thomas Vidgar

thomas vidgar

Thomas Vidgar has been a Webex Expert since 2017. Find out more about his accomplishments, his experience with the Webex Ambassadors, or his areas of expertise in the Webex Ambassadors directory.

Damien McCoy

Damien McCoy

Damien McCoy: Damien joined Cisco in 2011 initially delivering market growth for the Cisco Jabber product line and was part of the early team building Webex Teams to support the shift to team collaboration in the cloud. He now leads our growth team as the Director of Product Growth at Webex, partnering with customers to deliver workplace and employee experience transformation strategies. When he’s not at his desk Damien enjoys the Atlantic Ocean and local wilderness with his local Sea Scout group.

Learn more

5 simple ways to drive Webex adoption

Webex Community members bring Linux support for Webex to life

Make your voice heard with the User Community Feedback Portal

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Layout selection on Webex Board
What’s New in RoomOS – February

After a quiet January, we have really upped our innovation engine to bring you 8 new features to enhance your collaboration experience, whether you are in a meeting or wanting to whiteboard or share your screen, or curious as to what a full cloud meeting experience is.

Webex Edge for Devices updates

Native Webex Meeting Experience for Webex Edge for Devices

We are now offering a steppingstone towards an experience that is closer to the cloud experience. With Native Webex Meeting Experience for Webex Edge for Devices, you can enjoy cloud features on your devices registered to the edge when you join a Webex Meeting. Your device will join a Webex Meeting natively, giving you access to all the features that were previously only available in the cloud. Think multi-way whiteboarding, facial recognition with name labels, advanced mute capabilities and host controls.

Webex Edge for Devices Software upgrades

With cloud-managed software upgrades, your Webex Edge for Devices linked devices get upgraded automatically when a new RoomOS software version is available. In order to enable Native Webex Meeting Experience for Webex Edge for Devices, your devices need to be cloud upgradable. This is in order to make sure that any change to the cloud service will be noted by the on-premises endpoint, and don’t disconnect or disrupt any workflow.

In-meeting experiences

Transfer Host and Presenter Roles

When using Webex, it is easy to “pass the ball,” meaning that the meeting host can give special privileges to whomever is going to present. We are now making this available for Webex Rooms devices. This makes it easy to keep the meeting going when the original host needs to leave – they can simply assign a new host, and the meeting can keep on rolling. Check out the help article here.

Transfer Host and Presenter Roles

Request Unmute

There are situations where it’s your turn to present and you’ve forgotten to unmute yourself. Instead of someone announcing to all participants that you’ve forgotten to unmute yourself, we have added an option for the host to send a message to the person who is muted to request them to unmute themselves. The person who is muted will get a notification saying:“You are being asked to unmute yourself.”  Visit the help article to learn more.

Presenter Host and Presenter Roles_1

Closed Captions

We are all about inclusive collaboration experiences and making virtual meetings 10x better than in-person interactions.  That’s why we are excited to introduce closed captions on our devices. Today’s workforce is multicultural, and cross-border collaboration is the norm. By bringing in closed captions to your meetings, you are making it easier for people with hearing impairments to understand what is being said. Additionally, by having both auditory input, being able to see body language through video and closed captions increases the chances of understanding and being understood. Learn more by visiting the help article.

Improved co-creation, layout and content sharing experiences

Shape recognition

We have added a beautification tool to help make the shapes you draw on your whiteboard on the Webex Desk Pro or Webex Board a bit more precise. When you draw certain figures, the whiteboard will detect it and re-trace them with more accuracy. For example, it will complete a circle or straightening a square. If you want to learn more you can check out the help article for Webex Board Series or Webex Desk Series.

Layout selection on Webex Board

The Webex Board series has always had a different layout than the rest of the Webex Rooms portfolio. We are now aligning it to the rest of the portfolio, providing most of the regular layout families to the Webex Board. At this point, this is only available for transcoded meetings. Further, transcoded meetings on single-screen devices will receive a wide PiP with up to 6 participants in view. Click here to learn more.

Layout selection on Webex Board

Improved share flow for Webex Desk Pro

If you haven’t had a chance to try the Webex Desk Pro yet – you are missing out. This is a truly brilliant device, and we are making the content sharing experience even more intuitive. We have added the share button to the floating content bar and your self-view area, making sharing easy. Tired of asking whether people can see your screen? With this new improved share flow, you will get a red border around your screen to let you know that you are sharing. Easy as anything.

Sharing Web Apps in call

A few months back we made it available to launch a web app directly from your Webex Board Desk Pro’s home screen and interact with them using the touch display. We have taken this one step further by allowing you to also use these web apps during a call! The best thing is that everyone is in on the experience – devices without a touch interface can receive and see whatever web apps you are sharing too. The help article can be found here.

That’s it (and that was a lot!) for February. I hope you will make good use of these new features. Until next time!

Learn more

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Resources

What’s new in Webex: February 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
woman at computer with puckering kiss face and floating hearts
Valentine’s Day: How to be together, even when you can’t be together

Good ol’ Valentine’s Day.

 

A day marked by roses and the celebration of love.

A day to express how you feel more than any above.

Some people love it, they even propose.

Others despise it… You know how it goes.

While I can’t change your feelings towards this particular day.

I thought I’d offer advice. Use it if you may.

It’s for couples apart, and for couples together.

It’s for single people too. Or people under the weather.

I’ll give you a hint because I don’t want to be misleading.

It’s about Webex! I hope you’ll keep reading.

Virtual Valentine’s ideas

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to compile and share a few virtual Valentine’s ideas for any situation you are in this year. Use video conferencing to plan a date, or a get-together with friends!

For a first date

If you’re in this boat, props to you! A first date on Valentine’s could feel like a lot of pressure (maybe not, considering who you are). Take the pressure off a bit, and consider a virtual first date!

Idea: Choose a restaurant with your date and then order food from that place. You’ll be experiencing a meal from the same restaurant together. You could even turn on the same playlist and dress up like you normally would when meeting someone for the first time. Who knows, this Valentine’s day could be the start of your forever love.

A person sitting on a couch with a computer

For the couple that can’t be together

Are you long distance and can’t be with your significant other on Valentine’s Day? Here are a couple ideas to keep the romance alive on this special day.

Idea 1: Order a special box of chocolate for both yourself and for your significant other. Sign on to Webex and have a chocolate tasting together.

Idea 2: After a dinner, choose the same movie and have a Teleparty. Netflix has created a new way to watch TV/movies with others, from your own home. Teleparty synchronizes your video playback so you can watch the same movie at the exact same time.

For those that want to double date

One double date idea that you can do from the comfort of your own home is a cocktail and dessert date.

Idea: Have one couple choose a cocktail to teach you how to make. And the other teaches how to make a dessert. Send all the ingredients needed so each couple can grab them beforehand, and then hop on the video conference, turn your cameras on, and you’ve just created your own version of a cooking class! You’ll get to teach the other couple how to make one of your favorite drinks, or favorite desserts. And you get to be together, virtually!

Here is my favorite drink and dessert.

For a Galentine’s night

Webex is also perfect for a Galentine’s night! You can see all your girlfriends, without leaving your house! The best part is, you can stay comfy in loungewear (unless you want to dress up).

Idea: Wine and cheese night. Pick up a bottle of wine and your favorite cheese/cheeses and crackers. Then, drink and eat like you were together in person. This may even save you more money than going out to a restaurant. You can even set your virtual background to something like this. See others here.

Women drinking wine and video conferencing

For really anything else

Don’t want to go anywhere or really plan anything?

If you’re going to be at home but still want to see friends, consider hosting an “open house.” Send all your friends the link to your meeting, turn your video on, and let them pop in and out for a period of 1, 2, 3(?) hours during the night! This could be a chance to see and catch up with all the people you love, from the comfort of your own home.

Like I mentioned before, some people love this day, others hate it. But really, any of these ideas can be used year-round, for any occasion!

We want to spread the love here at Cisco Webex and hope we helped you think of some fun ideas to have an amazing virtual Valentine’s Day!

If you end up trying one of these ideas, share with us on social media by using the hashtag #LoveOnWebex and stay tuned, as we will share our favorite!

Learn more

How to have fun, virtually

Keeping our distance doesn’t mean we can’t stay close

3 tips for managing a virtual get together

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Best Practices: How to Work Remotely [Live Class]

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
What’s new in RoomOS: January

Happy New Year! I hope you are ready for another year, and another round of RoomOS updates. So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it!

Raise hand

Ever had the problem of being in a large meeting and desperately wanting to ask a question without interrupting the speaker? Or ever held a presentation and wanted to get live feedback without having multiple people speaking in tandem leaving nothing but an inaudible mess and loads of untangling to understand who was first? With our new Raise Hand feature, these scenarios are a thing of the past. Meeting participants can simply click the Raise Hand icon on their device, and their names will show up in a sidebar in chronological order, depending on who raised their hand first. Only the first person that raised their hand will have their name displayed on the screen, and the counter on the side will increase with every person that raises their hand.

This also allows the speaker to know when someone raises their hand, and how many questions there are, as the counter on the sidebwr increases. The meeting host can then go to the roster list to unmute whoever has their hand raised. This makes giving and receiving feedback that much easier. If you want to learn more, check out the help article.

Two women in meeting using the raise hand feature in Webex

Far-end camera control

This is a feature that has been requested in many verticals. You ask, we listen and deliver. It is now possible to control the camera of cloud-registered endpoints from the far end. For privacy reasons, this is not available for devices in personal mode, only in shared mode. It couldn’t be simpler – you simply choose the system to control from the participants list, and turn off best overview for the system that you want to control. Click here to learn more.

Cloud upgrade for Webex Edge

We are making easier to manage software upgrades for devices registered to Webex Edge. These devices are now able to upgrade their software directly from the cloud. This feature also gives you clear information in Webex Control Hub about deployment dates, and there is no need to manage upgrades manually. Administrators can choose whether they want to opt in on the feature. You can learn more about this by visiting the help page.

 

Cloud upgrade for Webex Edge

Transcoded layouts for DX/MX/SX

Our previous portfolio of MX, SX and DX devices will get transcoded meeting in Webex Meetings. What this means is that our more advanced layouts, such as 4×4 and 5×5 will be available for these devices. This also allows single-screen devices to get a wide stream with up to 6 participants on-screen whenever you share content. The help article can be found here.

6 x 5 grid of profiles on Webex device

That’s it for this month – but stay tuned, as in the next few months we will be giving you loads of the features announced at WebexONE, aimed at making video meetings 10x better than in-person interactions.

Learn more

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Resources

What’s new in Webex: January 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

 

Read more
Woman on computer using Webex Meetings
5 simple ways to drive Webex adoption

Getting your team to adopt a new software doesn’t have to be painful. We’ve made it easy for you. From planning to post-deployment to success sharing, we’ll show you how to implement Webex and make your team true champions for Webex within your organization.

We’ve put together a quick five-step guide to help you drive Webex adoption. You can also download our  Webex Adoption Checklist for more support before you get started.

1) Assemble your team

Get leadership on board. Previously, driving adoption of collaboration technology was a bit challenging, but last year has shown us just how important this kind of technology is for getting work done and connecting across the organization. Leadership needs to lead by example and advocate for Webex. Make it part of your daily routine!

Assemble your team and make it apart of your daily routine2) Ensure technical readiness

Future-proof success for your support team and end users by configuring Control Hub to enable the best possible experience for your Webex deployment. We’ve created Control Hub Essentials to  guide you through fully configuring your Control Hub environment for Webex success.

Prepare your technology to help:

  • Create a secure collaboration environment
  • Prevent scheduling and joining errors
  • Speed up time to onboard your end users
  • Grow adoption across your organization
  • Improve user experience and satisfaction
control hub
Click to enlarge photo

3) Create your rollout plan (and make it relatable and measurable)

To build a successful rollout plan for your organization, you’ll need to consider a few things, like “What dependencies do we have from elsewhere in the business?”, “What are our key business drivers?”, “What are our milestones and deliverables?”

We’ve created a timeline template to help onboard your team to the Webex app. We will help guide you through the questions you’ll need to ask to prepare your organization. A key part of your plan should address the value of users adopting a new tool—from HR to marketing to executive assistants, and more. Your users should be at the center of everything you do, so make sure the rollout is relatable.

Measuring success

It’s equally important to make your rollout measurable. You can measure the success of your Webex services with three metrics (but remember, it’s not just about data):

        • Usage analytics: How much the services are being used and by whom.
        • Business performance: How Webex is impacting productivity, quality, and cost.
        • Success stories: Compelling stories about how Webex has been used to solve problems and create new value.

Continue to report monthly and see how usage is growing, what areas need help, and how you can continue to drive change within your organization.

This template will help you measure your results.

Learn more about Control Hub.

4) Prepare your champions (Engage influencers early)

Identify early adopters throughout your organization to help foster adoption. You can build momentum by identifying and sharing Webex use cases with your team.

Encourage your champions to join the Webex Community to access discussion boards, live events, feature requests, and more.

Webex Community including the Webex User, IT Administrator, & Adoption Champion

5) Launch it!

Communication is a huge part of driving adoption, so you will want to tell your users what they’re in for. We’ve built out launch kits to help guide you to success.

user launch kit

You can customize each launch kit as needed to share with your users. They include:

        • A quick start guide
        • Email templates (awareness and launch messaging)
        • Product images
        • A Webex resources page
        • A Webex overview video

Now that we’ve gone over all the technical stuff, we want to remind you to make it fun! This is likely your user’s first experience with Webex, so you’ll want to make it as easy as possible to understand (and to reinforce why they chose Webex in the first place). Why not use games as part of your adoption strategy? Games are a great way to get people engaged with new products and features.

Download our gamification pack, visit the Webex store to view fun prize options for your users, and let the games begin!

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: January 2021

Fast track your adoption with Cisco Webex Control Hub

Webex Community members bring Linux support for Webex to life

Resources

Switch to the new Webex app

Ready to make the switch to the new Webex?

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
Moderating spaces in a team
Moderating spaces in a team

Today, if you are a member of a team, you can join any space within that team. There are no restrictions. In some cases, the information of a space may be sensitive or confidential, and it might be necessary to restrict access to that space from other team members. It wasn’t possible to do this before, but from this March, it will be.

With this update to the all new Webex app, we are introducing the ability to moderate the spaces of a team. Read on to find a description of how exactly the moderation of a team’s spaces will work.

