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A broadcasters How to Guide to live stream Webex

Learn more about the broadcasting world, with step by step guides to stream Grid View, Overlays and to simultaneously stream to YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook with Webex.

Webex stream to YouTube.

Do you listen to podcasts? Watch YouTube or even Twitch? Then let me take you behind the scenes into the world of the tools used in live streaming. In this article, you will learn how to use the video meetings application, Webex, and set up virtual backgrounds, live stream in grid view, add overlays, and even stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. There are more things to learn when it comes to streaming, but this article is meant to get you comfortable with live streaming as a broadcaster. If you want to learn the simple way to live stream, check out this blog.

Below is a diagram of the various streaming workflows and applications you can use to achieve the broadcast of your choice. This guide is broken down into three sections: Live Speaker Overview & Setup, Broadcast Software Setup, and Streaming Platform Setup. Each section will go over the installation and configuration process to set up your live broadcast.

Live streaming tools and application workflow.

If you are new to streaming, check out this blog first on how to plan and set up your first Webex live stream.

Overview: Broadcast & streaming platform features

There are many other applications out there that can achieve your use case. This guide is not meant to be the ultimate solution, but more of a way to get your feet wet on streaming. Once you have decided what you want your broadcast to look like and how you want to stream it, this feature matrix helps break down various broadcasting software features from VBrick, REC.VC, OBS, and Restream.


Streaming Tools Feature Breakdown.

Section Topics
1. User 1 — Host: Install OBS, Loopback; Webex Tips & Tricks
2. User 2+ — Panelists and Virtual Background

Participant practice session. Webex Desk Pro (right) and Webex DX80 (left).

We will now break down the first column of the live streaming workflow. This section will go over OBS, Loopback, and Webex tips and tricks for the host and also tools that panelists can use for virtual backgrounds.

1. User 1 — Host: install OBS, loopback; Webex tips & tricks

You can refer User 1 as part of the studio crew or the video producer. They have three main tasks. They are to run OBS, Loopback, and manage the Webex panelists. The Webex host won’t participate in the video feed. This user will only manage the panelists, push users in and out of the Lobby, remove the floating icons, mute users, and pin the main video users in the grid view. Below is a short list of things the Host has to do.

Install OBS
To minimize Murphy’s law, make User 1, the dedicated machine to run OBS or Open Broadcaster SoftwareUser 1 will have a dedicated laptop to stream to the various platforms like YouTube. This must be a very high-end device as it will be streaming 1080p, which can max out its x264 encoder or GPU. Without a good laptop or machine, there can be a huge impact on the system, causing the framerates of your video to suffer and making the whole experience unenjoyable for the viewer. This software will provide the Grid View, or some would like to say Hollywood Squares or the Brady Bunch view. Basically, OBS is your desktop screen capture application that will send a stream out to your platform of choice. The Broadcast Software section will go over the setup process of OBS.

Install Loopback
Next, install Loopback from Rogue Amoeba. This is not a free application and it is a Mac app that reroutes audio from one piece of hardware or software to another. It’s best to think of it as a software pipe that pretends it has a hardware device on each end: audio input on one and audio output on the other. This application will be used to reroute audio from Webex to OBS. I also use this to also stream Spotify into the meeting and use my Cisco Headset 730 to monitor the session. We will go over the setup of this in the next section. Note: There’s a lot of other free virtual audio drivers out there, and for non-Mac users, you can use VB Cable or Virtual Audio Cable.

Webex Tips & Tricks
There are a lot of things to think about now that you are a broadcaster. A few things to be aware of:
CPU – 
Shut down unnecessary applications as OBS will consume a lot of CPU resources especially if you don’t have a dedicated GPU on your machine. It’s best to use devices with an NVENC H.264 New (GPU Encoding for Nvidia Graphics Cards) or an AMD H.264 (GPU Encoding for AMD GPUs).
LAN – 
Avoid WiFi. Hardwire if necessary as this is a live stream.
Disable VPN – You want to remove as much latency as possible.

