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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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Webex Meetings and Microsoft Teams: Working better together

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Skip the trip with Webex Meetings

US Census Bureau

By the Numbers Look at Valentine’s

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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.
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.

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Introducing Webex Perks – your new rewards program

Have you heard of Webex Perks?

Cisco Webex recently launched a rewards program that allows our customers to access resources, network with other Webex users, and refer their network to Webex’s video conferencing and team collaboration tools.

We are excited to announce the program is live!

So, how does it work?

Using your Webex account credentials, log-in to the hub and get on-boarded quickly, learning the ins and outs of all the resources available to you. Best of all, Webex Perks is FREE – no additional setup or cost needed. You’ll find tutorials to help you get the most out of your video conference meetings, live training- including webinars and online classes, and fun challenges to help you rack up points and place in the Leaderboard. The more points you earn, the more rewards you can unlock*. And, you can earn BIG points ($20 prize value) when you refer others to Webex Meetings and Teams.

Rewards vary from Webex swag, to drones, to tablets, and even Webex devices. Are you ready to get started? Log in here.

Cisco Webex recently launched a rewards program that allows our customers to access resources, network with other Webex users, and refer their network to Webex’s video conferencing and team collaboration tools.

If you’re new to Webex, try our video conferencing solution free today!

Then use your credentials to log into Perks to start earning rewards!

* Disclaimer: Rewards are for paid Webex users. Free users can still earn points and participate, but won’t be eligible for rewards.

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One decade is coming to a close and 2020 brings in a new year and new opportunities
The future of work isn’t coming, it’s here

One decade is coming to a close and 2020 brings in a new year and new opportunities. In this busy season of holiday parties, copious amounts of shopping, and wrapping up end-of-year projects, people are also beginning to think about new resolutions and new ways to reset and reorient themselves for what this next year has in store.

At Cisco Webex, we’re doing this as well. The phrase, “Future of Work,” has been buzzing for a bit of time, but it’s time to move this from hype to reality and we’re ready. In fact, we’re already there. As we think about this coming year, and as we set goals for what we want to do as a company, now is the time to turn the “Future of Work” into today and seize the opportunities it presents to us.

In an article in Boss Magazine, Cory Treffiletti, Global Head of Marketing for Webex.com at Cisco refreshingly cuts through the sea of buzzwords related to this topic and highlights a few truly impactful trends that are driving this change in the workplace.

He calls out,

“While technology of the recent past has made businesses more productive and efficient, it tended to hamper the true human connection. Think email and even conference calls. The face-to-face interaction was missing. People are starting to realize that a call is far better than email, and a video call, even better. Picking up and reaching out to someone may never be as efficient as typing a message and hitting send, but it is more efficient when you factor in the resulting back and forth that results.”

Let’s consider this: The “Future of Work” is not five years from now, it’s tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. We all have a hand to play in how our businesses will run and what we want them to look like.

Check out Boss Magazine’s article on four trends to keep an eye on in the not so distant “Future of Work.”

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Cisco at SXSW 2019: Cognitive collaboration and the future of work

The Future of Work is Today

Cisco’s Single Platform and Unified App Make a More Human Approach to Transforming your Workplace

 

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Embedding  Webex Teams Meetings with the  Java Script  SDK 
Embedding  Webex Teams Meetings with the  JavaScript  SDK 

We’ve brought  Webex  Teams video conferencing to an open source  JavaScript  SDK, using Cisco and open source technologies, allowing developers to create and customize their own media applications in the web rapidly.

Vibrant Ecosystem 

As the line between the browser and the operating system continues to blur, JavaScript-accessible technologies are becoming more powerful.  WebRTC  is one of the most dominant examples of this paradigm shift, minimizing the barrier to entry for media development,  and it’s on your everyday average web browser. 

Since 2016, an estimated two billion browsers were installed that support WebRTC.  Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all support WebRTC standards, with Edge support on its way. This has empowered developers all over the world to build complex media related applications in the browser of their choice.  It is clear the future direction of video conferencing applications, media exchange, and the like will be built here, right in your web browser. 

Leveraging and Expanding 

We, at Cisco,  are utilizing  this burgeoning technology stack to create solutions in  Webex  Teams for high quality, secure meeting collaboration. In our environment, we see over 90,000 Webex Teams meetings using WebRTC per month. 

Meetings  via the browser makes it possible to engage in real time video communication in Cisco’s powerful media network and with no installations, no browser plugins, and a familiar native app proficiency. In fact,  Webex  Teams  extends basic WebRTC calling to improve quality of service and adapt to network inconsistencies in order to provide the best quality web conferencing experience possible. 

Now we are taking this a step further, bringing  Webex  Meetings to an open source  JavaScript  SDK.  In a collaborative effort, we’ve combined the knowledge of our teams and over the course of a few months have released an open source tool that has all the capabilities of the  Webex Teams Web Client  today, in a flexible API format.  It  is  built to be platform independent, and is supported wherever WebRTC runs, even mobile browsers such as Chrome on Android, and Safari on iOS.  Some example features are joining a  Webex meeting, recording  meetings in the cloud, sharing  your screen, managing  a roster, and accessing  meeting statistics.  Groups  inside of Cisco have already started to bring these custom capabilities to new applications.  

Endless Possibilities 

Developers can now customize and integrate  video conferencing  into their applications rapidly.  The wealth of use cases to create for is endless. Imagine applications that enabled single use calls such as a doctor taking an ad hoc patient call, coordinating meetings with external vendors using just a link, or bringing thousands of people to a simulcast in an instant. What if we brought meetings to the billions of IoT devices and had collaboration from a refrigerator or a car in an instant? The combined power of the SDK and the Webex web clients will make all this possible.  

What’s Next 

We believe WebRTC is an important tool in the present and future of real time media. We are investing in building higher quality audio/video, more flexible and powerful APIs through the SDK, and more unified experiences in the clients through actively developing solutions for these everyday problems. 

We Want You To 

Read the documentation, pull the code, start making applications, or contribute! Everything is available through the  developer portal  today! 

If you’re not currently using Webex Meetings, you can try the free offer, here.

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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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Engaging a Distributed Workforce
Getting more done in less time with Webex

Engaging a Distributed Workforce

It’s become apparent that the world of work is changing. Our workforce is more global than ever, distributed, remote and driving the need for a new way of working.  In fact, a recent article* that I was reading highlighted while remote work is growing in popularity – it’s making us rethink how, the tools we use to work, how we communicate at work, and even the hours we work. 

Businesses of all sizes want to get more done

It’s a consistent theme that I’m hearing across our customers. Organizations big and small are thinking different about their workflows and employee engagement. Managers and individuals are looking for the best tools available in the market to help them get their job done. Whether it’s a company of 5 starting to build business, or a team within a large organization of 100,000 employees, teams depend on effective tools to get more done. Everyone wants to get more out of their day and every minute of their day; enterprise and small start-ups. The employee experience has become king across business.  

rganizations big and small are thinking different about their workflows and employee engagement.

Cisco Webex Teams offers a smart solution

Cisco has been listening and paying close attention to this workplace transformation. Over the past year, our team has brought together Cisco’s best collaboration technology with cognitive capabilities and layered on top of our unified platform to deliver a modern work experience regardless of customer size.   

Our recent launch of Webex Teams Unified App is a living example of how we are bringing a solution together for both mobile and desktop users. Knowledge workers can literally get their work done from anywhere and anytime via team collaboration tool, Cisco’s Webex Teams. From messaging to file sharing, whiteboarding, video conferencing or simply calling. There is also the People Insights feature which gives users information in advance about the people who they are meeting with.  Overall, the Webex Teams Unified App keeps work moving in one-place and enhances the employee experience.

Webex Teams is Perfect for on-the-go 24/7 access

Personalization and choice on the horizon  

In addition to unifying the experience and enabling mobility, Cisco is bringing personalization to users through our modular capabilities. Very soon, customers will have the option to configure Webex Teams for different type of users.  Maybe a smaller part of the organization only needs messaging vs. other groups that need the broader suite of functionality.  IT will be able to easily configure the Webex Teams to meet the needs of different workstyles among their organizations.  Cisco is simplifying the world of IT and helping them easily deploy and manage Webex Teams via a control option.

Easy integrations to keep work flowing 

Our Cisco collaboration solution doesn’t stop with Webex Teams, we also announced this week an exciting new partnership with Microsoft. Our goal is to enable customers to have open and seamless collaboration no matter what tools they are already using.  And Webex Teams is already integrating across other third-party apps such as Salesforce, Trello and Box – just to name a few.  
 
At the end of the day, we all want to get more work done and in less time. We also want to enjoy the benefits of work life balance. Webex Teams can bring new possibilities to the table and can help us achieve our goals. It’s not about just having great work tools – but it’s about getting the gift of time back and living smarter with Webex Teams. 

Learn more about The Single Platform Advantage for Workplace Transformation

Start with Webex for free today!

#CiscoPS19

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October Update of team collaboration tool
October update of Webex Teams

Pop out chats and spaces (Windows and Mac)

We all love multi-tasking, and this feature will help us do exactly that. Now, you can pop out multiple chats and spaces into new Webex Teams windows. This allows you to focus on those important spaces and conversations without getting distracted by other unread spaces or notifications. This option will be available in the right click menu in your space list, as well as being a quick double click away!

Links! Get your links here! (Windows and Mac)

No more scrolling through chats and spaces in search of those important links or URLs. We’re saving everyone lots of time by collecting all links sent in a space and putting them into a dedicated place. You can find this fantastic new feature by going to your in-space menu (the three dots button menu on the top right or every space) and selecting ‘Links’.

Peek in a Space (Windows and Mac)

Catch up on those unreads later! This feature is for those situations where you see you have an unread message in a space but know you don’t have time to follow up on it yet. You will now be able to right click and select ‘peek in space’ to view the space without marking it as read or sending a read receipt. Performing any actions in the space will take you out of peek mode, as will opening the space as normal.

Out of sight, out of mind – Hide Spaces (Windows and Mac)

We all have those spaces that we no longer need to be part of, but don’t exactly want to leave them just yet either. This month, we are introducing ‘Hide Spaces’, a feature which will allow you to apply a filter to those spaces. This means you can remove a space from your main space list and into a dedicated filter ‘Hidden Spaces’ where you can find it again later if you need too. Doing this means you will no longer receive notifications from that space, allowing you to focus on the important things.

Link your Online Folders to a Space (Windows and Mac)

Webex Teams users now have the option to link existing Microsoft OneDrive and Sharepoint Online folders to spaces. This means we can quickly get to files that are important to your team. Depending on how your admin sets this up, all files shared in the space could be automatically uploaded to the linked folder. Or, you can choose whether to share in the space, or upload to the folder.

Jira Cloud Bot – now with Buttons & Cards (Windows and Mac)
Keep your projects running on schedule with the newly updated Jira Cloud bot for Webex Teams. Now supporting the Buttons & Cards framework, creating and updating Jira issues directly from Webex Teams using the Jira Cloud bot has never been easier. Add it to your Webex Teams and try it out today!

Trello Bot – now with Buttons & Cards (Windows and Mac)
Due date changed? Comment added? With real-time notifications from the Trello bot for Webex Teams, all members of the team can stay in the know. Now supporting the new Buttons & Cards framework, the updated Trello Bot easily allows you to update and create new Trello Cards and Lists directly from Webex Teams itself. Add it to your Webex Teams and try it out today!

Join Meetings Using your Cisco DX Series or your Desk Phone (Windows and Mac)

Is your DX or desk phone registered to Unified CM? You could already make calls using your personal device and now with this update, you can use it to join your meetings. Connect to your personal device and use it to connect to meetings. You can control the meeting from Webex Teams and share content into the meeting.

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

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

Organize your Spaces (Windows and Mac)

Now you have the option to choose how you view your spaces. You can keep spaces all in one list or you can add tabs to organize your spaces. The tabs allow you to view all your spaces, to see a list of spaces with just one person, or to view a list of spaces with groups of people. You’ll be able to easily switch between these views using a new preference in the Filters list.

Quick Access to Preferences (Windows and Mac)

We’re adding some appearance preferences to the Filters list. You can already show your favourite spaces on top and now we’re adding this preference to the Filters menu list. You can quickly switch to see your favourite spaces on top or not and select to separate chats and spaces.

Buttons and Cards (iOS and Android)
A few months ago, we introduced buttons and cards, a feature that makes it much easier for Webex Teams users to share complex information with bots and applications by using form-filling features like drop-down menus, radio buttons, and free from text fields. The response to Buttons and Cards has been overwhelmingly positive, however, the same question keeps getting asked: “Where are they on my mobile client?”

This update sees Buttons and Cards now rendering on both iOS and Andriod. If you are a developer who creates Webex Teams bots, take a look here: https://developer-portal-intb.ciscospark.com/blog/new-buttons-cards-webex-teams to see how you can enhance your bot for greater usability with this convenient feature. It now works on all Webex Teams clients!

Calling in Webex Teams – Unified CM (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

If your organization supports this calling integration, you can use Webex Teams with your work number. So, you can call co-workers within your organization using their phone numbers (or mobile numbers) wherever you can make calls in the app. Or, call other people outside of your organization directly using the phone keypad. People can call you at your work number, and you can answer while on the go.

Calling in Webex Teams – Webex Calling (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

We’re bringing our cloud calling features available in Webex Calling to Webex Teams. If your organization uses Webex Calling, you can use the Webex Teams mobile app for your basic calling needs. So, you can call co-workers within your organization using their work numbers (or mobile numbers) wherever you can make calls in the app. Plus, you can call other people outside of your organization directly using the phone keypad. People can call you at your work number, and you can answer while on the go.

Create, Annotate, and Share Whiteboards (iPhone, iPad, and Android)

We’re excited to bring these beloved whiteboarding features back to our mobile apps! You’ll be able to create, annotate, and share when you’re in a meeting or if you’re just sharing them in a space.

Show Previous Space Name when Space Name is changed (Windows and Mac)

Now when you rename a space, the previous space name appears in the note in the message area. This helps anyone in the space to see a history of the space name changes.

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.

Buttons and Cards (iPhone and Android)

We released support for buttons and cards on desktop a couple of months ago, and now we’re making it easier for you to interact with bots and integrations in Webex Teams for mobile too. When your bot sends information in a space that includes a card with buttons, you can now easily interact with it. For example, with a Jira bot, you can quickly create or update tickets right from Webex Teams.

Automatically Reduce Video Sizes when Sending Messages (Android)

We’re adding a setting to let you reduce the video sizes so you can limit your data usage when connected over your cellular service rather than Wi-Fi. (We released this for iPhone and iPad on July 31, 2019.


Try team collaboration tool, Webex Teams, today!

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

 

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Building a bridge between Webex Meetings and Slack
Building a bridge between Webex Meetings and Slack

*Check out this infographic to learn about the integration.

Tackling Interesting and Complex Problems

Recently, at the Women in Product Conference in San Francisco, I was discussing workplace productivity with fellow product managers from various Silicon Valley companies. We were talking about how much more productive and innovative we are now than we were at the beginning of our careers. We agreed that one of the reasons for the increase in productivity is that the way we communicate with each other cross-functionally is much easier, even if we are communicating with teams located all over the world. We now have many great collaboration tools, such as Webex, that make it so simple! However, we also use many other collaboration tools day in and day out, and it would be so great if all those tools would work together.