Moderating a team space

Click for larger image

You will moderate a team space in the same way you moderate a normal space today. On desktop, go to the in-space settings of a space via the cog menu, select ‘Moderate space’ and confirm. On mobile, go to the in-space settings, select ‘info’ and toggle the option to ‘Moderate’ the space. You will become the moderator of that space and have access to all moderator capabilities. You will then have the option to choose to promote other space members as moderators. Users can do this by going to the ‘People’ tab and right clicking on a user on desktop or long pressing on mobile.

In the in-space settings menu, you will have all the usual moderator settings available. On desktop, these include the ability to turn off @all mentions in the space, turn on announcement mode, archive the space, remove the space from the team, or remove the moderation of the space. Moderators are also the only ones who can add new users to the space or remove current space members. They can also control the contents of a space with the ability to delete other user’s messages. If you are the last moderator of a team space, the option to ‘Leave’ the space is disabled. You must first either unmoderate the space or promote someone else to moderate it.

With this change, you could also choose to move a normal space that is already moderated into an existing team. Webex | Move a Space into a Team explains how you do this. Note that to move a moderated space to a team, all space moderators must be members of the targeted team.

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Joining a moderated Team Space

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As mentioned earlier, moderating the spaces of a team allows for ultimate control over who can access those spaces. They are tethered to the team, but it is the space moderators who decide who can be added. Normal team members do not have the ability to self-join a moderated space, they must request to be added. Team moderators, however, have the highest level of control inside a team. This means they can self-join any moderated team space as well as promote themselves to be a moderator of that space.

Click for larger image

It will be clear which spaces are moderated when you are inside a team. Any moderated team spaces will have a key avatar in the team space list. When a normal team member selects an unjoined, moderated team space from this list, they will see a new view which explains that the space is moderated along with the space moderators’ avatars. On desktop, you can hover over those avatars to bring up their contact cards while on mobile, you can select ’view moderators list’. To join the space, the user needs to contact one of these moderators and request to be added.

Guests – who are any users outside of the team – can be added to a moderated team space by the space moderators. Guests cannot be made moderators of a moderated team space.

Team moderators

As stated above, team moderators have the highest level of control over a team and all spaces inside that team. This includes both normal spaces and moderated spaces. If you created the team, you are a team moderator. That user decides who to promote to join them in moderating that team. See Webex | Roles on Teams and Spaces for more information on roles in Webex.

Unlike ordinary team members, team moderators do not have to request to be added to a moderated team space. They see the key avatar in the team space list, but when they click on the space, they get a different view to what ordinary team members see. They see the option to ‘Join’ the space, meaning they can self-join any moderated space of a team. Once inside a moderated space, a team moderator can decide to take control of the space by promoting themselves to be a moderator. They do this by going to the ‘People’ tab and right clicking on themselves.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Moderated team space with no moderators

If a team space moderator is the last moderator of that space, they cannot voluntarily ‘Leave’ the space. The option is disabled for them until they assign another moderator. However, it is possible for a moderated team space to enter a state in which it has no moderators. There are three ways in which this can happen.

The first is if the user decides to ‘Leave’ the team, which removes them from all spaces of that team. The second is if a user is removed from the team by a team moderator. The last way is if the user is removed from the organisation and, subsequently, all their spaces. If that user happens to be the last moderator of any spaces in a team, then those spaces will enter a ‘no moderator’ state.

It’s important to note that the space left with no moderators will stay inside the team and it will stay moderated with access still restricted from other team members.

If this happens, it is up to a team moderator to resolve the situation. For the team moderators only, the affected space will pop to the top of the ‘unjoined’ spaces list, it will become bolded, and have an indicator on the space bricklet, which together alert that there is action to be taken on that space.

By clicking on the affected space, the team moderator will see text which informs them that the space has been left with no moderators as well as the option to join the space. The issue is resolved as soon as the team moderator enters the space, as in this unique scenario, they are automatically made a moderator of the space.

Click for larger image

An ordinary team member who is not in the ‘no moderator’ space will not notice this situation unless they attempt to join the affected space. Then, they will see that there are no moderators in the space and that to join, they will need to contact a team moderator.

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A team member who is inside the ‘no moderator’ space will only see that the space is left with no moderators if they click on the ‘People’ tab. In the place where moderators should be, there will be some information informing them the space has been left without moderators. In this case, they should contact a team moderator to resolve this.

Click for larger image

Allowing the moderation of team spaces unlocks a whole new world of possibilities for making and managing spaces in your organisation. It’s important to understand that this is not just one feature, but instead is the key to unlocking moderator capabilities across all spaces in your Webex app.

See what else you can do with Webex Roles on Teams and Spaces

Resources

Switch to the new Webex app

Ready to make the switch to the new Webex?

Learn more

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Read more
4x4 grid layout
What’s new in RoomOS- December

This December, you can choose to work from wherever with our new Custom Background feature. Maybe The Bahamas sounds tempting? Read on to learn more about the Custom Background feature, among many other innovations.

Custom background upload

The Webex Desk Pro already has the virtual background feature, where your background is replaced by an image, but these images are pre-selected by Cisco. Want to work from the beach? Your cabin? Times Square? The opportunities are (almost…) endless with the new custom background upload feature. You can now upload your own custom images! We provide some guidance about what works, and users can go into settings.webex.com and upload up to 3 images that they can later select as their own virtual background.

4×4 Grid Layout

Tuning into body language and mimic is an essential part of effective communication. And good communication on the other hand, is essential for successful collaboration. That’s why we are super excited to offer you a 4×4 grid layout – this way you can meet face-to-face with more of your colleagues, even when all of you work remotely. 4 rows and 4 columns of participants are displayed on your Cisco Webex Room Series device, or your Webex Desk Pro. This is a step towards bringing you a 5×5 grid layout – which is just around the corner.

4x4 grid layout

Floating content bar

This is a new user interface element to make it easier to find and use certain features. The new floating content bar simplifies the journey towards annotation, content sharing, and using the touch redirect feature to connect your laptop to a Webex Board or Desk Pro and control your laptop screen directly from the device’s touch screen.

floating content bar in RoomOS

Co-host

When you are the host of a Webex Meeting, you’re basically the boss. Some features, like recording and Webex Assistant can only be enabled by the host. However, sometimes the meeting host is busy talking or presenting, or they might have to leave the meeting earlier than planned. This is where our new feature, co-host, comes into play. The co-host can perform the same actions as the host. What’s even better, is that your Cisco Webex Rooms device can also act as a co-host, so you can record, end the meeting or use Webex Assistant from the device, all without having a meeting client open. If you want to learn more, you can check out the help article.

Titles in name labels

I’m sure you’ve all grown to love our Face Recognition feature. It helps people in your organization to get to know each other better, and makes it easier for you to remember names – hey, I don’t blame you! We’re all busy. Well, we’ve taken this one step further by integrating Face Recognition with titles. Titles are job description showing under your name label. This is retrieved from the active directory of your company; however, end users can change this by going into settings.webex.com and edit the description field. Click here to learn more.

Titles in name labesl in RoomOS

Control Hub – Bulk Configurations

Cisco Webex Control Hub is the central hub for all your Webex services, including your Webex Rooms devices. Through Control Hub you get access to rich insights and analytics, and it’s also an easy way to manage and configure your Rooms devices. We recently added support for Webex Edge for Devices customers, so both full cloud and hybrid devices can take advantage of the new bulk functionality. What is the bulk functionality, you might ask? It is built on our open API’s, and allows our customer to select as few or as many devices as they want, and configure one or many attributes to the selected devices. Read the help article to learn more.

That’s it for December, and we’ll be back In the new year with even more innovations. Until next time!

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Resources

What’s new in Webex: December 2020

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
webexone
Three reasons to register for WebexOne: December 8-9

WebexOne is a don’t miss event! This is your last chance to sign up before the event starts.

Here are three reasons you should do so:

1.It’s digital (and Free).

You heard that right. It’s easier to attend than ever before. You can tune in to the event from the comfort of your home office, or really, anywhere you are.

2. Amal Clooney and RuPaul Charles (+ dozens of other thought leaders and speakers)

We’re sure you’ve heard of them. One is known for her work as a Human Rights Expert, and the other as a Pop Culture Icon and host/executive producer of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. These famous luminaries will be joining the event to talk about their careers and how they play a role in inspiring the future of work.

In addition, you’ll get a chance to hear from Webex experts, customers, partners, analysts, and other thought leaders on the direction they see the future of work headed. After the keynotes, you can join sessions around seamless collaboration, customer experience, and channel partners.

3. the all new Webex

This is our premier digital collaboration conference and with that comes, drum roll, please… an all new Webex. You won’t want to miss the announcements and discussions around new features that WILL create a better and easier future of work. Whether you’re back in the office, or working remotely, the new Webex is for you.

Explore the power and magic of collaboration. Check out more here. And don’t forget to register, today.

Learn More

Top 10 reasons I’m excited about WebexOne

Announcing WebexOne: Cisco’s Premier Digital Collaboration Conference

Looking for Best of the Best Bragging Rights? Nominations are Open for the 2nd Annual Webex Awards!

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more
Small startup business owner concept. two successful young baristas women standing in bar counter in cafe. happy coffeehouse waitresses in aprons smiling confidently to camera in coffee shop.
5 questions small business owners should ask themselves before choosing a video conferencing solution

Choosing the right solution for your small business

With the advent of widespread remote work, collaboration has become more complex. Instead of gathering in a physical conference room, meetings are now virtual. How do you choose the right solution for your small business and give your teams the tools they need to succeed?

Unproductive meetings are a time and energy suck. When conducted remotely, they have the potential to be even more disorienting. The right video conferencing solution can make meetings productive again.

5 things to look for in a video conferencing solution

Before purchasing a conference solution for audio/video calls and meetings, there are some questions to be answered. Look carefully at each of your prospective solutions and as a buyer, consider a customer value management approach to see if they support your business needs. Some features may include:

  1. In-browser functionality

Many video conferencing solutions require users to have an account or download an app. That’s just one more hoop to jump through and one more login to remember. Look for options that support in-browser use and have a fast uptime instead.

When you can simply invite people to a meeting with a quick email and they can get straight into the meeting by clicking a link, you cut down on time waiting for people to find their login or request a new password, or download and launch an app.

Cisco Webex Meetings has a fast browser-based interface, providing easy access for desktop users. Your participants can also join via tablet, phone, or any standards-based video conferencing system. The goal is to provide unparalleled video quality from anywhere your team member is located, on any device they choose to utilize. You can easily customize the meeting layout for best viewing and usability.

Best of all, there’s no download or configuration required, and users can easily jump into meetings over the phone with the Call Me feature. You can schedule, start, and join new meetings directly from your toolbar for added flexibility and convenience.

  1. Collaboration features

The ability to actively share and collaborate during a conference can enhance video calls and teamwork. Look for solutions that allow the following functionalities:

  • Screen sharing. Being able to show, not tell, can streamline training processes and make it easy for groups to follow along as you demonstrate how to use a new tool or application.
  • File sharing. Dropping a document into your meeting for everyone to access saves time and effort over having to create and send an email blast with the attached file or link.
  • Instant messaging. Having a built-in chat allows participants to ask questions without interrupting the flow of a presentation and helps preserve a record of participation.

Webex Meetings facilitates screen sharing, file sharing, and real-time chat during video conferencing calls to help foster collaboration and build stronger teams.

  1. Speech-to-text capability

Being able to revisit what happened in a conference call can give your video conferences lasting organizational impact. Look for features like audio/visual recording, closed captioning, real-time transcription and note taking. Being able to share a past video conference with someone who missed it is easier than trying to recap later.

Webex Meetings can record each conference, provide closed captions, facilitate note-taking, and deliver accurate transcriptions that you can download, save, and share as needed. When you need to revisit an older conference, you can use targeted keywords to search transcripts for sections of interest.

  1. Cost vs. value

While cost is certainly a factor for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when choosing how to handle your video conferencing call needs. All options aren’t created equal, and it’s better to pay a little more for a video conference solution that meets the needs of your team.

  • Quality. Read reviews and find out which solutions repeatedly get praise for clear audio and smooth video feeds.
  • Resolution. Does the picture quality suffer on certain devices? You need a solution that doesn’t just work only on desktop or only on mobile.
  • Security. How are your calls encrypted? Who handles the speech to text function and provides recordings, transcriptions, and closed captioning?
  • Support. When you’re having issues, waiting in a queue or having to email a support team isn’t a viable solution. You need help that is available and accessible in real time.

Webex Meetings video conferencing provides clear audio and high-resolution video, along with in-house encryption, recording, captioning, and transcription for a secure experience. The support team is continually available to troubleshoot any potential issues with you in real time.

  1. Integrations

How well will the video conferencing solution integrate with tools you already use? Ask the following questions when considering adding video conferencing to your array of small business solutions:

  • Can you seamlessly merge your contact list, email client, and calendars to facilitate meeting invites?
  • Will you be able to readily access files from your favorite file-share and storage locations?
  • Is the solution compatible with both Microsoft and Apple tools and applications?
  • What about chat and communication platforms?
  • Can you use the video conference solution inside your preferred small business customer relationship management (CRM) platform?

Being able to continue using the other solutions your team is familiar with will make video conferencing easier and more intuitive.

Webex Meetings smoothly integrates with Google Cloud, Microsoft, Apple, Box, Salesforce, and Slack to complete your suite of small business tools while fostering scalability and adoption.

Video conferencing can give your SMB a strong strategic advantage. Learn more by getting started with a free trial today.

Resources

Control Hub Administration — Configuring the Essentials Part 1 [Live Class]

Scheduling Webex Events [Live Class]

What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Learn More

Small business innovation and how you can learn from it

Choosing the best small business tools for 2020

How do I expand my small-scale business without capital?

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing

What’s new in Webex Meetings 41.1 [Live Class]

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance

Read more
Best cybersecurity practices for parents

As a parent, what can you do to make sure your children are as safe as possible from cybersecurity threats while attending school remotely?

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) may have ended, but its lessons about how to stay safe online are worth taking to heart throughout the year.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many previously in-person activities are now virtual, relying on video conferencing, VoIP calling, and screen sharing as substitutes for face-to-face discussions. School systems throughout the U.S. have shifted all or at least most of their classes online. This new normal raises the stakes for proper cybersecurity measures in the home, where many children now receive instruction.

Let’s look at five immediate steps you can take to curtail risk and promote a more productive, safer online experience.

  1. Help your kids manage their passwords

CISA recommends using the longest permissible password for every account to prevent guessing. There are several ways to create a sufficiently lengthy and unique password for each login:

  • Let a web browser (Apple Safari, Google Chrome, etc.) generate and store it for you.
  • Use a third-party service such as 1Password to do the same.
  • Come up with your own passwords by using phrases, titles, and abbreviations, interspersed with special characters and varying capitalization as needed, and manage them with one of the above tools.