Improve and control your meeting experience. Follow these steps to set up your stream. Here, you want to Mute users joining your meeting and disable sharing in the event someone accidentally shares their desktop. Once you have your Webex Meeting desktop application open, proceed with these settings.

Step 1: Go to Participant -> Mute on Entry and enable it and also de-select “Anyone Can Share.

Enable Mute on Entry & Uncheck Anyone Can Share.

Step 2: Go to View -> Show or Hide Meeting Controls. You want to enable this. In the following picture, you’ll see the meeting controls. You want to hide that during your broadcast.

Uncheck to Hide the Meetings Controls.

Step 3: Understand the Host Lobby feature. Here as you can have speakers rotate in and out of your call and you can control who is showing up on the video grid by pushing them into the Lobby.

Waiting in the Lobby function.

You can also move people into the lobby once they are done speaking by right-clicking on the participant name.

Move to the Lobby feature.

Step 5. Leave the Host “Un-muted” in Webex. If you do not, then no audio will pass through OBS and to the other panelists. Also, you don’t have to worry about any noise being picked up as the physical microphone is not connected to the virtual driver.

Unmute & Lock this thumbnail setting.

Step 6. As you hover your mouse over the participant, you can select “Lock this thumbnail video on a specific participant.” This option can lock the video focus of the main video on a specific participant, or the active speaker. Pins can help you determine whose video you and your participants see.

TIP: If you will be moving people in and out constantly or doing any of the above, then the Host privilege should be passed to another participant and you would leave Webex in full window mode for the OBS setup.

2. User 2+ — Panelists and virtual background

For your other users speaking on the live stream, the best hardware to use is a dedicated video device. I prefer using a Webex Room USB or what I’m using is a Webex Desk Pro as my dedicated SIP endpoint. It’s a 4K display that has a 12 MP HD camera, 71-degree field of view, 8 element microphone array with audio fencing with low audio latency, auto-framing, auto-focus, 3.1 directional speaker array, and overall fewer points of failures since I don’t need other external devices like hardware switchers, encoders, O/S and other applications running in the background found on a PC. Basically, think of the Desk Pro and Room USB device as a high-end dedicated webcam with a ton of advanced features. If you are using a laptop, make sure you have a headset. I have a Cisco Headset 730. It is boom less design coupled with adaptive noise cancellation and background noise reduction. If you don’t have a nice high-end headset, then a regular mobile headset can work very well too.

Virtual Backgrounds, Chroma Key: For your panelists’ that do not have access to a premium video conference unit, then a basic webcam or DSLR would work as well. With the USB functionality, you can use OBS Chroma Key, Manycam, or Snapchat’s Snap Camera to provide virtual backgrounds. These are some of the many applications that are out there, but this article won’t go into a deep dive into this.

Webex Desk Pro with Virtual Backgrounds.

TIP: Note that when you’re live streaming using a software encoder, you’re already putting the computer’s CPU at additional load. Most virtual background software apps require extremely beefy CPUs like a quad-core 4th-gen Core i7 or 3GHz processors with 8 cores or more. In this article, I have my Cisco Webex Desk Pro with the built-in background filters for my stream. It won’t consume any CPU cycles on my laptop since all the work is done on the endpoints NVidia GPU chipset.

Manycam

Manycam is a live-streaming service and a program that allows users to use their webcam with multiple different video conferencing applications and video streaming applications simultaneously for Windows and Mac computers. In this article, I will just focus on the virtual background setup.

NOTE: With one of the latest Webex Desktop updates, a new “hardened” security compilation method on OS X was put in place so that only libraries that are signed by Cisco or Apple are loaded. This applies not only to Manycam but other third-party applications such as CamTwist, Ecamm, CameraLive, EpocCam, Snap Camera, etc. Since they are from third parties, the Webex Desktop app (for Meetings and Events) will not allow them to load. The way to bypass this is to use the browser version for Webex Meetings.

