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New Cisco Webex Announcement Shows Rapid Development of Collaboration

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Earlier this month, CNBC’s Jim Cramer was discussing Cisco Systems on his “Mad Money” talk show. One of the markets he discusses a lot is the collaboration space, and he called a recent Cisco Webex TV ad “absolutely compelling.” After he made the comment, I saw the ad and agreed with Cramer because it highlighted a lot of recent innovations from the Webex group.

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Educating buyers about what’s unused can be firm, but showing them how to use these things can be even more firm. The real world use cases are what I thought made the ad persuasive.

As an analyst and IT professional prior that, I’ve been researching collaboration tools since the days of video karts. During that time, I don’t remember a year when there was as much innovation as this final year. Much of the recent innovation has been driven by the increasing reliance on these tools, and many people have been forced to work remotely due to the pandemic. One of the challenges for sellers like Cisco is exposing buyers to all the unused features that have been added in recent months. Unless one follows the market day in and day out, as I do as a market research analyst, it will be impossible to tell what it is.

Webex creation on screen

The ad Cramer was referring to can be found on YouTube, and it highlights how the McLaren Formula 1 racing team is using the Webex service. Here are some of the recent features that have been included in the product that not many people know about.

  • unused devices. At the eight-second mark, a McLaren named Zak logs into the unused Cisco Deskpro endpoint. On the screen, it states that Zak can tap the screen or begin the Webex app to get started. Over the former year, Webex has rolled out a number of unused endpoints that interact seamlessly with the software to make using the technology simple. Apple is near flawless in this area with consumer technology, and Cisco is doing the alike with enterprise technology.

  • Mobile applications. Historically, most collaboration vendors have considered using the desktop first, with moveable later. Now that everyone is working from everywhere, the moveable experience should be as pleasing or better than the desktop. At the 16-second mark of the video, you can see a person walking and Webexing on their moveable phone with six other participants. I used Webex moveable and found the experience to be simple and intuitive.

  • vote. In 18 seconds, McLaren is conducting a survey via Webex. What appears on screen is the integration of Slido, a recent Cisco acquisition that makes audience interaction easier. With Slido, the session host can ask something like: “Who has the best fan”, and respondents can write their response. The popularity of the reply is reflected by the font size. Apparently, Australia has the best fans.

  • immediate translation. We work in a global environment, which makes language an issue in online meetings – especially if one is speaking very rapid, as I often accuse. In 30 seconds, it shows the conversation translated into Simplified Chinese, while the speaker is speaking in English. This is enabled on the workbench with a flick of a finger.

  • Noise removal. There are many cases where someone is on a video call and background noise disrupts the call. In this case, the McLaren team member is in the lab and the people around them work. Usually, in this case, the person will need to leave the room and go to a silent place to make the call. At the 41-second mark in the video, the person taps Noise Removal, removing all background noise. I have used this feature and can attest to the fact that it works as advertised. Another note: the video shows this being done on Cisco Deskpro, but it’s also available on desktop and moveable clients.

The overhead is just a little snippet of the unused features in Webex. Last month, Cisco held an event where it introduced the unused Webex Suite suite and its updated logo. Stephanie Condon of ZDNet provided a summary of the event in this post. In her post, she highlighted that Webex has added 800 unused features since final September and 400 since March. Videos, such as the McLaren video, are an effective way to highlight some of the features, but it is critical that companies do their part when making a buying decision.

Collaboration platforms like Webex are significant for hybrid work. Buyers need to understand that the products available today are only light years ahead of what they were a year ago.

My advice is not to make a purchase based on the identity of the incumbent or the fact that it comes with other software. Many advanced features can make a vast difference in productivity. The right seller will aid the company to run smoothly and efficiently, while the mistaken choice will hinder the company.


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