In all cases, you’ll want to have some sort of auto-fill enabled so that your children do not have to manually enter each of these passwords. Train them on how to generally use the password manager, including the use of the PIN, master password, or biometric credentials that may be needed to fill each password.

  1. Set up and enable parental controls

All major operating systems include some form of parental controls, which allow you to manage the applications, sites, and services your children have access to. For example, Chromebooks running Google Chrome OS can have Family Link enabled.

Family Link can be configured to prevent private browsing in Chrome, block certain types of content, and limit which permissions a child can grant to individual websites (such as camera, microphone, and location access). These features are also customizable.

Similar services exist across iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. Basically, all of these parental control solutions can disable incognito/private browsing like Family Link does, while also providing granular activity reporting and management of site/app access.

  1. Educate them about phishing

Phishing is one of the most effective types of cyberattacks. A 2020 survey from email security firm GreatHorn found that 36% of respondents received risky emails on a daily basis.* A separate Barracuda Networks report found a huge surge in phishing campaigns as attackers take advantage of high interest in recent times, safety measure announcements, and potential treatments.**

Pre-teen boy lying on sofa using laptop, dad sitting beside him, mum and sister in the backgroundBeing able to identify and delete any phishing emails that automatic spam filters don’t catch is especially important in remote learning environments, due to the sheer volume of email correspondence sent to both parents and students. Accordingly, phishing knowledge is a key skill for everyone in your household to acquire. To lower the risk of phishing, be sure to:

  • Note any unusual spellings or grammar in email subject lines and bodies.
  • Avoid clicking any links or downloading any attachments from unknown senders.
  • Look for odd sender email addresses, for instance ones from non-.edu domains.
  • Add seemingly risky senders to a block list, so their future messages don’t show up.
  • Ensure that spam filtering settings on your child’s email account are properly configured.
  1. Keep an eye on software updates

Outdated applications and operating systems are security risks, as they might contain known vulnerabilities and/or be incompatible with certain forms of protection. Even if your child isn’t aware yet of these risks, you can still keep them safe by making sure that automatic software updates are enabled.

Depending on the platform and the type of update, the update may happen in the background (in which case, no action is required) or require a restart or the entry of an administrator password to proceed. Check periodically to see if updates are available or require any intervention on your part.

  1. Enable two-factor authentication

Sensitive applications such as those for video conferencing and voice communications should be protected with multiple layers of security. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is especially important, as it requires any successful login to consist of both a correct username-password combination and an additional factor such as a one-time code, security question, or confirmation on a separate device.

NCSAM 2020 has focused heavily on the role of 2FA and the other precautions highlighted here. You can access their full set of cybersecurity tips on this page.

Want to learn more about Webex and all its features and the value it can provide? Reach out for more information or get started for free.

Learn more

What healthcare providers should do this National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Preparing for screen sharing: How to reduce risk when sharing your screen

Security and compliance realities for remote financial service workers

4 ways to ensure your video conferences are secure

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

What’s new in Webex Meetings 41.1 [Live Class]

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Sources

*GreatHorn Annual Survey Report, 2020

**667% spike in email phishing attacks due to coronavirus factors

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How to maintain morale and emphasize mental health with remote workforces

Supporting remote workers’ mental health and boosting morale

As in-office teams have gone remote, they’ve faced no shortage of challenges in maintaining their productivity in new environments — not to mention their sanity.

Even before a widespread shift to telecommuting, remote workers routinely faced challenges in fending off loneliness and creating high-quality connections with colleagues and customers from afar.

In 2018, Harvard Business Review chronicled then-current research on the effects of remote work on employee isolation and burnout:

  • One paper found that telecommuters exerted additional effort when away from the office, a form of “intensification” that could stretch projects over longer periods of time and induce burnout.
  • Isolation was flagged as a major health risk in a presentation given at the American Psychological Association. Meanwhile, Buffer’s 2018 State of Remote Work survey found that loneliness topped the list of remote work difficulties.

Fast forward to 2020 and the same challenges are present, if not more intensified by external factors. The 2020 edition of Buffer’s survey found “loneliness” again at the top of the most cited struggles, tied with “collaboration and communication.”

Depressed young man checking home finance

How managers can alleviate mental stress

What can managers, in particular, do to alleviate the mental stress on their teams? Let’s explore a few of the most common tactics.

Regular check-ins

It’s not enough to just do a one-time check-in with an employee to see how they’re holding up. Instead, try the following:

  • Make a schedule and stick to it. The exact timeframe will vary depending on the department. For example, engineering teams may need more frequent meetings than others, due to the continuous, iterative nature of methodologies like DevOps. On the other hand, monthly check-ins can work in other contexts, like keeping up-to-date with people you don’t interact with day in and day out.
  • Mix it up when appropriate. Although some meetings will be strictly focused on work, you have room to expand the subject matter and format of check-ins in other contexts. Virtual coffees or team happy hours may be a useful addition to your schedule. These gatherings let you get a sense of how workers are feeling and provide emotional support. Focusing on mental health during check-ins is also useful no matter the larger topic, as dealing with anxiety, depression, and overload can be tough when remote.
  • Create an agenda. No matter the type of meeting you’re setting up, it doesn’t hurt to have an agenda, if only for your own sake. Make a list of what will be covered so that you can keep the check-in on track. For more formal meetings, share the agenda along with any collateral (such as forms to fill out) well in advance of the actual meeting time.
  • Provide opportunities for development. Just because an employee is remote does not mean their professional development can’t continue. Virtual check-ins via video conferencing platforms and screen sharing software offer good forums for reviewing progress and looking ahead to how the employee might expand their skill set.

Mental health days

In May 2020, Cisco offered employees a company-wide “Day for Me” for purposes of everyone’s well-being. This occasion — an opportunity for the company to take a “collective break” — continued Cisco’s longer-term commitment to mental health, both internally and externally. Cisco leadership has, at other junctures, sent out email updates on mental health and contributed to the ramping-up of telehealth services enabled by Cisco Webex.

More broadly, other organizations may benefit from encouraging their employees to prioritize their mental health by taking advantage of vacation or PTO days and not letting their work intrude into odd hours. Even on days when employees are working, regular breaks and a consistent routine are essential in recharging from the sometimes overwhelming stress of balancing work with ongoing background anxieties.

These techniques help reset the mind and also reduce the eyestrain of looking at screens all day. Consider getting up at least every 20 to 30 minutes, if feasible, and taking the occasion to look at somewhere other than a phone or PC.

Real-time collaboration

One reason that remote employees may feel isolated is that the most common forms of collaboration are very impersonal. Email exchanges can happen without the recipients ever knowing what each other looks or sounds like. And yet enormous time blocks of each work week are consumed composing, responding to, and generally managing email.

In contrast, real-time collaboration solutions with features for video, audio, and screen sharing can provide a much more personalized experience that is good not only for productivity but also for staving off feelings of isolation and burnout. Real-time collaboration tools offer:

  • Crystal-clear video to get insight into body language and reactions.
  • Crisp audio for having an easy-to-follow conversation from anywhere.
  • Screen sharing alongside video and audio for in-depth walkthroughs and demos.
  • Integrated messaging for synchronous communication and content sharing.

Add it all up, and the experience is more engaging than relying on email alone. Webex can be the centerpiece of your mental health-conscious and inclusive remote work experience.

Learn more by getting started for free.

Learn more

The workday: how it’s changed, but also stayed the same

Adjusting to a new normal: The shift to remote work

Securing users and devices in Webex

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Making a Good Impression on Video [Live Class]

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Sources

*Helping Remote Workers Avoid Loneliness and Burnout

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Handwriting text writing Improve Productivity. Concept meaning to increase the machine and process efficiency Male human wear formal work suit presenting presentation using smart device.
Increasing the productivity of your employees

Productivity is a central concern for every business, regardless of size, industry, or history.

More productive employees generally equate to better business results, which is why increasing productivity is an important consideration for managers, supervisors, and leaders. Giving your employees the tools to do more and empowering them to feel confident in that ability can lead to some significant improvements. These actions are especially important as more staff members work from home, whether on a fixed or temporary basis.

Consider this advice as you look for ways to boost employee productivity.

Offer the right tools and support

Technology has not only enabled a wide variety of employees to work from home, but also allows these staff members to capably and dependably fulfill their professional responsibilities. Making sure your teams have the tools they need to perform to the best of their abilities is a simple step that supports productivity in the long run.

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to ensuring staff are equipped to handle anything that comes their way:

  • An internet connection is generally the responsibility of a renter or homeowner. However, there may be situations where staff working on projects that regularly eat up bandwidth could benefit from an arrangement that helps subsidize the cost of upgraded service and reduces the time spent sending and receiving files. This could include paying for part or all of the cost of an Ethernet connection or a mesh network to reduce slowdown and boost performance.
  • Hardware provided by your company, like a computer or mobile device, must support the programs employees need to complete their duties. Making sure they aren’t losing valuable time to slow processing speeds or becoming frustrated by error-prone hardware can definitely pay off. The basic tools needed for video conferencing – a camera and microphone – should also be considered, as this option is increasingly popular and effective for those working from home.
  • As with hardware, software must also align with the expectations placed on employees and empower them to work confidently and quickly. While specific needs often vary, videoconferencing software helps address a common need among nearly all remote employees. Be sure to select a program that supports a rich and immersive environment. Keep an eye out for features like virtual whiteboards, automated transcriptions, and other features that enable creativity, collaboration, and problem solving.

Image of young pleased happy cheerful cute beautiful business woman sit indoors in office using laptop computer listening music with earphones.

Focus on feedback

Communication about performance, upcoming projects, company initiatives, and many other important topics allows employees to feel connected to their specific roles and the larger company as a whole. Providing feedback to staff is a foundational part of the manager’s role in an organization. And as more and more employees work from home on a temporary or ongoing basis, it’s even more important to emphasize this type of communication.

Actionable feedback – the kind that employees can digest and then apply to their next relevant task – is vital. While it may be positive, negative, or a mix of the two, ensure your staff can draw meaningful, personal conclusions from such discussions and understand how to incorporate feedback into their work.

This is another area where the right video conferencing solution can go a long way toward boosting productivity. Managers can add more value to feedback by highlighting relevant documents or statistics through a screen share, for example, than they could on a phone call alone.

HR Daily Advisor highlighted how goal setting and performance analysis leads to more informed and productive staff.* Creating a rich environment for sharing feedback tied to goals and performance means less uncertainty and a clearer picture for how to move forward. Read how video improves communication during any conference call.

Streamline meetings and emails

Meetings and messages with a clear purpose and intent are invaluable to the regular and positive operation of a business. However, too many email notifications and time spent away from the task at hand can disrupt staff and reduce their productivity over time.

Inc. contributor Chad Halvorson highlighted excessive meetings and emails as two factors that can drive down productivity.** Even when organized or sent with the best of intentions, these events can be a distraction when they spring up too frequently.

Managers should consolidate messaging when possible. A message sent each day — or every few days  — with various notes that are important but not urgent is less disruptive than several emails throughout each day. A standing weekly team meeting that covers upcoming needs and past performance is more predictable and easier to fit into a schedule than several ad-hoc get-togethers about individual issues. Employees will have more productive time to focus on individual work and will still be actively involved in communications about their roles and many other concerns central to their performance.

There will always be situations where it’s imperative to immediately get in touch with an employee or bring a group of them together. Drawing a line between emergencies and something that can wait until the end of the day or the next team meeting is where managers can take an active role in enabling more productive work each day.

Increasing productivity can feel like an especially complicated problem for managers and company leaders. The good news is there are clear steps your organization can take to set employees up for success and help them do more of what they’re best at – even when some or all are working remotely.

Cisco Webex supports effective communication with secure and reliable connections for one-on-one and group meetings, some of the most important building blocks of increased productivity.

Get started with your free plan today.

Learn more

How to increase remote employee productivity during the holiday season with Webex Teams

Why remote work can be more productive work

What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Overview of Webex Meetings [Live Class]

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Sources

**11 Changes You Can Make to Boost Employee Productivity in 1 Week

*5 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

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Top 10 reasons I’m excited about WebexOne

It wasn’t that long ago when Top 10 lists were all the rage, a staple of late-night television. We’ve all played the game – top 10 beaches to visit, top 10 dog breeds, top 10 creative uses for pumpkin spice, and so on. We’ve also seen lists become popular on social media – who didn’t play #FirstSevenJobs? So, with a nod to our love of lists, I’m sharing the top 10 reasons I’m excited about WebexOne.

#10

It’s 100% digital

No planes, trains, or automobiles. Simply find a comfortable space in your home (or office if you’re among those lucky few to be back), click into the streaming platform, and watch the magic happen!

#9

Möchten Sie die Konferenz auf Deutsch hören?

Why, yes, you can! We’re localizing the event in 6 different languages* to make it easier than ever to see and understand the latest Webex innovations. In fact, we’re broadcasting in regionally friendly time zones for attendees in Asia-Pac, Japan, and Europe. Visit webexone.com to learn more!

*German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Traditional Chinese

#8

Sessions for everyone

After the keynotes on both days, you’ll have the option of joining sessions with more on our Webex innovations, panels with customers, and deep dive learning opportunities. Sessions are focused on seamless collaboration, customer experience, and channel partners. Plus, we’re sprinkling in some surprise and delight moments you won’t want to miss!

#7

Awards

At WebexOne, we’ll be celebrating the amazing things our customers and partners do with Webex. Tune in to see how others are transforming their business, achieving high adoption rates, creating a video-first environment, and much more. While nominations are closed, check out the award categories here.

#6

Technology Partner Integrations

You’ll hear how some of our key technology partners – Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, and Facebook – enhance the Webex ecosystem. This is one more example of how Webex fits into your everyday work life and delivers magical moments.

#5

The Future of Work

Throughout the two days, you’ll hear from CXOs, analysts, and thought leaders on what they see for the future for work. They’ll offer inspiring views on how they are re-imagining work in a post-pandemic world, exploring new ways of working, how to thrive in a hybrid environment, and what we can expect over the next five years.

#4

Chuck Robbins & Jeetu Patel

Two heavy hitters open the WebexOne conference – unveiling big news and sharing the latest innovations for Webex. Chuck even hinted at what you’ll see recently with CNBC’s Jim Cramer. Chuck and Jeetu will share the vision for Collaboration, and how we’ll continue to be there when the world needs to work.

#3

Customer stories from IBM, the Dallas Cowboys, Under Armour, T-Mobile, and many more!

