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6 tips for working from home with kids. Father Works On Laptop As Mother Helps Son With Homework On Kitchen Table
6 tips for working from home with kids

As more people than ever embrace remote work, our next challenge is mastering the art of working from home…with kids. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your little ones entertained and you productive while working remotely.

1) Answer the why first 

Depending on how old your kids are, they may or may not fully understand why they’re home from school or why you’re at home (but still working). Take the time to set some rules and expectations on what normal looks like now. Be clear on when it’s ok to make noise—or not—or when you’ll be available to sit and do activities with them, what situations mean it’s ok to knock on the door and when you need to be quiet in the house.

For example, telling them that you’re working from 9-12 and 1-5 lets them know that you are going to be busy throughout the day during those times, but they can expect to see you for lunch. For older children, setting simple rules like ‘a closed door means you need it to be quiet during calls’ could be all it takes to keep your sanity throughout the day. Many of our coworkers set a policy that the kids need to send a message online or open the door quietly to get your attention if the door is closed.

2) Set a schedule 

Keeping a routine is hard in this new normal, but a necessity for some kids. We’ve found that taking some time to plan out a schedule so they get used to waking up, doing planned activities, studying, and going on walks really helps keep things as normal as possible.

Another option is to let the kids set their schedules and timers using connected devices. For example, they can tell in-home smart devices to set a timer (or use the kitchen timer) throughout the day to keep them on track.

3) Work as a team 

With so many companies encouraging or mandating remote work, you may be lucky enough to be working at home with your partner or have friends or family able to help. If so, plan who will have some downtime to entertain the kids and when you can switch off.

If you have a big meeting that requires no distractions or unnecessary noise, consider arranging an activity for the kids to go outside to play (if available). Other activities like board games or specific school assignments can leave you some quiet time to focus. Big siblings (depending on their age) can also be enlisted to help with the younger kids throughout the day. Click to find other great ways that technology creates better interpersonal connections.

4) Talk with your manager about flexibility 

With so many of us working remotely, most leaders are anticipating and accepting the challenges of working remotely, including dealing with distractions. If your kids are up early and don’t nap until the afternoon, work with your manager to schedule essential calls around that time. Or ask for non-traditional working hours so you can maximize your time when your children are sleeping at night.

You can also explain that they’ll be running in and out of the room throughout the day and to not be surprised when one of them makes a cameo on a video call. You may be surprised with how many of your coworkers are in the same situation and open up conversations you would never have had in the office! At Webex, we welcome kids or pets as part of the work from home experience! Check out this article on getting the the most out of work-life balance.

5) Never stop learning 

Whether you regularly homeschool, your child’s teacher has sent home digital or physical schoolwork, or you just want your kids to keep learning while home, there are a few ways to engage your kids in learning. Set times throughout the day for reading, completing assignments, doing puzzles or other activities that challenge their mind, or any other learning-related activities they can do. If you have a tablet or computer, set aside time for your kids to play a fun educational game—they’ll be learning, but really, it’ll feel like fun (and keep them occupied).

6) Keep them busy 

Managing kids while working can be a challenge, so our design team made a quick set of coloring guides for kids of all ages (and adults, too). Download your set and print it out for a few minutes of peace today! Have any other tips to share about how you succeed working remotely? Let us know by tagging us on social media with the hashtag #lifeonwebex.

Download your free cs.co/kidspack today!

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Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

3 tips for working with remote team members

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

Together, Remotely

Many of our colleagues in the US, EMEAR and around the world are currently facing the twin challenges of working from home to keep essential communications up and running, AND the difficult task of keeping their children entertained during school shutdown.

The design team at Cisco thought we’d help with two simple ways to keep them and their children entertained: first we made a colouring book with signage and characters from our Webex Teams app, to help connect children to their parents work. We also made a collaborative playlist that anyone can join, so we can all jam along together while we work!

Read the full article https://medium.com/cisco-collaboration-design/together-remotely-e25ee3c7425a

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Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

3 tips for working with remote team members

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RoomOS Monthly Update: March 2020. Close up of a young man working in an office
RoomOS Monthly Update: March 2020

This month, the software team have been cooking up some real treats for you guys.  In March, we are focusing on making the way you collaborate with your personal mode Webex Room devices more seamless and efficient, as many of us find ourselves working from home. If you do, check out some tips and tricks on how to work remotely.

The first two features are cloud benefits, whilst the latter two are available for both cloud and on-premises.

Guest code for wireless sharing

Most offices receive a constant flux of people. When these people come into your office for a meeting, it can be rather tedious to ask them to download an app in order to wirelessly share to a room device. Many times, they also require access from an admin to download new software on their work laptops, which is not the most practical thing in the world when you are a guest at a different office. This new feature allows guests to just go to a website and enter a code found on the device, and by doing this they can wirelessly share to a device, with the only requirement being a good internet connection. Whether they want to share an app, the entire screen or just a tab from their browser, it can be done with a simple step.

Guest Code for Wireless Sharing

Easily join your personal room in personal mode

In January, we released wireless sharing for personal mode from the Teams App. We really want to make it easier for you to get stuff done from your personal Webex Room device, so this month we are releasing a Personal Meeting Room (PMR) shortcut in personal mode! Joining your Personal Room is now quick and straightforward – only a click away. You just click the Webex button, and you should see a green button next to your Personal Room address at the bottom of the page. Click it, and you are in your PMR. Easy, right?

Easily Join your Personal Room in Personal Mode

Joining personal room from inside the Webex button

When you click the Webex button, you can now choose to write a Personal Room URI. Previously, it used to be only digits, but now you can use actual words, which is great news for those of us who struggle to remember long strings of random digits (aka most of us). Because of this, you can make a call from your previous dialing history, so if you have dialed a Personal Room before, it will be saved in the history of the Webex button and auto-populate as you type. This feature is available for both on-prem and cloud devices.

Meeting title privacy

There are many different reasons to why people wouldn’t want the titles of their meetings to be publicly displayed. Maybe you are discussing a sensitive topic such as a workforce reduction planning, or maybe one about employee appraisals and salary negotiations. Either way, you might not want everyone walking past the booked meeting room to know what the purpose of the meeting is. To solve this problem, we are providing admins with an API setting on the device, so that the meeting title will be hidden. This feature is available for both on-prem and cloud devices.

That’s all for this month. Stay safe and take care of each other.

Click to learn more about what Cisco Webex is doing to support our customers in these unprecedented times.

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See all the Webex RoomOS releases

Webex Meetings and Microsoft Teams: Working better together

Skip the trip with Webex Meetings

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

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Higher education, meet Webex. Woman remote working and taking classes online
Higher education, meet Webex

Cisco Webex collaboration solutions for education

Imagine ivy-covered buildings, students playing frisbee in the quad, and hoodies emblazoned with school colors. What comes to mind? For many people, it’s a college or university campus. For me, however, higher ed is connected classrooms, mobile-friendly interactions with faculty, and taking my university with mewherever I am.  

Students today expect a seamless and personalized digital experience from colleges and universities, from their initial application to their last day in the classroom. As a former digital communications professional at Ivy League and Big Ten universities, I relied on Cisco Webex collaboration solutions to make digital interactions more human. Whether you’re a faculty member looking for ways to connect your classroom or an administrator looking to build connections on campus and in the world, Webex can help you to innovate your institution.  

Student-centered enrollment Choosing a college or grad school is a stressful process, from applications and costly campus visits to understanding financial aid and selecting a school that is the right fit. . Studendt sitting on floor of hallway with an opened journal looking at her phone waiting for school to start

Studentcentered enrollment  

Choosing a college or grad school is a stressful process, from applications and costly campus visits to understanding financial aid and selecting a school that is the right fit. Admissions offices can easily center the enrollment experience around student needs with Webex Meetings and Events. 

Connect with prospects around the world by using Webex Events. You can host online info sessions and potentially reach applicants who might not be able to visit in person or connect with your Admissions team at a local college fair.  

Planning a virtual admitted student day or decision day? You can drive meaningful interaction with admits by using Webex Events to host Q&A panels with current students, sit in on a faculty lecture, poll parents and partners on their thoughts about supporting their loved one in school, and much more. No need to worry about picking a date that doesn’t compete with other campus events or decision deadlines—everything is recorded so you can share the link whenever with whoever might need it. 

For moments that matter, Webex Meetings can be a powerful tool for creating personal connections and involving your campus community in recruitment. With Meetings, you can cut down on the carbon footprint of admission interviews, have face-to-face conversations during sensitive financial aid counseling sessions, host virtual campus tours with student guides, or attract your top applicants with one-on-one coffee chats with faculty or the Dean. The options are limitless. 

Connected classrooms and campuses 

Surveys have shown Gen-Z students prefer video-based learning more than previous generations—but is your institution prepared to adapt? If you’re transitioning to virtual learning, Webex Meetings and Teams are the perfect combination to keep your classroom connected, so learning doesn’t have to stop. Plus, Meetings and Teams work seamlessly with popular learning management systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Moodle, Sakai, or Blackboard with the Webex Education Connector 

If your institution has multiple campuses, bringing your school communities together—culturally and logistically—can be a challenge. Webex Meetings and Devices can seamlessly bridge the distance across locations. Need some ideas to encourage cross-campus collaboration? Connect students through club meetups or student government summits, expand access to guest speakers and special events, or enable cross-disciplinary faculty connections to propel innovative research—all with Webex.  

Whatever your role in your higher ed community, there’s a way you can use Webex to innovate the student experience and improve collaboration across campuses. Webex is a proud educational partner for many institutions 

I’m proud to now work for Webex, at the intersection of human and digital interaction. Now I want to hear from you: how will you use Webex to revolutionize the higher ed experience?   

Learn how you can keep your classrooms connected so learning doesn’t have to stop:  https://www.webex.com/webexremoteedu.html

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Howe Public Schools uses video conferencing to create more opportunities for its students

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Spring forward to better meetings across time zones
Spring forward to better meetings across time zones

Cross time zones with better meetings

Love setting your clocks back each fall to gain that extra hour of sleep? Hate setting them forward each spring and suddenly having less time to rest? Love it or hate it, the beginning of DST each year is a good opportunity to adopt best practices for scheduling video conferencing meetings.

While businesses like retailers widely like DST, it’s not universal – not even within the U.S. For example, states including Arizona and Hawaii do not observe DST at all, creating yet another ripple in the complications that can affect schedules each March and November, when most places in the Northern Hemisphere “spring forward” and “fall back,” respectively.

The stakes for adept scheduling have only gotten higher as more organizations have embraced remote work policies, leaving them more reliant than ever upon geographically distributed employees across multiple time zones.

Tips for better meetings

Let’s look at six tips for scheduling and conducting your meetings the right way in this context:

1) Check in with remote workers about what times work for them

A big part of working remotely is the ability to set your own schedule. Even if there are formal company rules for which hours you need to be available, there’s still a lot more flexibility than in a traditional office environment.

As a meeting scheduler, you have to navigate the many complications that can arise from workers operating during different blocks of time each day. One possible solution is to ask everyone for multiple times that would work for them and finding one that overlaps or is close enough.

2) If in doubt, fall back to some generally good meeting times

If your organization is based in the U.S., you have four contiguous time zones to account for along with ones unique to Hawaii and Alaska. Setting up a meeting when you have employees spread across these time zones can be challenging if the above technique – asking for availability times – doesn’t work out that well.

Fortunately, you can usually default to some times that almost always work for multiple time zones. For example, 2 p.m. Eastern is a popular meeting time slot, as it translates to 1 p.m. Central, 12 p.m. Mountain, and 11 a.m. Pacific – all prime working hours. If you have employees in Hawaii or Alaska, moving the meeting to 3 p.m. Eastern will likely work, too.

3) Use online world clock tools for international meetings

Things become even more complex when you have meetings that involve people in different countries, as the time zone gaps can be considerable. Maybe you’ve hopped on an 8 a.m. call in the U.S. for a meeting with someone in the European Union – that can be less than ideal for late-risers and people accustomed to starting work at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m, for instance. And DST, especially in the spring, can make these types of rise-and-shine meetings even tougher to get through.

This is where it’s useful to have access to a world clock tool. Many are available, both on the web and within various apps, and they’re handy for exploring how various meeting times would work worldwide. World Time Buddy is a prime example of a free world clock that lets you search for specific time zones and places and then compare them so that you can draw up an invite that, at least in theory, works for everyone.

4) Collect questions and input from anyone who can’t make it

Not everyone can make every meeting, regardless of how well it’s scheduled. But that doesn’t mean they have to be left out entirely. One way to include them is to solicit their feedback, questions, and other input beforehand so that all of it can be addressed and discussed during the meeting.

Afterward, the responses to their input can be included in an emailed summary of the meeting or, better yet, a full recording of the session.

5) Record the meeting for easy sharing later on

Sometimes, it’s just not possible to find that Goldilocks meeting time for all of your employees. But all is not lost. Recording a meeting and sharing it with anyone who wasn’t there or who simply wants to review what was said makes it easy to keep projects and conversations going.

So, make sure when you’re reviewing a video conferencing solution, be on the lookout for features like recording capabilities compatibility with multiple devices and OSes, as well as screen sharing.

6) Make it easy as possible for participants to join

Time zones are just one factor in meeting scheduling. For example, if you make it difficult to join by requiring a lot of complex steps – e.g., entering a PIN, requiring specific video systems, etc. – then it’s inevitably going to be more difficult to get all remote and mobile employees on the line.

Modern collaboration platforms make it simpler to schedule and run meetings, during DST and outside of it, too. Employees can join from their mobile devices, laptops, desktop, and video conferencing systems with just a tap or click.

To learn more about how to get the most from your meetings, get started with a free plan of Cisco Webex today.