The problems that we are working on solving today are super interesting and complex, yet we are able to tackle them head on because we can work with the right individuals, from all over the world, at a moment’s notice. At Cisco, we have a very diverse and globally distributed workforce, so it is definitely important that our communication is seamless and continuous. Of course, we are very lucky that we can use Webex Meetings every day and that the experience is as delightful and powerful as ever: meetings are easy to join on any platform, they deliver an optimal video experience, and provide an amazing mobile experience.

Smooth Transitions with 3rd Party Integrations

At work, we are constantly switching gears. For example, in typical day, I may start early with a customer call with a team in Germany, then join a scrum standup, and then I’m off to a 1:1 meeting with a UX researcher to discuss an upcoming product feature. After my meetings, I usually need to follow up on action items and share files and presentations. Making those types of transitions easy and seamless has been my focus this year as part of the Webex Meetings integrations team. Our team has been creating solutions that make transitions between apps a lot more efficient, for anyone who needs to collaborate smoothly across teams.

One of those cool solutions is the Webex Meetings integration with Slack, which is industry leading in terms of feature depth and experience.

Work Smarter with Webex Meetings and Slack

With the work we’ve been doing over the past several months, the entire Webex Meetings life cycle is now available in Slack. This is huge! If you’re a Slack user, your productivity will increase because now you never have to leave your Slack channel to have a great meeting experience. We’ve been working hard to bring together this amazing integration. Here is what you can look forward to:

Schedule, Start, or Join Webex Meetings directly from Slack

You may be having a lengthy chat conversation about a project in your Slack channel and decide that it will be best to have a live face-to-face discussion. You can schedule a meeting by typing in /webexschedule for regular meetings or /webexschedule myroom for your personal room meetings, then a dialog will appear where you can enter meeting details. This deep level of integration with Slack is unique to Webex.

Or you can start an instant meeting by typing /webex in the command line, which shares a notification to everyone in your channel so they can quickly join.

Start or Join Webex Meetings from your Outlook or Google Calendar

You can also connect to Webex Meetings on your Outlook or Google calendar. Directly join a Webex meeting in Slack through the Outlook or Google Calendar app reminder when a Webex meeting is added to the calendar event. Simply click on the Join Webex Meeting button, but note that the Outlook or Google calendar integration must be in place.

Real-time Webex Meeting Status in your Slack Channel

So that you never have to inadvertently miss another meeting, you will see a real-time Webex Meeting status card once the meeting has started, and you can join the meeting from there. This status card will appear in your Slack channel to remind you of your upcoming meeting, and you can even see who has already joined.

Webex Meetings List

You will also have the ability to see your upcoming Webex meetings list from Slack by typing /webexschedule list. If you are the host, you can start or cancel a meeting from within Slack. And if you are an attendee, you can join the meeting directly from the list. Just click the start button. No other meetings vendor has this level of integration within Slack.

End of Meeting and Recording Notifications

After your meeting has ended, you will see a summary in your Slack channel. If your meeting was recorded, then you will get a notification from which you can play the recording. You’ll also be able to see a list of all your recent recordings.

 

Building Bridges with Webex

So, as you can see, everything from scheduling a Webex meeting, to starting and joining the meeting, to seeing your recording can happen within Slack. This is all done with your convenience and productivity in mind so that you can experience Webex Meetings within the tools you live and love. The Slack integration is one of the many bridges that Cisco Webex has been working on building in order to delight our customers. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it!


 

Please visit the Cisco Webex App Hub to learn more about the Cisco Webex Meetings for Slack integration: https://apphub.webex.com/meetings/applications/cisco-webex-meetings-for-slack

 

 

 

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Calling co-workers with team collaboration tool
September update of Webex Teams

Calling in Webex Teams – Webex Calling (Windows and Mac)

Cloud calling features currently available in Webex Calling are coming to Webex Teams! That’s right, if your organization uses Webex Calling, you can now use your Webex Teams app for those basic calling needs. This means you can call teammates and colleagues within your organization by using their work or mobile phone numbers. You can also call people outside of your organisation directly just by using the phone keypad.

Find your Filters Faster! (Windows and Mac)

Filters just became a lot more accessible! Before this update, filters for your space list were found under the search box in the app. They have now been moved to a new position on the top right just above your space list and under the search box. This means that it will be that much easier to filter your spaces by unread, mentions, and so on.

Link your Online Folders to a Space (Windows and Mac)

Webex Teams users now have the option to link existing Microsoft OneDrive and Sharepoint Online folders to spaces. This means we can quickly get to files that are important to your team. Depending on how your admin sets this up, all files shared in the space could be automatically uploaded to the linked folder. Or, you can choose whether to share in the space, or upload to the folder.

A New Look for Webex Teams (Windows and Mac)

We are introducing a new default theme in Webex Teams. This theme makes the app easier to use as well as improving readability and helping us to expand inclusivity to all our users. If you want to choose from one of our other themes, you can find them all under Settings > Appearance (Windows) or Preferences > Appearance (Mac).

For more information on this check out this blog.

Cisco Headsets Support (Windows and Mac)

If you have a Cisco Headset 500 Series, you can now use it to handle your calls or join Webex Teams meetings. You can mute or unmute yourself directly from the headset during calls or meetings, as well as put yourself on hold while on a call.

No more interruptions – Unified CM (Windows and Mac)

With this update, you will no longer get interrupted by incoming call notifications in Webex Teams. This will come in handy if you’re on a call and sharing your screen. This will also work if you have set your status to ‘Do Not Disturb’.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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Workers using team collaboration tool
A new look “theme” for Webex Teams— Windows and Mac

In our upcoming Webex Teams September update, we’re making some changes to our choice of themes in the application. So what’s a Theme? Themes are a collection of defined visual templates which allows you to change the style of your desktop application.

We strive to continuously improve inclusive design of the application and as part of this journey we have updated the Default Theme to a Light Theme.

Our new default theme will make Webex Teams easier to use, improves readability, and will continue to expand our inclusivity to all our users.

For users impacted by these changes, you will see an iteration announcement once you log into the updated application.

The new iteration announcement current default theme users will see:

So, What Can you Expect?

If you’re using the Light Mode Theme today, while there will be no visual change to the user, you’ll notice that this Light Mode theme will automatically become the default theme of the application.

If you’re using the current Default Theme today, your application will transition over to the Light Mode theme and with this you will see the 2nd column getting a fresh update, and a new grey background.

This view will now become the default theme for all users.

For users in the Dark Mode theme or using High Contrast mode today, you’ll see no change to the appearance of the application as these themes will remain unchanged.

Choose Your Theme

The new Themes options available from September.

As always, you’ll still be able to choose from other themes under Settings > Appearance (on Windows) or Preferences > Appearance (on Mac), if you’d like to switch.

Let us know if you have any questions and if interested, try Teams for free today.

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team collaboration update
August Update for Webex Teams

Wait until you see the new Webex Teams design! There are lots of exciting new features to look forward to this month…

Say goodbye to typos! (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android)

Edit Message is here! Is everyone as excited as I am? At last, no more copying, deleting and pasting every time we make a mistake! Now, when we see an embarrassing typo in that message we sent, we can edit it with just one click. This will be very helpful for those awkward situations where you accidently send a message with incorrect information, or before it’s fully typed. It takes the stress off hitting send, right?

Buttons and Cards (Windows and Mac)

Bots and integrations are great! They save us time, effort, and sometimes even provide us with a little bit of entertainment. However, for the less technical among us, it can be hard to figure out how to productively communicate with a bot, let alone build one for yourself. Well, that’s all about to get a lot more straightforward!

Buttons and Cards provide an easier way to interact with bots and integrations. The ‘Cards’ will appear as forms sent by bots in a space. They can include buttons, drop-down menus, radio buttons, text fields… the list goes on! The forms will also look sleek with rich text formatting, columns and even images.

What can beat a nice User Interface with a simple point and click process? Even I can manage that.

Developers can update current bots or build new ones leveraging this feature. A great example of where this is going to be helpful is with the Jira bot. You will be able to quickly create or update tickets right from Webex Teams. For more information, take a look here: https://developer-portal-intb.ciscospark.com/blog/new-buttons-cards-webex-teams

App Alignment – Check out the new Webex Teams design! (Windows & Mac)

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 they have a familiar calling, messaging and meeting experience, regardless of which app or device they happen to be using. This update includes several visual enhancements to the look and feel of Webex Teams:

  • The Home icon (where your spaces are) is now going to be a Chat bubble. This aligns Teams with Jabber’s iconography.
  • Your avatar (profile photo) and the menu that comes with it, are moving to the first column. This means you will be able to get to your profile, status, or settings no matter where you are in the app.
  • The ‘Light Mode’ theme is changing a little too. The first column is going to be permanently dark and the second column where your spaces are listed is changing to a slightly different shade of grey.
  • This update brings you quicker access to calling and screensharing. By pulling these activities out of the space activity menu, users are just one click away from starting a call or screen share. You’ll see these options now in the header of a space next to the menu button.
  • Speaking of the menu button, the icon for this (occasionally known as the ‘waffle’ button) has been updated to align with Jabber’s three dot ellipsis.

For more information on the visual updates coming to Webex Teams this month, check out this blog: https://blog.webex.com/team-collaboration/webex-teams-design-update/

Bring your Brand to your Users

The visual updates don’t stop there! This August, we are providing the ability for 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 the app –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.

Find out how to co-brand your app here: https://help.webex.com/en-us/np8ictm/Add-Your-Company-Branding-to-Webex-Teams

Use Virtual Stickies on your Digital Whiteboards! (Windows and Mac)

Since the discovery of technology, pieces of stickie paper coming in all different shapes, sizes and colors were at the heart of all software development. These became commonly known as ‘stickie notes’ or simply ‘stickies’. Stickies are great for brainstorming ideas, creating Kanban boards, or just keeping track of things you need to get done. Now, you can create and add virtual stickies to our digital whiteboards! Choose the color, the text, and the position of the stickie on your board. Combined with infinite whiteboard, the possibilities for stickies are endless! It’s time to get creative.

Seamlessly Forward Messages from Space to Space

I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose count of how many times a day I copy or screenshot a message from one space, search for another space to send it to, paste it, and type some context before finallyhitting send. At last, the answer is here!

This new feature will allow users to forward messages seamlessly from one space to another. ‘Forward Message’ will appear as an additional option on all messages along with ‘Edit Message’. Forwarding a message carries the text across to the selected space where it will be staged identically to a quote. Here, users can add context quickly and easily. For this phase of forward, only the message text will be carried over. This means that content itself will not be automatically forwarded, but you can still attach files or images while in the staging area.

As well as being able to forward to an existing space, users will have the option to create a new space to forward the message into. For those 1:1 conversations that end up needing additional peoples’ involvement, this is a fast way to get them into the discussion while simultaneously including some context.

Calling Enhancements in Webex Teams – Unified CM (Windows and Mac)

As we continue to enhance the calling experience in Webex Teams, we have added lots of exciting new features. As long as your account is set up for Unified CM, your admin can decide to add these features.

  • Conference calls—when you’re on a call with someone else, you might want to add other people into the call to start a conference call right away. You can add up to 8 other people into your conference calls started like this.
  • Call forwarding—if you need to take your work calls from another number, you can set up call forwarding right from Webex Teams. Just enter the call forwarding number, and your calls all ring at that number.
  • Single number reach—you can turn single number reach on right from the app rather than going to the Self Care Portal. With this turned on, you can get calls even if you’re away from your desk. If you need to update the phone numbers, you’ll still need to use the Self Care Portal.
  • Secure calls—you can make secure and encrypted calls if your account is set up to do so.

You’ll also be able to merge, conference, and transfer calls when you’ve chosen your desk phone from Webex Teams.

Getting around your threads just got a lot easier…

You can now access your threads (a thread that started from a message you sent, or a thread which you replied to) under the space activity menu (now a three-dot ellipsis button). This way, you can stay on top of the threads you are involved in easier, as well as find them in a space faster. Clicking on an option in this ‘My Threads’ view brings you right to that thread’s position in the message area of the space.

Support for Cisco Headsets (Windows and Mac)

You can now use your Cisco Headset 500 Series with Webex Teams to join your meetings and handle your calls. Plus, you can mute and unmute yourself directly from the headset in meetings and calls, as well as put yourself on hold if you’re on a call.

Further Enhancements to Contact Cards

You might remember we recently added more information to your user contact cards. The goal of this was to quickly provide people with valuable information about their colleagues. This month, as well as enhancing the visual elements of peoples’ cards, we have enabled the user email address to be a ‘Mail To’ link. Clicking this will launch a new email in the user’s default email client. For those users with phone numbers appearing in their contact cards, their number will now be a click-to-call point for their peers.

Suppress Screensaver when Sharing (Windows and Mac)

Now, if you’re sharing your screen while on a call or in a meeting, you don’t need to worry about your screensaver activating and interrupting your share. The share will persist for as long as you’re connected.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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Experience our unified team collaboration app
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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team collaboration on the way to work
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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team collaboration in the car
Team collaboration tool, Webex Teams, to the rescue

“What do you mean there is a flood in the building?!”

My response to a message I had received as I was making my drive into the office to participate in an Adoption Masterclass that my team was facilitating in conjunction with our great friends and partners at Sei Mani.

More than ever, in the wide world of SaaS, true adoption of solutions is what keeps the providers relevant and feeds the innovation engine. It’s no longer about how many daily users you have or how many log-ons you monitor. It’s about how your solution is playing a part in transforming business and assisting consumers in achieving more than they thought was possible.

In the Webex Customer Success organization, we’ve spent the last several months partnering with Sei Mani to bring together all of the tested techniques that help guide customers towards real success with integrating software into their business. The basis of the methodology is the “Pillars of Success.” These pillars will guide you through everything from launch and implementation plans to ongoing management, communications, and stakeholder engagement. BUT FIRST you have a very clear understanding of why you’re deploying in the first place. The Business drivers for Webex pack will give you guidance on establishing SMART business drivers for your organization.

This entire methodology of becoming an Adoption Master is what our Customer Success Managers are using in their customer engagements and is available to everyone!

But back to the flood. . . so much planning and time and effort and sweat and tears went into planning the two-day Adoption Masterclass workshop that we were about to host in our Rancho Cordova hub. People flew in from across the state and even across the pond to make this event successful – and now it could all be at risk because of a flood in the building. I immediately pulled over (did I mention that I was driving??) and was trying to come up with plan b – was there a nearby park that we could caravan to so that we could carry on with the workshop??

Then I looked back down at my phone and thought – WAIT a minute – I don’t need to panic just yet – I have team collaboration tool, Webex Teams– I can easily get the skinny on the real situation since Teams connects me with everyone that I need to get in touch with to come up with our next steps. I jumped into the space where all of the workshop participants had “gathered” over the prior to weeks, to preview the workshop agenda, learn more about the prework and share their excitement about getting together as a group. I quickly posted a message to quell the anxiety that was developing amongst the participants – “should we still drive in?? is the meeting room flooded too??”

I then typed in the name of our amazing Lobby Ambassador and quickly messaged her on Teams – “How is our meeting room? What do you advise??” then I let out a huge sigh when she said that our room was just fine and the “flood” was actually just a leak on the other side of the building. WHEW! I then used Teams to call my teammate and let her know the good news – that we could carry on with our plans – crisis averted!

