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Talkshow with hybrid working using Cisco technology
Hybrid working: three tips to keep it safe, healthy and productive

The future of work is hybrid. We currently no longer need to join the daily traffic jam and can work more remotely. Offices will still exist but will function more as meeting places. This transition demands extensive digitalization, which provides opportunities but also presents many challenges. After all, people have to work safely and without affecting productivity. In this blog, we provide three tips to make a success of the new way of working.

The transition to a hybrid model of partly working remotely and partly at the office was already underway, but this was greatly accelerated by COVID 19. Hybrid working is here to stay. Organizations are now searching for a strategy, a blueprint for the future. Here are three tips to achieve the most significant benefit from the new situation:

1: Facilitate people who are working remotely

Make sure that people can easily connect. Many organizations quickly implemented a digital platform at the beginning of the crisis, to continue to work. They did not bother to check whether it was the best option. For good cooperation, there must be is high-quality image and sound. Additionally, people must also quickly join meetings without having to bother about pin codes and login codes. It must be easy to share a screen or apply a virtual or blurred background. Smart features, such as the automatic transcription of videos and audio files, save users a lot of time.

A good IT infrastructure provides people working remotely with a better user experience and increases security levels. This aspect is essential now as many organizations worry that an increasing amount of digital activity occurs outside the office environment, which was considered secure. With the right connections, a well-equipped network keeps threats at bay and forms a sound basis for data-driven working. This is one way to make better and informed decisions.

2: Ensure a safe return to the office

It is sometimes necessary to meet in person at the office for a brainstorming session or just a project kick-off. It must be possible to make this concerning rules for hygiene and social distancing safely. Much can be achieved by just taking practical measures, such as creating one-way walking routes or reducing the number of desks per square meter. Technical solutions such as the non-touch operation of elevators and smart cameras that check whether there are too many people in a single room can help also.

Man sitting in office with face mask spread apart from the next cubicle

3: Promote personal welfare

Many people thrive on working remotely since they can work undisturbed and with total concentration. But some people take fewer breaks at home or who extend the working day until late in the evening. It also happens that people working from home feel less included. Or that they are too shy to speak up during a busy video meeting. Managers must have the skills to keep people who work remotely involved and give attention to personal welfare. A chat before starting a video meeting slightly softens the lack of contact with colleagues. Technology can also eliminate concerns. For example, smart software that ‘sees’ that someone has raised their hand and informs the moderator that someone has a question or wants to respond.

Would you like to know more about the impact of hybrid working on the future? Please watch our talk show about ‘Hybrid working,’ with experts Noreena Hertz, Kim Grondsma, Ger Baron, and Jacco Saaman.

Click here to watch the video and get inspired!

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Bridging hybrid classrooms with the Cisco Webex Board

What’s possible when the worlds of sports and technology play together…

Your guide to sensors and analytics in Webex Devices

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What’s new in Webex: April 2021

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Cisco Hawking Rooms and Devices
Meeting fatigue? Aren’t we all experiencing it?

Meeting fatigue, co-designing, and technology

The best way to fight virtual fatigue is doing what we do in the real world, don’t “die by PowerPoint,” do better – Co-Create!

This is a story about co-designing, running virtual workshops, and co-creating with teams across companies across locations.

Last Winter, I was invited to an event hosted by Vitra that took place in Vienna, with the schedule: “workshop – decoding the office.”

The organizers told me to expect a “design thinking” session with about 150 people. Having facilitated co-creation workshops myself, I was wondering how this was going to work out.  And I must admit, it was a great experience to witness how Tim Reusch (Head of Vitra Design Studio) pulled it off by using an “event” version based on his methodology.

vitra event 1.PNG

 

Design thinking-  joining space and technology

After the session, Tim and I discussed the importance of the interlock of space and technology. During that time, Vitra and Cisco were already collaborating on the Cisco Webex Room Panorama, providing the ultimate immersive video conferencing experience for the modern C-suite.

We agreed on the need to take our partnership one step further, by joining company forces to discuss the marriage of space and technology, using Tim’s design thinking methodology.

Therefore, our Head of Design for Webex Devices, Sondre Ager-Wick, came on board to support. Time got Hendrik Woywod from Vitra Global Sales involved to assemble a diverse group for the workshop.

Webex and Vitra join together for a virtual design thinking workshop

After a few follow-up meetings in early 2020, we agreed to invite 10 participants from each company and aimed for two slots – a kickoff at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, and a second slot in the Cisco Executive Briefing Center in Oslo, Norway. We were ready to start, but then all of a sudden the entire world went remote overnight.

The challenge was obvious: We still wanted to run the workshops and asked ourselves whether it was possible to do this virtually – using Webex? And it sure was.

The goal

We had one goal in mind, which was to transform the office. To facilitate the workshop, we split up into four different working groups to focus on the different areas.

The key questions for the Space architects and Technology experts were:

SPACE: When people walk through your office, do they really want to work there? If you can answer “yes” to this question, then you have reached a level of psychological comfort and safety.

TECHNOLOGY: Assume 50% of your co-workers are remote. Can you still answer the previous question with a definite “yes”?

Vitra workshop

 

The workshop

Since Webex is designed for collaboration with distributed groups, we onboarded the Vitra participants to Webex and created a team structure for the plenary session using a Webex Space. The joint introduction session was followed by splitting up the group into four small and diversely staffed working teams.

image28.png

You find your chat messages there, your documents and files, and of course, you can ad-hoc start a Webex meeting. The key was the possibility to have the whiteboarding templates integrated into the platform.

We started with the architectural layout of the new office.

image9.png

Any breakout group member can edit the whiteboard in real-time from any location, and editing can be done by teams offline. A single meeting can be joined from multiple devices. For example, a laptop is being used for the meeting, while the iPad is used for whiteboard edits.

Templates and “Flipchart-like” drawing tools, “stickies” – all the tools you are familiar with from design thinking are included. The Webex Architecture allows flexibility to use all of these across companies and locations.

The facilitator is highly flexible in the reviewing progress on each of the whiteboards without joining every single breakout meeting.

image17.png

When we run these kinds of workshops within Cisco, most employees prefer to join with their Webex devices from home. In this workshop, we were a very distributed group of people joining different locations using different technology. Therefore, it was great to see how technology became an enabler to entirely focus on true co-creation from leveraging diverse views and technologies.

Click here if you wanna see how this looks with a “fancy” device

Some workshop impressions:

Devices

image8.pngimage5.png

Each team assigned a team lead and then got to work on their schedule for four weeks. Afterward, each group presented their outcomes to the overall panel.

Afterwards, it was great to see the amazing results of this invigorating collaboration; as an example, take a glimpse on how the teams structured the scenarios:

dancing wall 2_AH

Many thanks again to the folks from Vitra and Cisco who contributed to this experience. I must admit that this was the first time I could do this myself virtually and across companies, countries, and colleagues, and I am pleased about how well it worked out.

We then agreed to run a second round which focused on two specific topics: “Safe Return to Office” and “Work from Home.” My team member Mathilde Salvi facilitated this round together with Tim and Hendrik.

Fast forward to today, where are we now

Here are a couple of examples of joint ideas that we are working on with customers now:

Dancing Wall + Webex

Many companies adapt to the increasingly unpredictable changes in their markets by creating agile organizational structures. To facilitate this, they require office furnishings that can be easily reconfigured – if possible, by the users themselves. Dancing Wall is a solution for these new working environments.