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School with connected Webex icons. At all levels of education, technology is not only a wish but a necessity.
Teachers, here’s why you need Webex

Classroom supplies and Webex

Every school year, teachers create a sacred list of school supplies they need for the year. Mine typically included tissues, hand sanitizer, sticky notes, whiteboard markers, and other standard supplies. As a former teacher—Mrs. Hamill—I always started my school year off telling parents to review “The List” and thanked them for their support. While I always appreciated any help I could get, I just recently realized what had been missing from my list: technology.

Webex collaboration tools

Ever seen Webex on a teacher’s wish list? I sure haven’t, but I wish someone would have shared the need to eliminate the endless bullets (or stars if you’re fancy) and replace them with one request: Cisco Webex Meetings and Teams. I wish I knew how much time, money, and valuable teaching time I could have saved by requesting Webex collaboration tools. I’ve saved you the time and written the list for you today—you’re welcome.

Fostering healthy, safe, and supportive learning

We’ve all seen a teacher’s wish list before: as a parent looking at a take-home folder, in the store shopping, or broadcast over TV and online advertisements. Educators prioritize keeping students healthy, safe, and cared for while teaching. The tissues, hand sanitizers, and markers are a good start, but they do run out, need resupplying (insert begging over many emails), and do not support significant classroom needs.

“How do I help the student who didn’t use the hand sanitizer and is out for the next week?”

“How can I revolutionize the use of sticky notes when we’re striving to be a green school?”

“How do I host an important study session when the state just closed down for a snow day?” 

Teachers, here’s why you need Webex

Importance of technology in education

At all levels of education, technology is not only a wish but a necessity. Had I known this when I was teaching, I could have shortened my list and added Cisco Collaboration tools, Webex Meetings, and Teams to the top of my classroom and school’s priorities. Unfortunately (an understatement), I didn’t know the answer was Cisco Webex collaboration solutions. Before exiting education, I had the opportunity to adopt and deploy Webex in an education environment. This is where the list started to shrink. Sticky notes, whiteboards, and markers are built right into the product. Connecting with kids, parents, and colleagues remotely with just one button to push? Check! Where were these amazing tools when I was teaching only two years ago? It doesn’t matter, because what I didn’t know then, I do know now.

I wish I had Webex Meetings

Webex Meetings offers teachers a way to connect easily with students anywhere, anytime. Teachers never stop teaching. The bell may have rung, and the students have gone home, but there is still loads of work and planning that will go on into the night, bleeding right into the next day. Teaching remote is not an issue for an educator. I would have loved to host office hours or answer a student’s question in real-time from the comfort of my couch.

If the school called a snow day, I would have been able to keep the momentum going, not having to play catch up upon my return. Webex Meetings allows you to play video and enable audio, use chat, and share screens. It’s so simple and a great way to stay productive.

Parent or student can’t make it to a school conference to discuss academic progress? Say hello to Webex Meetings. It allows for more flexibility and personalized attention whenever needed.

Large scale? I know, first-hand, administrators, board office personnel, superintendents, content coaches, and more don’t have the bandwidth to attend every professional development session, curriculum gathering, or state-wide initiative meeting in person. With Webex, however, I can include all those parties. Everyone is where they need to be. You truly can be in two places at once.

And I’m just getting started.

Workflow, working in a group, and collaboration- peace of mind

Webex Teams is the epitome of collaboration. The integrations are endless, and there is no disruption or pause in the workflow when working on Teams.

One of education’s best practices is “group work,” as the facilitator roves the classroom to check in on table talk that nurtures productive discussion. Webex Teams allows leaders to use Team spaces as breakouts, which allows for even more focused, quiet conversations, and personal teacher attention. I would bop in and out of spaces to check in on my students and their shared efforts.

Gone are the days of leaving the classroom (a big no-no) and running down the hall (also a demerit) to quickly collaborate with a colleague. With Webex Teams, all of my peers are at-the-ready. I juggled being the basketball coach, literacy chair, social committee member, and bus duty scheduler, which meant I talked to a lot of people throughout the day. That’s a lot of emails and way too many forbidden hallway trips. Webex Teams was where my communication and collaboration should have (remember this is a wish list) lived.

Final thoughts

All in all, my wish list looks different these days, and that’s because I have been able to cross off the majority of the list items previously mentioned with one solution: Cisco Webex Teams and Meetings.

Today, I still teach and train others, but I do it remotely, from home. I connect with people across the world, and there is no time lost. I have only invested in one box of tissues in five months, and my germs are my own, so a travel-sized sanitizer fits the bill. I still utilize sticky notes, markers, and whiteboards as they’re available in-product.

Before, when I was confined to one room all day (except for those quick escapes), I never dreamed that teaching remote would be possible. Now, I know and believe anything is possible with Webex.

Consider adding Cisco Webex to your wish list, because the school year isn’t over yet! Who doesn’t love crossing off more than one list item at a time?

Click to take advantage of Webex Meetings and Teams for FREE in your classroom.

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Working smarter anywhere- Working remotely

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remote working
Working smarter: An interview experience from a (super fun!) virtual team

My virtual team experience

I graduated in May of 2019, and along with my peers I faced the daunting pressure of figuring out my next step.  Like many that were in my shoes nine months ago (or still are now), the end of the road in academia didn’t present a clearly defined transition into adulthood. Unless your major led to medical school or law school, graduation looked more like the edge of a cliff, and not the top of a podium.  

millennials and Gen Z entering the workforce and webex technology

If the shoe fits…

I scrapped the ‘logical next step’ option and did the next best thing: I looked for a workplace that would have the best environment in which I could grow, learn, and challenge myself. And with luck, I would also love my coworkers, and have fun while achieving all of the above. Yeah it sounded impossible to me too. 

Status update: currently self-appointed CFO (Chief Fun Officer) of new recruits. I’m growing, learning, challenging myself, loving my coworkers, having fun, AND writing this blog. How you ask? It all started with the interview. I knew from my first conversation with Cisco that it would meet what I was looking for.  

Ready, set, recruit

My experience was typical – a 5% response rate to job applications: an email here, a link to a video conference there, a phone call.  Aside from the occasional email chain, there was no channel for me to communicate with those involved in the recruitment process, let alone a channel to get to know potential team members. In such a time of uncertainty, the lack of visibility added to my stress. There was a clear separation between me and my potential prospective employers I would just need to wait until someone communicated at me. That’s until I started my interviews with Cisco. Only then did it dawn on me that when a company interviews you, you are interviewing them too; you can’t just want the shoe, it must fit on your foot. 

My virtual recruitment adventure 

My recruiter and potential team members asked me to create a free Webex Teams account on teams.webex.com. This was unusual, but I was open to this interview process. Immediately, the interviewer leading my interview process began a conversation with me one-on-one and added me to a ‘space’ titled ‘Welcoming Ana Vincenti’ (that’s me) with the other members of her team she would eventually want me to connect with. A space, just for me? I was already feeling special. 

Next thing you know, I was welcomed with confetti, gifs, emojis, and enthusiastic messages from the team that they were excited to meet with me. And for the first time in an interview process, I felt (dare I say it) good. Being added to the space made me feel like I was already a part of the team, even if just as a guest for the time being. It removed the walls that I had consistently felt in all other interview processes — it’s like I was invited into the same room where everyone else was, as an equal.  

In Webex Teams you can search from thousands of Gifs to find the perfect expression of yourself at any time.

The team continued to use the platform to schedule video meetings with me directly in the Webex Teams app (I was using the online version). Outside of our scheduled interview times, the team made a point to let me know they were available to answer any questions that came up. All I had to do was message them directly on Teams. And the cherry on top of it all? The entire process happened completely remotely. I was traveling for quite some time when this opportunity suddenly popped up. Worried about how it would affect my candidacy, the team said, ‘we’ll meet you wherever you are, whenever you’re available,’ and that’s exactly what they did. 

virtual interview with a unicorn on top of computer.png

The virtual interview process!

My first interview was with who is now my manager and took place while I was squatting outside in front of a Prada (classy, I know) in Milan, on my phone. I had my video on, looking as one does with the beloved combination of 90-degree heat and humidity. I was candid and let her know it was the only place I could find reliable WIFI. I made it clear that I very much took this opportunity seriously, despite how my video looked. She laughed, inquired about my travels, and we continued with the interview. That right there, was the beginning of what sealed the deal for me. More video interviews, gif exchanges, and messages later, I became a part of the Cisco family.  

Day-to-day

Once things slowed down, I started thinking about what my day-to-day would look like. The only question I had about integrating into the team was…’so…how tall are all of these people in real life?’ I had not a doubt that I would fit in with them on day one. I already had ample opportunity to connect with them through video, messages, and gifs (usually a clear indicator of one’s personality). By the way, I still don’t know how tall all my coworkers are.  

Some of the people I work with weekly are in Europe and Asia. You heard me correctly; I get to work with people across the globe. Not bad for my first job! That was a goal of mine for way later in my career, but Webex Teams has made it possible from the get-go. This technology makes it so exciting to go into work each day. Or rather, not to go into work, because if I don’t want to leave the house, my team and I stay connected through Webex Teams. We trust one another to get our work done no matter where we are.  

Takeaways

I took so much away from this experience. Check out some of my takeaways below:

1) Life after college. Six months in, I love my first post-graduate job. Webex Teams made the transition between candidate Ana and employee Ana seamless. I communicate with my team even more closely than I did on day one.

2) Video is key in communication. Video is key in communication. From the first interview —  on the floor in 90-degree heat (I wouldn’t recommend this, but desperate times call for desperate measures), I was able to be candid with my future team. Seeing their smiles, make eye contact, and hearing their laughs was pivotal in making me feel comfortable with the team, role, and Cisco as a whole. Ultimately, it allowed me to perform better as a candidate, as I was able to present myself just as I would in a live situation, even though I was far away. It also gave me a much more holistic picture of my future employer and was key in winning me over as a candidate.

3) Be candid, open, and welcoming of new ways to operate (especially when they challenge status quo). This is not a ‘typical’ interview process, or a globally deployed way of working. However the technology is perfectly built to support it and makes for a wonderful experience. I was unsure what this new interview process would look like, nor how I would adapt to having a virtual team. But I embraced it with open arms, was honest about how it was new for me, and the team reciprocated. This a lot of trust between us immediately, which set the foundation for the incredible experience I’m having with the team today. 

Adopting collaboration technology is easy and fun

So, business owners (and future employees), if you are still on the fence about adopting collaboration technology, I hope I’ve made the value clear. This easy-to-use platform was key in engaging me from the get-go, and I can guarantee it will have an impact on other millennials and Gen Z entering the workforce. The flexibility, ease, and comfort it provides in communication is a differentiator that businesses must invest in if they plan to engage top talent. And quite simply, it makes people happy. I’ve been able to meet faraway coworkers’ families, stay home when I need to, worked in different locations, and met so many people from all over the globe, all without missing a beat. Technology keeps the work excitingeverywhere, all the time. Let’s make excitement in the workplace the norm.

We’ve created a page with more guidance for end users and people managers on working remotely at https://www.webex.com/webexremotework.html 

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Welcome to my virtual office— Webex Teams and my workstreams

Working smarter: Managing a remote team

Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter anywhere- Working remotely

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Working smarter- Managing a remote team
Working smarter: Managing a remote team

Managing a team is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences you can have at work.  Its widely known that employees often choose to stay with a company based on their experience with their direct manager.  The way you form a team, share goals and work together through challenges creates a culture that out-lives deadlines. But what happens when a team takes on a new challenge the experience of working together remotely?  

Here’s our top tips on effectively managing a remote team: 

Lead by example 

If your team is new to remote work – they may have questions and nervously look to you to set the new cultural normsIs it ok if my team sees my home in my background?  What if there’s unexpected interruptions like a dog barking?  As a leader, you set the tone for the transition.  

  1. Sharing video is the new face to face.   Seeing you on video regularly is reassuring and gives you the chance to use your full communication skills – your gestures, tone and message are better received when your team can see the full picture.  
  2. When messaging, remember that your team can’t see your reactions. Give your team more context on the intent behind a message by choosing from thousands of Gifs in Webex Teams to express yourself.When messaging, remember that your team can’t see your reactions. Give your team more context on the intent behind a message by choosing from thousands of Gifs in Webex Teams to express yourself
  3. Share moments that matter.  In the office, colleagues regularly spend time celebrating birthdays, family news and personal moments that matter.  When remote – your role as leader is critical to maintaining the connections – by creating time in existing meetings to connect on non-work news or scheduling entire sessions to celebrate team news, like this virtual baby/bridal shower! 

Get social 

In an office environment, you interact with your team inbetween your weekly scheduled meetings and 1:1’s for example, when you arrive in the morning, get coffee or go to lunch.  There’s no reason the water-cooler conversations need to stop when you’re working remotely.  

  1. Let’s get social!  In Webex Teams, create a space under your team for social interaction, like sharing family news, team member adventures or whatever becomes the topic of the day.
  2. During 1:1 team calls, make sure you and your team member both turn on video.  Whether it’s a project update, milestone or a more difficult coaching session – seeing you face to face makes all the difference. 