One last quick message was sent to the whole group letting them know all was well! YES! We were able to move ahead as planned. In less than 10 mins I went from panic to peace and was back on the road, headed into the office.  And the best part? We now have 30+ Adoption Masters ready to share and guide our valued customers on to success with Webex!

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building connections through video conferencing
Build personal connections faster in your video conferencing meetings

Ever wish there were someone on your team constantly working in the background to make your meetings run more smoothly? So did we. Meet People Insights.

Our intelligent data platform continuously scours the web for new information, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to create rich profiles for more than 300 million people and 26 million companies (and counting!), making video conferencing easier and more connected than ever before. With comprehensive, up-to-date intel available right inside of Cisco Webex, now you can always be in the know.

Get up to speed in one click.

Collaborating with someone new, but don’t have time to prep? People Insights serves up the latest information on your contacts including bios and recent news, professional history, and key company info. With big announcements, public company earnings, and more right at your fingertips, you can easily find a quick icebreaker or build a better connection.

Quickly access your internal directory.

At big companies, sometimes even meetings with coworkers can feel overwhelming—especially without the right context. Within your coworkers’ People Insights profiles you’ll find internal directory information like their title, contact info, and reporting structure.

Review and edit your profile.

You know yourself best, and with People Insights you have control over your profile’s content. If you’re a Webex account holder, visit people.webex.com anytime to create or update your profile. You can even hide sections of your profile, or hide everything if you’d prefer to keep your information private.

 

People Insights is now available for Cisco Webex Teams and the desktop and mobile versions of Cisco Webex Meetings. Check out the People Insights adoption toolkit to get started.

To learn more about People Insights read the white paper, People Insights: Creating a Human Collaboration Experience.

 


The Webex Intelligence team develops innovative experiences by leveraging state-of-the-art machine learning, conversational AI, and information retrieval techniques. Interested in joining us? Check out our current job openings.

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team collaboration
June update of team collaboration tool, Webex Teams

Sit back and enjoy the ride with our Webex Teams June update. There is so much happening this month within our team collaboration tool…

Threading – chat within a chat!

It’s here! With our June update comes the highly anticipated Threading feature. We understand that sometimes context can be lost within a space with a lot of participants, especially if the message relevant to you was sent hours ago. Now, it will be possible to reply directly to someone’s message, no matter where or when it was sent in a space.

Replies in threaded messages are composed similarly to normal messages, you can include rich text formatting, emojis, and GIFs. These replies are written in an overlay which appears when you click ‘reply to thread’.  Take a look at what’s coming below:

 Unified Communications Manager in Webex Teams

In March of this year, we saw some Unified CM features appear in Webex Teams in preview-only. This month, the integration is complete, and Cisco Unified Communication Manager native Webex Teams registration will be made available to all, allowing you to seamlessly re-use your existing infrastructure to link your Webex Teams to your work phone. This means you will be able to use Webex Teams to call people inside or outside of the organization using their phone (or mobile) numbers.

Numbers can be input directly into the desktop app using the keypad. This means you can put calls on hold, merge, or transfer calls without needing to leave the app.

Now, your team can use Teams to order that Friday pizza!

 Cognitive Collaboration is here!

We are all very excited to announce the release of People Insights in Webex Teams. People Insights allows you to see relevant and useful information about people before you meet them. Without leaving Webex Teams, you can get an insight into who this person is professionally, where they are based, and much more. Having this information at your fingertips allows you to collaborate more effectively when you meet someone for the very first time, thus allowing you to builda better relationship right from the beginning.

To access People Insights in Webex Teams, you hover over some’s avatar or name to bring up their contact card. The contact card will have an extra option now, right next to ‘Message’ and ‘Call’, which will allow to you view a user’s ‘People Insights Profile’.

People Insights only displays publicly available information in these profiles, similar to what can be found with a quick search engine result for a person’s name. If you’re meeting someone from your own company for the first time, you’ll get lots of additional information like their title, contact info and reporting structure.

See Your Favorites First

Get to those important spaces faster! We’ve split out our space list view to place your ‘Favorite’ spaces at the top of the list, while the others will appear below. This will allow you to see at a glance if there are any unread messages in these favorite spaces. Please note that this feature is off by default and can be enabled through your app settings!

Introducing On-Premise Webex Devices

‘On-Premises’ and ‘Cloud’ are confusing words which we hear thrown around way too often nowadays. Why does it matter if my device is On-Prem/Cloud? I just want to join the meeting on the big screen! Now, we’ve made it easier for you do just that, without having to worry about how everything is connected.

We’ve been able to use cloud-registered Webex devices along with Webex Teams, and now you can automatically connect to on-prem Webex Devices in the same way, using the same Wi-Fi network.

Connect, wirelessly share content, and use the device to join meetings quickly and seamlessly. You can share content and control the device microphone during the meeting.

To see info about how to set this up in your organisation, see Allow Users to Connect to On-Prem Devices.

 Emoji Support on Windows 7

It’s time to turn that frown upside-down 😊. Our Windows 7 app now has access to a new emoji library allowing those users to have a similar great messaging experience to our Mac and Windows 10 users.

Even Smarter Presence

If someone’s status shows as inactive in Webex Teams, it is possible they could still be at their computer, just not in the application itself. With this improvement to presence, users will be active in the application as long as they are active on their computer. We’ve also brought some additional fields to our DND status menu allowing you to be more specific as to how much quiet time you need.

We’ve Redesigned our Mobile App

Our teams have been working hard on redesigning out iPhone, iPad and Android apps, so that they share a common code with our desktop apps. What this means is that we will be able to:

  • Release more features for both desktop and mobile at the same time
  • Create mobile-specific features that let us take advantage of the power of the platform!

You’ll be able to see a lot of these benefits already with some of the new features being released this month, such as threaded messages and appearance themes.

Microsoft Cloud App Security

With Microsoft’s Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) you can gain greater visibility and control across user and admin activities, as well as files in Cisco WebEx Teams. This feature is now in Public Beta.

It enables you to create policies to identify sensitive files and risky activities, so that you get alerted when policies are violated, and automatically apply controls and actions, such as deleting messages that contain sensitive files. These CASB capabilities can be implemented via an API connector.

Analytics and Diagnostics improvements

We’ve added support for Webex Share devices in the Device utilization page and also utilization tracking for the new Digital Signage capability.

For IT Administrators in charge of troubleshooting Webex meetings, now, you can search for these meetings based on Participant email as well as previously supported Host email, Meeting ID and Conference ID.

team collaboration


Check out Webex Teams for free: https://www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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

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

Selected Sound Bites from CLUS Lightning Talks

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

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


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

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

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team collaboration tool integration
Team collaboration tool tightly integrates with Microsoft Office 365

Early this year, you may have read how to share, save, or edit the latest OneDrive and SharePoint Online files from Webex Teams. With this, there is no more versioning trouble and no need to leave your favorite app for a meeting, messaging, or whiteboarding. 

And now, with Office 365, Webex Teams evolves your collaborative experience in another context.  

You now have the ability  continue your Webex Teams conversations within the Office application of your choice including Powerpoint, Word, Excel. This functionality is brought to you by the new Webex Teams add-in for Office 365.  

You may have seen and enjoyed it at Cisco Live San Diego, but if not, here’s a glimpse: 

 So, when should you use the add-in?

These are a few of our recommendations/real life scenarios on the best uses of this add-in:

  • When you’re so “in the zone” or extremely focused in the Microsoft Office application that you don’t notice what’s happening around you
  • At times you want to reference messages from Webex Teams
  • When you want to send a quick clarifying question to a teammate 

We are committed to eliminating app switching. 

And there are messaging capabilities: 

To get the info you need to finalize your Office document, you may chat with teammates over Webex Teams in different ways: 

  • Search for an existing space with them 
  • Create a new space dedicated to the Office file work and add participants 

The beauty of this experience is demonstrated at the next opening of that Office file. The same persistent space will be opened magically so that users won’t have to search again for the most contributing teammates. 

 You can open or close this handy add-in at any time, allowing you to see what you need, when you need. Any messages sent or received via the add-in will be consistent in your Webex Teams application. 

And we are not stopping there. Stay tuned for continued updates and as always, let your imagination go- keep asking us for more! 

Free to use:

To enjoy this experience, all you need is both an Office365 and a Webex Teams account.  

If you don’t have a Webex Teams account yet, no worries we got you covered with our free trial.  

If you have a Webex Teams account already, get the Add-in and enjoy it.  

If you want to learn more, you can do so here. 

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luma health video conferencing
Up-leveling patient care with team collaboration technology

In healthcare today, patients are demanding easier and faster access to the care they seek. But current statistics show that when a patient schedules an appointment, the wait time is up to 3+ weeks. This, and other factors result in missed appointments with a cancellation rate at 15-30% in the outpatient setting1.

With this many cancellations, many healthcare providers miss opportunities to fill schedules with other patients who may be available or have an appointment booked further out.

Enter Luma Health. And enter team collaboration tool.

Connecting Patients to their Health Systems

Luma Health is  a company founded to connect patients with their healthcare providers in an easy, mobile-friendly way. The Luma Health Patient Engagement platform gives healthcare systems and providers a solution to interact with their patients along their entire care journey from when they call to schedule an appointment to after appointment follow-ups and reminders about health tips and follow-up care.

Recently, Luma Health has created a telehealth bot integrated with Cisco Webex Teams, Cisco’s team collaboration tool. Webex Teams ensures secure work spaces where people/teams can work, message, file share, white board, and host video conferencing calls.

For Luma Health, this integration means they can set up private “room” within Webex Teams so that doctors can video conference their patients and assess them as they would if they were sitting in the doctor’s office. Additionally, Webex Teams is embedded inside the portal, so doctor’s don’t have to navigate between their Luma Health platform and the Webex Teams application.

Let’s talk about that more…

This Luma Health bot/Webex Teams integration comes most into play in a couple scenarios:

  • When a patient who is eligible to meet via telehealth (determined by their appointment type/existing diagnosis), pre-schedules an appointment.
  • When factors get in the way of a patient making it to a healthcare center (i.e. lack of transportation to get to the appointment-helping reach underserved communities who may not otherwise have good access to health care).

For the patient, the telehealth meeting is easy and painless. The meeting is initiated from the provider while a meeting link is sent to the patient as a text message. No downloads are needed from the patient’s side. Once the meeting is completed, the room is deleted and the recording is exported and stored in the patient records.

Benefits from the integration

Benefits are seen for both the providers and the patients. Not only are healthcare providers able to see more patients, patients that may cancel in-person appointments due to time constraints/lack of transportation can meet with their doctors/providers over Webex Teams video calling. This increases revenue for providers and flexibility for patients, while still maintaining a personal patient/doctor relationship.

If interested in learning more about Luma Health, check out their page here.

Explore ways you can use Webex Teams in your business and start a 30 day free trial: here.


 

1:Source: Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicaid and Medicare Acceptance Rates, Merritt Hawkins, 2014; Harmony Healthcare IT, 2014; How Patients Want to Communicate with Their Physician, 2014.

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Building the foundation for the future of education - Video Conferencing -1
Building the foundation for the future of education

I’ve been a teacher for twenty-seven years, covering everything from common and higher education, to courses for faculty members and corporate trainers. I live and work out of the small town of Howe, OK and love the ability to bring new opportunities to my students. Right now, I’m teaching online classes our regional college throughout the year as well as music classes at the local high school. With the help of Cisco Webex video conferencing, I’ve been able to expand on-going learning opportunities for my local and online students, as well as other teachers across the world. Webex is an amazing conduit for learning that isn’t limited to any specific grade, age or station in life. Here’s how it works…

Setting the stage

Learning happens ‘round the clock, but it’s often hard to schedule opportunities to work with individuals outside of the set class time. It is quite honestly one of the most difficult tasks in my teaching. Available times vary wildly from week to week, and between my schedule and those of my students (both online and in the classroom), their parents, and open facility availability, “get-togethers” are difficult to coordinate. Gone are the days of putting up a piece of paper sign-up sheet outside my office door.

How Cisco Webex Education Connector Works

I need to use a tool where both I and my students already “live.”  The tool that all my classes have in common is the learning management system. This system is where my assignment due dates, grades and quizzes already live. And now, thanks to the Cisco Webex Education Connector,  it’s also how I schedule my office hours at the college, as well as my parent and teacher conferences at the high school. The Cisco Webex Education Connector plugs directly into my course and provides a straightforward way to choose a time, determine a window of “buffer” or “break” between meetings, and give each of my students a unique meeting location, whether on or off campus.

Office hours and parent/teacher conferences aren’t the only use cases. As an educator, I can customize the Webex Education Connector to operate based on my workflow and preferences. From group classroom collaboration, to video conferencing meetings, to office hours, it’s the same process.

Additionally, class rosters are synchronized with the Webex cloud. There’s no worry about who can access what, the connector takes care of all of that.  This means that I can communicate with my students or their parents, share files, and automatically distribute reminders to join classes. As a teacher, I can chat with individual learners or groups, and I can also start a live video call with them whenever they need help. It’s so easy! There’s no external place I need to go to. It’s all within the learning management system. The collaboration tool is organically tied to where the class materials exist.

In just a few clicks, I can schedule all my classes for the school year. I can even delete sessions if I know there are holidays or other events happening. Creating everythingonce, via a single interface, keeps it simple. I can choose to record any or all of my class meetings, and every recording is automatically linked inside the LMS with an encrypted password. As a teacher, I have unlimited recording storage. That means I’ll never run out of “space” in the middle of class. When scheduling a live class, I can set up multiple different hosts or team teachers so my they ca start the session for me.

If you’re considering this workflow, Cisco has created a thorough step-by-step guide that helps the adoption of Webex in your educational environment. It includes promotional tools, lesson plans, and specific tips for teachers, students, and admins! There is no cost for this guide and I encourage you to check it out here.

To join the conversation, check out our Webex Teams space to experience and participate in our live discussion from the webinar. While there, you can also connect with other educators and subject matter experts!

Next Steps

Re-watch our latest webinar session and see more pre-recorded quick classes below!

 

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team collaboration
May update of team collaboration tool, Webex Teams

From industry leading data centers, all the way down to protocol handlers, the Webex Teams product team have been busy again during May…

Context for your Contacts

Starting this month, you’ll have the opportunity to get more context for your contacts when you visit a Contact Card in our team collaboration tool. With additional fields on the contact card you’ll now see manager name, department name, and role title, along with email address and contact number. So, you’ll no longer have trouble figuring out if it’s John Smith from Marketing or John Smith from Finance reaching out to you!

Bring People Together

In the past if you wanted to add more than one person to an existing space, you had to add new contacts one at a time. This was slow and tedious, so we fixed it! Now you can add up to 50 people to a space at any one time, so no excuses for getting people together to get your job done. Just search for your contacts, select each contact to stage them and add them to the space. Pretty simple right?!

Launch Webex Teams from anywhere

There’s a really nice new feature in our May release which delivers support for Webex Teams protocol handlers. This will allow you to embed a link or picture into a webpage (Think of your company directory) or as a signature on your email which when clicked will cross launch Webex Teams and bring you to a 1:1 or Team Space. We’re also delivering support to initiate a Webex Teams meeting through an additional protocol handler. Both great ways to allow you to collaborate quicker with your team.

Check out all details.

Create the next infinite masterpiece

With Infinite Whiteboard, we’re bringing the ability into the Webex Teams app so that as you whiteboard and move toward the edge of the screen you’ll get even more canvas to work with. Hey, why not use our Infinite Whiteboard to create the next masterpiece!