At WebexOne, you’ll hear from our amazing customers on how they use Webex – the platform, devices, app, calling, and even contact center. Customer stories are one of my favorite things – and it feels good to know we can help them stay connected, and keep their businesses thriving. I think you’ll love hearing their stories, too!

#2

Luminary speakers Amal Clooney and RuPaul Charles

“Amal Clooney and RuPaul stand for very specific things around equality in the world; around making sure that human rights are protected, and ensuring you can be different and be proud of the fact that you’re different,” said Jeetu Patel in a recent interview. “There is no one better to actually carry the message forward in a very, very symbolic way.” #micdrop

#1

The all new Webex!

What we’re unveiling at WebexOne will blow your socks off! From new features to make hybrid work better and easier, to new devices that work seamlessly with Webex, you’ll see the magic that comes from building a platform that delivers 10x better experiences than in-person interactions.

I think I’m even more excited to attend WebexOne than before – and I hope you are too. Register today – I’ll be curious to hear your top 10 takeaways afterwards.

Stay safe, be healthy, and we’ll see you at WebexOne!

Oh, if you were wondering, my #FirstSevenJobs were 1. making flower garlands and selling them in the local market; 2. Software engineering intern at Wipro; 3. Software engineering intern at IBM; 4. Software engineer at HP; 5. Director of Marketing at HP; 6. VP Marketing at Juniper; and 7. VP Marketing at CA (now Broadcom). I guess that means I’m on my 8th job now as the CMO of Cisco Webex!

Learn More

Announcing WebexOne: Cisco’s Premier Digital Collaboration Conference

Looking for Best of the Best Bragging Rights? Nominations are Open for the 2nd Annual Webex Awards!

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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The workday: how it’s changed, but also stayed the same

The rise of remote work changing the way co-workers communicate and collaborate

The workplace has evolved immensely over the past couple decades in the wake of technological advancements and changing attitudes toward what is considered a “normal” workday.

As technologies emerged like email, followed by team messaging tools and video conferencing capabilities, professionals gained greater abilities to communicate with others quickly and seamlessly without ever being in the same room.

At the same time, the rise of remote work has changed the way co-workers collaborate. As increasing numbers of professionals work remotely rather than commute into a shared office space, colleagues have to learn how to utilize technologies to keep connected. Let’s take a look at how video, project management, and team collaboration tools can change the structure of your workday.

Bringing the workplace to employees, wherever they are

About one-fifth of remote workers say collaboration and communication are the biggest struggles that result from their remote work arrangements, according to The 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer. Software that brings the workplace to employees, no matter where they’re located, can help people communicate about their projects.*

As more people join the remote workforce, from all corners of the globe, the “workday” has evolved from the set of hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instead, people in various time zones and on differing preferred work schedules log in on their own time, complete their work and utilize asynchronous communication to collaborate.

Email continues to be the primary means of sharing information between colleagues; 95% of workers say this is their main mode of internal communications, according to a survey by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and theEMPLOYEEapp by APPrise Mobile.**

Email is a top choice for teams with dispersed team members, as the receipt of an email does not require an immediate response. Communication can take place over the course of hours or days to relay information needed for a project.

young man sitting on a bed wearing jogging pants and tshirt video conferencing on a cell phone wearing ear buds

Meanwhile, other methods of communication have risen in popularity. Workplace messaging programs allow people to quickly send messages, which can either be responded to promptly or whenever is most convenient for the recipient.

Collaboration software that allows people to review documents and files, then make comments for their colleagues to see later on, also enable everyone to share their knowledge and thoughts on a specific item. Other team members can then respond and contribute their piece on their own time, too. Even better, it’s all stored in one place.

Additionally, video conferencing calls are important. While having everyone on a video call at the same time is the best case scenario, people who have overlapping meetings or time zone constraints can listen to recording functionalities allow those who missed to listen to recordings of the call.

But at the heart of the workplace, some things haven’t changed too much

It’s undeniable that the workplace has changed quite a lot thanks to evolving technology and changing trends in how people communicate at work. But, in many ways, the workplace has remained the same – and advanced technology allows people to maintain certain normalcies, even though the definitions of “workplace” and “work day” have changed. Three specific ways the workplace has not changed despite the many advancements include:

  • The need for real-time communication.
  • The value of workplace friendships.
  • The risk of burnout.

For example, though varied work schedules are becoming more normalized, there is still great value in real-time, face-to-face communication. Live video conferencing allows people to connect and communicate in a similar way as they would in-person in the same room. Read How video improves communication during any conference call

Even when recorded meetings can suffice in most cases, there’s still immense value to meeting in real-time to answer questions and bring up challenges pertaining to a work task.

Workplace camaraderie matters

Another aspect of the workplace that has not changed is the importance of camaraderie among team members.

Humans are social beings, and when team members view one another as friends as well as colleagues, it benefits the whole company; data from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report shows this.*** Organizations that have a high number of workers who agree with the statement “I have a best friend at work” have fewer safety incidents, higher profit overall, and more engaged customers.

Workers who work remotely say loneliness is one of their biggest challenges, according to The 2020 State of Remote Work report from Buffer. Video can help out with this, as team leaders can create virtual happy hours, conversations over coffee, or other events that bring remote workers together socially.

women on computer sitting on couch wearing glasses and looking out the window with a lonely look on her face

Finally, the risk of burnout is still a concern to workers, even when they’re logging in from their home, favorite café, or somewhere else. Because employees can access their work emails, check and send messages to colleagues and conduct other activities anytime, it becomes even more difficult to unplug and relax.

In fact, according to Buffer’s report, 18% of respondents said not being able to unplug from work is among their biggest challenges in the remote work lifestyle. Taking breaks is critical for staying mentally healthy, productive and engaged when it is time to get work done. Employees who work non-traditional schedules should keep in mind that they must also take breaks from their workloads.

Remote work schedules can be a big perk for employees. However, it’s essential to understand how to create team unity, even when schedules don’t always align. Find time to communicate around the clock.

Start a free Cisco Webex plan today

Learn More

Why remote work can be more productive work

Adjusting to a new normal: The shift to remote work 

Delighting remote workers: Why user experience is important 

Still need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Take a live session on What’s New in Webex Meeting 40.12

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Sources

*The 2020 state of remote work

**Trends in Communications Industry Show Companies Slow to Adopt New Technologies

***State of the American Workplace Report

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RoomOS October update

It’s officially spooky season! The RoomOS team have been hard at work to deliver innovations that will make collaboration less scary. Read on to see how BabbleLabs makes sure your voice is heard, how you can clean up your desk with the Desk Pro, and much more.

Babble Labs acquisition – Noise Removal

Working from home is great. You can wear your pajama bottoms, throw on a crisp shirt on top and be ready for business – nobody would ever suspect that you just rolled out of bed. However, background noise such as aggressive keyboard typing, traffic, or your dogs barking can be extremely distracting. With our recent Babble Labs acquisition, we are able to bring advanced noise removal AI to our Cisco Webex Rooms devices, making sure your voice is in focus – not your neighbors’ renovation efforts.

Dark Mode

Most of the world is now working remotely, and education is no different. Are you a teacher who misses the look of white chalk against a blackboard? Well, we are now making that possible – minus the screeching sound. The whiteboard on your Cisco Webex Board or Desk Pro is now dark by default, but with all functionalities remaining the same. If you prefer, you can always change it back to white.

Dark Mode on Cisco writen in multiple colors on Cisco Webex Board or Webex Pro

Whiteboard overview

Sometimes, you’ve got to make things smaller to see the big picture. That’s why we’ve made it possible to zoom out by 10X in your whiteboard sessions to get a better overview, as previously you could only zoom out 2x.

HID Forwarding – Use Desk Pro as a USB Hub

Messy desk? We got you. The Cisco Webex Desk Pro is not only a first-class collaboration device, but it also acts as a computer dock, reducing cables and clutter on your desk. You can connect a keyboard and/or a mouse to the USB port of the device and it will be redirected to the USB-C connected computer.

Personal Mode: Pairing

The Webex apps can now pair with a personal mode device and control it wirelessly. Users can share their screen, receive and place calls when paired to their personal mode devices. Best of all? This is available both in or outside a call.

Advanced mute

Back in June, we released Remote Mute. Now, we’ve expanded this feature to allow the host to mute/unmute all, and decide if participants can or cannot unmute themselves. This makes all-hands meetings that much easier!

Call end confirmation

Life happens, and sometimes the meeting host needs to leave the meeting – either because they’ve got a conflicting meeting, or their child is throwing a tantrum. Both valid reasons. This new feature makes it easy to transfer the host to another meeting participant, as a dialog box will pop up, asking whether you want to transfer the host or if you want to end the meeting for everyone.

That’s it for October. Until next time!

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Learn More

What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

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Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Cisco Webex and Microsoft Azure Active Directory – better together

As more employees access applications via their home networks, the corporate network perimeter is disappearing, making identity the control plane for effective and secure access across all users and applications. Thanks to integrations between Cisco and Microsoft, our joint customers can achieve seamless and secure access to Cisco Webex with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is Microsoft’s enterprise identity and access management service that helps organizations manage and secure access to critical applications, data and resources. Thousands of organizations use Azure AD to enable secure and seamless access to the applications their workforce needs, including Cisco Webex.

active users and numbers

With Azure AD our joint customers can take advantage of capabilities such as:

  • Single sign-on to simplify access to all their apps from anywhere
  • Risk-based adaptive access policies that safeguard access to applications.
  • Identity governance to ensure only authorized users have access to the right apps.
  • Unified identity management that centralizes management of identities and applications across the cloud or on-premises.

Secure collaboration with Cisco Webex and Azure AD

Using standard protocols like SAML 2.0, OAuth 2, and SCIM, we’ve built integrations with Microsoft so that identity-related information and data can flow between Azure AD and Cisco Webex Identity Services. This can help ensure secure access to Cisco collaboration tools like Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, Jabber, and more.

Logos of Azure AD and Cisco Webex, with Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, Webex Calling, Jabber, Webex Devices and Contact Center

With the Cisco Webex and Azure AD integration our customers can enable scenarios such as single sign-on and automated user provisioning.

Single sign-on

3 gold people heads with a lock in front

Cisco Webex Identity Services can deliver single sign-on to all Cisco Webex collaboration tools using Microsoft Azure AD as the identity provider. End users can seamlessly sign-in to Cisco Webex collaboration tools alongside Office 365 with the same credentials.  And admins can secure access to Cisco Webex collaboration tools by setting adaptive risk-based policies. For example, admins can set conditional access policies based on the user, location, device, and application to determine whether access to Cisco Webex should be allowed, limited, or blocked.

Automated user provisioning

three gold people heads

Using the SCIM standard – System for Cross-domain Identity Management – our joint customers can use our provisioning integration to automate the lifecycle of user and group accounts for Cisco Webex. With our provisioning integration, you can quickly deploy Cisco Webex throughout your organization and keep user data up to date. With automated user provisioning, you can eliminate manual processes when it comes to creating, updating, or disabling employee user accounts within Cisco Webex based on changes in Azure AD.

Office 365 integrations

3 gold people heads and check mark

Many organizations rely on Microsoft 365 as their main productivity tool to get their work done. With our Microsoft 365 integrations, you can connect your calendar and files with Cisco Webex collaboration tools. The Enterprise Content Management integration with OneDrive and SharePoint allows you to view, edit and share files directly in Cisco Webex. You can also connect your Outlook calendar to quickly schedule, start, and join Cisco Webex meetings.

What’s next?

Handsome man and attractive woman are working in data centre with laptop. IT engineer specialists in network server room. Running diagnostics and maintenance. Technicians examining server.

In the coming months, we’ll also be releasing Microsoft Intune support and single sign-on with Azure AD for our mobile apps across iOS and Android.  Soon customers will be able to apply device based conditional access policies such as limiting or blocking access to Cisco Webex on an uncompliant device.

We’re excited about bringing these integrations to customers to help increase security while keeping users productive.

To learn more about setting up Cisco Webex with Azure AD, review our single sign-on and provisioning tutorials, and check out our sociallive.

Learn More

Webex Meetings integrations let you work and play from wherever you are

Webex Integration Partners join Cisco in offers for education

What’s new in Webex: October 2020

Still Need Help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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We listened and we delivered! The new Webex App Header is here
Your launchpad to collaborate! The new Webex App Header is here

Shift in demand for real-time collaboration

This year has brought about a dramatic shift in the way we get our work done and collaborate as a team. The rapid change to remote working has made the demand for real-time collaboration greater than ever before; with team collaboration solutions becoming the new digital work hub. Not only essential for business continuity, but also for maintaining workplace connections – catching up with a colleague, having a virtual all hands and so much more.

With our Webex user base growing faster than ever before, Cisco realizes the importance of our solution in continuing workplace normality; and how essential it is to continue to listen to the voice of our customers. Your feedback is a key influencer in our development and planning to create a solution that helps you work faster and smarter.

After months of careful design, building, and feedback analysis, we can finally unveil the sleek new App Header coming to Webex Teams on September 29th, 2020.

New App Header

new App Header for Webex Teams streamlines your everyday experience

The new App Header for Webex Teams streamlines your everyday experience by pulling together all your commonly used actions into one convenient and always accessible place. This new header is persistent across all tabs.

Let’s explore the new App Header step by step.

Settings & Preferences

Your avatar menu has a new home in the App Header. Click your avatar icon to instantly access the settings & preferences menu.

Quick access to Custom Status

The newly located custom status bar makes it easier than ever to keep your status up to date and relevant to your current workflows. If you have a Custom Status set, it will always be visible in the App Header, and updating or clearing it is now just one click away.

Quick access to Customer Status

People renamed to Direct Messages

With this update, you will notice a new term appearing in your app. If you have space tabs enabled, you will now see a tab called ‘Direct’, which replaces ‘People’. The preference option in your space list filters drop-down will now read ‘Separate DMs and Spaces’, instead of ‘Separate People and Spaces’. The plus button, where before this update you would have found the option to ‘Contact a person’, will now read ‘Send a direct message’.

The functionality has not changed, this is simply a rename effort of People to Direct Messages. This change is to line up with the status quo of other apps and to make it easier to understand for our users.

Create a Space & more

The plus button now includes additional features to enable quicker communication, such as the ability to make a call or add a local contact. You will still find your options to send a direct message (originally contact a person) or create a space in this menu.

Create a Space & More in Webex Teams

Search for People & Spaces

The search box has moved to a new location in the header of the app. Here, you can search for people, spaces, and contacts as normal. As you type, the search drop-down will appear with a list of results, ordered by your most recently active spaces. To see more results in a category, simply click ‘Show more’. You can also right-click on any search result – people, space or contact – giving you quick access to additional options such as ‘Open in new window’. By hovering over a search result, you will see the call/meet button option appear.