Here’s our top tips on effectively managing a remote team when a team takes on a new challenge - the experience of working together remotely. Two people talking face to face on a remote meeting

Remote control your project  

Your team may be concerned about moving away from an in-person experience, where they could talk on the fly, share an idea on a whiteboard and access you for help whenever needed.  However, In many ways, working virtually on a project provides many new ways of working for your team and much more accountability, and visibility in to work in progress for you 

  1. Kick off with a bang!  During your project kick off meeting, leave time for open ideation – just like you would in an office.  Leave space in the agenda for using a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm on ideas.   anyone can contribute from their device and best of all – you can feel confident your ideas won’t be erased as they are saved and can be reopened whenever you need them.Ideation with using a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm on ideas. Man using Webex Teams remotely and ideating with a team
  2. Create space to catch up.  Bringing together content, with messages, links and real time meetings in a Webex Teams space is a project gamechanger.  Even if you step away to deal with other priorities – you can check back into the project space at any time and catch up on the background conversations you missed – something that’s not even possible in a live office. 
  3. Being available in one click is invaluable when working remotely.  Even when you’re in a meeting – your team can still reach out to message you 1:1 and you can view it and reply when you have a moment. If they need to escalate – share your personal meeting room (PMR).  For your team – Knowing you’re available on video on any device and can easily add others to the call will leave them confident they can rely on you, even when remote.  

Stay connected

Working remotely doesn’t mean that your team should feel remote.  Stay connected through celebrations, deadlines and watercooler conversations – on any device.   Your leadership, support and use of Webex Meetings and Teams means your team can be set up for success from wherever they may be.   

We’ve created a page with more guidance for end users and people managers on working remotely at cs.co/webexremotework

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Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely 

3 tips for working with remote team members

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Featured image Webex
Cisco Webex: Supporting customers during this unprecedented time

There is an unprecedented increase in remote working happening worldwide, which is growing exponentially daily. Today, due to global circumstances resulting from COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease), many who are working from home are not doing so as a perk, but as an imperative.

Let’s start with some facts

  • Traffic on the Webex backbone connecting China-based Webex users to their global workplaces has increased as much as 22 times since the outbreak began.
  • During the same time period, we also saw 4 to 5 times as many users in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, with the average time spent on Webex video meetings doubling among users in those countries.
  • On average, free sign-ups in impacted countries are up 7 times over pre-outbreak sign-up rates.

Cisco’s proactive plan

With the recent uptick in Italy and additional countries, Cisco continues to actively monitor global traffic trends and usage worldwide, and have a proactive plan to support our customers with their changing needs. It’s our priority to enable people to work from anywhere (including home), anytime, and on any device so they stay connected with their teams and can continue their business operations. As the market leader, we’re enabling this in multiple ways.

Effective immediately, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19.  Full details on the offer and eligible countries are available here

The additional features include:

  • Unlimited usage (no time restrictions)
  • Supports up to 100 participants
  • Offers toll dial-in (in addition to existing VoIP capabilities).

Additionally, through our partners and the Cisco sales team, we are providing free 90-day licenses to businesses who are not Webex customers in this time of need. We’re also helping existing customers meet their rapidly changing needs as they enable a much larger number of remote workers by expanding their usage at no additional cost.

Expanding our worldwide meeting capacity

We’re also proactively expanding our worldwide meeting capacity, scaling up further in the United States and Europe, working with non-governmental organizations to enable schools (among other use cases), while partnering closely with our customers who are rapidly scaling up their work from home efforts.

Around the clock assistance for all business needs and continuity

Our team is working around the clock to ensure your business needs are met. Most cloud services plan and size for peak volumes – not only infrastructure but also the network capacity required. Cisco is continually improving our worldwide connectivity by working with carriers to assist with last mile connectivity, to reduce latency between our end-users and the Webex cloud. This work is enabling organizations, like The Nestbitt Center and Expert Systems Limited (both based in Hong Kong), to help their people stay connected and productive.

We are happy to support The Nestbitt Center, an organization that works with young adults with physical and mental disabilities. Like all schools in Hong Kong, the Center had to suspend their day program. Videoconferencing has enabled them to continue delivering sessions, and enabling the rollout of future therapeutic services including music, speech and language therapy.

To ensure business continuity, Expert Systems Limited have chosen to implement a two-team system by which each team alternates daily between working from home and the office. Despite less physical interaction on any given day, the collective team is experiencing a historical high in team engagement.

Our team in China

Our own team in China is also using Webex (you may think of Webex as just conferencing – but Webex includes video meetings, persistent chat, specialized work from home video devices and calling) from their homes in Hefei, Hangzhao, Suzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and other cities. It’s incredible to witness this team’s high spirit and comradery as they work together not just in their business dealings, but also in banding together as one family, deeply connected to their communities and each other.

 

Closing thoughts

Cisco has been in this business longer than any other vendor on the planet. We are doing all we can and are prepared to help through this trying time. We will continue to provide our point of view, timely updates, and practical advice on remote working and much more. (See additional online resources below.)

In the meantime, our thoughts are with all those who are impacted.

Additional resources and practical advice on working remotely

 

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working smarter anywhere - working remotely
Working smarter anywhere – Working remotely
Just because you aren’t in the same room, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great face-to-face meeting experience. In a physical conference room, you would be able to see each other, write notes, talk, share content and use a whiteboard.  You have the virtual equivalent of all those activities, in Webex.
Here are ways you can ensure you’re set up for success when working remotely:

Check your background 

Dedicate a space in your home that’s ergonomic, comfortable and productive. Avoid or remove any clutter in the background that can distract others in a meeting. Try facing a window for natural light, or have a lamp nearby, so your team can clearly see you on video.  

Minimize meeting distractions. 

Some background noise is inevitable in our homes.  Even with doors closed, the best way to keep noises from distracting others on the call is by putting yourself on mute when you’re not talking.  If you need to – ask for a moment to address the source of the noise so that you can keep their focus on you.   
 

Get headset up for success!  

Being on mute still won’t stop noises from your own surroundings distracting you.  Investing in noise cancelling headphones or a headset is a great way for you to keep focused on the task at hand.  Ask your IT team about options for headsets at your company. 
 Investing in noise cancelling headphones or a headset is a great way for you to keep focused on the task at hand. Ask your IT team about options for headsets at your company.

Take care of you. 

Being in the office gives teams cues to get coffee together and take breaks.  Without in-person social interaction, it’s easy for hours to pass without taking the same breaks you may in an office. Take regular moments to stretch out your body and schedule in virtual coffee chats with team members in between meetings.  
 

Vulnerable video 

In person, people are automatically engaged as they can see your reactions.  Sharing video can be intimidating at first, but your team will soon get used to sharing video in engaging, interactive remote discussions.  Be brave and turn on video in every meeting.  
Sharing video can be intimidating at first, but your team will soon get used to sharing video in engaging, interactive remote discussions. Be brave and turn on video in every meeting.
 

Need to tap a colleague on the shoulder?  Start with 1:1 chat.  

In an office, getting a question answered starts with looking around to check who is free. Setting a custom status lets people know what you’re up to, for example: “Out for lunch 🍽️.”  You can check your colleague’s availability easily in Webex Teams.  Even if your colleague is in an active call – a conversation can still start by messaging in a 1:1 space. If you need to escalate to a live call, simply click the green call icon in Webex Teams or share your Personal Meeting Room (PMR) details with them.  
  

The Team Huddle:   

Just like ad-hoc in-person team meetings gather everyone who may be free at once in a physical location, calling a space in Webex Teams virtually connects your team by calling them on any device at once.  In Webex Meetings, your Personal meeting room (PMR) is just like your in-person office desk.  The URL stays the same so you can easily share it, allowing your team to join your virtual room in an instant.    
 

Sharing is caring  

Maintaining attention in a virtual meeting is no different than in person.  Sharing your screen or presentation and using annotation on your content helps remote participant stay engaged and follow your points.
  

Ideas on the fly 

Just like in a physical office – sharing ideas on a whiteboard is a key part of working together.  In a virtual meeting,  it is even better!  In real life, you risk a white board being erased or written over.  When you whiteboard virtually, you can feel confident your ideas are saved, and pick up where you left off, by opening any whiteboard you’ve previously created and edit it in real time.  

Express yourself 

When messaging, remember your colleague can’t see your reactions.  If a picture tells a thousand words – then a Gif is a great way to express yourself.  In Webex Teams you can search from thousands of Gifs to find the perfect expression of yourself at any time.      

In Webex Teams you can search from thousands of Gifs to find the perfect expression of yourself at any time.

Let’s Celebrate!

Being remote doesn’t mean you need to change your team culture.  While you may not have a cake to share – you can still celebrate those moments that matter, like birthdays, delivering a project or achieving a goal – virtually!  Turn on your cameras and schedule time to connect as a team over video. take a look at this baby/bridal shower, and costume party
We’ve created a page with more guidance on working remotely at cs.co/webexremotework
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February update of Webex Teams
February update of Webex Teams

This months’ update brings presents in the form of presence! There’s lots of other cool new features to talk about this February…

MESSAGING

Know who’s available at a glance! (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android)

Before this update, it was quite difficult to see other user’s profile pictures when they were in certain presence states. Some availability overlays – like in a meeting or presenting – covered their entire avatar. When we set about solving for this, we undertook a larger redesign effort of user presence across the app. This involved a visual refresh of the iconography as well as new availability color states so others can quickly see if you’re free or not:

  • Red – a user has either put themselves into ‘Do Not Disturb’ or is presenting. They won’t receive push notifications.
  • Amber – the user is either in a meeting or on a call. They will receive notifications but may be slow to respond.
  • Green – the user is active and ready to receive your message.

February Webex Teams update: Know who's available at a glance

Let everyone know what’s on your mind with a custom status (Windows and Mac)

Popping out for lunch? Working remotely? Really busy? Share any status you like with your colleagues to give them more context as to why you’re late for a meeting, not at your desk when they’re looking for you, or simply how your feeling today. This is a quick way to let everyone know what’s going on with you with just one update. To start, you’ll have the option to select any of four pre-defined custom statuses. If you decide to get creative with ‘Set a new status’, these custom statuses will be saved to replace the pre-defined options.

Custom status in Webex Teams

Decide when to be disturbed (Windows and Mac)

When you set yourself into ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND), you were restricted to a set list of options to choose from. What if you wanted to set yourself into DND until your next meeting? Or until the end of your working day? Now you can. With this update, we’re giving you the option to set a time to choose how long you want to be in DND for. If you happen to get your work done quickly, you can easily ‘clear’ your DND availability in the same way you set it.

decide when to be disturbed and Webex Teams

See more spaces with much less scrolling (Windows and Mac)

Some people like to have lots of information available to them at a glance. In Webex Teams, something we hear regularly as a pain point for people is that they simply can’t see enough spaces in the space list at once. This February, you will have the option to put yourself into ‘Compact Mode’. This new option is available by going to Settings Appearance. You will be able to see lots more spaces without having to scroll as much!

See more spaces with much less scrolling (Windows and Mac)

Collaborate on your Box files in Webex Teams (Windows and Mac)

If your admin has enabled access to this and you have the necessary Box app permissions, you will now be able to share, preview, view and co-edit your Box files all without having to leave the Webex Teams app. You will also be able to upload files directly into Box from the app, making co-collaboration on documents that much easier.

Visual updates to screens (Windows and Mac)

Webex Teams has gotten a lot more colorful this month with the addition of our feline mascot, Quinn! You can now enjoy new illustrations on the Create a Space, Contact a Person, Forward a File, and Create a Team screens. You’ll also see Quinn when you’re doing a search or looking at some of our empty state screens.

All the amazing new illustrations you’ll see across the app in coming months were drawn by our incredibly talented Visual Designers.

Collaborate on your Box files in Webex Teams (Windows and Mac)

Keep control of your spaces in a team (Windows and Mac)

Sometimes people get added to a space within a Team they aren’t a member of. Now, we’re giving admins the power to choose what these Team ‘guests’ can do. If enabled, Team guests won’t be able to add or remove people, change the space name, or edit space settings. Find more information on this here.

Screen capture anywhere, anytime (Windows)

If, like most people, you have a multi-monitor set up at your workstation, this feature is for you. Now, you can use the screen capture option in the compose area of Webex Teams on any of your connected monitors.

An enhanced system tray experience (Windows)

This month sees the addition of a right click menu on the Webex Teams icon in your Windows system tray (found next to the time/date in the corner of your taskbar). This menu offers lots of quick access options to useful menus in the app. If you’ve closed or minimised Teams are curious to see whether you have any new notifications, you can find your unread message count on this icon at any time.

Keep up to date with more notifications (Windows)

Get more notifications for new messages! When the Webex Teams app is closed to the system tray and you get a notification, the Webex Teams icon will reappear on your taskbar. You can decide how this feature works by going to Settings Notifications.

New Google tasks bot for Webex Teams (Windows, Mac, and Mobile)

With the latest update to the Google Tasks bot, you can now create, update and search for Tasks directly within Webex Teams itself. Keep yourself up-to-date on your to-do lists with real-time notifications like task updated or marked complete.

Learn more about it here and other Apps on the Webex App Hub.

New Google Tasks Bot for Webex Teams (Windows, Mac, and Mobile)

On-the-go reactions! (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

In January, we saw one of the most coveted features of modern chat apps appear in Webex Teams – Reactions. On mobile, we had the ability to ‘see and agree’. This meant you could add to a reaction in the mobile app when somebody added it on the desktop aps. This month is giving mobile users exactly what we want – the power to add reactions on mobile. Reactions are a fast, on-the-go way to acknowledge or respond to a message, making them the dream mobile feature. That’s why we are so excited to bring this to all our mobile users. Same as desktop, you can add a max of two reactions at a time to each message.

On the go reactions and Webex Teams

Separate people and spaces with tabs (iPhone and iPad)

On desktop, people are loving the people/spaces split. It’s a big help when you have lots of spaces to manage and keep track of. Now, you’ll be able to do the same on mobile. After enabling this through your settings, you’ll have the same three options as desktop – to view all your spaces in one list, to see a list of one-to-one spaces with people or to view the list of group spaces you’re part of.