With Whiteboards, we’re also adding the option to share a new whiteboard into a meeting with your colleagues allowing you to get collaboration started faster and we’ve moved your annotations into the same location as whiteboards.

New data centers

As an industry first, we at Webex Teams are delighted to announce the launch of new data centers in Europe to host customers’ identity information and encryption keys which addresses data locality needs without compromising the global collaboration needs of our customers. These data centers augment the existing data centers in North America, which currently host and serve all our Webex Teams customers.

Users can continue to collaborate (message, meet, call) with anyone across the globe using a single, global identity so your experience is unaffected by the location of individuals’ data storage.

Check out more details on Data Locality here : https://blog.webex.com/2019/05/collaborate-across-the-globe-with-cisco-webex-teams/.

Lots happening as usual at Webex Team but there’s even more happening, check out the full list at What’s New page https://help.webex.com/en-us/8dmbcr/What-s-New-in-Cisco-Webex-Teams.


Try Webex Teams for free.

See all of the Webex Teams Releases here

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team collaboration
Give everyone the best experiences as they collaborate across the globe, with Cisco team collaboration

Today, people work from where they can. Work is no longer happening only within the four walls of a single building. In fact, 65% of full-time employees think remote work increases productivity. And this is validated by two-thirds of managers.

In addition, work no longer just happens within a single company. More than 55% of business leaders are extending collaboration to external parties. This means that there is an increase in collaboration between companies, and between people in different locations.

Of course, people expect team collaboration to be seamless.  Who wants to spend time working out how to work with someone else depending on their location? In order for people to be able to be as productive as possible, collaboration tools need to be easy to use, and offer great user experiences.  They need to enable people to work with others, wherever they are, at any time – that’s a given.

However, at the same time, privacy, security and compliance are a key consideration when selecting a team collaboration solution.  And as more people work with others inside and outside their company, and increasingly with more people in different locations, these considerations extend to where important information is located.   This study shows that keeping data in-region is now a key consideration.

We understand these needs – privacy, security and compliance are a key factor in Webex solution design. As a truly global service, our Webex Meetings service has a globally distributed architecture, and there are many ways in which Webex helps customers work with the solutions that they have in place, which is key to keeping data in-region.

Security and privacy 

As a global service provider, we understand that our customers require their data to be handled securely, with privacy and resiliency. They look to us to solve these problems:

  • Keep my data local to my region, for reasons of privacy and regulatory compliance.
  • Don’t make my users’ apps hop across oceans to connect to your services – reduce latency
  • Ensure service availability
  • Allow my users to collaborate with anyone, from any company, why they need to – because collaboration is the fuel that drives innovation and productivity.
  • Let me keep an eye on the exchange of information by my users both inside my company and with external people, so I can enforce company policies without stifling productivity and innovation.

The next logical step for us is to introduce new European data centers for Webex Teams itself, to hold personal information and encryption keys for team collaboration.  These data centers are located in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and are in addition to our US data centers and provide in-region storage of our customers’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII) data and encryption keys used to encrypt user generated content.

Keeping key information in-region without compromising global team collaboration

What does this mean for you and your users?  Well – the answer is that your users get the same great collaboration experience they are used to, while keeping important information in-region.  Cisco Webex achieves data locality without compromising on the promise of a global collaboration platform.

team collaboration

What are the potential issues with global collaboration?

Most cloud solutions drive businesses through instance-based workloads, requiring users to sign-in to specific logically separated instances of a service. These cloud services may be multi-tenant, so this approach provides a sense of separation of customer data, although it is not truly a physical separation.

This model introduces cumbersome administrative overhead.  It allows cross-organization communications through guest accounts – which essentially replicates a user’s PII in two different logical locations for performant reasons.

Managing such guest accounts is akin to having multiple phones for each company you work with.

In this scenario, the compliance officers of a guest user have no visibility into these communications – leaving a large gap for compliance, eDiscovery and legal requirements. This results in Information Security overseers and CIOs resisting introducing solutions that enable external communication. The effect of this can be to inadvertently encourage other “non-approved” apps for external communications and collaboration, due to business needs.

How does Cisco Webex Teams resolve the issues?

In Cisco Webex Teams, there is a single identity, a single conversation thread, and a single place for all users’ collaboration messages, whiteboard drawings and file sharing. Webex Teams has unique ownership rules for users as they collaborate. And we enable clear visibility to all organizations for multi-organization communications.

Like other cloud service providers, Webex Teams is multi-tenant; but it also allows for co-mingling. Co-mingling allows messages from users from different companies to be associated with a project space. With Webex Teams, compliance managers from each company have visibility of those messages and have the option to control aspects such as:

  1. Prevent co-mingling, if you want to.
  2. Enable visibility, if you choose to allow co-mingling.
  3. Take action, in case of data leaks.
  4. Hold encryption keys on-premises. Note that Webex Teams provides end-to-end encryption of all user-generated content, whether or not you require this level of control.

How does this model work with global data centers?

As we introduce physically separate data centers with multiple instances of services, how do we meet the needs of global seamless, simple and intuitive collaboration?

Our design leverages the concept of federation to make this happen.

What is Federation?

Federation is a complex capability for services to be able to discover each other, trust each other, communicate information to each other in order to support seamless workloads from the clients. This has to be done without compromising the service’s own integrity and availability in case the other service is no longer available for any reason.

With the European data center, we have the following globally federated services:

  1. Identity services – single user, single organization, single search. No duplication of PII.
  2. Authentication services – SAML and OAuth 2.0 standards based global authentication and authorization services.
  3. Encryption keys – locally stored keys, globally available as needed through secure channels.

Our future phases will introduce locally stored messages, files, whiteboards (all always encrypted) with global access (only if authorized by the customer).

And what you, the Customer, gains..

Through all of the above semi-technical jargon, what do you stand to gain when you use Cisco Webex Teams?

  1. Your data is stored in your regional data center– you meet regulatory and privacy needs.
  2. Your users have faster connection times to the collaboration tools you provide them – because clients connect to the data centers closest to them.
  3. You are assured of improved service availability through service isolation – an outage of a data center in another part of the world should not impact your users.
  4. You do not have to stifle productivity and collaboration because Cisco Webex supports your need for access and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, any device.
  5. You are assured of enterprise grade security in your user generated content (messages, files, boards) with end to end encryption and keys now stored in your region.
  6. You are assured of 100% visibility on the information exchange amongst your users, even when they communicate with external users and across any data center – the global search and compliance capabilities ensure eDiscovery continues to work as expected even if your users’ are collaborating with users from remote data centers
  7. You can enforce your compliance policies, in case your users inadvertently get out of compliance and share sensitive data with others. Due to the ownership rules and the global nature of our services and CASB integrations, you can continue to enforce DLP policies even if the content is stored in remote data centers

Please also review the blog – Three things to consider for safe and secure team collaboration for more insights on that topic.

Visit our booth at Cisco Live US to learn more about all the latest Webex innovations, and speak to our experts about how we can help you achieve more.


Check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free:

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

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Team collaboration in action
Cisco Webex: Team collaboration…humanized

It’s early and you wake up to a bunch of emails. Some have threads of responses and you feel fatigued trying to gauge the intent, emotions and priority of what to respond to. You feel exhausted and your productivity wanes even before the day has begun…

E-mail has been the cornerstone of digital collaboration for over 40 years. However, e-mail clients have never been in tune to how humans actually work and emote. I specifically call out emote, because it’s a critical factor to consider in the humanizing of team collaboration.

Why are e-mails not ideal for collaborative work?

  • Emotions: People go through a range of emotions while writing emails – There’s excitement, apprehension, joy, angst and more… but emails have not been designed to capture and express these emotions. It results in dry and robotic conversations. The human mind, however, is quick to attach emotions to what we read. We do this all the time, with books, papers and particularly e-mail.

How often have you ended up misconstruing the intent behind an e-mail?

  • Efficiency: E-mail threads often go deep into a topic and lose the effectiveness of why the thread was even started. How often have you noticed e-mails with too much content and the recipients end up not responding/ignoring the ask? Pretty often, I’d conject. Let’s not even get into the find-ability and just pure “backlog” management that ends up making you less effective at your job.

Emotions in collaboration are hugely unheralded; as is efficiency in terms of response times. With growing global teams & organizations, businesses need to adopt products that support these aspects. Access to content and tools, when you need it and where you need it, is critical. It enables users to connect with each other seamlessly and build strong working relationships.

The Human Element of Cisco Webex

I’ll start with a personal anecdote here. I joined the Webex organization four months ago. Prior to this I interviewed with six leaders on the team. Most of these happened remotely, video conferencing over Webex Meetings. I met my manager, SVP/GM of the Webex organization, Sri Srinivasan, in person 45 days after I started. We hit the ground running with our planned conversation. It was thirty minutes into this meeting that we realized we were meeting for the first time, in person! The quality of audio and video during our prior meetings made it feel like we were sitting right by each other and not in different cities in the US. In addition, with the rich set of features in the Webex Teams Collaboration app, it felt like we’d already built a professional and personal connection.

With our integrated set of products for Meetings, Team Collaboration and Devices, Cisco Webex has many of the answers to help the above narrative come to life in your work or personal environment. From the video-first experience across the portfolio, to the Webex Teams messaging features, allowing quotes (soon to be released, threading), emoji responses and Giphy, we have your emotional needs covered.

Team collaboration before, during, and after meetings

High quality video and audio. Continuous team collaboration before, during and after meetings.

For productivity, our collaboration platform allows users to engage within the context of a topic and bring their tools of choice into a conversation – be it Microsoft’s office suite, access to files on Box, or even a shared Whiteboard that stays digitally live during the life of that conversation. No more arduous context switching. With our recent announcements in the area of cognitive collaboration, we provide a wealth of features that empower you to be better informed and connected with your participants and technology.

Within the Webex ecosystem, the seamless nature of how you transition from an asynchronous conversation, to a live video device meeting with remote participants on any modality (Phones, iPads, Laptops) is truly magical. You can edit a document collaboratively and finally, go back to being asynchronous; making the whole experience feel natural and real.

Team collaboration messaging and whiteboarding

Message, whiteboard, work on files and meet, all in one canvas.

It would be remiss of me to mention that we’ve got it all right. That’s what makes designing and building products for our users, so exciting! We have more great experiences coming down the pipeline and can’t wait for our users to get their hands on it.

Cisco Webex makes collaboration natural and human for you. I’d highly recommend you empower your teams to work better, together with Webex – take a free trial and experience the goodness, first hand! Hey Webex, over to you…

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Video conferencing in the classroom
Howe Public Schools uses video conferencing to create more opportunities for its students

Dr. Lance Ford and his wife, Carol Ann, live in the quaint town of Howe, OK, home to a dozen streets, 800 people, and zero stoplights. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in innovation, especially at Howe Public Schools.

Dr. and Mrs. Ford first met and fell in love while teaching together. Their shared passion for education and desire to walk alongside and push their students to their highest potential bonded them then and continues to bond them today. Now married for 26 years, Lance’s office and Carol Ann’s classroom share a door at Howe Schools. They even teach a music class together. But teaching at Howe is not Lance’s only job… he also works full time as a Cisco employee.

His journey to Cisco came from presenting on technologies in classrooms to writing a curriculum that trained teachers—the actual users of the technology—how to fully utilize the resources they had at their fingertips. In a single day, he can be on the phone with a school in Switzerland educating on the possibilities of collaboration technology, on a Webex Board, video conferencing with teachers in Hawaii, training them on how to use the technology, and between, walk into the room next door and use the technology to teach music theory to his students. Over the past five years, he has helped bring Cisco collaboration technology into the classrooms in Howe.

Bringing video conferencing into the classroom

 Howe Co schools serve 650 students and in the past five years, have invested in Cisco technology, including Cisco Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, IP phones and Webex Boards. So, why have they done this? Ford states, “the goal is to give students opportunities to learn that would otherwise not be available to them.”

This looks like:

  • Video conferencing with subject matter experts who give new and exciting lessons to students
  • Working on collaborative projects, using Webex Teams to meet, discuss, and whiteboard out solutions together
  • Virtual field trips: Howe, OK connected with people at the Great Barrier Reef and Columbus Zoo (trips the students would never have been able to take due to distance)
  • Enrollment in college classes: High school students use Webex Meetings to video conference into classes at the local college (last year’s valedictorian graduated high school one class shy of an Associate’s degree).

It doesn’t stop there—they continue to look for creative ways to reach learners into the future. They hope to start using technology to offer professional learning opportunities as well.

Outside the classroom: Breaking communication barriers through team collaboration 

It’s not just the teachers and students using this technology. It’s in the hands of the building principals, counselors, security officers, and maintenance. Outside of the classroom, the technology is being fully utilized to enhance communication between everyone in the community. Buses have routers for GPS positioning and access to Teams. The school always knows where the bus is, who is on the bus, and can even notify parents when buses are getting close. In addition, security officers can send emergency notifications to administration, enhancing the safety at the school. Technology has the ability to change the culture of a school and the way it does business.

But regardless of the vertical, every person and company has a chance to teach and to learn. That’s essentially the core of collaboration.

How will you choose to teach and learn today?


Dr. Lance Ford will be joining our webinar on May 30th, discussing the rise of collaboration tools and how to augment them for parent-teacher conferences and office hours for students. The focus will be on how teachers and administrators can transparently open lines of communication between the school and parents/students through collaboration technology. AND use the technology as a conduit to identify and overcome challenges so students have the best opportunity to learn inside the education environment. You won’t want to miss it. Register here.

For more information about Howe Public Schools, visit: https://www.howeschools.org

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Creative team using team collaboration tools at work
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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video conferencing in healthcare
Improving patient care and coordination with video conferencing tools

One of the underlying challenges in healthcare is access to quality, affordable care. Care used to be constrained by time and place. But today, video conferencing is opening up new opportunities to close gaps in patient care and management.

And the impact of telehealth is broad. It includes margin management, clinical scale, care continuity, market expansion, population health management, and more.  Telehealth has game-changing potential, and the use cases are diverse [1].

 

Here are a few examples of how we are helping increase access to care:

Telespecialty: In Vietnam, patients were traveling hours away from their home to seek superior care. With collaboration technology, experts at Viet Duc Hospital give guidance to regional doctors. They can consult on cases and provide training through live surgeries. With the help of this technology, patients can get the quality of care they need close to home. Learn more.

Virtual conferencing: Mercy Virtual Care Center has over 40,000 employees working at 400 locations across the nation. They use Cisco Webex technology to connect and train their workers. Connecting nurses and other care team members decreases travel time and increases continuity of care. It means real-time collaboration across all locations. Employees are able to take meetings from anywhere on any device, including mobile. Learn more.

Virtual specialty care: Every year, the NYC Health + Hospital’s Correctional Health Services cares for over 55,000 patients. Using Cisco Webex, they provide direct specialist care without the need for transportation or in-person sessions. Access to specialists has helped provide tailored attention to diseases more prevalent for incarcerated individuals, including Hepatitis C, lowering barriers to high quality healthcare. Learn more.

 

For more than 20 years, Cisco has been working with hospitals to use our collaboration, mobility, networking, security, and data center technologies to support telehealth and other innovative healthcare solutions at more than 17,000 healthcare organizations in 118 countries. Digital transformation in the healthcare industry is not a new initiative, but we still have a long way to go and a lot to learn along the way.

