Categories: Hybrid Work Innovation Video Conferencing

Launching new innovations for the era of hybrid work

During the pandemic, many organizations found themselves taking shortcuts and making choices that were “good enough” in order to support the sudden shift to remote work. As a result, many ended up settling for solutions that don’t meet their needs in this new era of hybrid work. At Webex, we never settle for good enough. That’s why today we’re announcing the all-new Webex Suite, packed with best-of-breed capabilities our customers know and love, including world-class meetings, messaging, and cloud calling. And we’re leveling up the power of the Webex Suite to include additional features like interactive polling and comprehensive events management. Because all of these hybrid work solutions are integrated in one comprehensive suite, there’s no need to purchase additional tools or solutions. The Webex Suite supports all your hybrid work needs at up to 40 percent less than you would pay a la carte.

5 Innovative characteristics for hybrid work

We have identified five key characteristics for the era of hybrid work that every organization should consider. You will find them in all the latest innovations we’re bringing to market in the new Webex Suite- the best-of-breed hybrid work solution.

1. Inclusive: Your solution should be inclusive and provide equal experiences for everyone.

One of the biggest hybrid work concerns we hear from customers is, how do we ensure everyone feels included, has a voice, and has an equal experience? Everyone needs the ability to participate fully and be seen and heard in the new hybrid world.

In December we introduced real-time translations from English to more than 100 languages, giving users the ability to create a more meaningful Webex experience by participating in the language of their choice. Recognizing that many users are not native English speakers, today we’re expanding real-time translation and transcription to include 11 other spoken languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, German and Italian. We want to ensure your Webex experience is the very best, no matter what language is spoken.

With the acquisition of BabbleLabs last October, we were able to deliver intelligent background noise removal and empower everyone to sound professional, no matter how many kids or sirens were wailing in the background. Now we’re taking Webex audio intelligence noise removal to the next level with the introduction of the optimize for my voice feature. As more people may be working in open and shared workspaces, this incredible feature has the intelligence to distinguish between your voice and other conversations taking place around you and suppress those that don’t belong.

With some employees working remotely and others back in the office, how do you ensure an equal presence and experience for all? With People Focus, we’re applying advanced Webex camera intelligence and facial recognition to make sure every meeting participant shows up equally on the video screen, whether they’re joining from home or in a meeting room with others.

2. Flexible: Your solution should be flexible and adapt to any work style, role and environment.

With team members now spread across time zones and countries, working at different hours and with different needs, we need collaboration tools that are not only flexible, but that adapt to individual and team working styles.

We recently announced our acquisition of Slido, and we have now fully integrated this best-in-class audience interaction platform into the new Webex Suite. With Slido now integrated, Webex users have access to engaging features like polling, quizzes and real-time Q&A, without having to purchase a separate tool. I love the flexibility Slido gives me to tailor my meeting experiences to be more engaging and interactive – and I think my meeting participants like it, too!

See it in action:

We’ve designed an entire portfolio of purpose-built Webex devices to give you and your team the flexibility to work from anywhere. In December we introduced our Webex Desk series, which ranges from the powerful Webex Desk camera and headset for laptop users to our premium, all-in-one Desk Pro collaboration device. We also unveiled the Webex Desk – a slightly smaller yet equally mighty version of the Desk Pro, featuring high-quality video and voice capabilities and packed with AI-technology. Our customers have been begging for the Webex Desk since we first shared it, and I’m thrilled to announce that it will be orderable starting this month!

All Webex devices are designed to integrate seamlessly with the robust capabilities of the Webex Suite, but that’s not all. With the Webex Suite you get our special Webex cloud promotion pricing on all devices – making it easier for you to enable flexible and inclusive collaboration for employees in every level of your organization.

With Webex devices you also get the Webex Assistant – one of my favorite features. This intelligent innovation recognizes your voice and responds to commands, like “start my meeting,” and “make phone call.” Today we’re introducing the new Webex Assistant Skills Platform, which allows our customers, partners and third-party developers to customize skills and commands and tailor the Webex Assistant to meet specific needs.

It’s been well over a year since I attended an event in-person, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I miss it. Face-to-face interaction, late-night dinners with customers … I think I even miss windowless conference halls! Of course, not everyone feels this way, and many will prefer to attend conferences and meetings virtually from here on out. This means that event organizers must be more flexible and creative with how they plan new hybrid events, and leverage new solutions to maintain high engagement while reaching the masses.

