June 16, 2021

Visio: Cisco Systems Reorganizes Webex to Meet Hybrid Workforce Needs

After watching Zoom Video Communications capture the imagination – and the money – of the public since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cisco Systems decided that its own Webex franchise needed to get back on its feet and fight for them. market share it has lost over the past 18 months.

At its Future of Work online event, Cisco launched an entirely new Webex, with the goal of regaining its position as the world’s leading video conferencing provider, which it had held since acquiring the company in 2007. Over the years , Webex faced a lot of competition, but managed to stay at number one. But when Zoom took off in 2020, under the leadership of Eric Yuan, CEO and former product manager of Webex, many industry watchers believed Webex’s best days were behind him.

Cisco has announced a list of new features to make hybrid work easier, at home and / or in the office. In a recent study, Cisco found that before the pandemic, only 8% of meetings had at least one virtual participant. In the future, this figure is expected to reach an impressive 98%, according to Cisco. So it’s clear that hybridization is the way of the future, according to the company.

List of new features

On June 8, Cisco announced the following:

  • New pricing: Webex will now be sold as a suite, in which customers will have access to everything Webex – including meetings, calling, messaging, polls, and events – for one price. The exact price will vary based on customers, channel partners and other factors, but customers should expect to pay around 40% less than for an à la carte purchase, according to Cisco.
  • End-to-end events: The term “event” is broad and can include everything from a small meeting to webinars to a large conference. The events portion of Webex includes all of the above, with the major events experience fueled by the intellectual property of its acquisition of Socio Labs.
  • Tools for interacting with the public: One of the most exciting features for events comes from the acquisition of Slido, as it brings audience engagement capabilities like polls, quizzes, and Q&A. These tools can also be used at live events, to allow a speaker to interact more effectively with the audience.
  • Audio intelligence: Building on Webex’s Current Noise Cancellation and Speech Enhancement Capabilities, Cisco Says Users Will Have New Speech Optimization Capability, for Remote and Shared Workspaces , thanks to My Voice Only, to eliminate background noise – especially the voices of people in the background – and focus only on the main speaker.
  • A smart camera: Earlier this year, Cisco announced People Focus, which uses machine learning and AI to individually reframe meeting participants scattered around a room, allowing them to feel more connected despite the distance, and to be able to visualize all of them. body language, facial expressions, etc.
  • New devices: The Webex Desk is an all-in-one collaboration device designed for work in the office or at home. Immersive collaboration experiences are delivered through touch interactions in Webex RoomOS, which connects workflows, with less context switching. The Webex Assistant Skills platform opens a group of voice-activated extensions to integrate more controls, content, and apps for Webex devices.
  • Secure experiences: Real-Time Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Webex, which automatically blocks and removes confidential information, will be available in mail. With real-time DLP, users are prohibited from posting confidential content, instead of redacting or deleting it after posting. In addition, European Webex customers will be able to host and process their content within the EU. Webex users will also benefit from improved end-to-end encryption options.

Analyst Zeus Kerravala, director of ZK Research, who follows Cisco closely, points out that Webex certainly has strengths, like security and scale, but clearly lags behind many other competitors. in terms of user-friendliness.

“It didn’t have most of the cutting edge features, like virtual backgrounds, that users seem to like,” he says. “Since then, the company has come back with a vengeance and quickly and methodically added feature after feature. Over the past nine months, Cisco has added more than 800 new functions to Webex, and capabilities through four acquisitions, which include BabbleLabs (noise reduction), Immobile (contact center intelligence), Slido (interaction with the public) and Socio (event platform). “

Hybrid work is here to stay, according to Zeus Kerravala. “It emphasizes the ability of workers to collaborate with each other,” he says. “Historically, the collaboration industry has been filled with disjointed tools that force users to be the point of integration. The new Webex removes a lot of the difficult tasks and creates an easy, yet comprehensive and secure experience. “

Source : ZDNet.com