Cisco prepares for hybrid future of work with new Webex releasesBy Ryan Noik 9 December 2020 | Categories: Corporate Events
It could not possibly have been a more relevant year to focus on collaboration, the future of work, and the announcement of new tools for remote working. This week, Cisco’s WebexOne event is doing just that, unpacking a slew of new announcements that are aimed at enabling organisations to collaborate seamlessly.
One of the focuses of the digital collaboration conference, which brings together thought leaders, customers and partners, was to discuss the future of work, is Webex, Cisco’s remote working, videoconferencing platform.
But Webex is not just another collaboration platform that businesses can avail themselves of as they adjust to the new normal of remote working and a dispersed workforce. The company elaborated that it also enables educators to teach students from anywhere, governments to successfully lead remotely, and perhaps most importantly at this time, for doctors to meet with their patients safely.
One of the key points raised during a press conference and discussion with Cisco leadership was that for companies, and individuals, the viability of remote working is not going to disappear post the pandemic. Rather, we will likely have a hybrid world of work in which employees move between office-based and remote working more frequently.
After all, 2020 has proven that in fact remote working does, well, work. People don’t actually have to be in an office full time to do their jobs and meetings can be conducted, and outcomes achieved, remotely. In other words, our collaboration tools will likely be just as relevant in 2021, 2022 and onwards, if not more so.
Against that backdrop, Cisco revealed its newest Webex version, which boasts a number of features should make its competitors more than a little worried.
For starters, the company stressed that the security of the app has remained paramount, which is important, since it is intended to be a single hub for calling contacts, conducting meetings and messaging each other within one app.
Beyond that, the company explained that the 50+ innovations are grouped under three categories: Seamless collaboration, Smart hybrid work experiences and finally, Intelligent customer experiences.
The new features include noise cancellation and speech enhancement, with Webex automatically detecting and suppressing common noises, which are more prominent when working remotely or from home. Another killer feature is transcriptions and closed captioning, which removes the need for extensive note-taking.
As well transcripts that are generated by the app are searchable, enabling team members who miss a meeting can quickly catch up.
Also on offer are action items that can be created by verbal command; Webex Huddle, which enables team members to quickly and spontaneously meet without requiring them to schedule a meeting, and enhanced video layouts.
While those are the features available at launch (as of today), they are not the only ones, with several features that take meetings to another level being rolled out from the beginning of the new year.
The one that caught our eye, especially for those who work internationally, is a real-time translation feature, which will offer a real-time transcription of the active speaker and cater to ten languages at launch. These will include English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Dutch, and Japanese, and hopefully will open businesses to more cross-cultural collaboration.
Immersive sharing was also announced as a feature debuting in 2021, with users able to share their presentation, video or application as a dynamic background with video overlayed. Furthermore, Webex will be able to instantly save meeting recordings for later review. And then the company announced a Webex Events feature, which allows up to 25 000 participating attendees.
“Cisco’s purpose is to power an Inclusive Future, and collaboration technology plays a critical role in leveling the playing field so everyone is able to participate in the global economy regardless of geography, language and personality type,” commented Jeetu Patel, SVP and GM, Security & Applications at Cisco.
“This is why we are driven to deliver a Webex experience that is 10x better than in-person—and at the same time make in-person interactions 10x better too. Webex enables a shift towards hybrid working, opening the global economy and giving everyone a seat at the table—no matter where the table is. Our team is passionate about delivering this vision which fuels every device we build, every line of code we write, and every feature we create,” he elaborated.
None of the newly announced features feel like they have been arbitrarily added on. Each seem to be addressing a particular need that people, and companies are facing as they get used to working and collaborating remotely, and intended to streamline and enhance their online collaboration experience.
Hopefully what that means is that as we move forward into a brave new work of hybrid working, remote collaboration will become easier and more productive for us all.
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