Dancing wall

dancing wall 2_AH

Kado + Webex board:

Modern offices need to be flexible to adapt to changing conditions. Yet, at the same time, an open office landscape needs organizational structures that reflect the company’s identity and define pathways for movement and communication. This is where Kado Office comes into play.

Kado

Huddle Spaces:

Huddle Spaces will have a considerable stake in the new offices setup. Hence, we explored the following scenarios:

Huddle SpacesA big playground, the home office:

home office

All those pictures look great, but of course, this needs to be experienced in the real world. Another great proof point of this collaboration is the Webex Panorama in the Vitra Showroom:

Vitra officeshowroom frankfurt 4

Back to the co-designing piece

In our Design-Thinking Sprint with Vitra, we managed thanks to the integrated whiteboarding capabilities in Webex. If you want to try this yourself, just download the Webex Client and give it a go.

Webex is an open platform to expand the experience even further, so you can easily integrate co-creation apps.

Here is an example of Miro.com embedded into Webex:

I’d recommend choosing Miro when you want to run workshops with a large number of participants, requiring an assortment of templates supporting a wider variety of work-styles:

Image 1

  Miro on Webex Board

miro board.jpeg

Miro on DeskPro

miro deskpro.jpeg

Now, the world is used to virtual meetings, but in my opinion, the era of co-creation – especially hybrid co-creation – has just started, and exciting times are ahead of us!

THE BEST RECIPE AGAINST MEETING FATIGUE IS CO-CREATION and this is true for physical, virtual as well as hybrid meetings.

See how Webex Devices can help your team communicate clearly and create together in real time

About the author

Alex Braumann joined Cisco in 2000. As Business Development Manager & Collaboration Evangelist the Austrian is covering Technology Evolution and focuses on Partner Enablement, Verticalization and the Digitization capabilities of Cisco Collaboration in EMEAR & APJC. During his career at Cisco, he worked in different Systems Engineering, Sales & Business Development roles in the fields of IP Telephony, Unified Communication and Collaboration.

Resources

The all new Webex

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Making Video Fatigue a Thing of the Past— Webex Devices Deliver 10x Better Experiences

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NBC sports and Cisco
What’s possible when the worlds of sports and technology play together…

Hybrid sports and collaboration technology join together

The great Billie Jean King, sporting legend and one of the 20th century’s most celebrated tennis players, once said, “sports are a microcosm of society.”

The idea that sports reflect the best of the world we live in, and capture the human spirit in a common pursuit, really resonates with me.

Though I am not a sporting fanatic, I am a technology fanatic. I see how the two disciplines share common philosophies of human connection, collaboration, and the never-ending quest for excellence. Both sports and technology have the power to bridge divides, forge common ground, and improve the human experience. Sports, like technology, has united nations, communities, friends, and adversaries in the spirit of comradery – pushing the boundaries of greatness and optimism.

Whether on the pitch, on the court, on the course, or on the racetrack, sports are, and will continue to be a huge part of our local and global culture. Technology and sports, together, not only provide a new innovative outlet for recreation and connection, but the power to build a more inclusive world.

Team DSM

 

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California team up with Cisco Webex in pursuit of hybrid sports experiences

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are the latest in a series of strategic Cisco partnerships in the new world of hybrid sports. This partnership, which goes live today, marks the fourth sports collaboration in 2021, between Cisco Webex and major sports empires, such as McLaren Racing, PGA Golf Australia, and German pro cycling team, Team DSM.

For many people, the absence of live sports has been a significant void during these challenging times. Cisco’s mission is to bring sports to the masses, and to make the experience as interactive, exhilarating, and inclusive as the in-person experience.

This partnership with NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California is a natural extension of that mission. Fans can get in on the action with game highlights, player-to-audience interaction, and promos surrounding their favorite Bay Area teams and athletes. Specifically, Cisco is now the official video-conferencing technology partner for NBC Sports Bay Area’s coverage of the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants, and NBC Sports California’s coverage of the San Jose Sharks. Over the next 12 months, fans will see Webex technology in action as part of pregame and postgame video conference interviews as well.

As Jordan Knopf, Vice President of Sales for NBC Bay Area Sports and NBC Sports California said: “Innovation through technology is at the core of live sports coverage and critical to delivering on our commitment to produce the highest quality, most engaging experience for sports fans throughout the region. Partnering with Webex allows us to provide those rich experiences for fans.”

Cisco Webex and the PGA of Australia teamed up to present “The Players Series,’ a new series of tournaments that brings Australia’s leading male and female golf professionals, together with elite amateur junior golfers to compete in the same field for the same prize purse, using technology to enrich the experience for the tournaments junior golfers by connecting them directly to professionals in various mentoring opportunities on and of the course.

The innovation continues

Fans may have missed out on the live sports experience during this past year, however, you can expect that technology innovations will continue to create new experiences, where fans can engage within their communities, and feel connected to their favorite sports teams and heroes. The Silicon Valley is the epicentre of technology and some of the greatest sporting teams in history, so you might say we’re perfectly matched to bring hybrid sports to the world.

Be sure to look for the Cisco Webex logo at the upcoming NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California events!

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Powering People First Blog series that focuses on increasing and promoting personal well-being and building better quality connections and a more inclusive work experience for all

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

Creating Exhilarating and Exciting Experiences with Cisco Webex and McLaren Racing

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Doctor using Webex video conferencing
Webex Telehealth Connector for Epic: Reimagining connection in healthcare

Telehealth using Cisco Webex Telehealth Connector

Remote delivery of care has been a game changer in the last year; reducing barriers of health equity, addressing delivery disruptions caused by the pandemic, enhancing patient experience, empowering care team’s productivity, and improving health outcomes by increasing access to necessary care.

pregnant woman using Webex Health Connector to communicate with her doctor

Cisco has collaborated closely with healthcare customers and partners in early field trials (beta) to streamline clinical workflow integration, deliver better experiences, and share important telehealth insights in Control Hub.

We’re excited to announce the general availability of Webex Telehealth Connector. Epic is the first EHR to be integrated with the Webex Telehealth Connector and is published in the Epic App Orchard.

Webex for healthcare is purpose built to meet healthcare delivery needs in diverse care settings. Webex Telehealth Connector allows for the flexibility to launch virtual visits from within clinician workflows or as a stand-alone application in a browser that has access to camera and microphone.

Clinician and patient virtual health

About Webex for healthcare

The browser based WebRTC technology does not require browser plugins or force any application installation. The video consultations are scheduled and managed directly from Epic’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Because of the seamless integration with Epic’s system, clinicians can schedule virtual health appointments and get notified when a patient enters the virtual waiting room. Both clinicians and patients can launch virtual visits right from Epic’s provider and patient applications.

In addition to virtual video visits, participants can share screens to review images, charts, or other clinical documents to facilitate better care conversations. Moreover, the Control Hub dashboard shares insights about the quality of telehealth calls with administrators.

remote healthcare workers using Webex video conferencing

The Webex platform is HIPAA compliant and allows patients to launch virtual visits without storing any personal protected information (as patients are not required to login or share personal information). Webex provides privacy and security around encryption of all communication including securely sharing images or clinical documentation.

As healthcare customers innovate care delivery models, organizations will find new ways to deploy care with speed and agility to adapt and build resilience as they flex between physical and virtual points of care. Cisco’s Webex Telehealth Connector will enable these changes by making healthcare systems more efficient, increasing access to care, and enhancing healthcare outcomes.