Step 1. Open Manycam and go to Presets and Add a Video Source -> Webcam
Step 2: Go to Chroma Key -> (Toggle On) Virtual Background -> Blur or Replace to select your background in the drop-down window.

Background blur and Virtual background features.

Step 3: Open your browser. Since I’m using chrome, so go to the toolbar and enter -> chrome://settings/content/camera and select ManyCam Virtual Webcam

Google Chrome camera settings.

Step 4: Open up Webex in browser mode. Once you have set that up, you will now see the Manycam Virtual camera video sent to Webex Meetings.

Webex Meetings, browser mode with Manycam virtual background.

Section Topics
1. Admin — Webex Control Hub setup
2. Webex Direct Stream to YouTube
3. Loopback Audio Setup
4. Broadcasting Specs & OBS Setup
5. OBS: Audio
6. Audio Check
7. OBS: Grid View
8. OBS: Overlay
9. OBS: Direct Stream to YouTube

This section will be about User 1, the Host, as that machine will handle these configurations below. This section also demonstrates the “Direct Stream” YouTube use case and using OBS.

1. Admin — Webex Control Hub setup

Webex Control Hub: With the video hardware in place, your Webex admin needs to enable the RTMP streaming services in the Webex Control Hub.

Enable Common Platform Settings and End-User Settings. (Gif)
  • Go to the Webex Meeting Sites -> Common Settings and then check off the services you want. Personally, I like to enable everything to give the user all the options. Here you can enable IBM Video Streaming, Facebook Live, VBrick Rev, and “Other Streaming Services” which is the RTMP option for YouTube, Periscope, and Facebook Workplace.
  • Next, you have to enable Live Streaming for the End User. Go to “User” and the person you want the service enabled for and click on “Cisco Webex Meetings.”
  • Next, click on “Advanced User Settings and Tracking Codes
  • Once here, click on “Enable Live Streaming

End-User Streaming Test: Once the admin settings are completed, you can go test it out. Note that this is a “Direct Stream” setup.

Starting a live stream. (Gif)
  • Start Webex Meetings and then go to “Start Live Streaming.”
  • Then go to the streaming service you want to use. Here we will stream to YouTube which is found on “Other streaming services.”
  • Finally, add the streaming service information in the fields below. The next section will outline how to stream to YouTube and what data to enter in the fields. We will come back to this section later.

2. Webex direct stream to YouTube

The YouTube Live module can be used to broadcast to both desktop and mobile devices. This section shows how to obtain the Stream Name and Stream URL from YouTube Live as well as set up the Custom RTMP account. Note that if this is your first time doing a YouTube live stream, your account may take up to 24 hours to be approved and provisioned.

  • First, go to studio.youtube.com -> Create -> Go live
  • Go to Stream -> New Stream -> Create Stream. Make sure to enter the appropriate information such as Title, Description, Public or Private, and other options for your use case. For this exercise, we will pick Private to test the broadcast. Once you click Create Event, YouTube saves the changes and you’re almost ready to stream.

YouTube Studio New stream setup.
  • Next, you will copy the YouTube RTMP information and go back into the Webex Streaming Meeting fields. Remember that the Stream Key is a “key.” Keep it private.
  • Copy YouTube: Stream Key -> Paste into Webex: Target stream key
  • Copy YouTube: Stream URL -> Paste into Webex: Target stream link

API Key from YouTube to Webex.
  • Everything is now configured. You’re almost there. It’s now time to make sure that YouTube is receiving your live stream and that everything looks how you expect.

Preview the Live Stream: The YouTube Live Studio Event page is the best place to preview your video to see how it will appear when you go live. Note that the video preview is not available immediately after the stream is started. Depending on network bandwidth, it might take a few seconds to a few minutes after starting the stream until YouTube indicates that the stream signal is being received. Refresh the page at intervals to check.

  • When YouTube says the signal is Good, you know Webex is sending your video stream to YouTube.
  • Click Preview to prepare your stream for preview on the Live Control Room page; YouTube processes the stream for a moment.
  • Press play in the preview player to begin to play the event preview.