To start a search quickly while you are working in the app, you can use the standard shortcut ‘Control + F’ on Windows and ‘Command + F’ on Mac. With this update, the header will persist throughout the app, meaning you always have quick access to search.

Search for People and Spaces in Webex Teams

Search for Messages & Files in ‘Advanced Search’

Sometimes, if we are looking for a specific message or file, we want to perform a more in-depth search. With this update, to search for messages or files, you must select the very top item in the search drop-down result list which reads: ‘Search all spaces’. Clicking this expands the search box to the left, giving you access to ‘Advanced Search’, where you will find all message and file results.

In this view, you can browse through results with single clicks to find what you are looking for, with results appearing on the right as they are clicked. Refinement options (such as ‘With:’) can also be found here. You now have two methods to use these search refinement modifiers in the new App Header. You can simply type them into the search bar itself at any time or you can select ‘Refine’ in the ‘Advanced Search’ view. For quick access to ‘Advanced Search’, simply use the keyboard shortcut ‘Shift + Enter’ while focus is in the search box. To remove yourself from the ‘Advanced Search’ view, click ‘cancel’, double-click to select a result or switch tabs.

Search for Messages & Files in 'Advanced Search' in Webex Teams

Dial a number & make a call

Enter a phone number directly into the search bar to open calling options. Here you can decide to make a voice or video call.

Connect to a device

This feature remains the same just with a prominent new location in the App Header. You are still able to search and seamlessly connect to local devices.

Dial a number & make a call and connect to device in Webex Teams

For more information on this new App Header, visit our dedicated help page here.

Learn More

Embracing the rise of remoting working

Screen sharing how-to guide: Tips for better real-time collaboration

Small business innovation and how you can learn from it

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Father and son on the sofa, working from home and learning from screen.
Working from home with kids

Working from home — whether by necessity or choice  — is increasingly common for professionals across the country and the globe.

Whether you’re a full-time remote worker, telecommuting for part of each week, or temporarily fulfilling your work responsibilities from home, having kids at home at the same time can make your workday more complicated and less organized. While successfully balancing time between work and your children requires some careful thought and planning, it’s by no means impossible. Consider this advice for creating a more productive and harmonious environment for your kids and yourself.

Finding a balance between alone time and togetherness

There are many times where a little background noise or chatter won’t harm the end result of your work. And there are plenty of other scenarios when you simply need a quiet space to focus and pay close attention to the task at hand. Finding a happy medium between the two can help you work from home more successfully when your kids are also at home.

If you have simple, small tasks or similar work planned for part of your day, consider using that time to sit together with your family. A sense of togetherness, even when everyone is focused on work or school, is valuable. And you can dedicate more time to being fully present with your kids before and after the workday is done, as well as during lunch and other breaks.

You’ll also need a way to create a separate working space for times you really need to focus, or when using video conferencing solutions to connect with colleagues, supervisors, clients, and other stakeholders. With kids old enough to supervise themselves and understand their parents’ need to sometimes buckle down during their workdays, this often isn’t an issue, to begin with.

For younger children, you can consider putting up a reminder when you really need some time alone. Making a color-coded sign with green and red sides can be a quick and fun crafting project with your young ones. Remind your kids that you’re there if a true emergency occurs and make sure to occasionally check-in even when it’s time to put all of your attention toward your work. Parents.com pointed out that nap time for younger kids is also prime time for adults to devote some undivided attention to their work.

Building a plan with spouses and other family members

Finding a balance between work and the needs of your children is much easier when multiple family members are involved. Your partner and any other adults in the house, as well as your older teenage children, can help you split this responsibility during the workday. Start a conversation about your schedules and who is available at a given time to supervise the kids. Your younger kids will get more facetime with family members, and the adults involved will have more time for conference calls and other tasks that demand your full attention and a quiet environment.

Create a schedule that works for you

Taking the time to create an effective schedule will pay off when you – and everyone else – have a clear picture of when you’re free, busy, and somewhere in between. Clear time for major projects, critical deadlines, and other intensive work well ahead of when it needs to be done whenever possible and let your kids and other family members know you can’t be available during those times. Similarly, set aside time for your kids, whether it’s overseeing an activity or getting a little bit of quality time in during the day.

While you can’t always control when a client or vendor will need to talk, blocking off your calendar will encourage your colleagues and supervisors to work with your schedule. If needed, have a discussion with your direct manager about flexibility in your workday. Explain how, for example, you’re happy to work a little later into the evening or get an earlier start, if needed, to ensure you can spend a full hour of family time with your kids at lunch or assist with complicated homework assignments. Look for ways to compromise that respect both your employer’s needs and your own as a parent working from home.

Save some personal time, too

Working from home along with kids and the rest of your family can make it difficult to prioritize your own basic need to relax, unwind, spend time on hobbies or simply take a break.

If there’s more than one adult in the house, you can work with each other to prioritize some “me time” for everyone involved. That could mean having one parent make dinner or start the process of putting the kids to bed while the other catches up on their favorite TV shows or fits in a workout. Here are some more ideas on How to have fun, virtually.

Even if you’re the only adult at home, you can still find a little time to reward yourself for effectively balancing parenting, work, household chores, and your many other responsibilities. Consider relaxing or finishing that project after the kids are in bed.

Having the right tools to connect with others when working from home is vital for building an effective schedule and making sure your family, your work, and yourself all receive the attention they deserve.

 Get started with your free Cisco Webex plan today.

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6 tips for working from home with kids

Webex Meetings integrations let you work and play from wherever you are

What’s new in Webex: October 2020

Resources

Download your free Cisco Coloring for Kids pack

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Explore daily product demonstrations

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Small business innovation and how you can learn from it

Building innovation in small business

Despite the pressures of the pandemic, small businesses still play a critical role in the modern economy.

In normal times, they create jobs, employ tens of millions of Americans, and provide an incredibly broad range of valuable goods and services. From a place to celebrate special occasions with family and friends to cutting-edge technology development, small businesses have a variety of important roles.

They can also be powerful innovators, developing new ideas, products, processes, and much more than others at businesses large and small can learn from. Let’s look at how small businesses innovate and the lessons that these achievements can provide.

Building a strong understanding of innovation

Innovation, when successful, is a dynamic process that yields an especially useful result: A new way of making or doing something, or a substantial improvement to a current product or workflow.

However, you don’t have to create a new process on the level of sliced bread – something that now seems like a given but has only been commercially produced for fewer than 100 years, as The History Channel explained, to have it qualify as innovation. Nor must you develop a successful range of electric cars and a new direct sales model for them. Innovation simply means improvement and invention, The Balance Small Business pointed out. Successful innovation can mean working with a current or new supplier to lower costs or developing stronger, more resilient packing for your products.

Small businesses have a few important advantages when it comes to innovation. They aren’t limited by the sometimes complicated approval processes and other systems put in place by larger companies, which generally help to ensure smooth operations but can potentially stifle creativity. The financial and operational pressures of maintaining a smaller organization can also force innovation by necessity. If a problem needs a solution, the owners of a small enterprise and their staff can focus on the issue and do whatever is in their power to resolve it.

Forbes Coaches Council member Nick Leighton said innovation for small businesses requires focus, critical evaluation of current operations, and the ability for leaders to work on the ground floor as well as in their executive or management capacity. These qualities aren’t limited to small-business stakeholders at well-funded or technology-focused startups. They can be applied to everything from sole proprietorships to retail businesses, manufacturers, and small companies in a variety of other economic sectors. One of the most important lessons to learn from small-business innovation is that the right attitude, approach, and dedication of time and resources can lead to positive developments and beneficial changes. And those qualities sit at the core of innovation.

Empowering innovative practices

In some ways, it’s not surprising that small businesses have a better reputation for innovation than larger enterprises. Lower employee numbers and, often, more humble resources mean more people work together in close quarters.

As long as employees can maintain a sense of professionalism and cooperation, their smaller circle and direct interaction can spark discussions about issues and opportunities for improvement. This, in turn, can set the stage for innovation, with many different employees able to contribute to the process. Encouraging this kind of collaborative work environment isn’t particularly difficult for many small businesses, either. The right conditions tend to arise naturally for many newer companies.

Innovation through collaboration can also be possible even when staff doesn’t work together in the same physical location. With remote work growing increasingly popular across the economy, small businesses can help staff connect to each other by hosting virtual meetings and setting aside time in the agenda to discuss issues, potential opportunities, and possible targets of innovation. Because employees may not have the same close connections that come with sitting next to each other on a daily basis and to generally facilitate a positive meeting experience, a dependable video conferencing solution is a must in these circumstances.

SCORE, an association of volunteer business mentors, pointed to another quality common among innovative businesses: Allowing room for experimentation and even failure. Companies always have to balance this factor with efficient, stable operations, but there is room for both in many small enterprises. Giving employees the appropriate time and resources to try out new approaches and flesh out potentially valuable ideas won’t always lead to success, but it will produce some useful and interesting concepts that could change a company for the better.

As long as staff members complete key tasks and handle core responsibilities in a consistent and responsible way, giving them the power to build less-structured time into their calendars can assist in spurring innovation. This ties into another point mentioned by SCORE, avoiding the temptation to isolate innovation. Allowing as many employees as possible to participate in the process, instead of designating some staff specifically as innovators, means a broader range of perspectives on more pertinent issues facing your business.

Making innovation practical for small businesses

When it comes to innovating as a small business, try not to force the issue. Give staff an appropriate amount of time and space to work out their own ideas, encourage group collaboration for more perspectives, take part in these sessions when possible, and remember that innovation doesn’t always need to be a totally transformational change. It just needs to be a positive one.

Cisco Webex supports effective collaboration for small businesses, whether focused on innovation or the many other times when your team needs to come together in a reliable, effective, and secure way.

Get started with a free plan today.

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Choosing the best small business tools for 2020

How do I expand my small-scale business without capital?

How to quickly create a company culture in a growing business

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Webex Meetings integrations let you work and play from wherever you are

Webex integrations to keep connected and productive

At the beginning of the pandemic, I introduced my family to Webex Meetings for our Sunday get-togethers. It was fun to see the grandparents, cousins, grandkids all using our amazing collaboration platform.

In the past months, we have shifted to getting things done completely remotely and have relied on Webex more than ever to keep us connected and productive with the highest level of security in the industry. We haven’t been in the office in over six months, but we have not missed a beat — whether it’s attending large conferences, team meetings, classes, virtually visiting our doctor or having family reunions, we have been able to carry on with our life and business, while socially distancing.

Webex has been at the center of all of these activities, but we’ve also had help from our partners. We’ve worked to integrate Webex with some of the most popular productivity tools on the market today and that has been instrumental in bringing great Webex meetings to broader audiences.

Remote Life on Webex

Nearly everyone is now using multiple collaboration and other types of apps during their daily life to stay connected and get work done. But if they want to have great meetings, the most popular apps are integrating with Webex, for scenarios like the ones we featured in this video:

Our kids may use Slack for messaging with their teacher and classmates and then have the need to jump into a Webex session to get clarification on a specific problem.

Our doctor could be chatting with colleagues on Microsoft Teams about a medical issue, and then escalate into a Webex instant meeting to continue the conversation in more detail.

A CEO may decide to livestream a company-wide townhall from Webex into Workplace from Facebook.

ZenDesk ticket open with Webex Meetings Integration

 

Streamlining daily workflows

Features within our deep integrations include real-time notifications that alert us at various parts of the process to ensure that we remain productive throughout our workday. For example, a Zendesk support agent can start an instant Webex meeting with the incident ticket submitter who will be notified to join the meeting and discuss the issue in more detail. These types of real-time communications empower workers to take action and speed up incident resolution time.

These types of interactions are made possible by deep integrations with our most trusted partners. We have been creating and improving our integrations with the goal of empowering frontline workers, streamlining workflows, and making transitions between apps seamless. We have many more great examples of how Webex integrates with your favorite tools. Webex continues to enhance integrations with other tools we use every day including CRM, learning management systems, software management, and productivity to provide the most efficient workflows. By improving workflows, we become more productive and are empowered to work smarter!

Get started with a free plan on Cisco Webex today!

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Webex Meetings August 2020 update: Increased security and media enhancement, custom background and music mode

Secure, first-party recording transcripts in Webex Meetings

Just say no to conference calls, and yes to collaborative meetings

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RoomOS September update

It’s September, the leaves are turning, and we have been hard at work making your collaboration experience the best it can be.

Manual camera control for Desk Pro and Board

The Cisco Webex Desk Pro and Board automatically frame the person that is speaking, a feature called PresenterTrack. However, there are times where this is less desirable, for example while showcasing physical items. To solve this, we have released manual camera control. This allows the user to turn off the automatic framing and instead focus on a point of choice through the use of a software joystick. Check out the help article.

Music mode

In video meetings, we don’t want traffic noise or music from the radio in the kitchen to be transmitted. Therefore we use filters to filter out unwanted noise and transmit only your voice. For streamed concerts or video guitar lessons, however, we want to process the audio as little as possible for the most natural listening experience. This is why we’re introducing Music Mode. With Webex Music Mode, you can hear the dynamic range of the different instruments through your device. This is also available for Webex Meetings. Read more about Music mode.

Two people, man guitar teacher working with little boy on guitar lessons.

Call information in recent calls

This new feature will make it easier for admins to troubleshoot calls. Simply click on the calling tab to get a list of your recent calls, and you will be able to get a breakdown on the information about those calls, making troubleshooting that much easier. Learn more here.

Device configuration API for RoomOS

We are all about making customized collaboration seamless, and it is now possible for customers and partners to set configuration via API’s without needing direct access to the device, or even the device being online! The API allows admins to bulk configure devices registered to the cloud or with Webex Edge.

That’s it for September, but I promise we have a lot more in the pipeline. Stay tuned!

See how you can take your meeting experiences to the next level

Learn more

See all the Webex RoomOS releases

Room cleaning macro with Cisco Webex Rooms

Returning to work with Intelligent Room Capacity

Webex Device Management— The power of search!

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Woman on Cisco Meeting
Room cleaning macro with Cisco Webex Rooms

Cisco Webex Rooms in a new normal

Cisco Webex Rooms are not only fantastic collaboration devices, they enable you to bring intelligence to your meeting rooms, helping you utilize your meeting rooms effectively and safely. You may have read a recent blog from Cisco that discusses how a device can count people in a room and create alerts if the maximum capacity limit of the room is exceeded. The people count mechanism was created with the idea that you could optimize the efficiency of your rooms, but in this new normal it can be repurposed to help keep users aware of capacity limits.