Visit Webex for Healthcare to learn more about how your organization can enable telehealth using Cisco Webex Telehealth Connector.

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What’s new in Webex: April 2021

What healthcare providers should do this National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

How can screen sharing be used in healthcare?

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What’s new in Webex: November 2020

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Webex Beta Program
Meet Webex Beta

Introducing Webex Beta

Today, we’re excited to introduce Webex Beta, a new early access program that replaces our Early Field Trial (EFT) and Early Adopter Programs (EAP). Webex Beta provides Webex Admins and Partners a better way to discover and apply for early access to Webex Apps, Devices, and Services, providing you with a unique opportunity to share your feedback directly with our product teams.

The voice of the customer has always been a crucial element of how we design our customer experience, and Webex Beta now ensures it’s an intrinsic part of how we bring our products to market.

If you’re a Webex Admin, you can now discover the available and upcoming Product Beta’s and ensure you and nominated users in your organization can access the latest innovations across the Webex portfolio before they are launched.

Better together

How to quickly create a company culture in a growing business

The Webex Beta program is designed to empower our customers. We value your insights and are excited for you to partner with our product teams to help shape the future of work. Your voice and experience are vital to shaping the Webex of the future and ensuring we deliver your needs.

In return, we’ll ask that you provide continuous feedback and ensure that the full range of users perspectives are represented – it’s a significant commitment you’ll need to make but one that can deliver substantial rewards.

Get to know Webex Beta

As part of your Webex Beta membership, you’ll also have to opportunity to be part of both our Webex Community and Webex Ambassador programs, enabling you to connect with others using Webex in your industry and beyond.

These will provide you with enhanced access to our team and invites to events which are exclusive to these programs.

Our future vision – Hearing every user’s voice 

A key part of the Webex Beta program is ensuring we gather the broadest possible range of insights, matching the diversity of those who use Webex daily. Hearing everyone’s voice ensures our products can be more inclusive and considerate of the full range of demands our customers have.

To ensure we have the opportunity to hear everyone’s voice, we’ll be working this year to expand Beta participation, including the ability for users to enrol directly, with Admins’ consent where appropriate, of course. Learning from users from every industry, line of business, region and ability has been a key part of many of our customer touchpoints, and we’re working to ensure our global customer base is more fully represented in our Webex Beta early access programs too.

How do I join?

As an Admin, getting started today with the Webex Beta Program is simple.

Just go to beta.webex.com and follow our three-step process. We’ll see you there.

Watch the video to learn more:

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

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

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

Future Voices Webex campaign

Education is a basic human right for all, and in the last year, the pandemic has only accelerated how we learn – forcing us to try new ways to both deliver and consume. The move to hybrid learning is also opening up new possibilities for future leaders and decision makers to learn and create.

Today, I’m excited to share that we have launched a new and exciting Webex campaign called Future Voices, launching in the UK today, to celebrate students in universities and educators worldwide, and giving them a platform, with Webex, to help them share their stories.

Inclusive future for all

Our focus is to amplify the voices of the Gen Z future workforce as well as their teachers. Our aim at Webex is to power an inclusive future for all by breaking down barriers across geography, language, socio economic level and personality type, giving everyone an equal voice to achieve greater productivity and build more engaged relationships.

With the future of work being hybrid, we believe we achieve more when diverse ideas and workstyles come together and everyone can contribute equally, fully, and as their authentic selves.

FutureVoices stories

Below are just three amazing stories from our young champions:

Zainab – First Year Apprentice is a university student with dyslexia and is using Webex transcriptions and recordings to make learning easier for her.
She is also a first-year apprentice during this pandemic and is balancing her first professional role with completing a degree, all while working from home.

Swen- Professor & Black Belt gamified his curriculum and used Webex breakout sessions to move his martial arts classes entirely online. Not only did he keep his students engaged throughout – but also won a University Teaching Award for his “out-of-the-box” efforts.

Allan- Network Expert hosted training sessions on Webex to turn teachers in rural Kenya into network administrators, enabling them to troubleshoot and fix network problems quickly. The Webex recording feature allowed him to share his sessions with those who could not join live.

Spread the word

Keep an eye on this space to look for more stories coming soon. It’s exciting to be able to share the stories of these young champions and we are humbled and honored to play a small part in elevating their voices.

Join (and spark) the conversation on the hashtag #FutureVoices on social media

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Future Voices campaign page

Future Voices video stories

We are all learning how to learn

Education Resources

What is distance learning?

Welcome to virtual learning

Cisco Webex Education Connector

Cisco Education Home Page

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Woman video conferencing and using noise reduction
Life happens. Background noise doesn’t have to

The Adoption blog series: Sharing our must-have features on Webex to make your life on Webex a little bit more easier and a lot more awesome

Taking the distraction out of background noise

Working at Webex means I’ve always worked from home (even pre-pandemic). But now it feels different, and I’ve been thinking about exactly why that is–it’s not just that we are working from home, but now we’re living our lives at work. My manager recently described it as “we’re all in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Personally, that couldn’t be more on point.

A lot has changed in the past 12 months, and while our team used to be focused on general Webex adoption, the needs of our users have changed significantly as the entire world moved to working virtually (for the most part). On top of that, I’ve also changed significantly. I took on my most important role to date: momma.

“Will my team think I’m unprofessional if they hear my dogs barking? What if the baby is crying so loud that I need to stay on mute and not engage as much in a meeting? Will it impact my career or brand?”

Working from home with a family

Charlie was born in July, mid-pandemic, to a changed world–a world where returning to work wouldn’t involve commute traffic, but rather focus on how I manage work time (and more importantly, focus time) amidst family time all in the same physical space—home.

Any parents among you know that returning to work is hard enough, but thinking that your baby’s cries, dogs barking, and day-to-day noises of running a home would be a feature in work meetings adds an additional layer of anxiety. I had visions of trying to soundproof my office, make sure doors were closed, and ask the teenagers in my house to keep it down when I have important presentations.

Webex is here to help

I‘m not alone. We hear from thousands of users in our Webex Community that transitioning to remote work 100% of the time has required an additional layer of consideration in so many ways we never thought about–from the basics of being heard to the advanced challenges of a fully remote team inclusion in brainstorming and more. We’re all in this together and Webex is here to help.

Announcing feature of the month series

Each month, we’ll be sharing our top features to make your life on Webex a little bit easier and occasionally a lot more awesome, starting with noise removal. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you’re missing out.

One day, after turning on noise removal, the baby was…let’s just say “approaching lunchtime” quite loudly and I apologized for the noise. My colleague looked confused: “I don’t hear a thing!”

What is noise removal?

It’s easy to confuse noise removal with noise cancellation. These are very different things! Noise cancellation is all about drowning out distractions (normally delivered via hardware like headphones or headsets by using white noise). Noise removal on the other hand is way smarter. It uses innovative technology from BabbleLabs to intelligently listen to the audio on a meeting and digitally remove distracting sounds. I’ve got to be honest and say I was dubious when I heard about it and worried it would be like many consumer apps I use that try to do the same thing, but the actual result is one person’s audio goes too quiet and I miss what they were saying.

See it in action:

I was amazed that after enabling noise removal, my colleagues could hear my every word despite the doorbells, and then, of course, my two colleagues barking at every car that drove by. I should also probably let you know that my colleagues consist of two dogs—a 16-pound pug and a 110-pound labrador. Everyone needs to be using this!

remove background noise UI and speaker and microphone

It really is very, very cool. If you find yourself working from home, this is a must-try feature from all of us here at Webex. If you’re already using it, share how for your chance to win a Cisco 730 Headset (also very, very cool..and a blog for another time). If not, we’ve made a handy guide to help you turn it on—check it out below.

