Cisco’s Webex platform has unveiled more than 800 new features since September, but when asked which one has experienced the greatest adoption, Jeetu Patel’s answer was a bit unexpected.
“Gestures was one of those capabilities that’s actually had one of the highest adoption rates for any feature we’ve recently released,” said the senior vice-president and general manager, security and collaboration at Cisco after the company announced it was putting calling, meetings and events management under the Webex Suite umbrella. “We don’t want meetings to be lectures, we want them to be conversations.”
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Gestures have allowed people to stand out in a sea of virtual meeting participants, Patel explained. And creating an inclusive meeting environment is one of the pillars Patel and his team want to build Webex on top of. The others are flexibility, security, support, and ease of management.
“Getting it wrong can be hazardous,” Patel noted. “Getting it right can translate into more engaged and energized employees, better contribution, and higher performance.”
But Cisco isn’t banking on the work from home trend to last forever, however, it is expecting most future meetings to have at least one employee calling in remotely. Microsoft and Zoom still have the larger slice of the collaboration software market, but Cisco has been aggressive in expanding its offerings to accommodate what most experts agree suggest will be the norm: a hybrid workforce.
Patel said its recent acquisitions in Slido and Socio will introduce key features to the Webex experience, including audience Q&A, live polls, and branded registration and ticketing capabilities, even integrated web, mobile, and event hall experiences.
People are just starting to tap into the true potential of all these capabilities working together, Patel said. He compared the surge in creativity in virtual events and meetings to the evolution of film. People eventually realized they could do more than just film the onstage performance from a single spot.
“That’s what get’s us excited,” he said.
Cisco is lowering the cost of the newly optimized Webex Suite and simplifying the sale of collaboration technologies by offering an all-inclusive packaged Webex offering, Webex Suite.
Cisco is adamant that this is a major opportunity for channel partners, providing them with a new buying option that partners can sell, rather than customers purchasing the separate pieces of the portfolio al la carte. The new offering, which includes software, all the way down to the devices, will save customers up to 40 per cent, the company said.
Webex Suite is available today.
Cisco also unveiled The Webex Desk, which provides an all-in-one collaboration device designed for the desk at work or home. Webex Desk will be available to order later this month at the Cisco suggested resale price of US$1,249 for customers and a standard price of US$2,495.