Separate People and Spaces with Tabs (iPhone and iPad)

Find your favorite spaces faster (iPhone and iPad)

We’re making it easier for you to focus on those most important spaces on mobile. Let them take their well-deserved position at the top of the spaces list. You can focus on those conversations and get back to them quickly. Don’t worry; you’ll still see your other spaces too, right below your favorites.

Find your favorite spaces faster and Webex Teams

CALLING

Cisco headsets automatically added to Control Hub (Windows and Mac)

When you use your Cisco headset with Webex Teams, your administrator can now keep track of it in Webex Control Hub. This lets them track inventory and troubleshoot issues for you.

We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Unified CM and Webex Calling).

Merge two calls (Windows and Mac)

When you’re on a phone call and you receive an incoming phone call in Webex Teams, you can merge the two phone calls into one and have everyone in the same phone call.

We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Webex Calling).

Call Waiting in Webex Teams (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

When you’re already in a call and someone else calls you, you can choose how you want to handle the incoming call. For example, you can put the active call on hold and answer the second call.

We already support call waiting if you’re using Calling in Webex Teams on your desktop. See Webex Teams | Answer Call Waiting for info.

We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Unified CM) and Webex Teams (Webex Calling).

Transfer a Phone Call (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

We’re continuing to bring more calling features to your mobile Webex Teams app. When you’re on a phone call, you can transfer that call to someone else. You’ll have a chance to let the person know why you’re transferring the call to them. (We already support transfer if you’re using Calling in Webex Teams on your desktop. See Webex Teams | Transfer a Phone Call for info.

We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Unified CM).

Curious about next months’ offerings? Check out this blog for details on the super exciting design update on its way to you!

For 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

Webex Teams- say hello to the new in-space design

Webex Teams product update controls

 

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Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education
Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

Webex Education Connector expanding the reach of the classroom

Collaboration in schools just got easier with Blackboard Learn + Webex Education Connector! For education institutes who have Blackboard Learn as their learning management system (LMS), they can now integrate Webex into Blackboard Learn via the Webex Education Connector. This allows the instructors and students to leverage Webex features and capabilities without downloading the Webex app. Instructors can schedule and start meetings within the Blackboard learn interface, while students can join meetings and view previously recorded sessions.  

The full set of capabilities includes:  

  • Schedule Meetings  
  • Start and Join Meetings 
  • View Recordings for past meetings 
  • Schedule Office Hours  
  • Create Teams and spaces 
  • Collaborate (Message, Call and File sharing) with students  

Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

But wait…. there is more!  

In addition to Blackboard Learn, we now also have an in-depth Recording Library. In education, recordings have many valuable uses. Recordings of existing sessions can be re-used in future semesters, they can be used as supplemental material in other class offerings, or as guest lecturer content worldwide Additionally, with the advancement of flipped learning (pedagogical approach to learning where students learn materials before class), recordings enable class time to be used in a different way, focusing on deeper understanding of materials and problem-solving activities.  

The Recording library allows an instructor to create a recording and publish it to their students in other classes with the following capabilities 

  • Allows an instructor to rename, view and delete their own recordings  
  • Ability to host a Webex meeting within a course for the purpose of capturing a Webex recording, without making the meeting it visible to the students immediately  
  • Ability to record a private Webex Meeting recording and share with students in single or multiple classes  
  • Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings that the instructor has shared  

Ability for a student to view recorded Webex Meetings.

What’s coming next 

Since not every educational institute operates via the same methods, upcoming features will include more administration for LMS and granular control over classroom groupings. Administrators using the Admin Panel will be able to control what users have visibility to, whether it includes all the features within the Webex Education Connector or just a subset. This helps ensure compliance with educational regulations as well as simplifies the experience by removing unused features 

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused.

For schools using the ‘sections in classroom’ collaboration feature in Canvas (creating virtual teams), admins will now be able to apply divisions so that students in one section will not be able to see the spaces created by other sections. This helps keep student work only in their group, keeping groups focused. 

Bring the classroom together with collaboration

By partnering with educational platforms like Blackboard, we are always looking to see how we can use collaboration to make the lives of students, teachers and parents simpler, easier and more accessible globally. From the classroom to graduation, Webex has you covered.

To keep up with the latest advancements in collaboration education check out Webex Education Connector site.

For more information, on Webex Education Connector see the following:

Learn More

Building the foundation for the future of education

Improving patient diagnoses with video conferencing

Building bridges between business contacts and human relationships in your video conference meetings

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Webex Meetings February 2020 update: PIN-less join, Webex + Toyota, and more!
Webex Meetings February 2020 update: PIN-less join, Webex + Toyota, and more!

We have a great and varied set of video conferencing features coming out this month on Webex, but I probably caught your full attention at PIN-less. Couldn’t we all use one less PIN in our lives? Well, Webex is making that happen this month. The ability to dial into a video conference with a SIP device without needing PINs or keys is bringing some of the benefits of the cloud back down to earth. Users of cloud-registered SIP video devices within the same company already enjoy a very easy way to join meetings without cumbersome PINs or keys. We are now extending that capability to premises-registered SIP devices. This is especially useful for organizations that have a hybrid deployment of devices that are registered both to the cloud and on premises.

Extending great meetings to more spaces and places

The bulk of our February features is around bringing the best video conferencing experience to more people within the tools they use every day. Adding to the already deep bench of Webex Meetings integrations we’ve established, I want to share a very diverse set of integrations we’ve been working on – from cars, to contact centers, to smart phones, to productivity tools.

  • If you have a 2020 Toyota and you’re an Android user, Webex Meetings now supports Toyota Smart Device LinkIf you have a 2020 Toyota and you’re an Android user, Webex Meetings now supports Toyota Smart Device Link. From your Toyota dashboard, you’ll be able to list and easily join Webex Meetings. While in the meeting, you’ll be able to mute/unmute and hang up the call. This is a very similar experience to the Ford SYNC 3 integration that’s already available to Webex Meetings users today. The 2020 Toyota models supported include Corolla, Corolla Touring and Corolla Sport.
  • For Zendesk software users, great customer service can now include a live meeting. Once Zendesk support agents receive a customer ticket for follow-up, they can immediately launch a Webex Meetings Personal Room to start a video or audio call. This happens all within the Zendesk UI, so agents can continue to work within their familiar environment.
  • More than 2.6 million users have already downloaded the Webex App for Google Calendar, which lets you schedule and join a Webex video conference meeting right from within their Google Calendar app. We now have more advanced meetings settings in our Google Calendar Integration Phase II. You can now change audio types (such as PSTN, VoIP, etc.), set passwords, join before the host, specify alternate hosts, among other features that give you a richer Webex experience from within your G Suite environment. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, download the app from the G Suite Marketplace.
  • We are excited to announce support for Samsung Bixby, so just use your voice to join a Webex Meetings on a Samsung device. Simply say, “Hi Bixby, join my meeting” or a host of other Webex voice commands that can be found here (this feature is supported in the February update, but will be available pending final Samsung review).
  • We announced our deep integration with Slack last year, and we’ve since implemented a number of great enhancements. The latest for this month include the ability for hosts to share their recorded meetings in Slack with people (1:1) who are not in their channel. You can do this very easily by clicking “Share” from the recording and searching for the person to whom you want to send the recording. You can also provide feedback about Webex Meetings from within a channel with the command /webexhelp feedback. Then, you can use the drop-down menu to select the feedback type.

And more …

And, finally, if you’ve ever shared an image into a meeting from the Webex Meetings mobile app, you know there’s a chance it may be incorrectly rotated. Now, with the latest Webex update, you’ll be able to quickly rotate the shared image so it appears as it should. It’s a beautiful thing when technology works.

Now, with the latest Webex update, you’ll be able to quickly rotate the shared image so it appears as it should.

 

For more information on these features, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New for the latest versions of Webex Meetings (40.2).

Learn More

See all the Webex Meetings updates here

Using a video conferencing tool to manage outside vendor communications

Secure, First-Party Recording Transcripts in Webex Meetings

Satisfy Your Need for Speed with Cisco Webex Meetings

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Webex Teams – say hello to the new in-space design
Webex Teams – say hello to the new in-space design

It’s out with the old and in with the new this March

There are several factors which can contribute to a large design update. It begins with user research which leads to a problem statement. It was in this way we discovered a few flaws with the old in-space menu design.

There are several factors which can contribute to a large design update. It begins with user research which leads to a problem statement. It was in this way we discovered a few flaws with the old in-space menu design. People struggled to find content, people, and access to calling and meeting options. Activities always seemed very ‘far away’ – it took several clicks to find and access Files or My threads through the in-space ellipsis menu. When you got to Files, there was then the problem of reviewing the content in the limited area available. Our research told us that the most valuable activities in Webex Teams were difficult to discover, took several clicks to access and did not have enough real estate for effective content review.

To validate our findings, we moved the Call/Meet button into the space header, just one click away for users. Feedback on this move was overwhelmingly positive and enough for us to undertake a larger redesign effort to address the remaining issues.

After months of careful feedback analysis, design and redesign, building and rebuilding and extensive user testing, we can finally unveil the sleek new in-space design coming to Webex Teams in March 2020.

Before

Webex Teams – say hello to the new in-space designAfter

Webex Teams – say hello to the new in-space design

At a glance, you can already see the differences. In-space actions that were once hidden away in the fourth column ‘ellipsis’ menu are now just one click away. You’ll also notice that that same menu button no longer exists. Let’s talk through all the exciting changes step by step.

Messages

Messages appear in the same area as before. The only difference is that you will now find it always just one click away as its own Messages tab.

People

The people list will appear in a tab. This tab allows for a quick review of how many people are in the space. The list itself now lives in the spacious third column area. You can scan through this list to review the contact cards of other people in a space. This will be especially useful when you just get added to a new space.

People The people list will appear in a tab. This tab allows for a quick review of how many people are in the space. The list itself now lives in the spacious third column area. You can scan through this list to review the contact cards of other people in a space. This will be especially useful when you just get added to a new space. Adding new people to a space is no longer restricted to the narrow area of the fourth column, users can now easily review as they go about adding people to a space.

In a one to one chat, there will be no ‘People’ tab. The value of reviewing the people list is lost when there is just you and one other person. You also cannot add other users to a one to one space. You can review other users’ contact cards at any time by hovering over their avatar in the message area or space list.

Moderators will be much easier to locate – just one click away – at the top of the people list in the ‘People’ tab.

Moderators will be much easier to locate – just one click away – at the top of the people list in the ‘People’ tab.

Content The Content tab will be home to Files, ECM, Whiteboards and Links.

Content

The Content tab will be home to Files, ECM, Whiteboards and Links.

Content will now be displayed in a grid layout. This allows for a quick review of all files shared in a space, making it much easier to find content. Hovering over a file offers the same options as before – jump to the message with which the file was sent or download. As files are the most frequent user navigation in relation to content, this will be the pre-selected option when users open the ‘Content’ tab.

Whiteboards have a similar layout to Files – a larger area for quicker review. The button to create a new whiteboard will always be the first option in the grid view. Whiteboards have a similar layout to Files – a larger area for quicker review. The button to create a new whiteboard will always be the first option in the grid view. To remove a whiteboard from a space, just hover over the whiteboard and click the ‘delete’ button.

Large grid view for quickly finding WhiteboardsURLs shared in the space will live in a dedicated Links section. They will be stacked and stretched across the full area of the third column. Having the extra space here makes the content of the links much clearer, making it easier for people to find what they are looking for. The same hover options as before will be present here – jump to the message sent with the link or copy.

Large Grid view for Quickly Finding WhiteboardsYour Enterprise Content Management (ECM) items will be found the same as before with your files. If you want to set up a linked folder to a space, this option will be found in the top right corner of the Files section.

Development agenda

Schedule

Schedule will remain in the same place in the third column under a dedicated Schedule tab. The in-space schedule shows all meetings organised within that space. Having this information one click away will ensure users are aware of important upcoming meetings. The User Interface (UI) of the ‘schedule a meeting’ and ‘space meeting information’ buttons have been enhanced for clearer legibility.

Our research told us that the My threads section in a space was being used as navigation, usually to jump to the original message thread. Because of this and various other feedback, we have moved My threads to be a button on the right of the space header.

My threads

Our research told us that the My threads section in a space was being used as navigation, usually to jump to the original message thread. Because of this and various other feedback, we have moved My threads to be a button on the right of the space header. Clicking this button will prompt a call-out, which users can scroll through to find the right message thread while not being removed from their current location in the space.

In the January 2020 update, we introduced a new button which allows users to quickly search through a spaces’ messages or content. This update sees that button move slightly to be next to the new My threads button in the space header.Space Information

Space information (or space settings) will be found in the exact same place as before. The icon has been updated to be an easy to understand settings cog.

Sounds like we have lots to look forward to this March. The new in-space design is guaranteed to make users more productive as they go about their day-to-day collaborative tasks in Webex Teams. Okay, now it’s time to get excited!

In the images of the new tabbed design, you might notice a ‘plus’ sign next to the Schedule tab. This is a placeholder for the new embedded apps feature which will not be in March but will be available very soon in an upcoming update. Keep an eye on our ‘Coming soon’ page for more details items like this here.

To find more information on this new design, please visit our dedicated help page here

Learn More

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How technology creates better interpersonal connections. In fact, solutions such as video conferencing and team collaboration tools with intelligence features are the most effective for connecting people regardless of their physical locations.
How technology creates better interpersonal connections

Using communication technology to improve relationships

Does technology bring us closer together? It can seem like a weird question to ask, since innovations like VoIP and real-time chat let us more easily connect with friends, co-workers, and others, even over great distances.

But not all technologies are equally effective at forming strong interpersonal connections, which are particularly important in workplace contexts. As more organizations turn to remote and mobile working arrangements, it’s crucial to branch out from the old standbys of email, phone calls, and in-person meetings and invest in alternatives that provide sufficient context and enable rich collaboration from anywhere.