  • That’s it. You started your first stream! Just double-check and verify the “Stream Status” section for any problems or warnings. You can see that the live stream also includes a “via Cisco Webex” overlay in the top left corner.

3. Loopback audio setup

Now on to setup Loopback which will be used to bridge the audio from Webex to OBS. From this section forward, you want to make sure Webex is running.

Step 1: Make sure the Webex Meetings application is open. Then add the Cisco Webex Meetings app by clicking on the “+” icon in the Sources area.

Step 2: Edit the driver’s name by clicking on the pencil or edit icon. Here, I named it “Webex Live Stream Audio” and this will be exposed into the systems device drivers as this name. Note, going forward I will call Webex Live Stream audio, WLSA going forward.

Add a Virtual Driver name and add Webex as a Source.

Step 3: Once the Meetings app is added, click the down arrow and un-check “Mute when capturing”.

Step 4. Then go to your Mac. System Preferences -> Sound -> “Input” as well as “Output”. You will now see “Webex Live Stream Audio”. Make sure to select this for both.

TIP: Webex is optimized for speaking. If there is any other noise like a guitar or music, Webex will think it is background noise and will try to remove it. So if you want to stream from Spotify, just stream a podcast.

4. Broadcasting specs & OBS setup

OBS is a switcher, compositor, and renderer. There are OBS plugins that do a ton of cool stuff with the right support applications and has a steep learning curve. What I’ll share is just a tip of the iceberg of what OBS can do, but for now, we will just stick to a big use case, which is the audio setup, overlay and grid view.

First, to have a stable stream and avoid dropped frames, the information below will help you choose your encoding, resolution, bitrate, and framerate settings. These tweaks will provide the right balance live stream, internet speed, and your computer’s hardware. Here is a great article on the OBS forum with their Stream Bit Rate Calculator that you can calculate for your own broadcast.

OBS Stream Bit Rate Calculator.

I used a 2017 Macbook Pro, 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel i7 for this setup. Based on my Speedtest results and x264 specs. This is what I entered into OBS.

Step 1. Go to Settings -> Output Mode -> Advanced:

Enforce streaming service encoder settings: Un-check
Rescale Output: Un-check
Rate Control:
 CBR
Bitrate: 4000 kbps
Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds
Preset: Ultrafast
Profile: Main

OBS Output streaming settings.

Step 2Go to Settings -> Video:

Resolution: 1280×720
Downscale Filter: Lanczos
Framerate:
30 fps

Video Settings.

5. OBS: Audio

Now that Loopback’s drivers are installed, let’s now configure OBS.

Step 1: Open OBS and go to Settings. By default, OBS isn’t in Studio Mode. This is the view you are seeing below. You will have two screens. The right screen will be the active scene for your Webex meeting. The left screen shows a preview of the editable scene. There is a Transition button in between the two screens. You can choose the Transition button to edit a scene before you show it to your audience.

OBS in Studio Mode & Settings button.

Step 2. Select WLSA at: Audio -> Devices -> Mic/Auxillary Audio -> Webex Live Stream Audio and Advanced -> Monitoring Device -> Webex Live Stream Audio.

6. Audio check

With Webex running, make sure you set the Speaker and Microphone to WLSA.

Webex audio settings.

To close out the audio setup. Remember that there at least four different applications to configure to make sure that audio from Webex is streamed to OBS and to YouTube.

7. OBS: Grid view

Let’s now set up OBS to capture Webex Grid View.

Step 1: Once we add users to the call, we can enable Grid View in Webex Meetings.

Grid View toggle.

Grid View in 2×2 format.

With Webex now showing grid view, you need to open and configure OBS to stream this format out.

