Despite being a big supporter of hybrid and remote work, Cisco believes its current incarnation could use some work and is tackling the problem with new Webex features.
While Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack often get the lion’s share of the press about remote work tools, Cisco’s Webex is a popular choice in the business and enterprise space. The company wants to tackle what it sees as some of the biggest issues with current solutions in an effort to help remote users feel more a part of company meetings.
In an interview with ZDNet, Jeetu Patel, EVP & GM, Security and Collaboration Business Units, identified three main issues with the current state of remote and hybrid videoconferencing meetings:
- Remote workers can’t always see presentations and whiteboards present in the meeting.
- It can be difficult to pick up on non-verbal cues via a camera.
- Technical issues can impact the audio and video and impair the overall experience.
Cisco is working on some novel solutions, including Webex Whiteboard. The solution is a physical whiteboard that automatically integrates with Webex to display its contents to those connected remotely. As an added benefit, both in-person and remote attendees can interact with it.
The company is also testing People Focus, a feature that can zoom in on a person and make it easier to pick up on non-verbal cues.
Cisco is working on the audio aspect of meetings, improving noise cancellation, silencing background conversations, and removing echoes. The company’s Meraki routers can be used to seamlessly switch over to an LTE connection if the main internet connection drops.
Patel made it clear in his interview with ZDNet that these innovations are designed to help make remote and hybrid work as successful as possible, something he and Cisco see as an important factor moving forward.
“Wouldn’t it be sad if after the pandemic is over, we all said, ‘Let’s revert back and go 100% to the office?’ The beauty about what we learned in the past couple of years is that talent is available anywhere, globally. And they should be able to participate in the global economy.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the last couple of years, and we should take that forward,” Patel continued.