With Cisco Webex, we’re just scratching the surface of what is possible in telehealth, extending access to patients, clinicians, and researchers around the world. Affordable access to healthcare technology and services is vital and will only become more critical as healthcare organizations transform.

When data drives innovative experiences, providers become more accessible, affordable, and deliver quality health services. And this cutting-edge care starts with the network. The ability to sense and understand everything happening across applications, users, and devices makes a difference. The impact is huge when it comes to personalizing care, streamlining clinical experiences, optimizing IT and business operations, and protecting patients and data. So you can focus on what matters: caring for patients.

Learn more about what Cisco is doing to help providers deliver services where patients, clinicians, administrators, and IT work together to improve access and reduce costs at Cisco.com/go/healthcare.


[1]https://intel.sg2.com/-/media/Publications/2016/Virtual-Health-StarterKit/Virtual_Health_Full_Kit_2.ashx?la=en

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Using video conferencing in business
From a power user: The top five considerations for awesome video communications

As a collaboration technical solutions architect and a member of the social media generation, I have grown up on video conferencing – not as a nice-to-have – but as the de facto standard for both business and personal communications. I’m newly married, and my husband and I use video to connect when we are traveling. My mom and grandparents live in Hong Kong and video calls are the only way we can really “see” how one another is doing, and this was so important when my grandmother was ill. But some of the things we put up with in personal video use are not acceptable for business communications.

In my work life, video is virtually the only medium I use to communicate with my team – all day, every day with people from all parts of the world. I am very fortunate as a tech nut to have played with a variety of solutions in the market today, so I know that not all solutions are created equal. I’ve collected some best practices about what makes for a great video call, and I want to share my top five considerations for awesome video communications with you!

Intelligent, integrated video conferencing devices

Video conferencing in the office

When you are on video calls as much as I am, the ability to use powerful video devices that are integrated with the workflow is not a luxury, it is essential – to maximize simplicity and productivity. These dedicated video devices are not just screens that run video. They’re really smart – AI smart. They connect with the meetings apps on my mobile devices and know who I am when I enter the room. I can use the apps to start a call or simply use voice commands and talk directly to the devices. They can count and recognize people and tell me their names. And they can save documents and whiteboard sessions into team spaces so the collaboration can continue long after the meeting ends.

Aside from the hard benefits, the soft benefits are almost invaluable. They say when you can see the whites in someone’s eyes, you actually see the subconscious truth behind what they’re saying. Those visual cues you get from crystal clear video can play a big role in the success of your relationships, and that is one of the key differentiators between being on a dedicated video system versus a laptop with a web cam.

Please be encrypted by default

If you’relike me, you probably have a post-it note or duct tape over your laptop camera “just in case.” But “just in case” is not a standard I want applied to my enterprise video discussions. I want security and encryption to be turned on by default, so every call and every piece of content shared is protected at rest and in transit. Many meeting solutions on the market say they have security, but it is off by default, which means you have to manually turn security on. That’s almost useless in my book and a non-negotiable when considering video conferencing options. I can’t stress this more: Invest in the most secure video option available where encryption is turned on by default!

Look, Ma:  No plug-ins

As much as we hate it, the mundane task of scheduling meetings is par for the course. A solution that lets you easily schedule meetings from a desktop or mobile without the need for a plug-in is a god-send. Other solutions will make you download a plug-in, which means you may have to put up with buggy software or constant upgrades just to have a meeting. The first step of most video conferences is the scheduling piece, so make this as simple as possible! 

True 1-click to join from any device

I am your typical 21stcentury peripatetic professional. I like to work wherever I am, and that means taking meetings on the road is part of the work/life blend many of us practice today. To be effective, I expect my mobile experience to be as consistent and powerful as the one in my office. One of my favorite features on mobile devices is the ability to automatically join, audio muted – a true one-click join! Actually, the one-click join experience from any device is the standard I’m used to – across all devices and apps. It can’t get any easier than that!

 Meaningful innovations

I see cool innovations in video conferencing fairly often, but they don’t have staying power unless they are meaningful innovations. For example, one of the most interesting features I’ve run across is being able to share an augmented reality 3D image that you can manipulate in your meetings! How useful would that be if you were a graphic artist or CAD designer. Some solutions offer features like virtual backgrounds but I’m more impressed by some of the other meaningful features that I use on a daily basis: voice activated controls, automatic noise suppression and directional audio. I love seeing innovation and cool features in video conferencing, especially ones that can add so much value!

If you would like to see these things in action, schedule a live demo with your Cisco sales team :).

And finally, one personal tip:  Video is a relationship accelerator, so just turn on your camera and let them see the whites of your eyes. You’ll get more from your contacts, both business and personal, and they’ll get more from you.


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 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 helps change AI
The 5 ways AI will transform team collaboration

If you want a glimpse into the future of collaboration, there’s no better place to look than Enterprise Connect. From the startups to the heavyweights, collaboration providers gathered in Orlando last week to demo their latest innovations. And this year, cognitive collaboration, or the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve team collaboration experience, dominated the conversation.

With a few days to reflect on my experience at Enterprise Connect, I’ve come up with 5 predictions on how cognitive collaboration will change the way we work by 2020.

1: Your digital assistant will become an indispensable part of your day

Digital assistants are mainstream with over 100 million devices sold that connect to consumer assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Enterprise-grade assistants with conversational AI capabilities will make your meeting a zero-touch experience, so you can join a meeting, call a contact or start a recording with just your voice. While available now, this is still a burgeoning technology and you’ll see functionality increase rapidly with the ability to assign action items, scheduling meetings and take notes.

2: Distributed collaboration becomes more productive and personable than in-person meetings

AI-driven capabilities will provide you with contextual insight that’s just not possible to get during an in-person meeting. As an example, People Insights for Webex Meetings, which was introduced in Amy Chang’s keynote, provides you with information on the people you’re meeting with, right in your meeting space. No more searching on LinkedIn or Google – our participants’ work history, education, latest blogs, company information and links to social media accounts are a click away. This allows you to discover shared background and interests and ultimately help you build stronger connections. Another example is facial recognition, which will display the names and titles of participants in a virtual meeting – this becomes very useful when a room is occupied by multiple participants.

3: Your collaboration platform becomes an AI-platform

From your team space to meetings and devices, everything in your collaboration suite will be enabled with cross-product AI functionality. Imagine joining a meeting and having your last conversation with someone automatically pop-up or the last whiteboard from your team space becomes available in your virtual meeting without having to search for it because the platform knows you met with the same people earlier to discuss the same topic. On an individual level, this may seem like a small, measurable improvement to your daily work life, but that small improvement scaled across a large organization can have profound effects on collaboration and productivity.

4: Interoperability sets collaboration suites apart

While a platform is critical for leveraging AI use cases across your collaboration tools, interoperability needs to remain a key factor in toolset decisions. During a panel discussion, Sri Srinivasan, SVP/GM of Teams Collaboration Group at Cisco, explained: “We are increasingly driven by end user choice — the culture of how people work matters most. We need to make software that interoperates for the technology mix.” From productivity tools, like Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, to customer relationship management tools, like Salesforce, collaboration solutions need to integrate and work well with other software. One of the important factors to consider is that employee preference for what they use to get their job done is always evolving, so organizations need a solution with a proven history of developing for interoperability.

5: Enterprise adoption of AI hastens future capabilities

AI capabilities will continue to evolve as more organizations adopt the technology. There are two reasons for this:

  • The Data: As Michelle Burbick says in her Enterprise Connect roundup blog, “If Data is King, AI is Queen” (it’s worth a read!). The more data available, the more likely AI and machine learning can be leveraged to discover and test new patterns that will lead to unique AI-use cases and greater efficiency gains.
  • The Providers: It won’t be long before organizations see the business value of an AI-enabled collaboration suites. This will drive demand for the solutions that are best positioned to deliver capabilities now and in the future. Collaboration technology providers will continue to invest in these capabilities as AI-features become a key way to set themselves apart from the competition.

With the introduction of AI, technology decisions can no longer be based on which point solutions solves a particular problem, here and now. Instead, decision must be about investing in a strategic platform that will fundamentally change the way people work together, how they connect and innovate.

To learn more about cognitive collaboration, join the upcoming webinar: Cognitive Collaboration: How AI and Machine Learning are Transforming How We Work and Collaborate


Try Webex teams, team collaboration tool, for free.

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team collaboration updates
New security and compliance features in team collaboration tool, Webex Teams

I hope that you’ve been keeping up with all the exciting news from Cisco Collaboration in the past few months.  We’ve had a ton of announcements about new capabilities and experiences. Like how we’re changing the way work gets done, from the Huddle space  to the biggest of boardrooms and how we’re changing the way people join meetings with the a single button to join across all of these spacesMost recently we showed you how our work to integrate file sharing and storage solutions has made the day-to-day lives of end-users so much betterOn the heels of that, we wanted to make sure that we also gave you a quick round-up tour of some of the new things that help administrators as well, with a deep dive on security and compliance.  Security and compliance are critical aspects of any long-lived and useful collaboration solution – admins want to rest assured that their users are doing the right things in the right places with the right people.  So let’s take a quick peek at some of the new capabilities we’ve released in just these past 2 months that further our promises to you, our customers: 

Securing your Uninterrupted Workstream  

In addition to Webex Teams native file sharing and storage, Cisco Webex Control Hub now allows IT administrators the flexibility to enable Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online as an integration with Webex Teams. With this, users can share and co-edit the latest OneDrive and SharePoint Online files right within their Webex Teams work spaces. 

Setup requires just a single toggle in Webex Control Hub.   And no changes are needed to your existing file sharing permissions and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies. IT administrators also have full control over which Office 365/Azure AD Tenant they want to enable. This ensures that only IT approved domains are available, and users cannot use personal OneDrive or SharePoint Online documents. This not only eliminates Data Loss risk but also protects against Malware threats.  And for the highest level of control, IT administrators can even turn off native file storage in Webex Teams so that all content is routed through their existing enterprise file storage service.   

Cisco Webex Control Hub Admin controls allow you to: 

  • Enable Webex Teams native file storage or Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online, or both  
  • Block personal or shadow IT OneDrive or SharePoint Online folders, and only permit approved instances 
  • Enable or disable the entitlement to a subset of users or for your entire organization   

Get more information on file storage and sharing Admin Control [link]. 

Compliance gets easier with Legal Hold  

In order to help you with data retention requirements to support legal investigations, we now support also support “Legal Hold”. This makes it easy for your organization to preserve any Webex Teams content related to litigation or investigation, all without impacting end user experience. During a litigation proceeding, you may be required to preserve data for a period that may be longer than your retention policy.  In this case you can use legal hold to ensure that relevant information is not purged, but instead but retained until the litigation or investigation is completed. 

Get more information on Legal Hold [link]. 

Better visibility with Admin Audit Logs 

Today you can monitor and manage what your end-users do via our Events API, or through some of the powerful DLP and CASB products that integrate with Webex Teams such as Smarsh or Symantec.  But equally important is managing administrator actions.  Whether it be to prevent accidental changes, carry out root cause analysis or prevent malicious actions.  For example, you may want to see:  

  • Which admin made a change to an org setting? 
  • Who deleted the CIO’s device? 
  • Who recently updated Jane’s profile to be an org admin?   

The admin audit log provides the data you need for this type of investigation, and even archiving purposes. You can now view significant change actions, such as changes to your organization’s settingsAdmin audit logs can be viewed in Control Hub where you can search for actions that have taken place within a specific date range, or for specific actions, or view the actions of a specific administrator. You can also download the logs to a comma separated values (CSV) file.  And, to make things easier, we’re working on providing an API so that you can tie this information into your other management experiences. 

For more information on the admin audit log feature, see [link]. 

We keep growing the compliance ecosystem 

We know that it’s expensive to get started and set up with security and compliance tools, so we want you to be able to keep using the services and apps you already use.  To further this promise, we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently finished our integration with Palo Alto Networks to enable admins to use this app too to monitor and manage their Webex experiences!   And ICYMI, Cisco Cloudlock works with Webex too!   

Last but certainly not least, do register for our joint webinar with Smarsh [link here], one of our oldest and dearest partners in the Compliance space!  Mike Pagani, Senior Director of Product Marketing from Smarsh, and Niraj Gopal, Director of Product for Cisco Webex Security & Compliance offerings will be talking about how Webex and Smarsh make for a better together story for our customers in heavily regulated environments!  

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Effective and secure team collaboration
Effective and secure team collaboration

Today, making sure that employees have the collaboration tools they need to drive productivity is key to company success. In fact, 65% of full-time employees feel that remote working would increase their productivity, and more than 55% of leaders are extending their team collaboration to external parties.

Security is top of mind
At the same time, Enterprise IT and Line of Business leaders need to be sure that shared content, which may include sensitive customer and partner information and intellectual property, stays safe and secure. The impact of security breaches from newer and different types of attacks is significant. Based on a recent security study, security breaches have widespread impact: 55% of organizations have had to manage the public scrutiny of a security breach. And nearly 20% of breaches cost organizations upwards of $2.5M to address.

As the head of the security and enterprise product team for the Webex Platform, I have a laser-focus on helping organizations maximize the productivity of their teams, in a way that supports IT needs.

Bringing enterprise file storage and team collaboration together, seamlessly
And so I am delighted to share more about our recent announcement that Webex Teams now supports native integration with enterprise file storage and Content Management solutions, which delivers on both end-user productivity and IT needs. We have started by introducing OneDrive and SharePoint Online integrations and look forward to sharing details of more integrations soon. Now, why is this important for today’s enterprise?

A proliferation of applications
Enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud and SaaS services in their quest to be more innovative, and to harness market transitions to deliver products and services more quickly and at lower cost. Most companies use dozens of SaaS apps ranging from productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365 to collaboration apps like Webex Teams as well as role-specific tools like ServiceNow, JIRA and Salesfore.com, together with file storage systems like SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Box.

As content gets stored in so many siloed applications, there is not only an impact on user productivity, as people waste time switching between applications and searching for the latest document versions, but also a huge challenge for IT in keeping files secure across all systems.

As I work with Line of Business leaders and security professionals, one request is consistently highlighted: help them address this productivity and data loss challenge. They need a solution where all user documents are ONLY stored in an approved Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or file storage system and where all SaaS apps simply make use of that content without replicating it.

Addressing the application switching headache – and more
Native integration in Webex Teams with Office 365 increases user productivity by eliminating application switching. It lets users share and co-edit Office 365 documents directly from Webex Teams with no need to learn any new applications.

However, our Webex Teams file storage integration solution not only enhances productivity, but also delivers a unique approach to content security. Here is a short summary of the key features:

  • You can create, open, share and edit files from your file storage and sharing system right in Webex Teams spaces
  • You can define who can see and co-edit any shared files
  • You can upload local files and folders from your computer directly into the file storage system from Webex Teams spaces
  • You can ensure that users can always see the latest version of any file
  • Links to shared files are encrypted end-to-end
  • Our integration works with your chosen DLP and CASB solution. So sensitive information won’t fall into the wrong hands by mistake, even when employees are working with others outside your company
  • No additional copies of files are created as they are shared directly in Webex Teams spaces. No file sprawl!
  • Administrators can block personal or unapproved IT OneDrive or SharePoint Online folders, and only allow approved instances
  • You can turn off native file sharing in Webex Teams to route all content through your file storage system of choice
  • You can enable this integration for a select group of employees or open it to everyone in your company

Security and control
As with any feature that we build in the Webex platform, security and enterprise IT needs are top of mind. The setup has zero deployment cost, requiring just a single toggle in Webex Control Hub. And it requires no change to your existing data loss prevention (DLP) policies, or any need to buy additional licenses. Moreover, unlike our competitors, Webex Teams also provides IT administrators with full control, so that they can decide which SharePoint Online and OneDrive domains or Office 365 Tenant they want to use. This means that only IT approved domains are available for use. Which not only removes data loss risk but also protects against Malware threats.

