As a daily user of video conferencing both at work and at home, I know the frustrations people have when video and/or audio quality suffer—because I experience them myself. Over the past few months, I know I have not been alone. With the rise of work from home, we’ve been stepping up efforts to improve video conferencing quality, especially over lossy networks, as most of our users are now coming across over last-mile networks.
I often think improving media quality is something I do for my own benefit. This is reminiscent of the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” commercials of early 2009. Today, cell coverage is pervasive and stable, generally speaking, and that’s where we want to get with videoconferencing – but in an even smarter way.
The more we move toward a pervasive video culture, the higher the bar becomes for what’s considered acceptable quality – even when you’re calling in from spotty coffee shop Wi-Fi. And this demand will only continue to grow as our global workforce becomes even more mobile. So, as we evolve our technology, it’s not enough to just have video technology that can perform in low or high–speed networks. It also has to be intelligent and adaptive to remain stable throughout a call against constant network fluctuations.
Over the past few months, we’ve made significant improvements in Webex Meetings that have enhanced the meeting experiences by dramatically improving audio and video quality. As part of this sweeping effort, we have focused on improving the way our application, in concert with our cloud media nodes, adapts to changing user network conditions and how it applies significantly improved intelligence to deliver the best quality possible.
We have analyzed billions of minutes of meeting quality metrics which have provided valuable insights into key quality degradation factors and how these could be addressed. Specific tuning across our applications, cloud media nodes, and networking equipment between them have resulted in higher video resolution, less freezing, and higher frame rates in environments with low-to-moderate packet loss – in other words, better looking and stable video.
In addition, the Webex Meetings experience is now significantly better in the following areas:
With these smart enhancements, we’ve been able to improve performance for more than 98% of all Webex meeting minutes that have low-quality video or audio resolution. This means your Webex Meetings experience has seen a significant upgrade over the past several months. We’re continuing to advance media quality so that it gets smarter and more adaptive. Stay tuned to my next blog to see how we’ve applied artificial intelligence to focus on the most important parts of the videoconference – you!