In fact, solutions such as video conferencing and team collaboration tools with intelligence features are the most effective for connecting people regardless of their physical locations. As the 2020s begin, let’s explore some specific examples of how these technologies build connections that last.

Less time commuting, more time to focus on strategic projects

Long commutes have become facts of life for millions of workers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau,* the average Americans’ commute in 2019 is 27 minutes (just one way), up two minutes from 2009. While that may not seem drastic, over the course of a year, it totals 17 extra hours spent in traffic.

What if there were a way to spend less time in traffic or on the train? It would benefit both the environment and worker morale, as lengthy commutes are one of the main detractors from job satisfaction.

Collaboration technologies make it more practical to avoid commuting and instead work from virtually anywhere:

  • With chat apps, you can have a real-time conversation, share files, and search for specific assets from one interface with lots of context.
  • Video conferencing allows for face-to-face meetings even at a distance, in high definition and with sophisticated controls.
  • Cognitive collaboration solutions can pull information from multiple sources (e.g., public social media profiles and CRM data) to create context around any online meeting.

As long as a worker has access to the internet, these collaboration possibilities and others can allow for productive work, with no taxing commute required. Employees can build better working relationships, too, since the tools in question give them clear insights into what others are doing and thinking.

More eye contact and more immersive meetings through video conferencing

Video technology, in particular, is ideal for simulating the experience of being in the same room as the other attendees in an online meeting, even if everyone is actually located somewhere else.

A modern video platform has several key advantages over communicating via audio-only calls or emails and chats:

  • It allows for full visibility into participants’ reactions and body language This insight is useful for understanding how a meeting is really going, and can be especially helpful if there’s a language/culture barrier.
  • It helps curb multitasking Although the word gets a lot of lip service in resumes, multitasking is highly impractical in many contexts, as the brain isn’t that great at listening to a call and typing up an email simultaneously, for example. Video puts people in the spotlight and discourages multitasking, which in turn, increases productivity.
  • It’s usable from multiple devices, not just dedicated standards-based video conferencing systems PCs, Macs, phones, and tablets can all seamlessly join an online video conference with just the tap or click of a button when it’s time for things to start.
  • It’s integrated with other collaboration tech like screen sharing So participants can share their entire screens or desktops, or just a particular app or document as needed, to go in depth while on the video call.
  • It can support a variety of use cases, not just internal meetups For example, a video link could be set up for a webinar, training session, or social media broadcast. Accordingly, the clarity of video can build connections across multiple contexts.

Reducing reliance on emails and phone calls

Both email and traditional voice calls often leave a lot to be desired, in terms of how personal they feel as well as how effective they are in enhancing productivity.

Checking and digging through an inbox all day is a huge time sink, not to mention a somewhat impersonal way to interact with people – after a while, everyone can feel like just a name next to a message. Phone calls are similarly problematic and somewhat anonymous, although a bit better since you can at least hear what the other person sounds like.

While moving on from email has long been a priority for many workers and their organizations, only recently has doing so become really practical. Chat apps provide strong alternatives to rifling through emails or setting aside lots of time for phone calls. Messages can be exchanged in real time, so there’s not the delay of email. Plus, files can easily be shared in the conversation, while built-in search makes it straightforward to find what’s needed.

Workplace chat can work well in tandem with video conferencing, too, so that every meeting is set up for success and can be properly followed-up on. Cisco Webex provides the integrated collaboration capabilities, from video to AI-driven meetings, that your organization needs to ensure strong interpersonal connections between your teams.

To learn more, get started with a free Webex plan today.

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February update of Webex Teams to include
Webex Teams product update controls

You’re in control

Available to all customers with our May Desktop update, Webex Teams customers will have the ability to control product updates, allowing you to choose how often Webex Teams is updated for your users, providing you with the option to update the app monthly or quarterly. This will allow the number of updates presented to users to be reduced if desired. We’re also enabling you to defer the deployment of these by up to 4 weeks for the monthly update or up to 2 weeks for the quarterly update to enable your business to complete any required validation of the software update. These app update controls will be available through your Admin accessed Control Hub.

Continuous delivery of product improvements

We are witnessing the rapid growth and adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) apps in enterprises across all sectors. With an increasing shift of our workload to the cloud, already almost 100% of all enterprises are using some form of cloud service today.*

Our monthly delivery of Webex Teams adopts this SaaS model and provides users a monthly set of new features and content. With each monthly update of the Webex Teams desktop apps, an organization can easily stay up to date with the very latest features and fixes delivered by our product team, and we would always encourage customers and partners to stay on this cadence.

In fact, much of these improvements are delivered on our Webex platform which is continuously updated to deliver new end users experiences. Keeping on the latest app updates will ensure that your users can take advantage and enjoy these new updates.

Meeting business needs

We recognize that our customers wish to gain the advantages of continuous delivery but balance that with the organization’s needs to be in control of what software is deployed on their desktops and what user experiences are provided.

This balanced approach empowers administrators to meet the needs of stakeholders such as their Security Team but at the same time realize the benefits of managed continuous delivery.

What’s on offer

With these new changes we’re enabling an administrator to opt in and reduce the cadence of the Desktop app updates while also providing for a preview period prior to the rollout of the product update. This new product update program puts the control into the hands of the administrators as

they can choose through Control Hub to deploy Webex Teams at a cadence which works best for their organization. Our cadence options range from every month to every 3 months (Quarterly).

The preview period, defined through a deferral option on Control Hub, complements the cadence program which allows for an organization to preview the product updates prior to an organisation-wide roll out. This deferral window will allow the administrator to pass any required internal validation checks and also allow for the creation of any collateral to support a companywide update or roll out of Webex Teams. This deferral period can range from 1 to 4 weeks.

In Control Hub, administrators can review when any updates are scheduled to roll out to their organization, according to the cadence and deferral options which have been chosen. As normal, end users will receive the standard update icon in Webex Teams and the app will continue to auto update on restart.

Mobile

Our Webex mobile applications can be controlled via Mobile Device Management / Mobile Application Management solutions. More information can be found here

As we move toward a Webex unified application, you will see a continued evolution of the product update management program.

Further Reading
https://help.webex.com/en-us/1c148db/Configure-Product-Update-Controls-for-Webex-Teams

See how you can make teamwork your best work

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What are the configuration policies for Webex Meetings?

IT administrators can add configuration policies to devices that are enrolled in an EMM solution. Sign in to the EMM console and approve Webex Meetings from Managed Google Play. IT administrators can then add app configuration policies for the Webex Meetings mobile app. After a user installs Webex Meetings, their device automatically configures the app.

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Our goal is to make the Webex Control Hub platform the single pane of glass for all sizes of companies from small and medium businesses, all the way up to large enterprises. Sometimes when you have a multitude of devices, and you want to set a new Signage URL on all of them – you probably do not want to do that one by one. In January 2020 we released the ability to bulk set Signage and Tags on devices, allowing admins to make bulk changes in a second!
Webex Control Hub device management enhancements

Control Hub for device management has changed a lot over the last 12 months, and what better way to tell you what you can do then a quick update on some of the biggest features we have released in the past year! Below you will find a subset of all the features we released. And what’s great about it, is that it’s only the beginning.

Taking control over Control Hub

Control Hub is the administration portal for all of the Webex Platform, it covers Calling, Meetings, Teams and Webex Rooms! When it comes to device management, Control Hub is the single pane of glass for all cloud deployments and recently with our new Webex Edge for Devices it can handle some of the On Premises workload as well.

One of most requested features was the ability to edit configurations on devices directly within Control Hub. We delivered this during middle of last year and thus allowed admins to modify settings like Default Call Rate. This even worked if the device was behind a firewall like home offices, giving admins the ability to manage their devices from anywhere.

One of most requested features was the ability to edit configurations on devices directly within Control Hub. We delivered this during middle of last year and thus allowed admins to modify settings like Default Call Rate. This even worked if the device was behind a firewall like home offices, giving admins the ability to manage their devices from anywhere.

The next feature we released was Alerts. This allows admins to get proactive notifications from our platform when a device goes offline or online, or has issues. This has been a popular feature to allow admins to remediate device issues before an end user reports it. You can learn more about this here.

Control Hub Alerts allows admins to get proactive notifications from our platform when a device goes offline or online, or has issues. This has been a popular feature to allow admins to remediate device issues before an end user reports it.

Making multi-device management a breeze!

Our goal is to make the Webex Control Hub platform the single pane of glass for all sizes of companies from small and medium businesses, all the way up to large enterprises. Sometimes when you have a multitude of devices, and you want to set a new Signage URL on all of them – you probably do not want to do that one by one. In January 2020 we released the ability to bulk set Signage and Tags on devices, allowing admins to make bulk changes in a second!

Our goal is to make the Webex Control Hub platform the single pane of glass for all sizes of companies from small and medium businesses, all the way up to large enterprises. That's why we we released the ability to bulk set Signage and Tags on devices, allowing admins to make bulk changes in a second.

One of the benefits of being on the Webex Platform is you never need to manually upgrade your devices! We deploy new software every 2-4 weeks and devices will upgrade over night between 00:00 and 00:30 local time and only when there is no activity. With that being said we wanted to give more control to admins and the ability to preview new bug fixes before they hit the main production systems. In December 2019 we released a new software management page to Control Hub to showcase when the current software was released and when the next version is coming, all together with patch notes.

One of the benefits of being on the Webex Platform is you never need to manually upgrade your devices! Stable Software. we released a new software management page to Control Hub to showcase when the current software was released and when the next version is coming, all together with patch notesIf that wasn’t enough, we also enhanced the amount of information you receive in the analytics and troubleshooting portals of Control Hub. Now device admins can see how their devices are being used in regards to Calling vs Wireless Share and more! This allows admins to really see the return on investment of their devices and help drive adoption services to locations where maybe device utilization isn’t as high as they expected.

Now device admins can see how their devices are being used in regards to Calling vs Wireless Share and more!When there is a reported problem on a meeting you need to be able to troubleshoot what caused the issue, sometimes you need to do that while the call is currently active! This is where our new troubleshooting feature comes to let you see up to the minute live stats from a Webex Meeting in Control Hub and see down to the finer details exactly what is causing the reported problem.

Last but not least is the ability to use public APIs to get information from Places/Devices and direct access the device via Cloud xAPI, because we built these APIs on our Webex Platform we can give authorization to third parties directly with our authentication model for Bots and Integrations thus opening up a world of possibilities.

Third-party integrations made simple

Last but not least is the ability to use public APIs to get information from Places/Devices and direct access the device via Cloud xAPI, because we built these APIs on our Webex Platform we can give authorization to third parties directly with our authentication model for Bots and Integrations thus opening up a world of possibilities. You want to poll the device for the last call packet loss? No issue! Or send a command to dial into meeting from a white glove service? We got you covered! Check out our APIs over at the Developer Portal.

This is just some of the enhancements we have made to the Webex Platform for Room Devices but we are just getting started, 2020 we will bring more enterprise level features to Control Hub like deploying Web Applications and more bulk configuration options! If Control Hub isn’t a daily tool in your arsenal to manage and monitor Webex Devices, hopefully this changes your mind.

Get Control Hub today

Learn More

Click for all of the Webex Control Hub updates

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Improvements over RoomOS releases from Control Hub

Apply branding to your conference devices

How do you assign services to users in Control Hub?

After adding users, you can assign various Webex services to them. While you can edit the services for an individual user, it can be more efficient to edit multiple user’s services at once. To edit multiple users’ services, go to Users, click Manage Users, select Export and import users with a CSV file, and then click Export. In the file that you download, simply add True for the services you want to assign to each of your users. Import the completed file, click Add and remove services, and then click Submit.

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Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think about how you can fall in love with your meetings again. Cisco Webex Meetings brings teams together, for collaboration that leads to greater business outcomes.
Love your meeting!

Spread the love with meetings

Valentine’s Day is more than just a chance to show affection to a loved one. It’s also a big holiday for shopping and gift-giving, even for single people – sort of like a mini Christmas.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 45% of Americans over the age of 18 (more than 110 million people) identified as single in 2017, a record high. But Valentine’s-related sales have not suffered despite the huge number of singles out there.

On the contrary, they were estimated at nearly $20 billion in 2018, with average per capita spending of more than $143. And it’s not all on greeting cards or chocolates: Gift cards, jewelry, and even pet treats all do big business each February.

What this trend shows us is that there is a lot of love in the air on Valentine’s Day, not just for your significant other, but for everyone you love in your life—and people tend to want to share that through meaningful gifts. This year let’s spread that love even further, into one of the most historically despised, but necessary areas of business—meetings. That’s right, it’s time to start loving your meetings again.

Love it or leave it behind: Why only the best collaboration technology will do

As the Valentine’s Day numbers above illustrate, shoppers don’t skimp on buying something that they think will really impress a significant other or friend. In other words, they don’t usually settle for a second-rate gift. The same principle should apply to tools for team collaboration and communication.

Think of your organization’s current approach to keeping everyone in the loop. Do you have the right technology in place to bring your teams together and keep them collaborating wherever they are? Is it optimized to make the most out of every meeting or communication? Or does it make you want to break up with your meetings altogether?

Name any fundamental flaw with a meeting (too long, not focused enough, etc.), and subpar collaboration technology will only make it worse. Let’s look at five common day-to-day challenges that are preventing effective meetings.

1. Too much multitasking, not enough participation

The problem: Streaming a movie or TV show on Valentine’s Day? It’s possible that you’ll look at your phone or tablet at some point, even while the video keeps playing. The same thing happens all the time with audio-only conference calls, as participants are directing their attention elsewhere. “Sorry, I was on mute” is often code for “I missed what you said since I was checking my email.” Multitasking is hard and bad for focus.