Step 2: Open OBS.
Step 3: Go to Sources, click the “+” button, and select “Display Capture” and create a Name if you like and click “OK.” Note that using the “Display Capture” which provides the best streaming results with minimal latency vs. the“Window Capture” option in OBS.
Step 4: Select the Display where Webex is on. I have a dual-screen setup so I select Display “0”.
Step 5: Go to Crop -> and select “To Window”.
Step 6: Next go to Window -> look for “Window: [Cisco Webex Meetings]” and select OK. You can now see that OBS is only capturing Webex and there is a red box on the black screen. The black screen is the area that will be captured and sent to your streaming platform.

Display Capture settings.

Step 7: With OBS open and now with users and the screen resized, you can see that it is capturing my desktop. On the left side is Webex Meetings and the Participants list open shown by the red arrow in Figure 1 below.
Step 8: In the OBS picture below, you can drag the window you want to broadcast by selecting the red borderlines in the right picture in Figure 1.

In Figure 1, you will see OBS only capturing the grid view. Obviously, you don’t want to share the Participants list. You will see with the red arrow that the rest of the Webex Meetings window isn’t being, meaning it won’t be part of the broadcast. This enables you as a host, to control the participants during your live stream. Overall, you just want to share the video.

Figure 1: Webex Meetings being captured in real-time in the OBS in Window Capture view.

Tip: Depending on your setup, you can change your video layout and learn to use the “Fit to Screen” option. To access this feature, Right-click window you want to select and go to “Transform” -> “Fit to screen.”

8. OBS: Overlay

  • To set up an overlay or watermark image. Go to Scene -> “+” icon -> and give it a name like “Live Stream
  • Next, we will add an image. For this example, I will use a “via Cisco Webex” overlay.
  • Go over to the next box, Source -> “+” icon -> Create New -> and give it an image name.
  • Next, you can resize and move your overlay to where you want it to appear on OBX for the live stream. Here, I placed the logo in the top left corner.

Scene Setup, Source Overlay, and image resize. (Gif)

Step 3: Make sure to bring the image to the front. Right-click on the image by going to “Order” -> “Move Up.

Overlay image “move up” feature.

Once complete, you can now see the overlay with Webex Grid View.

Grid View + Overlay.

9. OBS: Direct stream to YouTubeStep

Step 1. Finally, enter your YouTube API Key and click OK.

OBS Stream Settings for YouTube.

Viola! Congratulations on your first Grid view with an overlay live stream. Click “Start Stream” to begin streaming!

YouTube Studio Live Stream.

TIP: To ensure a smooth stream, check the stats in OBS to make sure there are no dropped frames. Go to: View -> Stats.

You will want Dropped Frames to be at 0%, this is the number of frames that you have dropped total. If frames are dropping that typically means you are over tasking your computer or internet. If you’re dropping frames, you can try setting your “CPU Preset” in OBS’ Output settings to something faster.

You will want to keep your CPU to be less than 80%. If this reaches 100% it can result in dropped frames. You can try setting your “CPU Preset” in OBS’ Output settings to something faster if this is an issue.

There are several articles online that can help you tweak these settings.

OBS Stats.

Section Topics
1. REC.VC: Grid View & Single Stream
2. Restream.io: OBS & Multi-stream

This section will cover streaming using REC.VCOBS, and OBS with Restream. As mentioned before, each application purpose based on your use case.

1. REC.VC: Grid view & single stream

The platform from MNS.VC is the simplest and quickest way to stream up to a 5×4 layout directly from Webex Meetings and even Webex Events. This can be hosted privately on REC.VC or publicly live-streamed to third-party RTMP destinations including Facebook, Workplace, and YouTube.

REC.VC captures the video, audio, and content by being a SIP/H.323 video participants in the Webex session. How does this look like? Take, for example, seven people are in a meeting with REC.VC. From your endpoint, you will only see 6 people and not yourself (unless you activate self-view). It is the same with REC.VC, it is just another endpoint receiving the video composition from Webex, excluding itself. Below is an example of the formats you can achieve.

Credit: MNS.VC — WebexGrid View layout examples.

Step 1: Sign up for a 14-day trial here.