We also allow IT managers to choose to disable storage of user documents in the Webex cloud while maintaining a seamless user experience. All user files can ONLY be stored in IT’s selected file storage system- including file previews. This screen shows how easy it is to configure content management settings.

Figure 1. Defining an approved domain as the exclusive user document store for Teams 

 The integration has already been well received by our customers and partners. A Collaboration Architect at a large multinational mining corporation commented – “Enabling the enterprise file storage integration has opened new opportunities for us to further drive user adoption of Webex Teams across our business and global teams. This helps our users recognize the true value of the application for teamwork by using the built-in co editing features of Microsoft Office 365 directly from Webex Teams. A great step forward for Webex integrations.” 

 For a quick snapshot of the way that the Webex Teams integration can help increase productivity while addressing the needs of IT, take a look at this infographic. 

Learn more and get Webex Teams

 

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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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The confidence of security in team collaboration

The way we work together has changed to something unrecognizable over the last few years. We work on whatever device is on hand, from wherever we are, and we share a lot of content as well as sensitive information with our teams. This free exchange of information has sped up business processes, greatly improving team collaboration and unleashing the creativity needed to help innovation move at an unprecedented pace. But this new freedom has also brought with it rising concerns around security. Can we be sure our content and data are secure as we collaborate virtually across internal and external teams and devices?

Security concerns in team collaboration

As we have seen with many high-profile public breaches of security, the costs can be enormous and have become a pressing concern for businesses – reputations and revenue are on the line. Open Collaboration means users want innovative team collaboration tools with a great experience. They demand easy-to-use, pervasive, advanced collaboration capabilities. Company and customer confidential information must be available and easy to share, but at the same time, IT needs to ensure its security as defined by their corporate IT policies and intentions. Bottom line, corporate data needs to be protected fully. Messages, conversations, screen sharing, content, in fact any information about the company, customers, and users must be protected and accessible and viewable only by authorized users at all times. This gives IT and security teams a headache. Not least because up to 50% of devices we now use are invisible to IT. What’s needed is a 360-degree approach to security and compliance in team collaboration.

The promise of security in Webex

You can rest-easy knowing Cisco Webex has your back. Security is central to everything we do. Namely, how to balance the requirements of users with those of IT, security, and compliance professionals. In simple terms we give users what they need to collaborate openly and freely whilst enabling IT to retain control, security, and the ability to protect their business and customers.

Balancing risks and rewards to satisfy both IT and end users can be tricky. The good news is that you can do both – be secure while your teams collaborate freely and without any compromise. In fact, this is what we have enabled for many customers. Don’t just take my word for it, hear from Andy Jurczyk, the CIO at Seyfarth Shaw, on how his successful law firm has maintained the upmost security and also saved “tens of millions while improving company culture.”

Seyfarth Shaw improves team collaboration, securely

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has a highly dispersed and mobile workforce travelling to their clients, to courts, and between their offices. They were struggling with multiple point solutions for conference calling, webinars, screen sharing, and click-to-dial capabilities. Andy recognized that their employees had significant challenges with different tool interfaces and struggled to make it all work for both IT and their users. After some careful consideration they went “all in” with Cisco and now feel that they have an inclusive and intuitive team collaboration solution for all ages, skill-levels, and locations. What’s more, it has had a profound impact on how they work globally and how their teams collaborate 24/7 across time zones and borders, especially when working on a big deal.

This has led to a savings of tens of millions of dollars by reducing their office space by one-third and adopting telecommuting as a work-style for some staff. It has also had a massive impact with staff retention, with some employees turning down job offers with higher pay, but less flexibility.

With that said, one of the biggest benefits for them has been around security. They serve clients in highly regulated industries and regions, such as the financial services, healthcare, and those located in the European Union – and because they are backed by Cisco, they feel that they can easily meet client requirements around architecture, privacy, encryption.

“From a security compliance perspective, we pretty much get audited by anything you can imagine. There’s so many cloud services I can’t use as a law firm because of the restrictions I have for compliance. But we can use Webex for everything.”

Andy Jurczyk, CIO, Seyfarth Shaw

One of the reasons they chose Webex Teams over other team collaboration tools was for the security it provides. In particular, our unique approach to security and the ability to own and manage the encryption keys for the environment that they needed.

“We maintain a private cloud, multiple data centers for redundancy, our own encryption, and security, and everything associated with protecting our clients’ data. But those audits typically prevent us from putting any of our clients’ data anywhere in the cloud. However, Webex Teams and Cisco’s new encryption capability will actually allow me to put client data in the cloud while satisfying the audits. This is revolutionary for heavily-compliant industries like ours.”

In fact Webex Teams now enables their client teams (often up to 30 people) to collaborate and communicate more effectively, and securely. All this leads to a strong team, strong buy-in and strong culture for Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Learn more about Webex Teams collaboration and try it for free here.

 

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

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

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

Wow #1: Voice-activated video conferencing

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

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

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

Wow #3: Microsoft OneDrive Integration into Webex Teams

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

Wow #4: App Hub & Bots

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

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

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

Wow #6: Webex Board conference equipment

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

Wow #7: Huddle Spaces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Cisco Webex Room Dual
Just say no to conference calls, and yes to collaborative meetings

I’ve been part of corporate America my entire career and have spent the last six years working from a home office. As part of the remote-worker culture, we’re on the phone – a lot. If conference calls are your way of life, you would probably agree not much has changed in four years since YouTube stars Tripp and Tyler created this video to make fun “every conference call, ever.”

As of this past December everything I knew about collaborating with my team has changed. I no longer host conference calls. That’s right. No more random beeping, no more wondering who just joined, no more guessing where to mute barking dogs, no more multi-tasking, no more, “I’m sorry can you repeat that because I wasn’t listening.”

Conference calling is so 2018

I’m new to the Webex marketing team, but I am not “new” to Webex. My previous employers had both been Webex customers. We used the typical VoIP Phones and dialed in with your typical 1-800 number, and used the typical conference codes to start each call. We downloaded the plug-ins and launched Webex Meetings in case we needed to share content – but that was it. I honestly had no idea what I was missing out on.

Since I became part of the Cisco Webex Marketing team, I have not joined one single conference call. We join meetings – and they feel like actual meetings. Crazy, right? We use Webex Meetings, Webex Teams, and Webex Devices every single day to collaborate, brainstorm, and whiteboard.

A whole new world of Collaboration

I wasn’t sure how I would like being on camera every day, but I love the interaction and there’s no turning back. You can feel the difference. You can tell when people have something to say and you can see that people are engaged. In one of my first meetings, I was listening to how Webex Meetings has new integrations for the Education space. Lance Ford was heading up the call. The guy was at his desk, then standing, then pointing at a screen, then moving things around and presenting. All the while the camera was following him, zooming in and tracking his audio. It felt like I was watching the local newscast!

Watch this just to see the cameras zooming and moving… what?!

Then, I visited the San Jose Cisco campus. When you enter any conference room the screen welcomes you and offers to connect and start your meeting… magic! I was immediately connected with zero effort. The room also had a stylus on the table with my name on a screen … begging me to draw something before the meeting started. (Disclaimer: Webex devices don’t beg you to draw things.) Without knowing anything about the device, I could draw, erase, and send a digital copy to my Webex Teams space. More magic.

There were no ancient calling devices with wired microphones that only pick up whatever sounds are coming off the table top. The microphones are hung from the ceiling with built-in technology that knows when to mute and when to listen in.

To top it all off, once the meeting is over, we keep the conversation going in the Webex Teams platform. I am getting added to spaces and am able to catch up without ever asking a question. I can mention people, I can send requests to my team and flag content to come back to.

Maybe I’m easily impressed, but I was one of tens of thousands of folks at my past employers who weren’t using the Cisco Webex suite of collaboration products to their full potential. I had been missing out. I’m wondering how many other end users could tap in to the newest features? Do you even know you have access to them?

Get reacquainted with Webex

If you’re like I was, and are a Webex customer but are still using the platform as a conference line – please do yourself a favor and check out what you’ve been missing. Ask your Webex Administrator to upgrade you to the latest version with entirely new user interface. You won’t have to memorize any conference ID numbers – you push the big green button. Your participants will not have to download anything – ever. Background noises are automatically detected. Content sharing is faster. Annotations are easier. Video streaming is clearer.

There is so much more, you have to see for yourself. https://collaborationhelp.cisco.com/article/en-us/nvby0ee

Learn more about Webex Video Conferencing and try it for free here https://www.webex.com/video-conferencing.html

 

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team collaboration
7 cool examples of a thriving teams using team collaboration tools

By working with an abundance of ISV partners, we’re adding more value to the Cisco Webex team collaboration tools ecosystem to further help you and your team. From time to time, we’ll share a roundup of thought-provoking content from our partners’ blogs. Here’s the first one for your enjoyment!

#1 – Interoperability between collaboration messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams

Mio provides interoperability between collaboration messaging platforms, such as Webex Teams to Slack and Webex Teams to Microsoft Teams—with more on the way.

Check out this short video of the Mio Webex Teams to Slack interoperability to see it in action:

Mio is a great example of a developer who engaged with our Innovation team, developed a cool product, got invited to our Integrator Program, and now has just been added to Cisco’s resale program in Cisco SolutionsPlus. Read more about this here: dispatch.message.io/mio-cisco-solutionsplus/.

Want to learn more? You can also visit Mio’s website at m.io/.

#2 – Immersive room experiences for better team collaboration

Oblong provides multi-stream content layered on top of Webex in an immersive room experience—all integrated with Cisco Webex Teams, Webex Board, and Room Kits. Their founder, John Underkoffler, was the tech genius behind the computer interactions in Minority Report and Iron Man. It was so cool, that he started a tech company using those innovative principles.

Check out an overview of their Webex and Oblong Mezzanine integration: www.oblong.com/blog/have-you-seen-webex-mezzanine.

And then read what John Underkoffler had to say at Wired Live: www.oblong.com/blog/next-gen-ui-comes-into-focus-at-wired-live.

#3 – The nexus of team collaboration tools and digital signage

You may know Appspace from their industry leading digital signage, but they are much more than that. They’ve created a digital content management system that allows you to create channels and subscribe to them from any Cisco endpoint or Cisco Webex Teams space.

Appspace is in quite a few of Cisco’s global Customer Briefing Centers, so you can see these integrations live.

Check out this video on Appspace’s integration with Cisco at the Cisco Collaboration Open House in Malvern earlier this year. Be sure to watch for the Webex Board running their web app on its interactive touch screen:

Appspace also recently hosted a customer event in New York City. Check out their recap of Day One (blog.appspace.com/2018/10/appspace-meetup-new-york-one/) and Day Two (blog.appspace.com/2018/10/appspace-meetup-new-york-day-2-recap/).

#4 – Leveraging collaboration tools for multi-casting video and video management

Vbrick is the leader in live-streaming content for town halls, leadership calls, and meet-ups. Anytime you need to get the word out to all your employees at scale, you need Vbrick.

Vbrick has been a Cisco partner for a long time, with an extremely close relationship with our product management organizations—that’s what makes their solution so scalable and reliable.

And, because they’ve been a partner for so long, their Webex and Webex Teams integrations keep getting better and better. Check out Vbrick’s recent updates on this subject in their blog: vbrick.com/vbrick-rev-cloud-webex-integration-updates-december-2018/.

In recognition of this great partnership, Vbrick was named the Cisco Collaboration ISV Partner of the Year (vbrick.com/vbrick-recognized-as-cisco-global-isv-partner-of-the-year/).

You’ll also find many excellent articles on thought leadership by visiting their blog. Check out this recent post on content management governance: vbrick.com/why-you-need-a-video-content-management-system-to-ensure-governance-success/.

#5 – Customer intelligence driving amazing customer experiences with collaboration tools

Understanding your customer can make a huge difference for your brand. Local Measure is a leader in aggregating customer social intelligence so companies can deliver exceptional experiences to their guests.

Local Measure embraced Cisco Collaboration because it provides real-time information to the employees, who can then take that information and turn it into an amazing experience for the guest. Check out this blog post from Local Measure for more details: www.localmeasure.com/post/collaboration-software-plus-customer-intelligence-can-extend-your-operational-capabilities.

And, for some thought leadership content from Local Measure, read this blog post about identifying the “shadow guest.” You’ll find it here: www.localmeasure.com/post/identifying-the-shadow-guest.

#6 – Analytics to optimize the collaboration experience

Vyopta is a leader in providing actionable intelligence on unified communication, video, and meeting room usage to make sure your communications infrastructure is delivering for your employees.

They can help provide answers to questions like, “Did your employees have a great audio experience on the call yesterday? If not, where/what was the problem?” Or, “Am I at max capacity for my conference rooms? Are they being used? Should I add more huddle spaces?”

Check out this blog post from Vyopta on how they’ve integrated with Cisco endpoints: www.vyopta.com/blog/video-conferencing/getting-data-cisco-collaboration-endpoints/.

And then read their latest post, which is on collaboration spaces: www.vyopta.com/blog/video-conferencing/the-current-state-of-conference-rooms-and-workplace-transformation/.

#7 – Collaborate with your employees in an emergency

 

Singlewire is a leader in the emergency notification management space, as related to industries such as education, health care, government, and more.

Check out our latest Webex4Developers blog post, which highlights the Singlewire solution that includes Webex Teams and Meraki integrations: developer.webex.com/blog/emergency-communications-with-cisco-webex-teams-and-singlewire.

Delivering value by integrating with Cisco collaboration, Cisco endpoints, and Cisco APIs

There you have it! Seven great companies delivering critical business value.

We’d also like to invite you to check out our Webex4Developers portal and our collaboration APIs. Come build an app. We’re looking forward to hearing from you. To get started go to developer.webex.com.

If you’re interested in hearing more about any of these solutions, reach out to our ecosystem team at webex-ecosystem@cisco.com or ask your Cisco reseller sales contact.

And finally, check out how Webex Teams can help your team work together more efficiently and productively. Try it FREE at www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.html.

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video conferencing work remotely
Cloudlock: Making team collaboration secure both within your business and outside

Today people are working with peers from different locations more than ever before. I work from a home office just outside London, with multiple teams that span the globe. And I understand first-hand how important it is to be able to easily and effectively meet and collaborate remotely. I rely on video conferencing and team collaboration daily, and I’m confident that many of you do, too.

Video Conferencing and team collaboration that help you work your way

Last month, Cisco transformed the way people meet with Webex Share™, Webex Room Kit Mini™, Webex Board 55™ as well as the Webex Board 85™, all of which enable remote workers to connect with team members in huddle spaces. The new products give us the meeting experiences that we all expect of Webex collaboration tools: high-quality video, audio, and content sharing capabilities, as well as the ability to sketch out ideas on a whiteboard. With these devices, we really can meet as if we were in the same room.