Download my noise removal guide to learn more

About the author

Image of Heidi RhodesHeidi Rhodes, Leader, Digital Experiences and Enablement Mom. Wife. Passionate about the adoption of cool technology and helping Webex’ hundreds of millions of users all around the world. Heidi leads Webex Customer Success Digital Transformation, Digital Experiences, Training and Enablement Teams and posts from time to time on how businesses and individuals can fully use the power of Webex to connect, collaborate and achieve more.

Learn more

The rise of AI speech enhancement & better team collaboration

Experience the all new Webex

Webex Noise Removal- BabbleLabs| Unboxing [Video]

Resources

What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

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Collaboration for the win
Webex lights up green for St Patrick’s Day!

Míle Fáilte (A thousand welcomes) to all our Cisco colleagues, partners and customers around the globe!

We are thrilled to announce that last week, the Great Place to Work ranked Cisco as the Best Large Workplace in Ireland 2021. Participating companies were ranked on their ability to create a positive and supportive workplace environment; with an incredible 91% of Cisco employees in Ireland agreeing Cisco is a great place to work.

“Winning the Great Place to work in 2021 is not only a testament to our employees and leadership but a testament to how Webex has enabled us to continue to grow a culture albeit virtually. Since March 2020, the pandemic has not stopped the Irish team having a fully engaged culture of trust –  what a great place to work is truly built on. Webex gave us a platform, be it on video or through messaging, to enable our employees to be there for each other either professionally or personally. This last year I would never have been able to do my job without Webex, it’s as simple as that!”

Sheila Greaney – Site Engagement Manager

One of the key factors that makes Cisco a great place to work is that each and every employee is encouraged to embrace their local culture. And today, March 17th, our Irish team celebrate St Patrick’s day. A day of festivities and joy for all as we remember the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick.

St Patrick’s day calls for us to don our finest green attire – with shamrocks and ginger beards highly encouraged. We dive deep into what it means to be Irish and dust off our dancing shoes to fully embrace our world-famous traditional music and rich culture. And this year was no different – not even Covid could stop the fun.

Being part of the Cisco family means we are all fortunate to have access to industry leading tools that maximise our virtual celebrations, making them 10X better than being in person and inclusive to our global teams. Here are just a few examples of how our teams made this St Patrick’s day one to remember:

Galway team Webex

Each year, our Galway team transform the Cisco office building green, but the way we work has changed dramatically this year. With Webex becoming our new virtual office, it only made sense that we light up Webex green too. For the first time ever, and for one glorious day only, the Webex you know and love, is turning green. This was available only to users in our internal Cisco trials, but who knows, it might be something we productise for this and other holidays in the future!

Webex lights up green for St Patrick’s Day!

Our internal fun didn’t stop there. The local Webex team created a selection of incredible Irish themed virtual backgrounds. Perfect to get everyone on meetings in the spirit of the holiday. Below are a few examples of what we created. We would love to see what you come up with – use #GRMAWebex to share your St Patrick’s day virtual backgrounds.

Co-workers at Cisco using Irish backgrounds in their meeting

On March 16th we also hosted a St Patrick’s Day Trad Fest – our first virtual St Patrick’s Day Festival where we invited all Cisco employees and their family members to join and learn the history behind Irish music with special performances from our very own Irish traditional Cisco band. All hosted on Webex!

St. Patricks Day Trad Fest

The band covered classics such as ‘The Kesh Jig’ and ‘The Lilting Fisherman’ – and our very own Rory Walsh gave a stunning vocal performance of ‘You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time’. The band not only showcased their beautiful talents but were able to share a slice of our great Irish history with their fellow employees world-wide.

Cisco members of a meeting all playing instruments

And last but by no means least, it wouldn’t be a Cisco event if we didn’t have some star presence. Our lucky audience at St Patrick’s Day Trad Fest were blessed with an unforgettable performance from our special guest Noel Hill. Noel is an Irish concertina player from County Clare, who has enjoyed world-wide success and now teaches concertina locally and globally with the help of Cisco Webex. Noel’s stunning performance truly was the perfect highlight to end a fantastic Cisco St Patrick’s day.

We may not have been able to celebrate this St Patrick’s day like we traditionally would but, with the help of Webex we were all able to come together and celebrate our Irish culture as a team, in style! Truly enforcing how Cisco is the greatest place to work.

Don’t forget to share your virtual St Patrick’s day fun using #GRMAWebex

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Get the best video meeting experience with Webex Auto Configuration

Announcing the winners of Collaboration hackathon

Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

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What Stanford researchers don’t know: You can meet smarter to reduce video fatigue

Factors contributing to video fatigue

Meeting fatigue is real. And, in the era of COVID, “meeting” almost certainly means video conferencing. Stanford University researchers thought the problem was pervasive enough that they conducted a study to examine why too much video conferencing can exhaust the mind and body in what they say is commonly known as “Zoom fatigue” – although the researchers indicated this applies to all videoconferencing platforms. They arrived at four key factors that contribute to fatigue and even devised a way to measure it with the “Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue” (ZEF) scale:

1) Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense

2) Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing

3) Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility

4) Higher cognitive load is much higher in video chats

While researchers gave some useful tips to counteract these problems, they are only short-term fixes to a problem that is endemic to the current era.

The answer is to meet smarter so you can meet less

Some companies, including at Cisco where I work, are implementing meeting-free days to minimize burn-out. But giving people a break from meetings and then going right back to Zoom fatigue the next day is also not the long-term answer.

The answer is using video conferencing technology to let people meet smarter so they can have fewer meetings on a REGULAR basis.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but over the past year, Webex has been working on ways to help people spend less time in meetings yet be more productive. Some of these innovations include:

  • Using an in-meeting digital assistant to capture transcripts, notes and action items, so you can fully focus in the meeting and get more done
  • Automated post-meeting follow-up enables easy distribution of notes and tracking action items, which may negate the need to have additional meetings to move work forward
  • Advanced messaging and team collaboration features let you continue work projects before, during and after the meeting, so much of it can be done asynchronously
  • Round table & Quick Sync meeting templates give everyone a dedicated speaking slot and time allocation, so no one can hog the discussion which reduces time sink
  • Real-time translation helps to break down language barriers and aids understanding, so fewer meetings are required for additional clarification

 

See Webex infographic to learn more about smart video conferencing

 

My Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue score is very low

Out of curiosity, I took the ZEF survey just to see how I would score. And not surprisingly, it was very low:  I scored in the 8th percentile in Zoom fatigue, which means about 92% of people have more fatigue after videoconferencing than I do. I attribute that to three things:

  • My comfort with video having worked in the industry for more than 10 years
  • The intelligence in Webex which allows me to meet smarter on video and, thus, have fewer meetings
  • Working on a Webex Desk device, an all-in-one personal collaboration system that is comfortable to work on and contributes to less visual and physical fatigue

See how you score on the ZEF scale. And try Webex for free.

My score on the ZEF scale:

Stanford ZEF Scale Report
My score on the ZEF Scale Report

Resources

The all new Webex

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Making Video Fatigue a Thing of the Past— Webex Devices Deliver 10x Better Experiences

Join a Webex online meeting

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Announcing the winners of Collaboration hackathon

Transforming ideas into reality

The workplace is constantly evolving. The way we work is forever changing and advancements in technology are moving more rapidly than ever before. Innovation is key, but where does it come from and more importantly, how do we develop it into a reality?