Step 2: In the REC.VC user interface, enter your video address (SIP or H.323 URI) of the meeting. In the PIN field, enter the PIN with the format you want. The video composition can be preconfigured to one of the other Webex Video Layouts.

Step 3: Go to Source -> Video Conference.

Step 4: Toggle “Stream” to “On

Step 5: Enter the RTMP URL from YouTube.

Step 6: Go to studio.youtube.com and find your RTMP stream URL and Stream Key and copy them into the RTMP URL of REC.VC.

REC.VC RTMP setup.

Step 7: Enter the video address (SIP/H.323 URI) in the Source Address.

REC.VC Source & PIN configuration.

Step 8: Figure out your streaming format. Enter the PIN for the layout you want to achieve.

REC.VC PIN format.

Video layout setup via PIN codes.

Step 9: Click on the STREAM button.

Step 10: Go back to YouTube to check your steam. You will have to wait a few seconds to see it start.

The video layouts covered in this post is when content is not shared in the video meeting. If you want to share content, you can learn more here.

Finally, if you want to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously, that is possible with REC.VC by just adding another REC.VC SIP participant in the meeting.

TIP: For those with a dedicated Webex Rooms device, check out this cool live stream, One-Button-to-Push Macro from MNS.VC that uses a Touch10 to start a YouTube broadcast.

2. Restream.io: OBS & multi-stream

Restream is another cloud application that allows you to broadcast Webex on as many streaming platforms as you want simultaneously, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. Once you have everything in Section II set up, you can now begin this multi-stream.

Step 1: Sign up for a Restream.io account.

Step 2: Set up the streaming platforms you want. You will have to authenticate to these services.

Restream integrations.

Step 3: Once you enable the streams you want. You will also copy the Stream Key and paste it into OBS.

Step 4: Open OBS and go to Settings -> Stream -> Restream.io — RTMP and Paste the key and click OK.

OBS & Restream.io stream key setup.

Step 5: Once you are back at the main OBS Studio window, go to Start Streaming to begin your stream.

Start Streaming with OBS.

Now you’re all set! Your stream is seamlessly delivered to all your connected platforms.

Below you will see all the applications working together to stream to YouTube. Congratulations and welcome to the world of broadcasting!

Studio Dashboard: The final product stream to YouTube.

Conclusion

Don’t be overwhelmed. You can do this! Just practice and experiment. Once you have all this configured and setup, to execute another live stream only takes <5 minutes. Streaming can be confusing at first, but it’s not as hard to learn. These techniques can add some variety and creativity to your live stream and these are just the basics. It doesn’t have to be expensive and too difficult to set up, although every bit of effort you put in will show in the final product.

Happy streaming!

If you have questions, leave a comment. If you find this article helpful, please follow me on here and share this blog! 👍🏼

🐦 Twitter: @joshreola


Community Support

Have additional questions or want to learn more about Webex? Join the Webex Ambassador Community on Webex Teams and sign up as a Candidate and be a part of a global community of over 2,700 champions.


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

While Austin is known for its Tex-Mex and BBQ, next week, the tech industry descends on the Texas capital for the best brain food on the tech conference circuit, the South By South West (SXSW) festival.  SXSW spans 10 days and nights from March 8–17, with approximately 432,500 people from over 102 countries participating in the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Events. SXSW Interactive is deemed the World’s largest gathering of creative professionals with 4,967 conference speakers and 2,147 conference sessions.

South By, as it’s affectionately known, was where Twitter famously launched its early beta version.  Tech launches at SXSW included Foursquare in 2009, Gowalla in 2009, Highlight in 2012, Meerkat in 2015 and while “Uber didn’t launch at SXSW, according to Fast Company, it was conceived here”.  Interactive even hosted speakers such as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg,  Tim Ferris, former President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban, Braaam Cohen, Biz Stone, and several worldwide tech leaders.