The solution: Setting up a video conference is a proven way to reduce multitasking since it lets everyone be seen. It’s also a good idea for executives and leadership to set an example by not using other technologies during an online meeting.

2. “We could have just covered this in email”

The problem: It’s a common refrain after an unproductive meeting: “This could have been done over email.” But why don’t more meetings just get offloaded onto email? Because email is a very limited communication medium, and not all that efficient. If your inbox is as filled and cluttered as mine, messages can easily get lost and overlooked, plus hours or days can pass between responses. No wonder companies resort to meetings instead, no matter the flaws involved.

The solution: Taking advantage of real-time chat can be advantageous both during and after a meeting. It’s more streamlined and richly featured than email and lets participants get answers quickly and in context. Modern chat platforms also make it easy to search for old content, share files, and conduct digital whiteboarding.

3. The meeting is too difficult to join and engage in

The problem: Sometimes, issues crop up before the meeting even begins. The process for joining one can be needlessly complicated, with required downloads and PINs or limited device support, so that participants need to be in a certain location to join.

The solution: Modern collaboration technology can make it straightforward to get started with any meeting. Multiple devices are supported and joining is as simple as tapping or clicking a button when it’s time. Mute and audio controls also make it simpler for the host to keep things moving once the meeting does begin.

4. There’s uncertainty on who’s in the meeting

The problem: Imagine a conference call with a lot of people on it. Someone starts talking and you have only a vague idea who they are, having only perhaps seen their name in the calendar invite beforehand. Then someone else joins in and you don’t recognize them at all. These gaps can be a distraction in a meeting, especially if the topic contains sensitive information. Also, it’s challenging to get people to participate if you cannot address them by name.

The solution: Increasingly we are seeing AI coming into meeting and collaboration technology, allowing advanced capabilities like delivering instant profiles of meeting participants pulled from social accounts and other directories. Or voice and facial recognition so you can match the name to the face. Accordingly, the meeting can flow better and have better engagement since everyone has some background information on each person and everyone can be addressed by their name. As the use of AI evolves, meetings are only going to get smoother and more productive.

5. Remote workers have too much trouble connecting

The problem: More people are working outside of traditional offices, which is great for flexibility. However, it can be challenging for these workers to keep in touch if the meeting software they’re supposed to use doesn’t work well across devices or allow for easy collaboration.

The solution: Collaboration tools should work equally well on desktops, phones, tablets, and video conferencing systems, as applicable. That way, they can support remote and mobile workers who might take calls on the go, at home, or occasionally at a company office, too.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think about how you can fall in love with your meetings again. Cisco Webex Meetings brings teams together, for collaboration that leads to greater business outcomes.

Is today the day you fall in love? Let’s see, and try Webex for free.

Does Webex Meetings work with any popular learning management systems?

Webex Meetings has added Blackboard Learn to our already extensive list of popular learning management systems. With this integration, instructors can have the full Webex Meetings experience within the Blackboard Learn environment. Aside from being able to hold virtual classes for distance learning, instructors can also have office hours and ad-hoc meetings with students, and even message students – all within the Blackboard learning interface. These integrations give teachers and students a great way to connect within the environment to which they are accustomed.

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If you haven’t heard of Gerard Adams, you should. Adams, 35, is an American entrepreneur. And more than that, he’s a dreamer, a leader, a philanthropist, and investor.
How one man became a self-made millionaire

Self-made millennial millionaire

Gerard Adams, did not take the “traditional route” to get where he is today.

If you haven’t heard of Gerard Adams, you should. Adams, 35, is an American entrepreneur. And more than that, he’s a dreamer, a leader, a philanthropist, and investor. His claim to fame happened at the young age of 24. He left college at Caldwell University to pursue his dreams, with the goal of finding a way to give a voice to the millennial generation.

Leaders create leaders

After a few failures, numerous obstacles, and moments of self-doubt, he founded EliteDaily.com, a news site targeted toward the newest generation entering the workforce. He knew his audience well and had an uncanny drive to succeed. With a lot of hard work, his venture paid off a few years later when Daily Mail bought his site for $50 million.

A millennial himself, he understands the generations’ desire to break molds, and a have/create purposeful work. He encourages people to take the road less traveled and believes wholeheartedly that your background doesn’t matter as much as your desire to succeed.

The millennial mentor

Since selling his company, he continues to innovate within his own brand, as well as investing in other companies. He has become known as The Millennial Mentor because of the persistent effort he places on encouraging others, both in the millennial generation, and outside of it, to go after their dreams.

Exclusive live coaching

On February 20, 2020 Cisco Webex is hosting an EXCLUSIVE live coaching session with Gerard Adams.

In this live event, you’ll hear firsthand from Gerard on how you can take your business to the next level. He’ll focus on how to become a powerful leader, drawing from his own experiences, and covering topics, including:

  • The rituals and habits of a successful leader
  • How to lead a team
  • How to lead a movement

Gerard will also take questions from the audience, giving you the chance to get personalized coaching and advice.

You can lead at any age, in any job, at any company. Don’t miss this chance to hear from a self-made millionaire on how you can advance your leadership skills.

Click to register today:

Topic: Becoming a Powerful Leader in Business and Life, a live coaching session with Gerard Adams

Date/Time: February 20, 2020, 10:00am PST

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You can also start a Webex personal room meeting or a Webex scheduled meeting from the Webex tab. To make it easy, you can invite all channel members by checking the box right under the ‘Start Meeting’ button.
Webex Meetings and Microsoft Teams: Working better together

Challenging transitions

Earlier this year, I was super lucky to have the opportunity to visit some of our very important financial and federal customers in Washington DC and Baltimore. The goal was to conduct user research in order to understand their needs and challenges. It is always so valuable to hear customers’ motivations, opinions, and how they use our product first hand!

Of course, as a product manager, it is rewarding to hear the things that our customers love about Webex: how easy it is to schedule and join a meeting and to easily share content. But, it’s also important to hear the things they would love to see in the future and how they would like to see the product evolve. The customers we interviewed have end-users that use Webex Meetings for all types of different interactions: one-on-one meetings, team meetings, workshops, trainings, quarterly reviews, company all-hands. Most use multiple third-party applications before, during, and after their meetings, and the biggest pain-points they shared were around those transitions.

Simplifying customers’ day in the life

We asked our customers to tell us about their ‘day in the life’ and it was very interesting to see how many different applications they use to get their jobs done. For example, one manager told us that many of her meetings are impromptu as a result of a 1:1 or a group chat. So, for her, switching from her messaging app to starting a meeting on Webex happened many times a day. Everyone we talked to told us how important it is for them to be more efficient and ensure that the tools are simple to use and provide flexibility for their end-users.

Webex has one consistent and simple join meeting experience and the best mobile experience on the market, and now we are making sure that it is integrated with our customers preferred third-party collaboration tools. In my last blog, I shared how our integrations team has been building bridges for Webex and delighting our customers with a seamless end user experience. Today, I would like to tell you about another great project that has been in the works: the Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams integration.

Boost productivity by bringing the power of Webex Meetings into Microsoft Teams

If you use Microsoft Teams to chat with your colleagues, you will now be able to schedule, start or join your Webex Meetings from without having to sign out of Microsoft Teams. This will definitely make the day in your life much simpler!

Watch the video:

Schedule, start, or join Webex Meetings directly from Microsoft Teams

We have created a Webex tab within Microsoft Teams that is super user friendly. You can schedule a meeting for the channel by selecting ‘Schedule’, then you can fill in all the details in the dialog pop-up. You can even schedule recurring meetings with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly frequency.

You can also start a Webex personal room meeting or a Webex scheduled meeting from the Webex tab. To make it easy, you can invite all channel members by checking the box right under the ‘Start Meeting’ button.

You can also start a Webex personal room meeting or a Webex scheduled meeting from the Webex tab. To make it easy, you can invite all channel members by checking the box right under the ‘Start Meeting’ button.

Webex personal tab

To make it even more user friendly, we also added your very own Webex personal tab, which you can quickly get to from the left rail in the Microsoft Teams app. From there, you can schedule meetings with anyone, whether they are in a channel or not.

Upcoming Webex Meetings list

From the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list on the right side of the Webex tab, you can join your meeting by clicking on the ‘Join’ button, which will be visible once it’s time to join. If you are the host, then you will be also be able to start your meeting from the list.

From the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list on the right side of the Webex tab, you can join your meeting by clicking on the ‘Join’ button, which will be visible once it’s time to join.

Notifications in your Webex Tab and in your Microsoft Teams channel

In the Webex tab, in the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list, if a meeting has started, you can see the meeting time elapsed as well as how many people have already joined the meeting. And when you hover over the ‘People’ icon, you can see their names.

 In the Webex tab, in the ‘Upcoming Meetings’ list, if a meeting has started, you can see the meeting time elapsed as well as how many people have already joined the meeting. And when you hover over the ‘People’ icon, you can see their names.

In the Microsoft Teams channel, when a meeting has started from the Webex tab, you get a notification so you can join directly from there.

In the Microsoft Teams channel, when a meeting has started from the Webex tab, you get a notification so you can join directly from there

And when the meeting has ended, you get an end-of-meeting notification in the channel.

End-of-Meeting notification

If you have recorded your meeting, then you will receive a notification in the channel when the recording is available.

If you have recorded your meeting, then you will receive a notification in the channel when the recording is available.

Streamlining your day with Webex

By walking in our customers’ shoes from the first coffee and checking that first message of the day until they are ready to call it a day, I learned that streamlining the various transitions that they need to make throughout their day is definitely key to increasing their productivity. That’s why I am so excited to be able to announce this integration! The Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams integration and many other integrations that we have been working are creating a cohesive ecosystem with the aim of enhancing our customers’ daily routines.

Please visit the Cisco Webex App Hub to learn more about the Cisco Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams integration

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Illustrated girl with notes
How video improves communication during any conference call

Top reasons why video conferencing benefits communication

Communication is key to business. But too often, communication itself gets in the way of how businesses work. Whether it’s aligning sales and marketing or coordinating on project workflow status, efficient and effective communication can be hard to come by. This is especially the case when companies are dependent on traditional conference calls, which can be limiting.

Communicating on strategy or instructions is improved with screen sharing software, which allows meeting participants to integrate video into the proceedings — the next best thing to being in the physical room at the same time.

Want to drive better internal coordination and collaboration while on a call? Consider these reasons for how screen sharing and video conferencing can improve communication.

Video reveals nonverbal expression

Body language and facial expressions matter. Yet these levels of communication are imperceptible on traditional conference calls. Video can make these nonverbal cues seen, which may help increase productivity and provide a better experience over other forms of communication.

When an office worker calls IT for help, for instance, the technical directions can become burdensome to explain over the phone. Also, with traditional calls, remote IT help doesn’t have actual visibility into the situation. Add video, however, and tickets can be resolved more quickly when IT can explain solutions by demonstrating the required steps or live trouble-shooting. These gestures are invaluable to helping a non-IT expert understand the instructions.

Video helps nurture client relationships

Communication in both sales and customer service is improved when video is integrated into processes. Video conferencing software can pay dividends early on in the sales process when reps can hold face to face meetings with prospects. This dimension of communication can help build trust and credibility — don’t discount the value of eye contact when listening to clients explain pain points or their company culture.

Video helps foster a better client experience, which can move the sales process along. Video also comes into play with customer service and retention. Having video on a quarterly or monthly update keeps the client relationship fresh, while also making it easier to explain performance metrics or other details.

Video facilitates creative team collaboration

It can be hard for a graphic designer to get their visual concept across when restricted to the format of the traditional conference call. While they may be able to see the image in their head, or even sketch it out on paper, the other meeting participants don’t have as great a level of insight, which can stunt collaboration.

Video can help solve this challenge by allowing creative team members to share their ideas and or workshop concepts with other attendees in real time and with the aid of a professional tool. A designer may use screen sharing to cast a video of them using a drawing program, while architects on a call could use a building modeling platform to collaborate.

Video provides indelible records

It can be difficult to record every word said on a conference call, even when meeting participants take scrupulous notes. There’s no such gaps or oversights when using the recording feature on a video call.

The preservation of video is a huge advantage to communication. Records-keeping processes are substantially improved and videos can provide reference for future users. For example, a video recording of a sales demo can be archived for training purposes. Besides helping provide ironclad history of instructions or strategy, video can also help with business continuity.

Video helps power remote workforces

Remote workforces are more the norm for businesses these days, from startups and small businesses to enterprise-level companies. Employers have been pressed with increasing expectations for flexible working arrangements, but they’ve also seen the inefficiencies such setups can lead to. Video-powered conferencing is a way to address those productivity drags head-on by giving remote, home-based, and traveling coworkers an engaging and easy way to communicate on a day-to-day basis.

Team members who are miles apart but working on the same project can use video to provide updates or otherwise coordinate on next steps. Video helps companies avoid some of the major pitfalls companies encounter with remote workforces. Managers who have video-based check-ins can better assess performance and help form bonds with a direct report who they’ve never met before.

Video improves onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial stage for both employees and clients. You want to ensure that new hires have the support and information to be productive, and that clients can realize value or return on investment. Information retention is improved with video, while sales reps or managers have a greater ability to course correct during the early stages of the relationship to avoid common obstacles. Familiarity is beneficial at such stages, but something that traditional conference calls can’t provide with only voice.

Video is a powerful and efficient channel for delivering communication. Businesses can leverage video conferencing and screen sharing in internal and external interactions. Interested in learning more about video features and the software needed to support such implementations?

Learn about our screen sharing solution or get started with a free plan today.