At some point we have all had that great idea, that one lightbulb thought that could change how we work, make a process faster or save ourselves some time. The problem is that we don’t always have the resources, background or skillset to make it happen, often leading to missed opportunities. But not at Cisco. This is where innovation is born.

Building on the success of our 2-day Hackathon event hosted in San Jose in July 2019, Cisco SVP Javed Khan held our first-ever virtual Collaboration Hackathon series in late 2020 to early 2021. The series featured one hackathon for our internal colleagues and one for external innovators – organised by Product Manager Ivy Pham. Individuals and teams were welcome to participate regardless of technical knowledge or experience. The only criteria to take part: a passion to innovate and a desire to make a change.

“During these challenging pandemic times, seamless and secure virtual experiences are more important than ever. This virtual hackathon is a fun way our community can come together to develop solutions that will make virtual communication and collaboration ‘better than being there’.”

Javed Khan

SVP/GM, Collaboration 

Reimagining what is possible with our internal hackathon

The internal hackathon was open to all Cisco employees, harnessing the strength of our global workforce to provide diverse perspectives on the future of our industry. As a result, we had over 820 participants with nearly 500 submissions!

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. All ideas were welcome at the hackathon, but to help guide our hackers we created 3 key themes – Experience, Next Generation and Cross Architecture.

Experience – Focusing on our end users’ and customers’ experiences. Keeping this open to interpretation, participants could focus on day-to-day activities, operations and even analytics. Basically, keeping our customers top of mind and developing solutions to ensure they have the best experience possible.

Next Generation – The possibilities are endless when it comes to advancements in technology. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed how we all work, but we have only begun to scratch the surface. Here participants had the opportunity to create solutions that enable our users to work smarter, not harder.

Cross Architecture – The power of Cisco is the strength of our vast portfolio. Collaboration is just one aspect of this. Imagining innovative and creative concepts to integrate with our portfolio is game changing. This could include security, data, mobility and more.

Here are some of the solutions from the hackathon that blew us away:

Checklister

Webex is a great tool for collaboration via messages. To-do list applications are great tools for tracking ongoing tasks. Checklister would automatically suggest to-do list items to the user and allow editing before storing the message as an action item. The to-do list store could be native to Webex or third-party integrations.

Checklister

Webex Haiku

While business’s adoption of video calling tools for customer service is on the rise, not all people are avid computer users. This translates into frustration when joining Webex meetings. Cisco Webex Haiku is an online drag-and-drop editor for creating your own Webex client portal, as simple and powerful as your business needs it.

See the full list of winners below:

Hackathon Prizes

Global innovation at our external hackathon

We know that great ideas come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes a totally fresh perspective can reimagine how we work and the tools we use. With this in mind, we opened the external hackathon globally to people over the age of 18. Similar to our internal hackathon, we encouraged people to participate regardless of technical knowledge or experience. Everyone with an interest in innovation was welcome. As a result, we were delighted to see an enormous interest in university students signing up to take part (over 1100) – after all, they are the future of our industry.

To help guide our external participants we also provided two optional themes. The first was Cisco Webex and Collaboration with a key focus on the end user experience. The second was social good – creating new solutions that have a positive impact on people, society or the planet. In total we had nearly 250 teams participate and a whopping 60 winners. Below are a few highlights and the full winners list:

Sanitary Pad Dispensing Machine

The idea is an affordable and easy to operate sanitary pad dispensing machine. The project has been designed with the motive of providing 24/7 availability of sanitary pads to women, especially in rural regions where there is a lot of social stigma attached to this particular issue. One of the main objectives of this project was to make the topic of menstruation more mainstream so that parents could talk to their daughters more freely, friends could support each other, and women would not feel ashamed of something that is natural to them and a part of their life.

Webex Knowledge Extractor

This is a tool that integrates with Webex and allows questions and answers to be displayed and indexed for search based on threaded messaging. The dashboard interface will allow the end user to login via OAuth and select a room to be analyzed for Questions which have been answered by experts, then export to Excel or import into external systems for knowledge base articles.

Joey Notifications

Never miss a beat with Joey Notifications in Webex! Joey is the perfect solution to make working from home more people centric. Set reminders to stretch and take care of your health throughout the day. Joey is designed to engage you with little tips such as yoga videos or recipes and uses AI image detection to evaluate your health. Joey Notifications is the perfectly tailored plugin for you and your team!

1st prize

2nd prize3rd prize

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of innovative and creative ideas submitted during the hackathon series. Some of these amazing ideas will be put forward to our collaboration group and considered for further development.

Hackathons are just one of the many events we hold each year to spark innovation within our organization.

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events and one day your idea could become part of our collaboration offering!

Resources

The all new Webex

Ready to make the switch to the new Webex?

Learn more

Join a Webex online meeting

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

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

 

 

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3 ways screen sharing software can accelerate your sales cycle

Screen sharing is one of the best ways for all meeting participants on a web or video conference to (literally) get on the same page.

It’s simple: Someone clicks or taps a button in the conferencing solution, and then they’re able to show everyone else what’s currently on their display. That could be a single app like a set of web browser windows, a document (PowerPoint deck, Google Doc, etc.), or even their full desktop. 

No matter what’s being shared, screen sharing sessions enable better collaboration. Think of how many times something got buried in your inbox, or was shared in a chat message, but you couldn’t seem to find later on. Screen sharing addresses those issues by allowing presenters walk viewers through a workflow or asset in detail, point by point, in real time.

Is screen sharing the solution to sales cycle difficulties?

It’s no surprise, then, that the distinctive features of screen sharing software can give a big boost to sales agents – a screen share can convey a lot of information very quickly and clearly. That’s perfect in the context of today’s often protracted and fragmented sales cycles: 

  • According to CSO Insights, almost half of all new sales to B2B customers take at least 7 months to close.
  • More than one-third of respondents (35.9%) felt that their communications with customers needed improvement.
  • Poor alignment between sales and marketing teams was another widely cited issue, with many salespeople pointing to lack of well-defined processes at their companies.

Screen sharing solutions can provide much-needed relief and support for sales agents facing these long cycles and communications challenges. Let’s look at three big ways that screen sharing capabilities can help accelerate and streamline sales. 

1. Seeing is believing

The brain is much better at retaining visual information than written or spoken words. By one estimate, it holds on to 65% of images after three days, but only 10% to 20% of non-visual data. 

For a sales prospect, this gap can be the difference between buying what you’re selling and taking a pass. Imagine only describing a product’s lifecycle and features to a potential customer (or sending an email about it), versus being able to actually show it to them in high definition.  

With screen sharing, it’s practical to give the prospect a full walkthrough. Along the way, the sales professional can demo key features in detail, answer questions, and generally give the lead better insight into how the offering works.

Screen sharing has become more popular for these types of in-depth demonstrations. At the same time, it’s important to look for screen sharing solutions that enable the most streamlined experience possible. Prospects should be able to join and participate with ease, e.g. with just the click of a button. That way, they can get right into viewing your screen share.

2. Personalization, made easy

Personalized demos close more deals. After all, every customer wants to know how the product/service being sold will address their particular pain points and benefit their operations. So what is the best way to personalize your sales demo?