During the Interactive Festival part of SXSW, innovative companies from all over the world meet, market their innovations, attend pitch sessions, learn from a huge variety of events, and make critical connections. 2016 was the first time the Cisco Collaboration BU supported an event at Capital Factory, the epicenter and heart of showcasing SXSW tech during Interactive. This year, Cisco Webex, Meraki, and DevNet have been working on several projects to bring together an Innovative Center of Cisco Technologies.

Cognitive collaboration is about pairing intelligent workspaces with intelligent workstreams to deliver a heightened and more profitable experience for employees and customers. The Future of Work Experience Center at Capital Factory is designed to be an innovative, world-class effort to showcase Austin tech startups, Cisco Webex technologies, and other disruptive hardware and software partners. You will learn a range of skills including, how you can improve finding a meeting, video translation services, room booking, and analytics tracking with IOT and other sensor technology at this venue.

We will showcase the power of Cognitive Collaboration and innovation with the new features of Webex Meetings, Teams and Devices and Webex ISVs all working together! You will see products like the Room Kit Mini, Webex Share, Webex Board 70”, Room Kit Pro & Plus with Webex Teams, Meetings demos and our top ISV’s as well as Meraki and Kinetic.

Attending Cisco Partner Demos:

Mio – Slack, Microsoft Teams and Webex Teams interop platform
LG – World’s best-selling brand for OLED TVs
Appspace – Digital Signage and Room Booking
Vyopta – Collaboration Monitoring and Analytics
Disruptive Technologies – World’s smallest IOT sensor
Voicea – AI enabled voice first and note-taking assistant
Phunware – Location Based Services, API & SDK’s
Room Ready – Boutique Cisco Video & A/V integrator for Nike and other major companies

We are a few days away from SXSW Interactive and showcasing “The Future of Work Experience Center” at Capital Factory, in Austin, Texas. If you are going to SXSW or know of someone going, please tell them to stop by. We hope to see you there!

Register here:
https://futureofwork-webex.eventbrite.com?discount=WEBEX@SXSW2019

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Welcome 2019 Webex Masters
Welcome 2019 Webex Masters

Today, 53 exemplary community leaders around the world were notified that they have received the Webex Masters Award!

Launched at Cisco Live Barcelona in 2018, the Webex Masters pilot class was designed to join together and recognize a community of leaders who have demonstrated their deep commitment to helping others make the most of collaboration technology. They voluntarily share their passion and real-world knowledge of Webex products, often spending many hours answering questions on online forums, and creating books, online blogs, and videos.

What are some benefits of becoming a Webex Master?

* Webex Masters Certificate
* Biography added to the Ambassador Master Directory
* EFT & roadmap access
* Exclusive meetings with Collab Leadership
* Flights, hotels and passes to Cisco Live
* Priority access to Cisco Events
* Access to Product Managers, UX, TAC, Marketing and Sales leadership
* Free Cisco devices
* Swag

While there are more than 2,500 Webex Ambassadors, Masters are nominated by Cisco peers and other community individuals, and in some cases, self-nominated. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions from the previous year. If you want to learn more about being a Webex Master, visit: https://ambassador.webex.com/ and let us know if you have any questions.



Congratulations to the 2019 Masters

New Webex Masters

Jordan Eliason
Sean Barr
Stoyan Stoitsev
Josh Miller
James Milligan
Jonathan George
Nick Mueller
Chad Elford
James Koniecki
Tim Cappel
David Thorson
Tom Leinos
Karen Langendries
Jean Luc Darbonnel
Aaron McArdle
Jon Snipes
Graham Robinson
Scott Murphy
Darren Parkinson
Manu Narayan
Ladislav Michalek
Darren Flynn
Chris Koelling
Kelly Eickelman
Deepak Mehta
Richard Myer
Laura Hamill
Matt Gilmore
Andrew Overeem
Jason Dave
Christopher Connolly
Brad Shafton
Thomas Ellis
Brian Kachel
David Arnold
Antoine Pillyser
Chris Norman
Mike Tanguay
Steve Greenberg
Justin Jordan
Ed Pham
Loris Impinna
Chris Toh
Dr. Lance Ford
RBBS Telecom
LookingPoint
Frink Advanced Services
Presidio
EOS
MeetingZone
CDW
TATA
NTT/Dimension Data
WWT
AVI-SPL
ATEA
West.com
Orange
RoomReady
Rove
Data3
ITGL
Natilik
Blackline Systems
Merck
Symantec
Keurig Dr Pepper
Kohls
Royal Bank of Canada
Metlife
Oakland Schools
Cbrands
Stericycle
Abelson Taylor
Anthem
Hologic
Liberty EDU
Premier Research
University of Wollongong Australia
OVH
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Returning Webex Masters

