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Conferencing devices, Webex Board
New release of Webex RoomOs: The latest on Webex Board

In my last blog, I promised a much richer release. Well, here you have it! The newest Room OS release is very focused on the Webex Board. We are working on some interesting material, particularly for the end-user. Firstly, we have released an end-user guide, highlighting the simplicity of the Cisco Webex Board experience. Following this, we will have videos showcasing how teams collaborate using the Webex Board, which will have everything you need to cover all your creative and collaboration needs with conference equipment in huddle spaces to the boardroom. The timeframe for the release of these assets will be coming in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

When it comes to features, we have a good line-up:

I’ll start announcing the availability of Webex Board for on-premises deployments. I know, this blog is about Room OS and the Cloud, but I think it’s something important to talk about, and shows how important this product is to us.

When registered on-premises, the Webex Board still has everything you need in order to collaborate effectively with your team.

First, it’s still an all-in-one device that lets you:

  • Share your presentations and documents wirelessly
  • Create, draw and digitally whiteboard on a blank canvas, or annotate on any screen capture or document. You then have the option to the share the content via email
  • Have video conferences

We believe in building bridges and not islands, so if a customer is comfortable staying on-premises, they now have that deployment option and when the journey to the cloud is desired, we offer a seamless transition.

One of the features you’ll love on the  Webex Board in the cloud is digital signage. Digital signage is a way to have custom information on the screen by using a web engine, which basically means that as long as the information is on a web page, you should be able to show it in the real state of your Webex devices. That’s right, this feature is not unique to the Webex Board. It also works on the Room series, with the difference that on the Webex Board – the experience is interactive. The signage will show up during half-wake, and an admin decides which page or pages to show.

Virtual assistants are in vogue, and we have our own. Webex Assistant allows users to control our Webex devices with their voices. The idea is simple – instead of reaching out to touch the Webex Board to interact with the device, you can just instruct the device to start sharing by saying: “Ok Webex, start sharing.” The Board is the last of the Webex devices to get this feature – and the list over possible commands is growing quickly.

You read above that you can use voice commands to avoid having to stand up to interact with the Webex Board. Another really convenient option we are introducing from the Board – completely eliminating the need to stand up and walk up to it, is Touch 10 support.. The Touch 10 has to be remotely paired with the Board since the Board doesn’t have a physical port to connect it to, but once you have the Touch 10 paired, you can answer those calls without having to leave your seat.

Following the work we have done with the Touch 10, we also added support for macros and customizations. Now, using a familiar workflow, , you can create macros and in-room controls for the Webex Board. We are always adding more APIs and better ways to interact with them – for example this time we have added HTTP get & post clients.

Until now, the physical Webex Board screen was all the space you could draw and annotate on.. In this release, we added the possibility of having an infinite whiteboard. You can keep drawing and drawing, Just swipe three fingers in any direction and keep drawing – the pinch and zoom and or out to get an overview of what you’ve just drawn.

If you’re not using Webex Teams, but still want to be able to save your annotations, we have now made it possible to save it as a PDF file and send it to any email address.. In this case, an administrator will configure the Webex Board with an SMTP server that will allow anyone using the Board to save their work by sending an email to himself, or any participant in the meeting.

We also have some exciting features for the rest of the Webex device portfolio this month. video on/off is now not only available on the Board – but also on the rest of the Webex video devices. Many customers know of this feature as “video mute”, and it gives more control over the user’s privacy by allowing them to turn off the video with the press of a button. We encourage the use of video, but from time to time we understand that it can make sense to stop the video to avoid unwanted interruptions – like in this case (Funny video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY).

Around a half a year ago, we introduced the Room Kit Mini with the possibility of connecting the device to a USB-C port of a laptop and using it as a USB camera/speaker/mic. In this release, we are improving the behavior of this feature by setting the “do not disturb (DND)” mode on, just when the soft client starts to actually stream something to the device. Otherwise, the device is still available for regular calls, even if the USB-C cable is connected.

Lastly, we are not forgetting our admin friends, and we also have a feature for them. Up until now, in order to activate a Webex device, you had to enter a 12-digit code on the device’s interface, which meant that someone had to be in front of the device to do this job. When we designed this workflow, we designed it with ease of use in mind.Anyone could register a deviceby entering 12 digits, and an admin could send literally anyone to do that part of the job. Now we are allowing admins to actually do it themselves over the network, either with an API or through the web interface of the device. And of course, having an API means we now have ways to script this task, or open for new activation possibilities in the future.

I hope this was as good of a month for you as it was for us. Keep sending us your feedback, and stay tuned for the next post!

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Webex Assistant
Meet Cisco Webex Assistant, the voice assistant for work

Here at Webex, we’re working on some innovative features to help make your online meeting experiences more intelligent and intuitive than ever, with the assistance of AI and machine learning.

We’re excited to share that one of these features, Webex Assistant, is now available for users with compatible Webex devices. You can now join video conferencing meetings by entering a room, make calls with your voice, and much more with hands-free help from the voice assistant for work.

Let’s walk through how this works.

Join a meeting with a few simple words.

Short on time? Just say “OK Webex, start the meeting” and you’re in. Need to quickly hop into a Personal Room? It’s as easy as saying “OK Webex, join my Personal Room” or “OK Webex,  join Amy’s Personal Room.”

Manage meetings from anywhere in the room.

We’ve all been there—you’re in the middle of an important meeting and lose your train of thought as you search for the right button. With just a few words Webex Assistant can help with a variety of tasks like sharing your screen, starting a recording or ending the meeting, so you can get back on track in no time.

Make hands-free calls.

Call anyone in your company’s directory by using their name—for example, “OK Webex, call Jane Jones.” You can also accept and reject incoming calls or ask Webex Assistant to dial a number without lifting a finger.

Control your device.

Easily adjust the volume, mute the microphone, or show or hide the self-view on your Webex device with simple voice commands.

To get started with Webex Assistant, locate a conference room with a supported Webex device and say the wake word “OK Webex,” followed by a command from our ever-expanding list of spoken instructions.

Here are a few more examples of tasks Webex Assistant can help you with:

Meetings
“Start the meeting”
“Record the meeting”
“End the meeting”

Calls
“Call John Smith”
“Answer the call”
“End the call”

Personal Rooms
“Join my Personal Room”
“Join Mary’s Personal Room”

Devices
“Turn up the volume”
“Lower the volume to 50%”
“Mute me”

Room calendar
“Is this room available now?”
“Is this room available at 4pm?”
“Show me the schedule of this room”

General questions and help
“What time is it?”
“What’s the name of this room?”
“What can you do?”

Webex Assistant is currently available on cloud-connected Webex Room Series devices, with more devices coming soon. Check out the Webex Assistant adoption toolkit to get started.


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? See our current job openings.

 

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