One reliable approach is to focus mainly on the features that the customer is most likely to use. For example, if you’re selling accounting software to a client that leases a lot of its equipment, it would be important to highlight how the platform handles lease recognition and various forms of regulatory compliance.

Doing so is easier with screen sharing software. A versatile solution lets your sales team share a variety of assets that can clarify how pivotal features work:

  • By sharing your entire screen, you could show how to open the app, navigate to the correct interface, and perform test actions. 
  • Alternatively, you could share a video or animation that provides another look at how the product works in the real world.
  • Other assets like documents and applications can be shared to add more context and fill in details, for example in response to customer questions.

3. Demo from anywhere and any device

Like the workforce as a whole, sales teams are gravitating toward mobile and remote working arrangements. Allowing sales personnel to work from almost any location has its upsides and downsides, with key implications for an organization’s sales cycle.

On the positive side, the increased flexibility can help keep employees happy by letting them set up their own working environment and proceed at a more self-directed pace. However, there can be some risks when it comes to building camaraderie across the sales team and ensuring that sales professionals can stay productive anywhere. 

This is where screen sharing via a web/video conferencing platform can help. A solution like Webex lets you conduct an engaging sales demo, as long as you have a reliable internet connection and a mobile or desktop device to run the conferencing app. 

Such flexibility across devices can save sales teams the need to make costly trips to customer locations. Plus, high-quality audio and video alongside the screen share means that the online meeting can feel just like an in-office gathering.To learn more about how to use screen sharing for a better sales cycle, get started with a free plan of Webex today.

Learn More

Using a video conferencing tool to manage outside vendor communications

3 business communication barriers you can break down with video conferencing

4 non-verbal communication cues that are important for growing businesses 

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team collaboration update
November update of Webex Teams

More Emoji’s for More Expressive Messaging! (Windows)

It’s time to get a lot more expressive with your team collaboration messages- we have expanded the emoji picker library! You can now choose emojis from six different categories and color swatches.

Team collaboration update

Introducing the Web Beta Client (Web)

Soon, the first phase of the new web app will be available for everyone. Webex Teams web users will be able to opt-in to the new experience. To start, this is a messaging only application with new messaging features, including improved performance, edit message, in-line threading, quick filters, and improved space navigation. This will be available for everyone to try on December 5th!

Share Your Screen While on a Call using Calling in Webex Teams – Webex Calling (Windows & Mac)

If your organization supports this calling integration, you can now share your screen when you call someone else with a Webex Teams account.

MAM support through App Wrapping (iOs & Android)

Teams Mobile App now support customers who need MAM through a new process. This process is currently supported by both Webex Meetings as well as Jabber. This means a customer or partner who is part of the CCP community can sign a two-way licensed agreement to obtain Teams mobile app binaries and then “app wrap” them using app wrapping tools provided by MDM/MAM vendors, for their own use.


Haven’t tried Webex Meetings or Teams yet? Try for free. 

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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Webex Teams design update

As you may have already heard, we are aligning our design across the Cisco Collaboration App portfolio to deliver a unified, consistent experience for our users. This is to ensure that users have a familiar calling, messaging, and meeting experience, regardless of which app or device they happen to be using. As you embark on your journey to the cloud in support of modern workstyles, this will ensure that the costs and challenges of user change management are kept to a minimum.

Let’s talk through the design changes you can expect to see in the August 29th update of team collaboration tool, Webex Teams…

Layout and Navigation Transformation

As we continue to align with other apps in the Cisco portfolio this August, we will be moving your avatar – and the menu that comes with it – to the first column on the far-left side of the application. This menu provides some key activities; access to your people insights profile, the ability to alter your presence status, the option to change your settings or preferences, and more. This means that this is an important menu to users, and it’s even more important for everyone to know exactly where to find it. As well as aligning with our other apps, having the avatar menu here makes its contents globally available to users, no matter where they happen to be in the app.

While we’re on the topic of the first column, you will also notice that the ‘home’ icon, which ‘houses’ all your spaces and messages, has been updated to be a ‘chat’ icon. All other icons will remain the same as before.

We know how important it is to be able to take certain actions – such as placing a call – quickly. For this reason, we will be making some changes to the in-space activity menu. Popular actions such as making calls and sharing your screen will now be just one click away. For greater visibility and faster access, we will be moving these actions into the space header. All other space activities will remain in the space menu. It might be worth noting that we will also be changing the icon for this menu, changing it from the ‘waffle’, to a three-dot ellipsis. Great news for Jabber users who wish to move to Webex Teams, and for those who prefer kebabs to waffles. As we add more activities, content and integrations to Webex Teams, we will continue to optimise and improve this space menu design to provide our users with the most efficient way to get work done.

Webex Teams Design changes in August update.

You will notice that this isn’t the only change we’ve made to the top of the app. Things are going to look a little… Sleeker. This won’t directly affect how you work in Webex Teams, but it will make the app look a lot neater. What we will be doing is taking over the top bar of the app so that the colors of the columns below blend seamlessly up into the header.

Webex Teams’ Themes

Another thing to mention is that our light theme is going to be changing a little. The first column on the left where your avatar will be is going to change to be permanently dark. The colour of the second column – your space list – will change slightly too, just to a slightly different shade of grey than before. The main reason behind these subtle changes is that we want a theme that will give our users the option to have the exact same design as Jabber 12.7. This way, should Jabber users decide to start using Webex Teams, they will feel like instant power users.

Webex Teams new light mode

Available in August and becoming default theme in September

In September, this updated light mode theme will become the default selection for Webex Teams users. This is so that both Jabber and Teams users will have the same default user experience. If you want to preview this new theme design, you will be able to do so after our August update just by switching to light mode.

Following these changes, we will be keeping the ‘Black & White’ theme available for a time as a user preference. Later this year, we plan to consolidate our themes to two options. This will include the new default light mode and the current dark mode, which is now the convention in both Apps and Desktop Operation Systems. When that time comes, the ‘Black & White’ mode we see in Teams today will no longer be available to users.

Another key motivation for these changes is Accessibility. Improving visual accessibility in our themes like this is so helpful to the many people around the world with low vision. As the theme enhancements above occur, there will be no changes to the High Contrast mode. We will continue to provide this theme for any of our users who experience challenges when it comes to their vision.

With the exciting introduction of Jabber 12.7 this August, users will find a very similar design update to what we have described for Teams above. With these design enhancements in both Jabber and Teams, the two applications will now be directly aligned. As we continue to move towards a unified experience across the Cisco collaboration portfolio, you will be seeing design alignments like this more and more often.

Jabber 12.7 light mode. Available in August

Bring your Brand to your Users

The visual updates don’t stop there! This August, we are providing our users (well, our user administrators!) to co-brand their Webex Teams application with their very own color and logo. Admins will be able to apply their chosen logo and color to the first column – on the left side – of Webex Teams, where their avatar will now be. The company logo will appear just above the avatar for all corporate users. This allows companies to ensure that both their brand and their corporate identity can be reflected in the application experience they provide to their users.

Webex Teams Co-Branding. Available in August

For more information on the new co-branding feature, please check out our help article: https://help.webex.com/en-us/np8ictm/Add-Your-Company-Branding-to-Webex-Teams

We’re very excited about these design enhancements and the added usability benefits they will provide to our users. The new look and improved interaction are just some of what we have to look forward to. That, combined with the alignment of experiences between Jabber and Webex Teams, provides companies with a seamless transition path for their users.