Learn More

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Illustrated screen share computers
Why screen sharing works better for sales than traditional conference calls

Make screen sharing work for sales

Sales meetings need to be well-oiled machines. Any hitch in the process can negatively impact the experience for prospective clients. With the traditional conference call, there’s a lot of risk that something could go wrong, whether meeting participants talk over one another or lack technical coordination.

Such meeting formats can derail the sales process quickly, yet many businesses still depend on traditional conference calls when customer expectations increasingly demand clear presentations and engaging experiences.

Bad meetings waste opportunities

Not only is such inefficiency harmful to the sales cycle, it comes with several costs. Sales follow-up statistics show that, on average, it takes eight follow-up calls to reach a prospect. If your salespeople are calling this many times to get a meeting, and then not using the meeting time they get efficiently, these meetings become costly. According to a report from Swiss online scheduler Doodle, the economic costs of poorly organized meetings in the U.S. reached nearly $400 billion in 2019. A less-than-satisfactory experience may lead to lost revenue opportunities, wasted time, and other costs.

A solution to the organized chaos of traditional sales conference calls is screen sharing. With the help of screen sharing software, sales teams can more effectively engage prospects over the phone and through shared on-screen materials.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why screen sharing works better than traditional sales conference calls.

Screen sharing facilitates efficient meetings

Disorganization is too often the natural state of conference calls without the aid of screen sharing software. Just think about how disjointed personal introductions can be when each new meeting participants dials in and there’s no certainty as to who is actually on the line. At a basic level, screen sharing works to provide this visibility into call attendance with a meeting room dashboard. Practically, this helps sales reps maintain better control so everything runs according to plan.

Coordination in online meetings is significantly improved through screen sharing when it comes time to look at a presentation deck or other piece of collateral. At this point, traditional calls pause as everyone shuffles through papers or frantically searches an inbox for an attachment they never actually ended up receiving, so then more time is spent forwarding a simple one-pager. Ten minutes later the sales playbook is out the window.

With screen sharing, sales reps can instantly cast their screen to others in the meeting room, ensuring they have access to the document that’s currently being discussed. This also ensures that participants can follow in real time, eliminating the disruption posed by questions like “What page are we on?”

Screen sharing improves communication with visuals

Your teams puts a lot of time into creating and personalizing sales presentations; screen sharing ensures that those efforts don’t go to waste. Everyone in the screen sharing session can view documents together. Multimedia can help add dynamism to a sales presentation, and there’s no way to guarantee on a traditional call that everyone is following along at the same rate.

Visual learning is important to overall communication, but especially for sales. Graphical elements presented through screen sharing can help illustrate numbers that lack life on a traditional sales call, as well as reinforce benefits and convey brand identity.

With screen sharing, you can integrate video seamlessly into a presentation without worrying about it crashing for other participants. You could even exit the presentation and easily pull up a YouTube video and have it stream to the entire audience. The power of visuals can truly be harnessed this way.

Screen sharing allows participants to go mobile

Sales reps and prospects are busy people, often on the go and traveling. That can make it hard if someone has to take a call while waiting at the airport gate or otherwise in transit and away from their work set-up. Screen sharing software tackles this potential problem by allowing them to call through a mobile app and view presentation materials through their personal mobile device or laptop.

This level of support is important for remote workforces, which are becoming the standard for many companies, rather than the exception. Enabling a sales staff to sell while on the road is crucial to seizing opportunities.

Screen sharing enhances the experience

Screen sharing and video conferencing make it feel like you’re in the same physical room as other participants (without the cost of plane tickets and hotel bills). In the sales process, fostering this type of close relationship is important to winning over leads, as well as maintaining existing accounts. You can put faces to names, which builds familiarity — and thus trust — with customers.

Not only does screen sharing improve coordination, but also collaboration. Sales people can pass presenter authority to other participants on the call. They could also deviate from the presentation to try to find answers to a question.

There are countless pitfalls to the traditional sales call, and sales teams needn’t try to continually dodge them. With screen sharing software, sales calls are better managed and more engaging, which creates an ideal experience for the prospect or client. Looking for a platform to enable to gain this capability? Cisco Webex has a reliable screen sharing solution to facilitate better sales calls.

Get started with a free plan today.

Learn More

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Source: https://meeting-report.com/financial-impact-of-meetings/0

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We have built a new page in Webex Control Hub for Room OS devices to see what has changed since the last release, and what day these changes will hit your production system.
Improvements over RoomOS releases from Control Hub

Manage RoomOS software on Control Hub

A few years back, we started our journey to the Cloud. There are multiple benefits of having your room devices registered to the Cisco Cloud. We are serious about security, so when you migrate to the Cloud, we can push security updates and important software patches when needed, which is a capability that we are very proud of.

However, throughout the process of making the best and most secure software available we downplayed how important it is for admins to have as much visibility as possible. Visibility into what’s been fixed, what’s in the next release, when it will be pushed, and everything associated with deploying new releases. In the end, these devices are running in your network, and you are responsible for them. Therefore, we have made it easier to know when the latest software is available for your Webex Rooms endpoints.

We have built a new page in Webex Control Hub for Room OS devices to see what has changed since the last release, and what day these changes will hit your production system.

What’s new

We have built a new page in Webex Control Hub for Room OS devices to see what has changed since the last release, and what day these changes will hit your production system. This doesn’t stop here – we are also giving everyone the opportunity to have selected devices in an earlier build. We are calling this preview, and the idea is that admins have the opportunity to validate bug fixes and new features before deploying to production. If you find an issue you can simply click Report Issue directly in Control Hub to send us a ticket.

These changes are available today! Go to your Control Hub and find the new page and start playing with it, and of course provide as much feedback as possible so we can keep improving our tools.

Get Control Hub today

Learn More

Fast track your adoption with Cisco Webex Control Hub

See all the Webex RoomOS releases

Why Collaboration IT Administrators Trust Webex

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Ever get a message that you just can’t figure out how to respond to? If, like many of us, your answer is yes, then this feature is for you. This month, Webex Teams is introducing a new way to respond to messages.
January update of Webex Teams

DESKTOP

Respond with a reaction! (Windows and Mac)

Ever get a message that you just can’t figure out how to respond to? If, like many of us, your answer is yes, then this feature is for you. This month, we’re introducing a new way to respond to messages. Reactions are an exciting new feature which allow you to acknowledge your colleagues’ messages without even touching your keyboard. Choose from six different emojis and add up to two reactions to any message in a space. Reactions are also a great way to get quick feedback on an idea.

Choose from six different emojis in Webex Teams and add up to two reactions to any message in a space. Reactions are also a great way to get quick feedback on an idea.

Find Messages Faster (Windows and Mac)

Sometimes I find myself scrolling through the message history of a space looking for a certain message or file. This is time consuming and isn’t always the most successful method. Then I remember that we have a quick way to search in a space by using the ‘In:’ modifier in a search. This month, we’re making that search modifier much more convenient to use. You will find a magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of every space next to the call/meet button, and with one click, you can search through all the messages or content of the selected space. Talk about a time saver!

This month in Webex Teams You will find a magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of every space next to the call/meet button, and with one click, you can search through all the messages or content of the selected space. Talk about a time saver!

Tour Webex Teams (Windows and Mac)

New to Webex Teams? Don’t worry, our new in-app mini tours will help you find your way around. The first phase of these tours will include a tour of the app, how to contact a person or create a space, as a well as an option to practice starting a meeting. The goal of these tours is to make the onboarding experience quick and easy for new users. Users can find and access these tours at any time by clicking the ‘?’ help icon on the lower left corner of the app. The help center is still accessible through a link of this new widget. Over the next few months, you can expect to see new tours and help options added to this widget.

New to Webex Teams? Don’t worry, our new in-app mini tours will help you find your way around. The first phase of these tours will include a tour of the app, how to contact a person or create a space, as a well as an option to practice starting a meeting.

Pop Out Calls and Meetings (Windows and Mac)

We all like to multi-task. It’s something we’ve all learned to love in the modern work environment. Back in October, we made it possible to pop-out chats and spaces so you could focus on certain conversations. Now, your calls and meetings will pop out into a new window. This means you can be productive in Teams and present in a call or meeting at the same time.

Calling – When you’re calling someone, the call window will pop out, and you will be able to access all your calling features. You will still be able to respond to critical messages.

Meetings – After you click to join your meeting, the new pop-out window will let you choose your audio and video preferences for the meeting. So, if you don’t want to join with your video turned on, you can turn it off. When you have some downtime in your meetings, you can keep reading and responding to messages in your spaces.

New Salesforce Bot for Webex Teams (Windows, Mac, and Mobile) 

Now, you can create Salesforce Opportunities, Contacts, and even Tasks directly within Webex Teams. Leveraging the new Buttons & Cards framework, the latest Salesforce Alerts bot now lets you and your team members quickly choose from drop-down menus and lists to create and update Salesforce records instantly while also taking advantage of time-critical notifications.

Learn more about it here and other Apps on the Webex App Hub.

Choose from six different emojis in Webex Teams and add up to two reactions to any message in a space. Reactions are also a great way to get quick feedback on an idea.

Buttons and Cards School (Windows and Mac)

Have you heard about the new Buttons and Cards feature, but haven’t had the time to dig in and understand what it takes to add Buttons and Cards to your Webex Teams messaging application? Now there is a fun and easy bot that can teach you all about Buttons and Cards using… Buttons and Cards! If you already have some experience creating Webex Teams messaging applications and need to get up to speed on Buttons and Cards, this bot is for you, just add cardSchool@webex.bot to a space and take your messaging app to the next level.

New Design for Teams Tab (Windows and Mac)

This month brings a whole new visual design to the ‘Teams’ tab of Webex Teams. The goal of this change is help make it easier to find a team quickly.

This month brings a whole new visual design to the ‘Teams’ tab of Webex Teams. The goal of this change is help make it easier to find a team quickly.

Visual Improvements for Notifications (Windows)

The notification toasts you receive for messages, meetings and calls in Webex Teams will now be a lot clearer with new visual enhancements.

MOBILE

New Filter Navigation (Android)

Filters are moving onto the top right of your spaces list, the same as is currently in desktop. This makes it a whole lot easier for you to access your filters faster while on mobile.

Separate People and Spaces with Tabs (Android)

We’re giving you the option to choose how you view your spaces. You can keep spaces all in one list or you can choose to have them organized in tabs. The tabs allow you to view your group spaces separately from your one to one chats with people. You will also still have the option to view them in one flat list with the ‘all’ tab.

Keep Your Favorite Spaces at the Top (Android)

We’re making it easier for you to focus on those most important spaces. Let them take their well-deserved position at the top of the spaces list. You can focus on those conversations and get back to them quickly. Don’t worry; you’ll still see your other spaces too, just below the favorites in the list.

CALLING

Support for Bluetooth Cisco Headsets (Windows and Mac)

You can connect to the Cisco Headset 700 Series headsets using Bluetooth and make and answer calls, mute them, and put them on hold directly from the headset controls.

Share Your Screen While on a Call using your Personal Device (Windows and Mac)

Do you use your personal device to make calls? We’re adding a new Share option to Webex Teams for these calls. When you’re on a call using your personal device, you can choose to share your screen into the call without joining the audio and video of the call.

Lock Symbol for Secure Phone Calls (Windows and Mac)

When you’re on a secure phone call, you’ll see a lock symbol in the spaces list and in the call too letting you know that it’s secure. We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Unified CM).

Add a Pause to a Dial String (Windows and Mac)

You can add a pause to an entered phone number, which you might need if you’re joining a conference call and need to enter numbers in response to the automated system. You can add a comma (,) to the number, which gives a 1-second delay in the dialing. You can add several commas in a row to extend the delay. You could enter something like: 95556543123,,,,56789. We’re making this available in Calling in Webex Teams (Unified CM).

MEETINGS

Enhancements to Joining Meetings (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android)

We’re giving you more control over the video and audio options you can use before you join your meetings. You can now: join with your camera off, with your audio muted, or without audio at all. If you use Webex Meetings, these new features should look familiar to you!

Support for Local Calendars (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

If your administrator enables Cisco Webex Hybrid Calendar Service, you can view your local calendar on your mobile device to the calendar in Webex Teams.

See how you can make teamwork your best work

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Wireless sharing from teams app into personal mode. You can also choose to share the full screen, or select an app from your computer. This gives you more control over what you share, and can spare you from the embarrassment of accidentally sharing pictures of your cat instead of the monthly revenue report.
Webex RoomOS: January 2020 update

Happy New Year! The software team here at Cisco are feeling fresh, rested and full of inspiration, and we hope you are too! This January, we have released two new features that will make things a little easier for both admins and end users.

Software Control

Admins want control over their software deployment. We get it. That’s why we are releasing a new section inside control hub. You can easily see the date of the next software release, and it gives you transparency into the bugs fixed by this release. We have also made sure to link to the website that contains the information about new features included in the release, so that you can stay in the loop about everything that is new. This new feature is bringing you closer to what you need.

We have also released a new Preview channel. This allows you to have early access to new software releases, and you can roll this out on a few endpoints of your choice. Usually this is available two weeks in advance of the official release. The Preview channel contains everything you would expect to know: the date of the next preview release, bugs fixed, and links to the features in the preview channel.

We value your feedback. It’s what makes us, and the solutions that we deliver better. That’s why we have added a Feedback button, where you can deliver your feedback to our business unit.

Wireless Sharing from Teams App into Personal Mode

When we released personal mode for devices, you were not able to wirelessly share into it. However, this has been on our agenda for a long time, and is finally ready to launch. So, we updated our Teams app so you can wirelessly share into your personal mode device once you are in a call! This really makes content sharing simple and seamless. Just how we like it.

