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Cisco Outlines Solutions for Remote Work and a Safe Return to the Office

At Enterprise Connect 2020, Javed Khan (Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Collaboration) outlined Cisco’s new solutions for remote work and a safe return to the office. He emphasized empowering the remote worker through Cisco’s unified Webex app, which has capabilities for audio and video conferencing, messaging, device control, integration with cloud storage (such as Google Drive and OneDrive), and contact center.

Specifically, the Webex Teams solution (part of the unified Webex app) has several new additions to improve video conferencing. These include:

  • “Can you see my screen?” feature, which tells the screen sharer if other meeting participants are able to see the screen they have shared.
  • “Raise your hand” feature.
  • Background changes (across all platforms).
  • Webex Assistant for listening, taking notes, seeing highlights, performing transcriptions (with the ability to edit them), offering action items, and searching and reviewing.
  • Whiteboarding and sticky notes.

Source: SoftwareReviews Cisco Webex Teams Scorecard. Accessed September 2, 2020.

Cisco has also produced several hardware solutions to help enable a safe return to the office. This includes a touchless phone and video meeting experience (through voice control) and real-time room capacity warnings on devices.

For contact centers that are dealing with higher than normal call volume, Cisco is offering its Webex Contact Centre Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) solution, which was announced earlier in 2020. Key capabilities include intelligent self-service, real-time transcripts, automated call wrap-up, and live agent assistance. This solution is bolstered by Cisco’s Webex Experience Management (formerly CloudCherry), which shows agents the customer journey, offers predictive analytics, and a provides a survey builder.

For further information, watch the session Cisco and the Future of Work for the Next Normal (available online until December 31, 2020 at Enterprise Connect 2020).

Our Take

Cisco continues with its solution consolidation with the unified Webex app. With various Webex solutions in existence (often with overlapping functionalities, such as Webex Teams and Webex Calling), Cisco users will be glad to see improved ease of access and rationalization.

Some long-awaited features have now arrived on the Webex Teams platform. The ability to change backgrounds and raise one’s hand keeps Webex toe-to-toe with other best-of-breed collaboration applications; indeed, Webex Teams comes second in SoftwareReviews’ ranking of team messaging and collaboration tools. However, where Webex Teams pushes ahead of the competition is with the Webex Assistant, which represents the further integration of AI technology to optimize end-user productivity. Notetaking and identifying action steps during meetings, for instance, will surely become a new standard for collaboration software.

For those who have already integrated and are leveraging Cisco solutions (especially Cisco Unified Communications Manager), Webex Teams is an excellent option that will continue to be at the forefront of collaboration software. Of course, Cisco’s continued investment in Webex Teams will pose conundrums for those currently using Office 365. Info-Tech’s Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools resource offers methods to help you think through which of your tools should be made redundant.

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