We’re planning lots more design updates and improvements later in the year, so be sure to subscribe to our Coming Soon page and the Webex Blog site to stay up to date.

 

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July Update: Team collaboration made simpler

It’s that time again! Here’re some of the exciting new features you can expect to see in our team collaboration tool, Webex Teams, this month…

Threading Made Easier (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having such a great time using threads that I’m starting to struggle to keep track of them all. The good news is, the answer is here! Instead of scrolling for days to try and find that thread where you were chatting about something important, you can now go to your in-app filters to find a new addition especially for ‘threads’. This dedicated filter will show you all the threads you are a part of in chronological order. How’s that for organized?

That’s not all. We’re also adding some visual updates to in-space thread notifications. There will be separate indicators for an unread ‘normal’ message and an unread ‘reply’ in a thread. In addition, a very distinct banner will appear within threads to show which replies in the thread have not yet been read.

The future is bright for threading and we are planning even more exciting enhancements for this feature in the coming months.

Mute Them All! (Windows and Mac)

Is that a dog barking? A baby crying? Someone tapping on their keyboard or mouse?

These are sounds we hear almost every time we’re involved in a large meeting, leading to the host repeatedly having to ask attendees to mute themselves. Valuable meeting time can be wasted,and conversation flows interrupted while trying to track down the culprits of background noise. Well, fret no more! You can now mute everyone at the same time!

Fear not, we haven’t taken away your freedom of speech. For anyone who has been muted, they can unmute themselves, just so long as they have something more to contribute than background noise! Anyone in the meeting can ‘mute’ or ‘unmute’ all, and everyone in the meeting except the host and the person muting will get muted. Don’t worry, if you’ve already muted yourself (and your barking dog), that won’t change if someone chooses to ‘unmute’ all.

Move your call here, there and everywhere! (Windows and Mac)
Remember that time you started a call in a meeting room you hadn’t booked? And how much of a nuisance it was to stop the call, bring your laptop somewhere else, and start the meeting again on a different device? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Thankfully this great new feature is going to make situations like that a lot less awkward. With the new ‘Move Call’ feature for On-Prem Webex Devices, you can start a call on your laptop and move it to any on-prem device that you’ve paired with. And move it back to your laptop. Or to another… Okay, you get the drift! The option is available in the call control strip under the ‘three dots’ button.

Shrinking Images to Save your Data (iOS & Android)

When I’m using Webex Teams on my mobile, there is a high possibility I’m out and about and not in a place where I have a Wi-Fi connection. This means, when there’s a lot of media being shared with me on Webex Teams, I’m draining all my mobile data. Loading an image could mean not having the bandwidth to reply to a message. The same applies when sending media using cellular data.

Now, we’re going to automatically reduce image sizes when they’re being sent, therefore reducing how much data is used both when sending and receiving them. No more worries about hitting that limit!

Integrations Management

What’s that you say? We can now whitelist third party apps using APIs from developer.webex.com? Excellent news! Admin controls for third party apps are now available in Webex Teams. This allows customers to ensure only apps meeting their security and data handling standards will be enabled for their users. For more details on this great new feature, check out this article.

Exciting new features Edit Message and Buttons & Cards are coming to Webex Teams shortly – for full details of the release, check out our help center: here.


Try the Webex Teams 30-day free trial today. Sign up here.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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April update of Webex Teams: Team collaboration enriched

April has been another busy month for the Webex Teams Product team with a number of new features designed to improve your efficiency and empower your team collaboration experience.

Presents for you… in the form of Presence!

The Webex Teams application currently has the ability to display ‘Out of Office’, ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Active’ presence states, but we’re delighted to announce new Presence support coming with the April release. Now, on your Desktop and Web apps, you’ll be able to quickly see when your colleagues are ‘On a Call’, ‘In a Meeting’, or ‘Presenting’ for better insight into their availability.  This feature is a timesaver, showing if the person you want to reach is  busy or free to take a call from you/answer a message. These presence states will appear over your colleagues avatars, including on the Contact Card.

Webex Teams team collaboration
New Presence States in Webex Teams

Share Files Faster!

I share files every day in my team collaboration room in order to get work done. In April, we’re adding the ability to drag and drop files from the desktop onto the ‘People and Spaces’ list, allowing you send files where you want them to go even faster. Once a file has been dragged and dropped onto a space bricklet, you’ll see the file staged in the compose area allowing you to add some words for context. Simple!

Screen Share – Anytime

Previously, if you wanted to ‘Share your Screen’ in the Webex Teams app you would have needed to be ‘On a Call’ or ‘In a Meeting’. In this release, you’ll be able to start your Share Screen feature at any stage. So, even when you’re messaging a colleague, free feel to kick off a Screen Share to enhance your team collaboration experience. Look out for the new Share Screen activity in your 1:1 spaces.

Screen Share and Re-share

Now with our April release you can quickly change which application or screen you’re sharing, while sharing. No need to stop and restart screen sharing to change application or screen! We’ve supported this on a Mac for a while but we thought we’d let our Windows friends enjoy the feature too! Look out for the new button  at the top of the screen while sharing when you’re ready to switch up share!

Messaging Insight for IT Admins

We’ve improved the Messaging Analytics page in Control Hub to provide richer insight on Webex Teams usage for IT Admins.  We’ve added key KPIs to the top of the page and two new charts highly requested by customers:  1) Total ‘Message Sent’ trending chart over time to complement the existing Active User chart trending and  2) Mobile vs Desktop usage chart showing how Webex Teams is helping users collaborate while mobile.

Messaging Insight dashboard for IT Admins

Diagnostics End Meeting Reason Codes

For the IT Administrator in your lives, we’ve added End Meeting Reason Codes to the Diagnostics Participant details page.  Hey, so why is this important and how will it be used?   IT Admins take phone calls from end users about meeting experience issues.  Often times the host of a meeting will leave the meeting early, not realizing that when they leave the meeting (without assigning an alternate host), the meeting will end.  The End Meeting Reason code tells the IT Admin that the meeting ended because the ‘Host Hung Up’ which helps IT Admins to weed out the real issues from the user issues quickly.

These new features are sure to excite, but this is just a sample of what the Webex Teams Product Team have been busy on over the past month, check out our ‘What’s New’ page to see a full list https://help.webex.com/en-us/8dmbcr/What-s-New-in-Cisco-Webex-Teams.

And Share and re-share it 😎!


If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:

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

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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team collaboration updates
March update of Webex Teams: Enhancing your team collaboration

There are a host of new features coming from the Webex Teams Product team once again in our March release. Let’s step through some of the main features that you can enjoy for your team collaboration today.

On premise calling

For the first time, you’ll be able to point Webex Teams to your On Premise Call Manager to take advantage of your existing infrastructure for calling within the app. You’ll be able to place, receive, and hold/resume calls with our March release and connect to calling outside your organization with Expressway support. Call Manager support will be in Preview mode from March with many more exciting features unveiling over the coming months.

Unified Call Manager calling in Webex Teams

Notifications that mean more to you

We know that everyone loves using the Mention feature in spaces to grab the attention of a colleague or to nudge everyone in the space to take some action. We’re enhancing this feature by allowing you to filter all these great mentions into two separate filters. @All mentions will reside in the  Mentions to Allfilter and mentions to @me will live in the Mentions to Mefilter – allowing you to focus is on the mentions that mean most to you.