Macros

One way the intelligence in a meeting room equipped with Webex Room devices can be harnessed, is through the use of macros. Macros are created on the device using standard JavaScript, providing access to the Application Programmer Interface (API) of the device, standard JavaScript functionality and even the ability to send or receive arbitrary HTTP(S) requests. This is how the functionality of counting people is transformed into an alert, when an administrator’s defined threshold is exceeded, and a macro performs an action. Taking this macro as inspiration, I asked myself what other functionality could add value to a room for both an administrator and a user?

One thing we know is that we have to adhere to strict cleaning schedules as we journey back into the office. How could a Webex Room device help advise and keep track of this? I thought that a way of helping administrators monitor room cleaning would be a good start. I used the User Interface Extensions Editor available from the web interface of the device and created a new button that appeared on the User Interface (UI).

Room cleaning macro

I created a macro (available here) that knows when the new button is pressed and records the timestamp of the cleaning event. I record this timestamp to a secondary macro so it is not lost if the device is shutdown, but this could easily be extended to send the timestamp via HTTP to a central database for administrators to monitor. Sounds great, but what happens if a user presses the button by mistake? The macro detects the button press and before recording the cleaning event it triggers a PIN dialog, the cleaner must enter a valid PIN before the macro will record the event.

This information on its own is valuable but I decided to extend it further. As discussed earlier, the device knows when people are in the room, meaning it knows when the room is vacated too. Using this information, it is possible to create a message on the screen that informs users how long it has been since the room was last used, of course this can also be sent to a central location too. Now it is possible to inform the administrator or user about how long the room has been vacant, when the room was last cleaned and how many times the room has been used since it was last cleaned.

Room available macro

Taking this approach, administrators are empowered with information to ensure their rooms are safe and users can have access to information that gives them peace of mind. The best part is, this can all be achieved with a Webex Room device and a little custom code. Macros and UI Extensions enable countless opportunities for enhancing the meeting room experience, have a go yourself and see what you can create!

Check out the room cleaning and usage micro

Learn More

Returning to work with Intelligent Room Capacity

Webex Device Management— The power of search!

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

How to launch a community with Webex Teams

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Silhouettes of happy businessperson. Success of business concept.
Webex Community members bring Linux support for Webex to life

Linux support for Webex

Here at Webex, we understand that innovation can come from anywhere, whether it’s from our engineering team, our partners, or passionate users like yourself. We created the User Community Feedback Portal for our community members to provide feedback on new features or give suggestions on how we can make our product even better. Ever since launching the Webex Community in May, you have made good use of the feedback portal, resulting in innovations and changes that matter most to you.

Users have been asking us to support Webex on Linux, but after reviewing the idea, it didn’t appear that there was a substantial need for Linux support. However, users in the Webex Community highlighted that there indeed was a need—in fact, users wanted support on Linux far more than we knew. See the idea here

The vote is in!

The community came together using the User Community Feedback Portal to make it known that there was indeed a need for support on Linux and just how much it mattered to those who matter most to us: our users.

“My ‘Linux colleagues’ laughed about it when I started my request in May, but I couldn’t understand why Cisco was not supporting this key group in the DevNet population. It’s good to hear that Cisco is listening and [I’m] looking forward to the first release,” explained Wim van Moorsel from AnyWeb, which is why he submitted the request.

This project became so popular that it is now the second most popular (by vote) idea in the Webex Community. Nearly 800 people voted from 318 different companies with an additional 100 partners asking for the Linux support, too.

the feed for Linux support for Webex request

After seeing how many votes this idea received, product managers once again reviewed supporting Webex on Linux and considered how valuable this update is to our community members. Needless to say, we are now moving forward with supporting Webex on Linux. The product manager leading the upcoming project:

Thank you so much for your feedback and the numerous votes on the request to support a Linux version of the Webex Teams client. The wait is finally over and Cisco Collaboration team has started working on a Linux client. There are numerous questions in terms of what flavors will be supported, what features will be available, etc. Our goal is to get it to you as soon as possible and are releasing the core workflows (targeted for Q1 CY2021) with a roadmap to ultimate parity with the Windows client. The team is working through defining the phases and finalizing the initial flavors of Linux that we will support. Taking your requests on flavors into consideration for sure. We will share more on this in the upcoming weeks so please watch out this AHA for more details. Thank you your patience.”

– Manali Dongre, Product Manager

With the completion of this project, Webex will be supported on nearly any operating system.

User Community Feedback Portal

We aren’t too proud to admit that we don’t know everything. This is in part why we created the User Community Feedback Portal—to learn from our community members, to get insights into what actually matters to our users, and to improve both our product and experience for all users. It is because of feedback and the power of community that we are able to give our users what they want. We’re excited to start the Linux project and receive more feedback once it launches.

Have another idea you want to see brought to life? Or do you have feedback on features, projects, or want to submit a new idea? Visit the Webex Community and use the feedback portal to make your voice heard. Access the User Community Feedback Portal in the community by clicking on the “External Links” dropdown and selecting “Share a Product Idea.” We can’t wait to hear about your ideas!

Make your voice heard and submit a new idea!

About the author

Cole Callahan, Webex Community Manager

About Cole – Cole manages the Webex Communities, including the IT Admin, Adoption Champions, and User Communities. He’s a kayak fanatic, and proud father to his incredible Foxhound, Daisy. He’s passionate about connecting customers, users, and admins with Webex.

Cole is a recent Ball State graduate and award-winning documentarian (seriously!) who has previously launched online communities for other organizations. As the Community Manager here at Cisco, Cole launched our community spaces, engages with members, encourages conversations, and is your go-to guy for everything relating to Webex Communities. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn More

Make your voice heard with the User Community Feedback Portal

How to launch a community with Webex Teams

A broadcasters How to Guide to live stream Webex

Live streaming with Webex Meetings for your virtual events: What’s new and how to use it

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Asian girl using laptop for online study during homeschooling at home
K-12 e-learning video conferencing tips

Video conferencing tips for e-learning

Our daily lives experience no shortage of disruptions. Did you know that prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, studies showed the average person is bombarded with as many as 4,000 messages per day? These can come in the form of advertising, marketing, notifications, alerts, emails, calls, people, and more. Pretty crazy to think about. And now, many kids are home, distracting their parents, but also experiencing similar distractions as they navigate a new normal for what their schooling looks like.

Fortunately, limits on in-person instruction have not eliminated educational experiences for many students. A large number of districts have embraced remote learning, using technology-mediated interactions to help students stay on track. But how do you keep students engaged?

A recent article in Edutopia noted how challenging this transition is for students and teachers alike, but luckily, there are many strategies educators can employ, and resources they can use, to get the most out of remote learning for students in kindergarten through high school.*

Best practices for K-12 e-learning

First of all, if your school or district already uses an online learning management system (LMS), make sure to integrate your video conferencing tool with that platform. Administrators and teachers who are tasked with this responsibility can join Webex for live classes that explore the Webex Education Connector for Learning Management Systems.

Synchronous class time on Webex

During synchronous class time, make sure to set expectations around technology with your students, including demonstrating how to use video conferencing features. As appropriate for your students’ grade level and learning objectives, make sure they know how to mute, use chat functions and more.

Record the course, and share that you will do so. Direct students toward the archive of past lessons and make sure they’re easy to access.

As you meet with your students over a video conferencing platform, there are several best practices you can follow to help make learning more engaging:

  1. Turn your video on.

With so much changing on a daily basis, going live with your students is a simple way to add some continuity to the learning experience. Don’t worry too much about having the best lighting or perfect hair. Just do what you’d normally do for school. Try not to have too many distractions visible on camera, but sharing a little bit of your home life and personality can really help your students plug in.

  1. Use the tools at your disposal.

Videoconferencing platforms can enable highly interactive online learning. There are a couple Webex tools that you might want to leverage for remote learning:

  • Whiteboard: Pull up the Webex virtual Whiteboard to both demonstrate concepts and interact with students. This can be used for lessons or quick games during break time.
  • Polling: Do you need to do a quick check for understanding, or do you want to give students a chance to vote on how content will be delivered today? Use a snap Webex poll.
  • Find simple web-based tools for other functions. Display slide decks, shared documents, tutorials and other simple web-based tools by using screen sharing Remember, you’re not moving the class from one location to the next, so anything you can do to give students breaks and cues that it’s time to switch tasks will help keep things running smoothly throughout the day.

If you are running synchronous classes on Webex, it could still be beneficial to incorporate a little independent work time and quick opportunities for sharing into the lesson. Doing so will let students focus on tasks that will help them retain the lesson and listening to their classmates share takeaways and thoughts will give them prompt feedback about their in-class work.

Asynchronous class time on Webex

During asynchronous work time and collaboration in small groups, make sure students know how to use shared documents and set up Webex Teams and spaces so they can work together and send assignments back to you. Encourage students to utilize different online tools to get their work done, before coming to ask for help. As an example, you could have them run grammar checks on their assignments before turning them in.

Remember, if you have to change the participants in a small group, add or remove individuals instead of deleting the space and creating a new one. Students will appreciate being able to see the context so they can catch up quickly.

Most of all, remember, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for testing out techniques to see what works for your class and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to readjust as you get a better sense of how to engage your K-12 students through e-learning.

Additional resources

There’s a wealth of learning opportunities available from Cisco Webex to help teachers explore how videoconferencing and Cisco Teams can help them connect with their students.

The first stop for teachers, students and parents, as well as IT professionals and higher education faculty, should be this web page. You’ll find tips for creating lesson plans, launching group projects and more.

Like you, we know that everybody’s learning style is different. That’s why we produce video tutorials to help teachers learn how to use Webex with their students. Topics we’ve covered so far include how to set expectations with students, tips to help teachers with scheduling and advice for establishing classroom culture during remote learning.

For more about the transition to virtual learning, check out this blog post.

Lastly, one thing we’ve noticed during our current situation is that when times are tough, people step up. Today, there’s no shortage of additional resources, including those outside of what we offer at Cisco Webex. A recent rundown from CNET includes K-12 e-learning resources on topics ranging from literacy to math, science and coding, as well as languages and Advanced Placement preparation. You’ll even find opportunities to take a virtual field trip with your class.

Reach out for more information or get started with our free offer.

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Connected Education: Let Remote Learning Continue With Webex — Before, During, and After Class

Welcome to hybrid learning

 

Sources

How challenging this transition is for students and teachers alike

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icon of health professional working with a patient on video conferencing
Best practices for clinicians using video conferencing

Video conferencing best practices

Some situations will always require an in-person visit to a healthcare provider. But there are many instances where a stable and immersive audio and video conferencing platform can offer all of the context needed for a clinician and their staff to offer accurate advice and a diagnosis.

Medical professionals benefit from a streamlined workflow, while patients don’t have to worry about travel arrangements and other logistical concerns. Plus, everyone involved has the advantage of reduced exposure to contagious and communicable diseases.

Of course, there are best practices in terms of compliance, medical ethics, technology, and practicality that must all be considered. Let’s review some key guidance for clinicians who decide to start offering virtual consults.

Compliance and medical ethics

The medical field is held to especially high standards in terms of patient confidentiality, licensure of providers, prescription of medication, acting in the best interests of patients, and many other factors.

In general, the same compliance concerns apply to virtual consults as an equivalent visit by a patient to your office or facility. There are some issues specifically related to virtual consults to keep in mind as well, as the Telehealth Resource Centers explained:

  • Providers have to be licensed to practice medicine in the same state where their patient is located.
  • HIPAA doesn’t specifically cover the unique circumstances of telehealth and virtual consults, but physicians and other staff must follow its rules to avoid issues with patient confidentiality and privacy.
  • Some states have additional privacy and security laws, whether focused on medicine or internet commerce, that providers must follow.

The Center for Connected Health Policy pointed out that while there are no Medicare rules related to informed consent and telemedicine, many states require that medical professionals obtain this approval from patients. This may be enforced through a state Medicaid program or statutes and regulations, so a thorough understanding of the requirements of the state or states in which you provide telemedicine services is especially important.

Practicality and ease of use

Virtual consults help to reduce or eliminate the various roadblocks that can exist between patients and care. Whether it’s impossible for a patient to secure reliable transport to a facility or they can’t easily do so because of a medical condition or other factors, a virtual consult can still connect them with you and your staff. Additionally, these visits keep all patients – whether immunocompromised or healthy – away from others who may spread a disease to them.

These benefits are only accessible with a carefully developed strategy that makes it easy for patients and medical professionals to connect with each other. Scheduling is one concern to keep in mind. Physicians, nurses, and other medical staff may have to spend more time with a given patient during a virtual consult or in-office visit than was initially anticipated or budgeted for on a daily schedule.

If your next virtual consult has to be delayed, the patient should be kept in the loop with updated information. Explaining up front that the appointment time is a guideline that everyone in the office attempts to follow but can’t absolutely guarantee is an important step. So is sending a notification if an issue arises.

Delegating work related to the consult is another factor. On your side of operations, it can ease the burden to have administrative staff set up the video conference and send an invite to you. That means more time focusing on the assessment you’re qualified to provide. Similarly, your admin team can also send an invite to patients ahead of time and follow up shortly before the appointment.

Technology

A stable and high-quality video conferencing platform can go a long way toward enabling the success of virtual consults. In-depth discussions about a topic as important as personal health requires support from a dependable solution. Clinicians may also want to record their sessions with patients to provide a detailed reference that supports their note-taking and other information-gathering efforts during the consult. A recording feature is critical to support this effort to maintain detailed records.

Making sure that patients who aren’t technologically savvy have the support they need to connect is also vital. That may mean having an administrator on your staff offer assistance in some cases or connecting with a relative or care provider on the patient’s end to explain what’s needed. A video conferencing platform designed to be intuitive and easy to use can help to make the virtual consult process as simple and pain-free as possible.

Similar considerations apply for you and your staff. Administrative specialists who set up virtual consults benefit from a platform designed around ease of use, as do nurses, clinicians, and other medical staff who interact with patients through them.

The virtual consult is a powerful tool that leverages the power of modern technology to break down geographic barriers and provide a high level of care to all patients, no matter where they’re located. But to be truly successful, best practices in the areas of technology, practicality, compliance, and medical ethics must be addressed.

 

Cisco Webex is here to support clinicians with a dedicated solution for their telemedicine needs.

Check out this virtual consultation checklist to learn more or get started with Webex today.