I join remote meetings many times a day, and I find it very important to feel like I am there with my team. I want to see everyone’s expressions, which helps me to be sure that I have really understood the nuances of our discussions. And the ability to share presentations and documents quickly helps me be sure that the discussion flows easily.

To make the best use of our time in the meeting, I like to be able to set aside, in one place, things like documents, links, and images that we need to move work forward. With the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, all the information shared before, during and after a Webex meeting is kept in one space, which is available to all my team members. This means that coming back to that information after a meeting is easy and the follow up goes smoothly.

Security and compliance for remote team collaboration

Chief Information Security Officers and IT need to consider more than just the ease of use and breadth of functionality. Security and compliance in collaboration — making sure that the information that we share is safe, and complies with company data loss prevention policies — is critically important. Collaboration applications and platforms must keep employees and the information that they share safe.

In his recent blog, Jono Luk talked about the security and compliance features of the Webex Teams collaboration platform. He described how data is protected by end to end encryption in Webex Teams  — using a single encryption key for each customer. Companies also want to know that information is not shared in ways that break their compliance policies, which is particularly important when people work with others outside their company. Nemertes illustrates that over 55% of team collaboration use cases include people working with others outside their company.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) applications and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) applications can be deployed in order to protect shared information. The Webex Teams collaboration platform allows companies to use their existing CASB and DLP applications to protect information that is shared by their own employees with people outside the company, and to implement automated policy-based remediation actions. This means that any information that is shared by a company employee in a Webex Teams space, whether internal or external, is protected by the DLP or CASB application of their own company.  Many other collaboration platforms do not provide this ability to have oversight of a user’s behaviour in spaces owned by external organizations.

Keeping shared information safe

Now, why is this important?  And what does it mean in practice? As an example, think of a manufacturing company that needs to actively collaborate with a large number of third-party suppliers. While they have to share some detailed information with these vendors, it’s critical not to share too much, and accidentally provide information that would be valuable to competitors. And that’s where CASB and DLP integrations with collaboration applications can help.

The Webex Teams collaboration platform integrates seamlessly with the Cisco Cloudlock CASB, which allows customers to create custom policies to protect information without overwhelming administrators with too many alerts. Cloudlock also offers a wide variety of prebuilt policies to protect against the sharing of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Payment Card Information (PCI), or HIPAA related data.

The integration between the Webex Teams platform and Cloudlock makes it easy for you to protect sensitive data with multiple levels of policy enforcement for both internal and external collaboration. As well, we all understand that the retention and oversight of content is a key requirement for many regulated industries. For added compliance, monitoring and e-discovery functionality, we partner with third parties including Smarsh, an industry leading archiving provider, which services many of the largest banking customers worldwide.

With these capabilities, you can take advantage of the strength of Cisco’s Collaboration and Security expertise. Your users can work together easily and effectively, with people inside and outside your organization, while keeping the information shared in Webex Teams spaces safe and secure.

 Check out how Webex Teams can help teams work together effectively, and visit Cloudlock to see how you can better protect sensitive data and collaborate with confidence!

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team collaboration in action
The Cisco Webex teams collaboration platform and Cloverhound: Taking the wait out of waiting rooms.

Quick poll: Who loves the waiting room? Quick answer: No one.

With its stale coffee, old magazines, and daytime television, waiting rooms are a bastion of lost productivity. Everyone from clients, to your support staff, could be doing something better with his or her time. And then there are no-shows, who cost time and money.

Participants can attend workers’ compensation hearings right from their homes or offices.

Life shouldn’t have to be like this, so fortunately it’s all about to change for the better.

Learn how Cloverhound used the robust Cisco Webex Teams, team collaboration platform to solve the waiting room conundrum once and for all (stale coffee not included).

VirtualCourts™: Solving the problem through video conferencing

Every month, tens of thousands of people are involved in workers’ compensation claims in New York State. There are dozens of people involved in a single hearing: the judge and claimant, of course, but also the stenographers, translators, facilities crew, and many others who make the system work.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, especially when each hearing relies on long commutes and high travel costs.

The New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) realized the loss in productivity—not only for their workforce, but also for the workers, employers, and lawyers they serve. Their desire to increase efficiencies and modernize how they do business drove them to look for a solution to reduce hearing no-shows, streamline the check-in process, and create a virtual-hearing experience.

To accommodate this, Cloverhound developed an easier way to conduct these hearings that Cisco’s Webex blog calls,“a first-in-the-nation solution, built on the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, that allows injured workers and other participants to attend workers’ compensation hearings right from their homes or offices. This solution is a critical piece to removing obstacles and reducing the inherent stress accompanying the hearing process.”

The Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform: Empowering online meetings

Powered by the Cisco Webex Teams, team collaboration platform, VirtualCourts leverages Cloverhound’s VirtualQ™ framework to seamlessly integrate robust case management with Webex APIs to provide an intuitive and efficient solution, requiring zero administration by court staff.

VirtualQ is built using the latest web technologies available through a collaborative agile development process. At the center of the application is a cloud native backend service that uses WebSockets to send real-time updates to a react-based web application. By leveraging a modern cloud architecture, the backend is both scalable and resilient. All processing is stateless and balanced across multiple nodes across multiple data centers, allowing for dynamic scaling (by adding additional nodes) and seamless recovery from failures in any single node. All data is replicated on the fly and is automatically recovered and re-enabled in the case of failures.

The backend is responsible for maintaining the hearing schedule through the court’s case management APIs, enforcing the rules of the check-in process, and routing updates between participants and the judges and support staff. As participants check in to hearings, their information is automatically captured and broadcast in real time to the judges’ dashboards.

Using Cisco’s Webex API, judges can then click to launch their hearing’s Webex room, simultaneously notifying all participants with a link to open Webex and join the hearing. The current implementation requires participants to install the native Webex application to conduct hearings, but the forthcoming iOS (2018) and Android (2019) apps employ the Webex Teams SDK to seamlessly embed WebRTC video conferencing directly within the app.

Once both mobile apps have been officially released, the teams plan to integrate the same SDK into the web application, eliminating any need for web-based participants to install any software.

The application’s core users—judges and court-system support staff—authenticate using SAML Single Sign-On, which allows verified users to securely access the application using their existing corporate login and password. Account metadata from the court system’s Microsoft ADFS site allows the application to route judges and court-system staff to the correct dashboards and to control access to administrative features, such as site-wide messaging and report generation.

The application frontend uses Google’s translation service to support 100 different written languages and variants. All web content complies fully with NYS Policy NYS-P08-005 as described in Federal Government Publication Section 508, which specifies that all web applications used by the state should meet or exceed the standards set in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

Collaborative video conferencing: Four huge efficiency wins.

New York State has rolled out VirtualCourts across 22 of 26 sites with a target of 24 sites enabled before the end of 2018. The remaining sites require architecture changes that are outside the scope of the current project and will be rolled out once their respective changes are performed. This platform has streamlined multiple processes for the State of New York.

First, the hearing check-in process is completely digital. Participants no longer need to check in at a front desk, provide their information, and then wait to be called. No-shows have fewer excuses, and productivity is no longer lost to the waiting room.

Second, judges no longer have to check in with courtroom staff to see which hearings are on the docket. Judges log in to their hearing dashboard quickly and securely to see the status of each hearing.

Third, it increases the accessibility of the hearing process by allowing employers and claimants to be part of the hearings without having to leave their offices or homes. For claimants who suffer from debilitating injuries or are living out of state, the benefits of VirtualCourts are invaluable.

Finally,  the virtual hearing solution is now handling 90% of all of NYS WCB hearings with plans to beat 100% (1,250 hearings per day) in early 2019.  To date, over 100,000 hearings have been scheduled within the VirtualCourts platform with more than 33,000 of these involving at least one party who appeared remotely–successfully connecting injured workers, law judges, and representatives from all over New York and nationally.

The chart above shows the total number of hearings over time with the 2018 and 2019 numbers as projections based on the data that is currently available. We’re not only talking about the court system benefiting from being able to process more claims; we’re also talking about claimants getting their settlements faster, employers being able to resolve disputes quicker, lawyers being able to provide services to more people in a single year, and fewer people on the road traveling to and from WCB sites.

This platform benefits everyone in the State of New York. You can read more about this implementation of VirtualQ’s VirtualCourts here.

The Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform—revolutionizing how government connects with citizens by using video conferencing.

Cisco and Cloverhound continue to work with the customer to bring new sites online and increase functionality. Other New York court systems are following closely to see how they can leverage the same Cisco technology.

VirtualCourts was praised for revolutionizing how New York handles hearings: “This state-of-the-art, secure technology removes obstacles and stress for hard-working New Yorkers who were injured on the job, as well as for business owners and the professionals who participate in the system,” New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Chair Clarissa Rodriguez said. “Virtual hearings allow injured workers to remain in their homes and other participants to attend from their workplaces. Our successful pilot and now statewide launch demonstrate New York’s commitment to helping people hurt on the job.”

Cloverhound’s VirtualQ framework, powered by Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform, is ready for education, healthcare, banking, and other verticals. Parents who struggle to make parent-teacher conferences can make the meetings that matter most, and educators can make the most of their office hours. Patients with mobility issues, who may otherwise struggle to make hospital visits, can still receive care. The applications of the Cloverhound VirtualQ framework are limitless. Visit cloverhound.com to learn more.

And don’t forget to experience the Cisco Webex Teams collaboration platform for yourself. Sign up for FREE here at www.webex.com/pricing/free-trial.

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team collaboration in SMB
Team collaboration tools improve communication from business leadership

The most common pitfalls of SMB leaders stem from lack of communication. From setting goals with team members to delegating or automating tasks, entrepreneurs risk burnout when they take on too much. Though it can make you feel secure to own every task, allowing others to lend a hand means that you can focus on long-term growth. Plus, team collaboration tools like Cisco Webex Meetings and Cisco Webex Teams make it easier than ever to stay in contact while on the move as a fast-paced executive.

Here are some common mistakes SMB leaders make and how Cisco Webex products can help address them:

Failure to delegate

Often the biggest mistake that business owners make is feeling the need to own each part of their business, from accounting to invoicing to customer relations and satisfaction surveys. Constantly juggling all aspects of the business can only lead to one thing: burnout.

With a trusted team, managers can delegate aspects of the business with automation or outsourcing. Team collaboration tool, Cisco Webex Teams integrates with multiple productivity apps like Box, Salesforce, or SharePoint, which means the entire team can receive app notifications through Webex Teams. This usability means there is one less item on your to-do list and your team is receiving the information they need.

When possible, outsource administrative items like invoicing, taxes, and human resources to third parties who can stay in contact with you over Cisco Webex. By using Webex, you can host weekly or monthly check-ins to ensure you’re on track with your projects, send texts, or access shared files easily.

Establishing clear and consistent communication

Often business owners, especially those who work in a different city than their clients and other team members, suffer from miscommunication. If it happens too many times, they risk losing employees and business. Setting expectations about when and how you’ll connect with contacts early in a relationship, as well as checking in often, can help alleviate any issues, and Cisco Webex enables cross-device engagement in real time.

Avoid the inbox abyss and use direct messages that can be received more quickly.

Skipping goal setting

Without a clear direction, your business may end up going down several rabbit holes before finding a path that leads to profitability and productivity. Once goals are set, you can’t forget to check with team members—both in-office and remote, employee and contractor—to find out how they’re progressing.

If you find yourself too busy to set up meetings and calls, you can quickly reach out with Cisco Webex Teams. With Webex Teams, reach a group or message an individual quickly to get a status report and keep moving toward your organizational goals.

Not taking time off

According to Project Time Off, 52 percent of American workers left vacation time on the table, accounting for 705 million unused days. For entrepreneurs, who are tasked with building their own business without being tied to a company’s calendar, the stats are likely worse.

Guilt doesn’t have to be a partner in your business as an SMB. Take that trip and enjoy a hike or a day at the beach. If you need to check in, your Webex platform is available from any corner of the world.

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Partners & Team collaboration
Make something #webexceptional

By Jono Luk, Director of Product Management for the Webex Platform

Hi, folks!

Over the past few weeks, you’ve seen several blog posts from us talking about Webex’s bright and exciting future and what this means for developers like you. And to deliver on our promise, we’re focusing on one of the most important aspects: the fact that Webex is an open and extensible platform!

At Cisco Webex, we recognize the heterogenous nature of productivity and team collaboration today. Most people use several apps and tools to get their work done.  And, people don’t work in isolation anymore–small teams form to get core tasks done right. This happens both inside and outside an organization.

To make sure we help you and your team get stuff done as quickly and easily as possible, we’ve made it a core tenant to let you make Webex your own. By taking this path, Webex can help you supercharge many of your favorite productivity apps, further helping you drive the decisions and content for better business outcomes.  How do we do this?  By exposing multiple ways for you, your partner, or an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to build solutions with Webex.

Since Cisco Partner Summit took place last week, let’s focus on how our partners can bring more to Webex for you and our other users all around the world. With Webex, you can:

Bring in any app with bots and integrations.

Our bots and integrations framework helps you insert your apps capabilities where your team spends most of their time. Webex also helps you stay informed of what’s going on in other systems with integrations and bots, allowing you to control and interact with your respective services.

Make your app #webexceptional with the Webex collaboration platform.

No one works in silos anymore. People meet, discuss, and decide in groups. Bring Webex’s market-leading communication and collaboration technologies to your app to empower your users to get more done, faster. You can use our APIs, SDKs, and widgets to embed these experiences into your own desktop and mobile apps.

Why struggle building your own video backbone when Webex is already so secure and reliable? Simply decide where in your app you want your users to experience real-time communications like voice and video, screen sharing, secure messaging, and more. Let us do the heavy lifting to make these features come to life.

Reach new customers and solve new problems.

Want to build a business for solving customer problems? Build solutions for Webex customers and enhance your go-to-market value. Our Webex customers want and need your help. Leverage bots, integrations, APIs, SDKs and widgets to build apps and solutions, and then tap into the millions of people using Webex every month.

But don’t just take our word for it….

Now’s the part where we want to show you rather than tell you about what the possibilities look like.  Here are a few examples of #webexceptional apps and solutions that have been built with Webex.

Involvio: making students successful

Involvio is in the business of improving student engagement, and they’re delivering this with the power of the Webex platform. The pre-existing infrastructure and power of Webex Teams made it a no-brainer for the Involvio solution. As their founder and CEO, Ari Winkleman, put it, “We didn’t consider any other platforms because we didn’t really see any [that] have broad deployment across schools. None of the other platforms are ‘enterprise-grade.’”

Learn more about Involvio’s solution here: developer.webex.com/blog/how-we-build-with-webex-involvio.

Mio: connecting the universe of messaging platforms

Like we said above, the Internet is a heterogenous mix of apps and services. The messaging space is no different. Mio has built a business around connecting Webex Teams with the other players in this space, including Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Learn more about Mio and their interop solution for Webex teams here: developer.webex.com/blog/m-io-lets-you-talk-across-apps-including-cisco-webex-teams.

Cloverhound: closing distance with the Internet

ISV partner Cloverhound built and released a first-in-the-nation solution, built on the Webex platform, that allows injured workers and other participants to attend workers’ compensation hearings right from their homes or offices. This solution is a critical piece to removing obstacles and reducing the inherent stress accompanying the hearing process.