Mentions for all types

Increase your output with Keyboard Shortcuts

We introduced a wide range of new shortcut keys to the Desktop Webex Teams apps allowing for quick access to your core actions and activities. These shortcuts will help with navigation and usability across the app – for example shortcuts for answering and managing calls, and other shortcuts for assisting with composing messages. We’ve designed many of these shortcuts to use the native OS style, so you’ll already be familiar with many of them helping to increase your productivity.

Check out the full list here.

Welcome Tour on Web

We have introduced a new feature for our Web customers to help with onboarding new users into Webex Teams. The new Welcome Tour will help users learn common tasks such as Starting a Meeting or Call and guide them around the application as they start using it for the first time.

Analytics adds richer Room Device Insight

Are your teams using Room Devices for a richer, live meeting experience?   If yes, we’ve added a nice feature for the IT Administrator to provide business insight into the utilization of these devices to allow for informed decisions based on data.  These charts are fully interactive enabling the IT Admin to filter on a specific device type,  utilization type, or right down to a specific device to see per-device trending.

Device Analytics in Control Hub

There’s a lot happening in Webex Teams, and we know you’ll love using these features. We can’t wait to hear your feedback!


If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free: https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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team collaboration webinar
Webinar recap: changing the way team collaboration is done

On February 14, we hosted a webinar around huddle spaces and their importance to the future of work and team collaboration.

Alan McGinty, Senior Director of the Global Workplace Innovation Group at Cisco presented on how the traditional workplace, one that looks similar to a cube farm array, is evolving to meet the needs of current workers and the new generation entering the workforce.

But what does this evolution look like?

The quick answer is: people need the right type of space for specific types of work.

A 2-minute recap:

In this webinar, Alan discussed how four large, global workplace trends are validating the need for changes to workspaces. Here they are:

1) Rapidly changing workforce demographic model. The current workplace needs to support four generations in the workplace (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Digital Natives). Baby Boomers are beginning to leave the workforce and 61 million Gen Z’s will be entering workforce (a generation that has grown up with a digital device in hand). Companies need to be able to support their employees in a way they can work most effectively.

2) Demand for flexibility. Work is transforming into what we do, not where we go. People come into an office to engage in culture, be seen, collaborate. People aren’t coming into the office for the free food.

3) Changing work activities. Work is more automated than ever before. The team collaboration we need to support is around innovation/new ideas.

4) Acceleration and advancement of technology. As technology continues to progress, all companies are becoming technology companies.

 

Luckily, we have the answer to solve for these global workplace trends: Huddle spaces.

A Deloitte survey shows that agility and collaboration are key to company success. And that is the precise goal of huddle spaces: for teams to come together quickly and effectively to collaborate and make decisions.

When you think of a team meeting, what comes to mind? A room with chairs, a table, and videoconferencing device?

While yes, this is a type of huddle space, it’s just one in a sea of many. Huddle spaces can take many forms, in many locations. The most important factors are that the technology and the space create a cohesive user experience and empower employees to perform most effectively to do the work they need to do (ie: sharing content, making audio and video calls, white-boarding).

For more in-depth conversation, including information on huddle space analytics and the importance of space design and location for team collaboration, watch the webinar on-demand: here. The slides presented in the webinar are also accessible: here.

Let us know if  you have any comments and/or questions and follow this link here to learn more about Huddle Spaces.

 


If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:

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

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

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

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

Wow #1: Voice-activated video conferencing

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

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

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

Wow #3: Microsoft OneDrive Integration into Webex Teams

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

Wow #4: App Hub & Bots

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

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

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

Wow #6: Webex Board conference equipment

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

Wow #7: Huddle Spaces

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

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

See for yourself and give Webex Meetings or Webex Teams a try for free:

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

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team collaboration tools at work
Driving location-aware customer loyalty with Webex Teams collaboration tools and QWASI

Quick poll: When a customer walks into one of your locations, do they get a personalized welcome message? Are staff members alerted when the customer needs assistance?  If you’re like most companies, the answer would be “no.”

But wouldn’t it be great if we could identify customers as they walk in and greet them digitally while arming staff members with the information they need to make better in-person connections?

Leveraging team collaboration tools to drive customer engagement

Now, with Cisco Webex Teams (team collaboration tools) and QWASI (a leader in customer communication and loyalty engagement), it’s easy to turn on intelligent customer communication that will enable your in-store teams to drive additional sales by engaging customers with more interactive, personalized shopping experiences. QWASI has integrated with the Webex Teams collaboration platform, utilizing the Cisco Webex APIs to transform into a hub to manage real-time, location intelligent, mobile customer communication.

Top brands trust QWASI to communicate with their customers via mobile text, the most effective engagement channel for real-time conversations.  All messaging and customer engagement data is routed back to Webex Teams, team collaboration platform, creating a full audit trail of customer interactions from acquisition over WIFI with DNA Spaces to loyalty signup, custom welcome messages upon location entry, product engagement while in stores, offers redeemed, and rewards received.  And now, QWASI has been added to the Cisco Global Price List to make it seamless for channel partners and customers to obtain their offer.

Integrating QWASI and Webex Teams collaboration tools

QWASI’s cloud-based platform seamlessly integrates legacy enterprise systems, aggregates information from multiple sources, and drives intelligent messaging with administrators and customers to optimize a customer’s experience. QWASI’s platform ingests data, federates that data against a database, and leverages an intelligent rules engine to build out automated communication workflows.

At the center of the application is a cloud-based federation backend that leverages a modern cloud architecture, making the platform scalable and resilient. All processing is stateless and balanced across multiple nodes throughout multiple data centers, allowing for dynamic scaling.

QWASI’s platform was built to be a highly configurable platform as opposed to a static product that focused on a specific UI. Everything in their platform is API driven which allows it to plug and play with other platforms easily to create new use cases and activate new solutions with low IT impact.

Let’s get a closer look…

How it works

When a customer/user walks into a location, Cisco Meraki wireless identifies the user and their location.  This information is fed into the QWASI platform to record the customer’s visit and activate the intelligent rules engine. The intelligent rules engine determines the next best step for messaging the user – an offer for example.

Webex Teams is integrated into this workflow. The QWASI Webex Teams mobile SMS Text plugin allows communication between Webex Teams and SMS, enabling communications between client and customer which are both real-time and fully audited.

QWASI has also been an early adopter integrating with near field communication technology adding uses cases to how brick and mortar locations may want to integrate with their employees.

Over time, companies can build up a profile of their customers that helps customize a customer’s experience when they visit a location.

And, if necessary, QWASI allows a fully customizable utilization of all of these unique tools to facilitate cutting-edge solutions to customer interaction, marketing, and promotion.

The Cisco and QWASI partnership drives new value with a solution uniquely powered by the Webex for Developers experience. Building better customer experiences and increasing sales is now easier than you think by leveraging team collaboration tools with the intelligence of the QWASI platform.

Try Webex Teams for free to learn more about what team collaboration tools can do for you: www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html.

For any questions about QWASI or other Webex Ecosystem partners, reach out to webex-ecosystem@cisco.com

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Teamwork - Building a collaborative culture
Building a culture with team collaboration tools

Next time you go to a coffee shop, take a moment to notice all the remote workers hunkered down at the tables, laptop to laptop. It’s a common sight all across America now. In fact, the number of people telecommuting in the US has gone up 115% in the last 10 years.How did we get here?

In the past, there was a common misconception that if organizations allowed teleworking, team members wouldn’t collaborate well because they weren’t gathered together in the same room. And all business leaders know that team collaboration is essential to productivity, growth, and innovation.

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