Learn More

Cisco + Samsung, innovating healthcare

Creating moments that matter for your residents with Webex

Cleaning shared touchscreen devices

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Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

 

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Professional man and woman using Webex and the feature Mirror my video view
August update of Webex Teams

It’s that time again! Here’re the exciting new features you can expect to see in Webex Teams this August…

MESSAGING & APP EXPERIENCE

An organized right-click menu (Windows & Mac)

We’ve organized the options you see when you right-click in the spaces list or on search results. Now, you can get to your favorite actions that much faster as they are ordered into intuitive groups.

Organized options in a Webex Teams window

‘Peek’ into a space on mobile (iPhone, iPad & Android)

When you have an unread space and you aren’t sure if you want to open it (and mark it as read) or not, you can now long press on the space, select Peek from the menu and open the space without marking it as read or sending a read receipt. If you try to send a message while using peek in space, you will be informed that you’re now leaving peek mode.

Peek into a space on Webex teams

 

Make the most of your messaging area (Android)

In group spaces (especially larger ones), when lots of people leave or are added around the same time, your message area can get clogged up with notifications that (maybe) aren’t all that important to you. Sometimes, this can cause you to lose context of messages sent before or after these in-space notifications. You’ll see these notifications grouped and collapsed, with the option to expand if you want to see more detail. This allows users to focus on more important messages.

Make the most of your messaging area (Android) in Webex Teams

Changes to settings & preferences​ (Windows & Mac)

We’ve added a dedicated Messaging tab, this is where you’ll set your default download location and configure views for your space list. Go to Settings (Windows) or Preferences (Mac) and select Messaging to check it out.

CALLING

Webex Calling

Seamless Call Handover (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad & Android)

You no longer have to worry about dropping a call when there’s a network change on your desktop or mobile. For example, when you leave the office and your mobile device switches from the office Wi-Fi to a mobile network, your call won’t be dropped.

Simplified calling options (Windows & Mac)

calls and only want to call co-workers using their work number, mobile number, or video address. Or maybe you don’t need to make calls to phone numbers, your calls will automatically go through as Webex Teams calls. Your administrator can simplify things for you by disabling the options you don’t need so that when you make a call from the app, you’re only presented with the options you want.

Control your video device from the app (Windows & Mac)

You can start or stop sharing your video on a connected video device right from the app. For example, if you’re connected to a Cisco Webex Board and you don’t want to share your video, you no longer have to walk up to the board and turn off your video. You can turn it off right from the app.

Mirror your self-view (Windows & Mac)

By default, when you share your video during a call, you can see yourself just like you’re looking in a mirror, making it easier for you to adjust your appearance (if you’re having a bad hair day). If you have text behind you and want to be able to read it easily instead of having to read it backwards, you may want to turn off your ‘Mirror my video view’ setting. This setting doesn’t affect the way other people in the meeting see you; It’s for your eyes only.Mirror your self-view from the app profession on screen with mirror self-view on

Switch between front and back camera (iPhone, iPad & Android)

Show your best side to the world! Tapping self-view in a call or meeting in Teams will switch between the front or rear camera on your device.

Man and Woman using meetings and the switch between front and back of camera feature

Know your active audio input (iPhone, iPad & Android)

When you make or accept a call, you’re notified about which audio device is active on the call, such as your speaker, Bluetooth device, or headphones.

If you’re sharing your video and then put your mobile device to your ear, your video automatically turns off. If you move your mobile device away from your ear, your video turns back on.

Know your active audio input (iPhone, iPad & Android)Change the look of your keypad during a transfer (iPhone, iPad & Android)

When you initiate a transfer during a call, you can change the appearance of your keypad from text to numbers if you’d prefer to search for someone by their phone number instead of their name.

change the look of your keypad during a transfer (iPhone, iPad & Android)

See how long you’ve been on a call (iPhone, iPad & Android)

Up at the top of your call window, under the name of the person you’re talking to, you can see a timer that lets you know how long you’ve been chatting.

Unified CM

More calling options (Windows & Mac)

You can call someone’s video address (for example, bburke@biotechnia.com) from anywhere in the app that you’d make any other type of call, like when you search for someone or you’re in a space with that person.

Call someone's video address from anywhere in the appPush notification for incoming call (Android)

Want to save battery life? Get notified about an incoming call in Webex Teams even when the Webex Teams app isn’t running. 

Simplified calling options (Windows & Mac)

Your administrator can set up your calling options to suit your needs. Maybe you don’t have a need to make Webex Teams calls and only want to call co-workers using their work number, mobile number, or video address. Or maybe you don’t need to make calls to phone numbers, your calls will automatically go through as Webex Teams calls. Your administrator can simplify things for you by disabling the options you don’t need so that when you make a call from the app, you’re only presented with the options you want.

Control your video device from the app (Windows & Mac)

You can start or stop sharing your video on a connected video device right from the app. For example, if you’re connected to a Cisco Webex Board and you don’t want to share your video, you no longer have to walk up to the board and turn off your video. You can turn it off right from the app.

Mirror your self-view (Windows & Mac)

By default, when you share your video during a call, you can see yourself just like you’re looking in a mirror, making it easier for you to adjust your appearance (if you’re having a bad hair day). If you have text behind you and want to be able to read it easily instead of having to read it backwards, you may want to turn off your ‘Mirror my video view’ setting. This setting doesn’t affect the way other people in the meeting see you; It’s for your eyes only.

Switch between front and back camera (iPhone, iPad & Android)

Show your best side to the world! Tapping self-view in a call or meeting in Teams will switch between the front or rear camera on your device.

Man and Woman using meetings and the switch between front and back of camera feature

 

Know your active audio input (iPhone, iPad & Android)

When you make or accept a call, you’re notified about which audio device is active on the call, such as your speaker, Bluetooth device, or headphones.

If you’re sharing your video and then put your mobile device to your ear, your video automatically turns off. If you move your mobile device away from your ear, your video turns back on.

Change the look of your keypad during a transfer (iPhone, iPad & Android)

When you initiate a transfer during a call, you can change the appearance of your keypad from text to numbers if you’d prefer to search for someone by their phone number instead of their name.

See how long you’ve been on a call (iPhone, iPad & Android)

Up at the top of your call window, under the name of the person you’re talking to, you can see a timer that lets you know how long you’ve been chatting.

Call Details in Your Call History (iPhone, iPad & Android)

You can find detailed information in your call history such as call time and call duration. From the Details window, you can choose to call the person back with audio or video.

INTEGRATIONS

A new way to capture Polls in Webex Teams!

Add the new Pollbot (poll-bot@webex.bot) to any group space or direct message the bot to quickly setup polls for any team. Curious what your colleagues are thinking or simply want to reach a consensus? Take an anonymous poll and share or keep the results private. Learn about the Pollbot and other Apps on the Webex App hub.

Create a poll in Webex TeamsFollowing a PollFor more information on this and upcoming updates to Webex Teams, check out our help page here.

Learn More

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

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3 different imaging of brains with Dr. Don Vaughn
Pay attention now or you might pay for it later

Dr. Don Vaughn is a neuroscientist, an author, a speaker and an extremely interesting guy to have a conversation with. I had the recent privilege of chatting with Don about the future of our brains, and specifically of how we balance the barrage of inbound stimuli that can distract you during your day.  As they say, “the struggle is real” and it is powerful.  

Attention is a hot commodity

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, studies showed the average person is bombarded with as many as 4,000 messages per day. These messages come from a combination of advertising, marketing, notifications, alerts, emails, calls and more. Some are very passive, blending into the background but having a subtle build-up over time. Others are intrusive, invasive and break through the clutter.  All of them are intended invoke a response, and all of them are vying for your attention. It’s like being a parent, working at home and having 4,000 children constantly asking you for something. Okay, that might be an exaggeration to make a point, but to those of us who are parents with young kids in these days, it feels like a reality at times.

Your ability to pay attention is one of your most prized resources. Don points out that when you become distracted, it can take an average of 30 minutes to get back into “the groove” you were in.  For some people, it can take up to 2 hours and that delay can crush productivity. Productivity is the word of the day as people are trying to balance work and life while being stuck at home during in a pandemic world.  Companies are looking to the future, both near and long-term.  In the near future, they’re looking at ways to maintain a high level of productivity. In the long term, they’re looking at a hybrid workplace where teams may remain distributed and need to maintain the ability to collaborate in a flexible working environment.  Both situations require tools and platforms that enable interaction and sharing, but also the opportunity for people to focus and pay attention to their work.

Finding productivity in short bursts

graph of how much time to give for productivity

Studies show that short bursts of focus can be extremely productive.  Some of these studies mention 25-minute bursts.  I tend to subscribe to a 60-minute burst with a single small break. These bursts allow you to drop into a groove, maintain your attention and pursue a concept to a point where you feel a logical pause. After the burst you can take a breath, focus and get back into it for a logical conclusion. It becomes important for people to block sections of their week for these bursts of thinking and focus.  I personally lock in 6 hours per week, scattered over different days. These periods can be moved, but never canceled. They ensure I remain productive, even when the rest of my day is spent on video call after video call. During these times, I employ techniques to reduce interruptions and distractions. They include: closing applications, putting on headphones and removing my phone from immediate line of sight. By implementing these little adjustments, productivity is maintained.  Without them, focus is lost and my productivity wanes.

Empathy and human connection

An inability to pay attention can diminish results over time, hence a negative impact on productivity. You need these bursts of attention to keep you feeling positive. People take pride in their work, and they need to feel they are doing well and producing. Co-workers need to have empathy towards one another and acknowledge that we all need time to focus. Don speaks a lot about empathy and human connection. Video conferences have become the defacto means of maintaining that connection. Video allows you to see the other person and look them in the eye. Video allows for body language, tone and character to enter your conversation. Phone calls are difficult. It’s easier to be rude when you can’t see the person you’re talking to. Email is worse. Email has no tone. When you read an email, you hear the tone based on your current state of mind. Negativity can arise from responses to emails or confrontational phone calls more than video calls. On a video call you can see someone, read their body language and create empathy in your conversation. You can read the room and adjust your delivery to match. This empathy goes a long way to fostering a better working environment.

What’s next?

As teams work remotely or find their way back to the office in some capacity, attention and empathy are going to be key to success. Teams need to collaborate. Individual contributors need to be able to focus. Managers need to foster the opportunity for employees to pay attention and not degrade their productivity due to distraction and interruption. And businesses need to understand that technology and flexibility can be employed to create the optimal environment for the future.

Check out the session with Dr. Don Vaughn and hear more about attention, empathy and the future of the workplace.

Learn More

[Webinar] Inside the Brain: Science based methods we can use to increase our productivity

How to prepare for the return to work

How to have a webexceptional video conferencing meeting

Still Need Help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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grid view custom backgrounds and music mode
Webex Meetings August 2020 update: Increased security and media enhancement, custom backgrounds and music mode

August: Hot temperatures and hot Webex Meetings feature releases! Big things are in the works for Webex and we are super excited to share them with you. Over the next few months, you will see major enhancements. This month, the feature updates include increased security, grid view, music mode, and much more! Bringing you more flexibility to work wherever you need to.

Media + Security Enhancement

CipherSuite encryption – With this month’s update, we are updating the encryption cipher for Webex Meetings from AES-128-CBC to AES-256-GCM. AES-256-GCM is the best available cipher and it provides increased protection for meetings data and resistance against tampering.

Music Mode in Meetings and Events –You can now play music during your meeting and transmit the richness of melodies to all participants. This is especially important when delivering a virtual concert or music lessons over Webex. To enable this feature, simply press Ctrl+Shift+M to turn on Music Mode or click on “audio” on the menu bar and check “music mode.” Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Fluid high-resolution video even at 50% packet loss – This month’s feature update keeps your video flowing at high resolution even if your network suddenly experiences significant packet loss. Such as when your kids start to play video games or when remote classes start for everyone in the family. Before, when your network conditions significantly degraded, your video would transition to show your thumbnail image. Now, with media enhancements in Webex, you don’t have to worry anymore about disrupting your meetings if you are experiencing poor connection.

Desktop

Custom Virtual Background – On Windows and Mac, when selecting a virtual background, you can now choose your own image from your desktop to be used. This feature adds an additional level of personalization to your meetings. Have a favorite vacation spot? Add it to your virtual backgrounds and show it off in your meetings. Custom backgrounds are already supported on iOS and Android.

Custom virtual background with Webex Meetings

Grid view by default- In Webex Meetings, grid view is now the default setting when no one is sharing content, making the meeting participants appear equally. This creates a more collaborative feeling. If you prefer active speaker, you can still change your view to Active Speaker Video View or Active Speaker and Thumbnail Video View from the controls in the upper right area.

Grid View by default in Webex Meetings

Self-view enhancement – Your self-view is now shown in the video grid with the other participant videos by default. Your video will appear next to your colleagues instead of floating in the corner. This creates a more natural meeting experience. However, if you prefer to float your self-view instead, simply click “Show my self-view in a floating window.”

self-view enhancement

Hide non-video participants – You can now hide meeting participants who have their video turned off and chose to focus your meeting on those who have turned their video on. This creates a more engaging meeting experience and allows you to see those participating via video in your meeting.

Hide non-video Participants

Push to Talk– When muted, you can now hold the spacebar down to momentarily unmute. Instead of fumbling around trying to unmute, simply press and hold the spacebar when you want to talk. Release the spacebar to go back on to mute. The flexibility of working from anywhere might mean there are more background noises. Sometimes it is better to stay on mute until you need to speak up. With the new push to talk feature, you can stay on mute, limit background noise and simply chime in when you need to.

push to talk

Virtual Desktop Integration

VDI Dual-Monitor Support – Webex now supports a dual-monitor setup for Windows and Linux (Ubuntu + eLux) on Virtual Desktops. If you use a dual monitor, you will be able to extend the display of your session so you can utilize both of your monitors.

Mobile

IOS – It’s now even easier and faster to get to your Webex Meetings from your iOS devices. Just use your Apple ID. One fewer password to remember.

And last but not least…

Android – Webex Meetings is the FIRST conferencing service to offer live streaming for Android! Just like the in the Desktop app, you can start a live stream from a third-party source such as Facebook, YouTube or IBM directly from your mobile device and significantly expand your audience reach!

For more information on these features, please visit the Webex Help Portal

Learn More

See all the Webex Meetings updates here

Secure, first-party recording transcripts in Webex Meetings

Webex Meetings July 2020 update: Virtual backgrounds on Windows, Mac, Android, and more!

Webex Meetings June 2020 Update: Transcriptions, Background Blur and Mobile Grid View

Still Need Help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Caught by the fuzz

Robert Hanton – Learn how Webex uses fuzzing and machine learning as one more way to help prevent security issues.

What is fuzzing?