Richard Bugbee
Oren Alexandroni
Alex Williams
Darryl Edwards
Mike Pearce
Florian Goessmann
Nikki Roberts
Matt Spool
Tony Cuevas
Ben Johnson
Chris Capasso
Sankar Nair
Joshua Sillers
Jacob Munson
George Thomas
Thomas Vidgar
George Chongris
Charter
Double Verify
Kohls
BHP
Blizzard
Curtin University
Akamai
Presidio
Liberty Tech
Liberty Tech
Data Serv Tech
CDW
Orange
GDT
Tata Communications
Data Ductus
Presidio

 


 

 

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team collaboration on the go
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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The best Webex moments of 2017

Being knee-deep into the holiday season means another banner year for WebEx is in the books and coming to a close, folks! There is no time like the present to reflect on how we spent the year helping you to keep business moving forward, uniting your global teams and even earning an accolade or two in the midst of it all.

Before we break out in “Auld Lang Syne,” here’s a look back at some of the best WebEx moments from 2017.

 Take Two Minutes with Us

Our “Two Minute Take” video series gave everyone an all-access pass behind the scenes as Cisco team members got candid on their busy work lives and how the dynamic duo of WebEx Meeting Center and Cisco Spark help them balance their time, meetings and more.

From keeping project manager Ally on task and in touch with her remote team to helping inside sales manager James stay in-the-know when he’s on the go or halfway around the world doing charity work, the series provided an insider’s guide at staying productive while living your “real” real life.

Be sure to check out sales engineer McKenzie talking all things productivity and product marketing manager Nate outlining how WebEx Meeting Center and CiscoSpark keep his team’s unique culture going.

Upgrade Your Remote Business with Influencive

Though brick and mortar offices still exist, the business landscape is taking on a more digital look as more entrepreneurs tap technology to establish and grow their brands. That made 2017 the perfect time for Cisco WebEx to form a ground-breaking partnership with Influencive and its founder, entrepreneurial rock-star expert Brian D. Evans.

Through the partnership, Brian and his team shared their tried-and-true insight into the unique challenges of conducting business for social entrepreneurs and elevating these tech-based businesses to new heights.

Get Smart with Impactful Webinars

This year, we were ecstatic to connect the WebEx community with some of the industry’s most impactful and innovative thinkers on all things digital, data and business growth with our webinar series.

  • The Presentation Company’s Janine Kurnoff shared best practices on using data visualization to tell more compelling stories.
  • Striving to “solve the world’s biggest problem” of untapped human potential, Evan Carmichael guided participants on a journey to nail down their personal motto for finding success in 2017.
  • Author Jacob Morgan challenged us to think differently about employee engagement, and gave us essential tips for building an “experiential organization” to create new business value.

Once Again, Kudos from Gartner

This year marked the 9th time Cisco was designated as a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions!

Thanks to its Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx and Cisco Meeting Server offerings, Cisco was positioned in the highest and furthest positions for its “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision” for meeting solutions.

WebEx + Cisco Spark = BFF

This year we celebrated #NationalBestFriendsDay with our number one pal, Cisco Spark! We go together like peanut butter and jelly, coffee and donuts, burgers and fries, meetings and messaging. There is a lot more in store for Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark in 2018 that we can’t wait to share, so stick with us. Until then, Happy New Year!

 

 

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