With the new Webex Suite, we now deliver the most comprehensive event platform in the industry, capable of powering events of any size – from small webinars to large multi-day events. We’ve just announced expanded capacity of the Webex Events webinar mode to accommodate 10,000 attendees, and for even larger audiences, the new Webex Events webcast mode allows for up to 100,000 attendees. And with our recently-announced intent to acquire Socio Labs, we plan to raise the bar even higher for the future of events. Socio will bring modern event management technology to the Webex Suite, providing event organizers with everything they need to deliver engaging and inclusive event experiences end-to-end, from registration and ticketing straight through to post-event follow up.

3. Supportive: Your solution should be supportive of your employees’ health and well-being.

Cisco’s mission is to power an inclusive future for all, and that’s more important than ever as we enter the era of hybrid work. We take employee well-being seriously – not just in our own organization, but also in the way we build our products.

Last week we announced that Webex will integrate with the Thrive Reset app. With this integration, when you’ve been in back-to-back meetings or calls, you will get a Webex message asking if you’d like to take a short break. That could be 60 seconds of breathing or stretching exercises, or you could also create your own personal Reset with images, quotes, or music.

Neuroscience research has shown that it only takes 60 seconds to recenter ourselves and prevent stress from becoming cumulative. Integrating Thrive Resets into the Webex platform provides more capabilities to enable employee well-being and to help reduce burnout.

Earlier this year we brought a new innovation to market called people insights. This valuable functionality provides real-time data which is private for each individual and shows trends that can enable us to be smarter and make informed decisions about how we spend our time. Today we are enhancing this capability with the introduction of personal insights, which gives individuals the ability to set personal goals and view real-time progress against them, all within the Webex Suite. As always, personal insights data is accessible only by each individual.

Personal insights will be available for existing customers to preview this month. For more information, please visit the Cisco Customer Connection.

We also know that people are anxious about returning to the office, and that you need smart technology solutions to help keep them safe. Our intelligent Webex devices support a safe return to office, with capabilities like room booking and wayfinding to guide employees to available meeting spaces. To help enforce social distancing and cleaning protocols, Webex devices can also provide capacity alerts and cleaning notifications. All of this functionality is built right in to the Webex Suite and our Webex Devices, enabling you to support the safety and well-being of your employees no matter where they are.

4. Secure: Your solution should be secure by design, private by default

Everyone talks about the importance of security, but the truth is that very few are doing it right. This is so important to hybrid work success. Having secure solutions in place could mean the difference between success and failure for your business going forward.

For example, consider that sensitive corporate meetings you used to hold behind closed doors are now conducted over video conferencing. Without the ability to physically verify the identity of your attendees or where or how they are joining, how can you be sure your meeting is safe? We have designed the industry’s first zero-trust security in collaboration, which requires verification from everyone before they even try to gain access to resources or data. 

We’re also introducing the industry’s first real-time data loss prevention (DLP) capability. With real-time DLP, you can prohibit classified content from ever being sent, rather than redacting or deleting content after it is posted. This is just another example of how Webex solutions are delivered with our best-in-class security built-in, to keep your organization safe from the start.

5. Managed: Your solution should be easy to manage and enable frictionless administration

There’s no doubt about it, hybrid work is complex and dynamic. Delivering the best secure experience presents new challenges for administrators. Fortunately, the new Webex Suite also delivers a powerful set of tools to help you manage your infrastructure and support your users.

Webex users are familiar with Webex Control Hub, which delivers single pane of glass management for IT administrators, enabling them to support end users, devices and environments and trouble shoot in real time. But now, it offers even more. With the seamless integration of Webex Control Hub and Webex devices, administrators have the ability to bulk manage devices in the hybrid workforce and push security patches or firmware updates more efficiently.

And since direct feedback is more important than ever in the hybrid workplace, we’re developing new user satisfaction surveys that will be centralized in Control Hub, enabling administrators to hear the voice of their users and receive Webex feedback all in one place.

A new Webex brand with the new Webex Suite

To bring the spirit of the new Webex Suite to life, we’re also unveiling a new Webex brand – a vibrant reflection of our core value of inclusion and our excitement for the future of work. The new Webex brand with be showcased on our new global brand campaign and throughout the Webex Suite.

Learn more about the new Webex Suite and see for yourself how Webex can enable you and your organization for hybrid work.

Learn more

Published by
Javed Khan

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