Fuzzing” is a security technique that actually goes back to the 1980s. The essential idea is to automatically generate very large numbers of random or semi-random inputs for your system, feed them in, and monitor the system for problems such as crashes, lockups, memory leaks or long delays in processing the data. When a problem is found you then have a discrete and repeatable input that can be used to trigger the problem, diagnose it, and confirm that a code-change has resolved it.

 

While any function or module in a codebase can be fuzzed, it is particularly valuable to apply to any unvalidated input the system receives, as these inputs can (accidentally or maliciously) trigger unwanted behaviours. In the case of a collaboration system these can range from the signaling messages in a call flow, to the actual audio and video packets themselves, to control packets such as RTCP (RTP control protocol) that travel alongside the media.

Despite this, fuzzing is perhaps one of the least-utilised tools across the tech industry as a whole, as for a long time setting it up to be of value was regarded as something of a “black art”, and the purview of dedicated security experts. There was a time that was at least somewhat true, but modern fuzzing tools allow for very effective generation of inputs with a minimum of time and training. To understand why these newer generation of fuzzers are so effective, let’s quickly explore how fuzzing used to be done.

Older fuzzing techniques

The challenge of fuzzing has always been the generation of good inputs – the test values fed into the system to attempt to provoke bad behaviour. The very first fuzzers simply generated random data, but in almost all real-world scenarios, random data makes for very ineffective inputs.

To understand why, consider JSON, which has a relatively permissive format. A parser will, however, expect an input to start with “{“. If we are generating inputs of random ASCII, then more than 99% of our inputs will likely be discarded by the very first check in the parser, and the vast majority of the remainder shortly thereafter when they fall foul of other very basic checks.

Random inputs are not entirely without value – fuzzing certain binary protocol that have very little space in their format devoted to validation such as some audio and video codecs can be effective. But for the vast majority of formats fuzzing with random inputs is extraordinarily inefficient.

So, to be effective, a fuzzer needs to reliably generate inputs that are at least close to a valid input for the system under test. Traditionally there were two methods for doing this: mutational fuzzing and generation fuzzingMutation fuzzing involves taking a number of ‘real’ inputs (often taken from log files or recorded by a packet analyser such as Wireshark) and using them to drive a mutator function. This function would take a valid sample and mutate it in one or more ways by randomly applying a range of rules such as changing bits or characters, duplicating values, removing values and so on.

mutation fuzzing

 

This would result in a large number of inputs for fuzzing that would resemble real-world inputs (and hence not be immediately rejected for violating basic syntax rules) but which might result in internal states that the designer had never contemplated and hence find crashes, lockups or other issues. A mutational fuzzer could thus be set up relatively quickly if a comprehensive body of real-world inputs were available to seed the mutator. However, skill was involved in picking out a representative sample of real-world inputs, as the mutator would only exercise parts of the format that were reflected in its samples.This was a particular issue when extending a format and adding new functionality, as there wouldn’t be an easily-accessible body of data to draw on that included this new syntax.


mutational fuzzier

 

By contrast, generation fuzzing involves creating a data model describing the syntax that a valid potential input could take. For instance, if seeking to fuzz a SIP parser, you would need a data model defining the SIP protocol (or at least as the parts of it that your parser supported). A generator function would then use this to generate a set of inputs, both valid and invalid, based on that data model.

Given a complete data model, generation fuzzing can produce an excellent set of inputs that can thoroughly exercise the system under test. However, producing a complete data model generally involves a considerable investment of time by someone with a deep familiarity with the protocol, and the model must be continually maintained and updated to ensure that any extension is also covered by the fuzzer.

These barriers of time and skill for the mutation and generation techniques are what contributed to fuzzing being seen as the domain only of dedicated security experts. Companies such as Codenomicon (now part of Synopsis) produced commercial pre-packaged fuzzing tools for well-known protocols such as SIP; these provided turnkey access to high-quality fuzzing for those specific protocols for companies that could afford to license them, but otherwise fuzzing was a niche tool.

Instrumentation-guided fuzzing with machine learning

However, there is a new generation of fuzzers that can produce high-quality inputs that can exercise the system under test as thoroughly as a generation fuzzer, but can do so automatically and without the need for a predefined data model. They do this by instrumenting the executable under test, detecting what code paths its inputs exercise, and then using that data to feedback into its input generation to learn to produce new, more effective inputs.

The fuzzer of this type my team uses is American Fuzzy Lop (AFL), but other similar tools exist: other teams in Webex use Clang’s LibFuzzer. These tools instrument the executable under test in a similar way to tools that generate figures for unit-test coverage, inserting hooks for each line or function that detects when that fragment of code is exercised.

This means that when an input is fed into the system under test, the fuzzer can detect what portions of the code that input exercised, and that can be used to assign a fitness to the particular input. Inputs that don’t fit the expected syntax well will be rejected without exercising much code and so will be assigned a lower fitness than one that is a better fit for the expected syntax and hence exercises more code.

With the ability to very accurately assign a fitness to each input it generates, the fuzzer can then learn to generate better and better inputs that exercise more and more of the executable under test. AFL does this through genetic algorithms, a machine learning technique where pseudo-natural selection techniques are used to “breed” new inputs from the fittest of a previous generation.

That means that you just need to give AFL an initial seed input and it will learn to evolve a corpus of inputs that thoroughly exercise your executable under test. Thanks to the instrumentation you can also get real-time feedback on how much of your executable it has managed to explore so far, how many issues it has found, and other key information.

american fuzzy lop

Getting started with instrumentation-guided fuzzing

There are plenty of tutorials out there for AFL, LibFuzzer and other tools, so instead here is a grab-bag of tips and suggestions:

Unless your system is very small don’t fuzz the entire thing – instead create a little ‘fuzzable’ executable for each module you want to test that strips it down to the bare minimum that ingests an input, parses/processes it, and exits. The less code there is and the faster it runs the more generations the fuzzer can run and the more quickly you will get results.

You can fuzz anything with defined inputs, but focus initially on inputs your system receives from the outside world, particularly those received without any validation from other parts of your overall system. These are some of your most vulnerable attack surfaces, and hence where you really want to find any vulnerabilities.

Fuzz your third-party modules, particularly those that are not pervasively used across the industry. Third-party code has bugs just like first-party code, and just because you didn’t write it doesn’t mean you are not responsible for those bugs if you include the library in your system – your customer won’t care who wrote the code that crashed their system (or worse). Third-party libraries usually have well-defined inputs and hence are highly amenable to fuzzing. If you do find issues don’t forget to push any patches back upstream so the community as a whole can benefit.

While instrumentation-guided fuzzers can produce a fully-compliant input from any arbitrary seed, it can take them quite some time to evolve the basic semantics. You can speed things up significantly by seeding them with real-world input. Similarly, keep your corpus from previous runs and use it to seed the fuzzer when you run it again – that will save a lot of time.

While you’ll get the most benefit from it the first time you run it, consider automating your fuzzing. You can set it up to run periodically or on new changesets and alert if it finds new vulnerabilities introduced by code changes. If so make sure to use the corpus of the previous run to seed the fuzzer, as you want to make the fuzzing process as efficient as possible.

Like any security technique, fuzzing is not a silver bullet for finding every vulnerability your system might have. Using fuzzing does not mean you should not also be using static analysis, threat modeling, and a range of other techniques to make your system as secure as possible. Good security is about defence in depth; fuzzing is one more technique that provides its own unique set of benefits.

About the author

Robert Hanton is a Principal Engineer at Cisco Systems. He has worked in video conferencing ever since he graduated from Cambridge’s Engineering course back in 2005, working in companies with tens of employees, and companies with tens of thousands. He is the primary architect and service owner for some of the key media services in Cisco’s Webex conferencing product, responsible for providing millions of minutes of real-time video and audio every day to users around the world.

Click here to learn more about the offerings from Webex and to sign up for a free account.

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woman standing at her computer and screen sharing
Screen sharing how-to guide: Tips for better real-time collaboration

Tips for better real-time collaboration with screen sharing

Effective collaboration is the holy grail for business: something constantly sought after, but often never reached. It’s not usually the fault of the team members and departments themselves, but more the communication and productivity tools they have.

True collaboration entails much more than a back-and-forth discussion in an email chain that reaches the double digits of replies. It means employees, and more broadly, business units, tightly coordinating with each other on strategy, planning, execution, and follow-up. In reality, companies can’t rely on email or traditional conference calls to support that level of collaboration — especially in real-time.

Screen sharing, however, can be used to power collaboration on all fronts: whether it’s uniting geographically diverse teams on a single video conference so they can meet face-to-face and walk through project outcomes or a quarterly report, or hopping on a quick 5-minute call to review and edit a presentation, screen sharing can greatly benefit teams.

Here’s a guide to using screen sharing for better real-time collaboration and some tips for leveraging its key advantages.

Use video whenever possible

No channel is more effective or efficient for communication than video. While it’s possible to have a conversation over the phone, video fosters deeper engagement and interaction, essential to collaboration. Seeing face to face or making eye contact while sharing your screen ensures your message resonates with everyone in the room.

Consider putting in place a policy that would have remote workers use video by default, or as often as possible. It can be hard to inspire true, real-time collaboration with professionals spread across disparate states and time zones, but video and screen sharing can provide the right conditions. For example, while teams can still utilize chat as much as they like, require that video be used for any kickoff meeting, scheduled biweekly update, or similar milestone meetings.

Ensure teams know how to screen share

The value that screen sharing features can provide won’t come in handy if your employees haven’t been trained in using the solution. As you roll out a new tool, take care to hold training and feedback sessions. The second type of outreach is crucial; that way, you can troubleshoot any issues before they become more significant problems with realizing value or return on investment from screen sharing software.

For example, knowing how to pass presenter controls is essential to collaboration on a video call. That way, each person who has something to say or share can do so, knowing that the rest of the attendees are focused on them and able to see the materials.

Enable meeting participants to go mobile

There’s no telling when a collaborative spark might ignite, and that includes when team members are on the road, in transit, or otherwise not in the office setting. A screen sharing solution with a mobile app facilitates collaboration by letting call attendees use their mobile devices to join the meeting and utilize screen-sharing features.

Encourage users to get creative

The beauty of screen sharing is that it can facilitate collaboration in different and creative ways. Encourage your teams to test out screen sharing for all types of meetings to find creative ways to use it. For instance, sales and marketing teams may work together on an interactive presentation in real-time, fine-tuning animations, or dynamic elements before the client meeting.

Have a recording policy

Recording a video meeting is helpful for future reference. Attendees can quickly call up what was said or share the contents with another member who wasn’t there. Recorded video calls help eliminate communication gaps and oversights that negatively impact collaboration. Also, this allows you to track the thought process if you were editing a document in real-time. It’s worth thinking at a high level about a policy for recording videos for preservation purposes.

Last but not least, don’t forget about security

While you want your teams and business units to work closely with one another, they are crucial for providing a secure platform for doing so. Different security topics you may need to consider include encryption, password management, access controls, cloud infrastructure, hardware security, and data storage. Security is as important as quality when researching software that allows screen sharing.

Ready to try screen sharing? Check out Cisco Webex to learn about our screen-sharing products or get started with a free plan today.

Learn More

Why screen sharing works better for sales than traditional conference calls

4 screen sharing tips to manage a growing business without an office

Personalize your team meetings with these top four screen sharing features

Still Need Help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Virtual Background in Meeting - Objects_REVISED
Virtual backgrounds to inspire remote work culture: the Cisco Webex artist series

Remote work is now commonplace. Video calls are the norm. And most of us experience the “excuse the mess” worry of giving folks a glimpse into our personal lives and spaces.

Remote work equals the new normal

To be clear, this is not an entirely new phenomenon. We’ve sweated our “backdrops” for as long as the video conference has been around. The problem is that our environments are often caught in a perpetual work-in-progress state, leaving them not quite ready for the public stage.

Enter virtual video backgrounds. You’ve likely had some experience using video backgrounds while on video calls, regardless of your preferred solution provider.

Naturally, Webex is here with an expanded solution of our own. We’re certainly not the first or the last, but we’re excited to kick off the Webex Artist Series by offering our unique take on video backgrounds to further our mission of transforming collaborative work by crafting experiences people love.

The inspiration for our backgrounds

First off, practically any background you can imagine is available somewhere on the internet. You want to be at the International Space Station or in a submarine? It’s out there. This reality led us to focus on creating something unique to Webex and aligned with our passion for inspiring vibrant remote work culture.

There are two primary ideas at play.

  1. We’re a globally distributed organization working across various time zones, geographies, and cultures. This means we’re influenced by a wide range of “places,” all of which serve as inspiration for the experiences we create. Similarly, we design products for our customers’ diverse teams who are more often than not, remote, and distributed in various ways.
  2. Webex has a vibrant creative culture, with designers and artists who have a strong creative point of view they’re eager to express.

These ideas culminate in exciting new video backgrounds for the latest Meetings release for desktop. And backgrounds for our Red Dot Award-winning Desk Pro video conferencing device will follow. [Read more about Red Dot Winning Cisco Webex Desk Pro Design].

The collection

We’re starting with backgrounds from three sets:

Time and Place. These backgrounds represent different natural environments from across the globe, each evoking a mood through simple illustrated form and color.

young man using virtual background on Webex Meetings

Environments. These are intentionally unexpected and a little whimsical, inspiring imaginative ways to think about the spaces we occupy for work, play, learning, and more.

Young woman using environments on Webex Meetings

Neutrals. We see a need for backgrounds that have texture and color but recede, allowing the meeting participant to be the focus. These have a very practical use for when a calm, familiar backdrop is needed.

Mature man using background in Webex Meetings

These backgrounds are all inspired, illustrated, and rendered by our talented in-house designers in Shanghai, San Jose, Oslo, and Krakow. Go team!

Additionally, users will be able to choose a more traditional photographic background (landscape or executive office) or upload an image of their choice.

Virtual Background in Preview

Learn more about enabling virtual backgrounds for Cisco Webex Meetings, Events, and Training

The Webex Artists Series backgrounds are just the beginning in a series of personality-evoking experiences we plan to offer. Being on extended periods of video conferencing can be tiring. By offering you a range of options that suit your mood, personality, or audience, we aim to diminish your daily stressors and make working remotely delightful, and uniquely you.

With this and more experience-focused innovations coming in our flagship Webex Meetings product [Read more], we’re excited to offer you new and improved ways of working and connecting with others in the “new normal” of remote work.

If you want to learn more about Webex and the value, it can provide your business, reach out for more information, or get started with our free offer today.

Learn More

Delighting remote workers: Why user experience is important

Why remote work can be more productive work

How to prepare for the return to work

Still Need Help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

Read more