Learn more about the Cloverhound solution here: www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/PressRe/virtual-hearings-press-release.jsp.

The point of a platform is that there is truly no limit to the innovation that awaits you and your customers. And these examples above illustrate just a few of the success stories our partners have built with Webex. Keep an eye on our blog, developer.webex.com/blog, for more case studies and the latest news in the space!

Cheers!

Jono

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team collaboration around the globe
Use team collaboration tools to establish an adaptive and flexible workflow

“Workflow” may sound like business jargon, but the concept is simple, effective, and often necessary for decetralized teams that include in-office, remote, and contract workers.

Teams with both basic and complicated processes can benefit from taking the time to create a step-by-step outline of how individuals or teams work. Thankfully, no matter how involved a workflow may be, Cisco Webex solutions can be creatively integrated to help team collaboration easier, both in the office and across the globe.

The best way to organize a workflow is to begin with the basics. Goal setting is essential to helping a team—especially one working remotely—understand the purpose of their work. With people working in the office, across satellite locations, and on the road, teams can collaborate in real time through Cisco Webex screen sharing and white boarding. Color-coded organizational charts can come to life in an easy-to-understand format, establishing who owns which part of a process and who should be held accountable for the work product.

One challenge of a workflow is ensuring that no one acts as a roadblock due to lack of communication. Thankfully, Cisco has the tools needed to reach a team member whenever or wherever. Set up regular communication easily with Cisco Webex Teams, and people can start a meeting with the tap of a button—no waiting on the host to start. Plus, you can connect your calendar to Webex Teams by using integrations, so you’ll never miss a meeting.

If a matter only relates to one person, or a smaller working group, send a quick, direct message with Webex Teams. Even easier, you can search your messages for vital information later.

Once a workflow is established, your organization will need documents on best practices, so the workflow can be recreated by future team members. One way to create a library is to make use of the recording feature in Webex Meetings to capture relevant information, and then participants can access it from anywhere on mobile, tablet, or laptop. Another useful tool is Webex Training, which can be used for live or on-demand training to keep employees across your company up to date on industry standards and department protocols.

Workflows also work well when you can automate processes. With integrations between team collaboration tool, Webex Teams, and multiple leading apps like Box, Salesforce, and Trello, you can keep projects moving seamlessly with notifications in the Webex Teams platform.

Most importantly, acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to workflow will help keep expectations realistic and grounded. Engage in regular feedback with your team on what’s working well, adjust as needed, and see your team thrive as you use Cisco Webex for implementation.

Interested in starting your workflow development journey?

Start your free 30-day trial of Cisco Webex Teams today.

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3 tips for working with remote team members
3 tips for working with remote team members

If you don’t already work with a remote team member, chances are you soon will.

Flexjobs reports that 3.9 million Americans (2.9% of the total U.S. workforce) now work from home at least half of the time. And in 2017, “remote/work from home” was the fourth most popular job search term of the year.

These numbers are not surprising as more companies embrace the many benefits of remote work. With these new benefits come new responsibilities for leaders to ensure dispersed team members are able to connect, communicate and collaborate without interruption.

Connecting a remote team may seem like a daunting task. But with a “flexibility first” outlook and the right team collaboration tools, it is possible to make your remote colleagues feel a part of the team, regardless of their physical location.

Get started with a few tips:

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Managing a remote team over the summer

Summertime is here once again and like you, we’re all in the mood for pool dips, ice cream, and barbeques. But as the saying goes, “the show must go on,” which means taking care of work responsibilities.

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4 ways UCC tools empower sales teams
4 ways video conferencing can empower your sales team

Sales is a highly competitive space. Professionals in the field have reputations as road warriors, who log many hours each month traveling to meet with prospects in hopes of securing their business. These face-to-face meetings are uniquely valuable, since they help create close connections that go beyond what’s possible with a call, email, or text.

At the same time, they can eat into sales teams’ schedules and become major cost centers for the organization, too. A Pace Productivity survey found that travel accounted for 6.6 hours per week, or more than 13 percent of the typical sales professional’s time. Plus, travel—along with various administrative tasks—was found to take up too much time compared to an ideal working arrangement.

The effects of costly, overloaded travel schedules are significant. According to Bain & Co., account managers only spend one-third of their time meeting with customers, and 40 percent of that is actually dedicated to lower-priority accounts. Something is getting lost in the nonstop race to quarter’s end, with many minutes wasted on the road or in unproductive meetings.

Unified collaboration tools: A better way to make your minutes matter

Since engaging qualified leads regularly requires multiple touches—between seven and 13, according to the Data & Marketing Association—the process should be streamlined and economical. Enter unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platforms.

UCC solutions like Cisco Webex allow your teams to hold productive conversations, no matter where they are. They’re real, viable alternatives to the traditional road tripping  grind, and they empower sales professionals in many ways, including:

1. More high-quality interactions, less travel

In sales, the main purpose of traveling is to meet leads in person. Such meetups are still frequently necessary, but they’re not the only ways to have high-quality interactions anymore, thanks to crystal-clear video conferencing services.

Webex Meetings allows you to meet your customers wherever they are with just a click or tap, or have them call you at their convenience. HD video quality with intuitive screen layouts ensures you can measure reactions in real time, while keeping the meeting as focused as possible. Overall, there’s much more freedom to nurture sales relationships from the office or while on the go, without having to make a separate visit.

2. Meetings that leave an impression

In a Wainhouse Research survey of 4,700 users of video conferencing services, the top four cited benefits were increased productivity (94 percent of respondents), better discussions (88 percent), faster decision-making (87 percent), and reduced travel (also 87 percent). Connecting with prospects over video isn’t just a way to take fewer flights or road trips—it’s often the best option for extracting value from a conversation.

A unified collaboration suite delivers engaging, hassle-free virtual meetings that can also be enhanced with chat and screen sharing. As a result, presentations and product demos are informative and easy to follow. That leads to sales cycles that close as quickly as possible and don’t break the budget with lots of follow-up travel and attempts at engagement.

3. A truly collaborative sales process

Sealing a sales deal is rarely the work of just one person. Entire teams help lay the groundwork by reaching out to the potential customer and providing assurances. With a unified collaboration solution, you can bring everyone together for a coordinated approach to every prospect.

Webex Teams makes it simple to invite the sales team to a shared workspace. A dedicated space can even be set up as a hub for communications with customers, from which you can share files with them and review previous conversations so nothing gets overlooked. It’s easier than ever to provide updates on deals and connect leads with experts on your side.

4. An integrated sales collaboration experience

Sales is a multichannel process, requiring a wide array of tools beyond UCC. Team members will routinely need to hop on calls, update documents, and track individual contacts in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Being committed to your collaboration success means knocking down barriers to connecting. Cisco Webex supports many integrations with essential sales apps. For example, you can integrate Webex with Salesforce to easily connect with your team using secure messaging, file sharing, and video calling.

Empower your sales teams to improve lead conversion rates and optimize customer retention rates with the best unified collaboration experience available. Take Webex for a test run in your sales environment. Start your Webex free trial.

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How to leverage secure team collaboration for small business messaging

Cloud messaging has become the bread and butter of small business productivity. In late 2016, BI Intelligence estimated that total monthly active users of the four most popular mobile messaging platforms had surpassed that of the top four social networks in 2014 and widened the gap through 2016. While these services were originally designed with consumers in mind, their use in the workplace is widespread:

  • A 2017 survey of U.S. workers by 451 Research revealed that 73% of respondents used SMS and/or third-party messaging platforms for business purposes.
  • For comparison, only 66% relied on email and 58% on voice calls. No other workflow surpassed 50% of surveyed responses.
  • 62% reported their firms had not updated their security policies despite the growing use of messaging. Only 9% said unapproved apps were forbidden.
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The future of work: A people first approach with team collaboration tools

For years, solutions to unite teams and simplify team collaboration were defined by brands throwing the proverbial technology kitchen sink at their employees. From there, it was up to these teams to stumble and fumble their way to make these various tools work in whatever ways made sense for their job, setting up a perfect storm of incompatible connections, IT woes and communication delays. And while this may have been ok to “get by,” something better for a new world of work – one that calls for more nimble responses from dispersed teams that want to connect and interact in real time – was needed.

Thankfully, that something better has arrived.

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Powering team collaboration

Despite what a guy in my position likes to believe, technology is not the-end-all-be-all to a remote team’s success. Trust me – having the right collaboration tools is super important, but those team collaboration tools are there to enhance and enable the true foundation to any business – teamwork. After all, real-time engagement via video conferencing or chat with your remote team wouldn’t mean much is you can’t say, “we accomplished something just now.”

Teamwork is a collective role; everyone plays a part, but not everyone performs the same way.

On April 11th, Influencive partnered up with Cisco Webex on Facebook Live, discussing how you can be a productive team player by finding the right work environment that works for you, having a focused mindset and strategy, as well as implementing the remote tools that allow you to collaborate with your team and work towards success – anytime, anywhere.

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Desk DJ: How music can make you more productive at work

Google “work playlist” and you’re rewarded with more than 161 million results. That’s a lot of searches for the perfect workday soundtrack. Though famously touted for its assumed capabilities to “soothe the savage beast,” searches like this show that many people are looking for that perfect play list to be more productive during the workday.

Streaming music service Spotify reported that 61 percent of people who working in offices listen to music while they are working. Whether you need an upbeat rhythm to plow through a slew of emails or a more laid-back track to think through a client strategy, tuning in to the right music mix can do more than help the workday go by faster. Listening to music as part of a workday is shown to not only boost productivity, but also make listeners happier.

Consider the following when making decisions between Beyoncé, Beck, Bach, or Bruno Mars:

  • After reaching out to more than 1,000 small- and medium-business owners, Music Works found that 77 percent of them said music increases staff morale.
  • Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic said it only takes a scant 15 minutes to half-hour of listening to music to regain concentration.
  • The Journal of Music Therapy reported that listening to your favorite music calms you and lowers perception of tension.

What songs are on your playlist get you prepped for the workday? From the Beastie Boys to Van Halen, my “Collab and Roll” Spotify playlist is just the right mix for me to get pumped for my next WebEx meeting or team collaboration session. Now – we want to hear from you. Tweet us and share your favorite work playlist instrumentals and songs with the WebEx community, using #MyWebExMusicMix.


Webex, the leader in video conferencing. Start your free trial today.

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Team collaboration for Small Business
5 ways to “weatherproof” your work life with team collaboration tools

From iced-over bridges to snow-covered highways, Old Man Winter has had a firm grip on most of the country recently. And while that may mean a snow day for some, for many, the work day must go on.

Thankfully, video conferencing and team collaboration tools like Webex Meetings and Webex Teams are available to keep teams connected and work moving forward. And even though snow is a rarity in San Jose, over the years, I’ve learned lots of work life “weatherproofing” tips that keep productivity up when inclement weather keeps you away from the office.

1. Morning Consistency is Key

It’s totally understandable how blustery weather would make you want to stay bundled up in your pajamas or work from your laptop in bed. But if you’re working remotely due to the weather, keeping to your morning routine as much as possible can mentally set the stage for a more productive work day.

If you normally exercise outside in the mornings, but can’t, do a quick workout in your living room to maintain your normal pre-work routine. Go to your closet and get dressed, even if you’re just going down the hallway to your home office. Whatever it is that you do to kick off your work day, do it! It will kick start your mind into work mode.

2. Keep Your Desk Ready-to-Go

Speaking of your home office, the moment you hear bad weather may keep you housebound is the time to ensure your work space is work ready. National Clean Up Your Desk Day was great inspiration for me to take a few moments to declutter my home office space. Everything is now in its place, which saves me a rush cleaning job when impromptu WebEx meetings have to happen. An added bonus? Studies show that a decluttered workspace leads to more productivity.

3. Check Your Tech

One minute before a remote meeting or video conferencing call begins is not the time to discover your technology has gone on the fritz.  If weather is keeping you housebound, you’ll need to rely on your tech tools to stay connected, so make it a habit to ensure any and all technology software and hardware you use is online and ready to go when you need it.

4. Plan B & C & D Location

If bad weather knocks your power or causes internet connectivity issues for example, having a nearby location to work from is a must.

A nearby coffee shop or even a library are just a couple of options. Wifi is often free and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee if you’re forced to travel to another location.

5. Set Expectations and Boundaries

You know when you’re working from home that you’re actually working. But does everyone else?

When bad weather keeps people who do not work remotely inside, it’s easy to see how they may not understand how you could be carrying on your work day as normal. If you have children, they’re probably home with you if the weather is bad and may not understand that yes – you have real work to do. In these instances, set boundaries and expectations early so everyone understands that even though you’re physically at home, you have to remain focused.

There is definitely something to be said about maintaining a work-life balance, so be open and communicate to your children or friends when you can chit-chat, play games or watch a movie with them.

Has bad weather kept you in the house recently? Share how you’ve been able to stay in work mode with me on Twitter @WebEx, with #WinterWork.


Don’t let the weather keep you from your work. Click here to try a 30 day free trial of Webex teams.

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rganizations big and small are thinking different about their workflows and employee engagement.
Keep your team conversations going

The weekly update. The customer presentation. The on-the-fly team meeting.  Every type of meeting has its own purpose, but how can you tackle them efficiently and effectively every time? The key is to keep the conversation going.

If you work remotely, you know this can be especially hard. When your team is spread out, you need a strategy to keep everyone connected before, during and after each meeting. And with the right tools, your projects can move forward and everyone can stay connected.

Not sure where to start? Check out our handy guide for using Cisco Spark and Cisco WebEx to keep your team collaborating, whether you’re giving a big presentation over video conference or sharing daily updates over chat.

Have your own collaboration tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Meeting place. Workspace.

Project management is all about bringing people together to get things done. But when dealing with your collaboration technology seems like a separate job in itself, moving a project forward can feel impossible.

Thankfully, Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark make the process of working together easier (and more fun). Project managers can make one space for teams to meet, collaborate and even whiteboard. That way, everyone can spend less time connecting to meetings and more time working toward the finish line together.

Ally Taylor is a project manager specializing in employee communication for IoT and apps at Cisco. In the fast-moving world of tech business, Ally has to stay on top of updates from multiple teams in real-time.  Go behind-the-scenes to see how this busy project manager rocks her work day.

 

Learn more about how Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark work together.

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Faster collaboration for global teams

When an opportunity presents itself, great teams know that collaboration is essential to bringing the best work to life. But when your team is located across the globe, staying on the same page can feel like an uphill battle.

Nate Franklin, a product marketing manager, works with an integrated global team on cutting-edge, fast-paced projects. In his Two Minute Take, Nate talks about how the right technology tools keep work-streams moving quickly, and his team’s unique culture alive.

Learn how to bring teams closer together with real-time connections through Cisco Spark and WebEx, so you can work seamlessly with people across the world.

 

Learn more about how Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark work together.

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Small changes, big productivity

If your team needs a big boost in productivity, you don’t have to overhaul all your tools to get results. Finding small changes in the way you collaborate and communicate can make a big impact.

In her Two Minute Take, technical adviser Mackenzie Guy shares simple advice on combining your collaboration apps to keep everything in one place. Instead of spending time learning new skills or replacing entire systems, your team can focus on work and let the app do the heavy-lifting.

A few simple tweaks can go a long way when it comes to productivity. Cisco Spark lets you keep what works, and unify your collaboration experience.

 

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