You can also choose to share the full screen, or select an app from your computer. This gives you more control over what you share, and can spare you from the embarrassment of accidentally sharing pictures of your cat instead of the monthly revenue report. Trust me on this one.  You can check out the help article here.

Admins want control over their software deployment. We get it. That’s why we are releasing a new section inside control hub. You can easily see the date of the next software release, and it gives you transparency into the bugs fixed by this release.

That’s all for January, but we have a lot of more in the pipeline. You can expect Guest Pair and Share in the upcoming months – a feature that I know is highly requested.

Learn More

See all the Webex RoomOS releases

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On-boarding made easier through communication skills and collaboration tools

Starting a new job at a new company is exciting, but often comes with challenges. These can range from understanding your role to understanding your team’s role in terms of the broader scope of the company to even finding out who does what, and who to go to for specific requests. Not to mention trying to understand company lingo/new acronyms. It’s all a bit of a learning curve at the beginning.

And now, some companies have the tools and technology to hire employees to work remotely. Remote working comes with many benefits, but as a new employee, the aforementioned challenges can be made even trickier.

However, an article titled “Ramp Up Your New Employees Better with Great Communication Training,” details how companies can train and onboard new employees wherever they are, with communication skills, to avoid some of the challenges that come with starting a new job.

Cory Treffiletti, Global head of Marketing for Cisco Webex, says “Improving the on-boarding process pays clear dividends in the form of higher employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. And leveraging the same communication and collaboration tools the business relies on can make the process more effective while also preparing the employee for the working habits and culture of their new company.”

Read the following article to learn a bit more on how your company can leverage your collaboration tools to better onboard new employees.

Ramp Up Your New Employees Better With Great “Communication Training”

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Webex Meetings January 2020 Update: New improvements and new integrations for the new year
Webex Meetings January 2020 Update: New improvements and new integrations for the new year

In the first Webex Meetings update of the new decade, we’re taking on some irritations of video conferencing, such as when networks are lossy or when the background is noisy. Plus, we’ve added some new integrations and are sharing the next evolution of our VDI client strategy which will make Webex Meetings more accessible to you and easier for your organization to deploy.

Great video even when your network is not

If you’re working at home, at the airport, or at a coffee shop, we all know network fluctuations are a fact of life. And that means, the video you send into Webex Meetings is also at the mercy of those network ups and downs. Because our “workplace” is more and more variable these days, we’ve tuned Webex Meetings so that your video resolution is less sensitive to network instabilities. Now, the Webex desktop app only downgrades your video when packet loss or network delay is consistently degraded. So, you’ll be able to send stable video at high resolutions into your meeting even as the quality of the network fluctuates. This applies to both Windows and Mac desktops.

Background noise? No problem.

Speaking of working outside the office, it can also be noisy in all of those places where networks are iffy. We’re working to solve this with improved noise detection and suppression algorithms in Webex Meetings so that your voice won’t be negatively impacted by background noises. As a result, when you’re using the Webex Meetings desktop app with computer audio, your voice will remain clear even when the barista is yelling out the next order.

More Webex for better learning

Webex Meetings has added Blackboard Learn to our already extensive list of popular learning management systems. With this integration, instructors can have the full Webex Meetings experience within the Blackboard Learn environment. Aside from being able to hold virtual classes for distance learning, instructors can also have office hours and ad-hoc meetings with students, and even message students – all within the Blackboard learning interface. These integrations give teachers and students a great way to connect within the environment to which they are accustomed.

Webex Meetings desktop app optimized for VDI

We’re excited to announce beta trials for the Webex Meetings desktop app, which is fully optimized for VDI environments. With this optimization, when your users attend a meeting in a VDI environment, Webex Meetings routes all audio and video streams directly between the thin client and the Webex Cloud without going through a hosted desktop. There’s no requirement for Cisco Unified Call Manager or Cisco Expressways to deploy and use this app. This is initially available on Citrix-hosted desktops and Windows thin clients. If you’re interested in trialing this functionality, please reach out to your Cisco Collaboration account manager.

Additional info

For more information on these features, please visit the Webex Help Portal – What’s New for the latest versions of Webex Meetings (40.1).

Learn More

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New collaboration technologies and nomad-style workers have changed the office environment. Huddle-spaces and hot desking are taking over the traditional stationary office set-ups.
Working at the intersection of design, function and technology: Salamander Designs and Cisco Webex Rooms

Technology alone is not enough

Work spaces should be a source of inspiration. But they can also be a source of stress, frustration and can put a damper on productivity if they are poorly designed. Ever had a “work from home” day impacted by clutter, outdated furniture and half-painted walls? Yeah, me too.

The same thing goes for the office. You want an office environment that inspires productivity. Stepping and almost stumbling across a set of wires to get to your next meeting, only to find that the set-up is all wrong and you can’t even get everyone on camera does not set you up for a great start.

A company that knows a thing or two about aesthetically pleasing, functional furniture is Salamander Designs. They offer huddle stations, mobile stands/carts, videoconferencing all-in-one solutions, and more. Founded in Connecticut more than 25 years ago, Salamander provides furniture that effortlessly integrates with technology – and fully Cisco compatible! Today’s workforce requires more from their employers; not only do they want flexible working arrangements and collaboration technologies that allow them to connect with those who matter, when it matters, but they also want to be in an office that is beautiful and functional. We met up with folks from Salamander for a little chat about all things design, collaboration technology and changing employee expectations.

Working at the Intersection of Design, Function and Technology: Salamander Designs and Cisco Webex Rooms

“Most often,  our clients have two priorities. One  is all about function and another one is all about design, and we want to get it right and completely satisfy both concerns.” – Scott Srolis, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing, Salamander Designs.

Preparing for the unpredictable

New collaboration technologies and nomad-style workers have changed the office environment. Huddle-spaces and hot desking are taking over the traditional stationary office set-ups. These changes are often cumulative or unpredictable – and it can get very expensive. Chris Discotto, Director of Sales for Salamander Designs, sees their furniture as a labor-saving piece, creating flexible solutions that save money in the long run: “When offices get redesigned, you can simply and easily reposition the cabinet, which is much more affordable  and faster than traditional construction solutions. If you redesign the office, you just change the location of the furniture, and we can also change the design.” 

Work-life compatibility

In this day and age, the discourse is no longer on work-life balance, but work-life compatibility. One’s work and private lives are no longer seen as two separate entities where if one holds more weight than the other the balance is off, but rather as something intertwined. Salamander Designs have seen this shift in the demand for a more domestic aesthetic in commercial places. As Chris mentioned: “We have seen a reinvention of market and meeting spaces. Things used to be very grey, there was only a focus on function, not form. But we have seen that employers want their employees to be more comfortable, everyone is working differently right now with different technologies, so there is a need for furniture to reflect and accommodate that.”

There are many things to take into account for organizations that are redesigning their spaces, starting to employ room systems or are at the beginning of their workplace transformation journey. Webex Rooms are designed with the end-user in mind and has fewer points of pain compared to other meeting and endpoint vendors. Don’t just take our word for it, 23 Red Dot awards speak for themselves. The same goes for Salamander Designs’ furniture solutions. They are intuitive, practical and integrate effortlessly with technology and decor. This frees up precious time, so you can focus on what really matters – getting stuff done.

Or, you know, spend your time actually painting the full wall.

Click here to learn more the Webex Room Series can meet you video-conferencing needs

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4 way to use technology to grow your business
4 ways to use technology to grow your business

Increase your customer base

This is a good time to either own or work at an emerging business, as more operations find their footing in today’s digital-focused climate and carve out a space for themselves in their specific markets. According to recent Bank of America survey of small business owners, 73% of women and 66% of men plan to expand their business over the next 12 months.*

Having laid a stable foundation to establish your business, the next step is to grow and extend your reach. Tap into new markets, expand your customer base, and create new revenue streams to increase profitability. Cisco Webex provides a reliable communication platform to support your business goals and aspirations.

Latest SMB technology to increase profit

Resources may be tighter at a small- and medium-sized business compared with enterprises, but there are plenty of affordable ways to improve operations and expand your market footprint. In particular, the latest SMB technology can help organizations grow their business and rake in more revenue.

Keep an eye on these four technologies, in particular, to expand your business.

  1. Tap into social media

Social media is an important touch point for any business looking to engage directly with customers and drive more people to its products and services. Take the time to establish a presence on leading social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These platforms are perfect for promoting new products, limited-time deals, and other enticing offers.

Growing businesses can also use social media to manage customer support tasks, addressing any questions or concerns users have in a public setting. It’s a great way to show potential customers the lengths to which your business will go to provide the best experience possible.

  1. Move to the cloud

It wasn’t that long ago that the cloud was viewed as a disruptive force in the business community. Today, it’s the status quo.

The cloud enables hands-off management of virtually any business process, as well as the scalability to expand functionality along with the organization. Even if your business is already using the cloud, there are likely more ways to take advantage of this technology.

With the sheer wealth of cloud-based services available, combined with their elasticity and reliability, moving core business processes to the cloud is a no-brainer for growing businesses.

  1. Ramp up your content marketing efforts

Virtually any organization that maintains a presence online conducts content marketing, whether they realize it or not. Running a brand website in itself is an act of content marketing. When done right, these efforts can raise brand awareness, increase your search visibility, drive high-intent search engine users to your site, and produce qualified sales leads.

There are a lot of different ways to approach content marketing: SEO-driven blogs bring users to your site, email campaigns nurture leads, and the aforementioned social media sites work to engage customers and promote content.

One important business tool that often gets overlooked is webinar software. Webinars are perfect for establishing brand authority in a particular field or market and directly engage with a large group of people, including both existing and potential customers. Demo new products, provide expert insights into the latest industry trends, or hold informational user group sessions – the possibilities are endless.

Cisco Webex Events makes it quick and easy to launch webinars supporting up to 3,000 attendees. SMBs can stream those sessions live to as many as 40,000 viewers, helping them grow brand awareness in new markets and expand their footprint.

  1. Take advantage of remote workforces

Thanks to the widespread availability of mobile devices, cloud services, and high-performance networks, businesses are no longer limited by the constraints of the traditional office. Flexible work schedules are quickly becoming the norm, with workers splitting time between their office, the road, or their homes.

Telecommuting enables SMBs to expand their talent acquisition efforts to new regions and markets and bring in the best employees possible. Remote workers can do their core job responsibilities from virtually any location, provided they have the technology and resources to stay in touch with office-based staff and other remote teams.

Video conferencing software that includes crisp HD resolution, an intuitive interface, and collaboration-building tools like real-time screen sharing allows remote employees to work together on shared projects anytime, anywhere.

Cisco Webex lets users record video conferences to share with team members who can’t attend them or want to go over the material covered at a large time.

The webinar capabilities discussed above keep remote workers in the loop and productive, as well. Use Webex Events to train your remote workforce, walking them through important onboarding materials, reviewing company guidelines, or bringing them up to speed on new product launches. Coordinate efforts with teams located on opposite sides of the country (or even the globe) to bring your entire operation on the same page.

Growing a business is far easier when everyone involved in its day-to-day operations has the tools and resources to communicate, collaborate, and work at the highest level possible.

Get started with a free plan today.

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Webex Room devices on the Webex Platform brings the latest innovations and experiences to end users and admins and we are seeing massive uptake of our cloud first room experiences.
Webex Edge for Devices released

Take the first simple step towards the cloud and get the most modern room device management experience 

Webex Room devices on the Webex Platform brings the latest innovations and experiences to end users and admins and we are seeing massive uptake of our cloud first room experiences. However, we are also seeing that many customers have made significant investments in on-premises calling infrastructure and have media flow requirements that do not allow them to go full cloud quite yet.  

With the recent release of CE 9.10, Webex Rooms customers can now start getting some of the benefits of the Webex Platform through Webex Edge For Devices. This software feature for our Webex Room devices allows customers to link their devices to the cloud without having to migrate calling to the cloud at this point in time. The initial subset of features takes customers one step closer to the full cloud experience. 

By connecting devices to the Webex single platform, customers will gain advantages far beyond the room with Webex Control Hub, which offers the most modern and comprehensive device management portal in the market. Control Hub regularly undergoes monthly updates, which means customers will receive more innovations and enhancements moving forward. 

There is never a better time to go to the cloud than now! We have released the Cisco Webex Devices tool to allow customers to easily migrate their entire on premises deployment fully to the cloud or connect to Webex Edge for Devices in minutes. 

By connecting devices to the Webex single platform, customers will gain advantages far beyond the room with Webex Control Hub, which offers the most modern and comprehensive device management portal in the market.

You can download this tool from Control Hub today and immediately get started connecting your onpremise devices to the Webex Platform. 

All you need is a supported Webex Room device with the ability to talk over HTTPS to the Webex platform. See the following from our security white paper series of how Webex Edge for Devices works. 

The Control Hub features available as part of CE 9.10 are the following: 

* Historical Device Usage Analytics  

* Online/Offline Connection Status  

* Device Diagnostics Messages 

* Cloud xAPI access (https://developer.webex.com/docs/api/guides/xapi) 

* Device Alerts (Diagnostics Messages proactively sent to Webex Teams) 

In addition, the following optional features can be deployed: 

  • Webex Hybrid Calendar Service allows you to connect Office 365, Google or Exchange environments to send OBTP (One Button to Push) events to the device to enable end users to easily join Webex Meetings. 
  • Webex Assistant is a voice-driven virtual assistant that can help your users with calling, meetings, and device controls. Combining Webex Hybrid Calendar Service and Webex Assistant, customers can receive proactive meeting join prompts that allow you to join meetings without touching a button.   

See the full CE 9.10 Release Notes here and get started on migrating your devices to a more modern experience today!

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