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Cisco boosts collaboration portfolio with new innovations

Cisco has announced five major innovations to its Collaboration portfolio to help CIOs step up and speed up their workplace transformation. Most CIOs are deep in transforming their organisations but are facing huge challenges including having to make big changes while protecting their existing on-prem, cloud and hybrid collaboration investments.

In addition, CIOs are striving to provide a modern and unified experience for their employees across one single calling, messaging and meetings platform so they can improve employee productivity. With 95% of the Fortune 500 using Cisco’s collaboration suite, Cisco is uniquely positioned to solve these issues and enable CIOs to deliver secure, easy-to-use and ultimately more engaging and energising experiences for users anywhere, regardless of what devices they use.

“For CIOs, giving employees amazing collaboration experiences shouldn’t be hard. They should be able to give them the best collaboration tools on the planet. And tools should be super-secure and simple to manage,” said Amy Chang, EVP and GM, Collaboration, Cisco. “The good news is that we’re listening, and we’ve tapped into our deep engineering know-how to deliver just that. All cloud? All on prem? Hybrid? It shouldn’t matter. We’ve got it.”

At Channel Live recently Cisco’s EMEAR MD Craig Decker stressed that the industry MUST solve the right business issues for customers.

To help CIOs transform their workplaces faster, Cisco has announced five critical innovations. They are:

1.Single Platform Advantage and unified modular app.

The Single Platform Advantage means we are delivering all workloads (calling, messaging, meeting, devices and contact centre) in an integrated fashion from a single platform. For users, this means that no matter if you’re on your mobile, a desktop or another device you will have a familiar, consistent way of working. Transition from your mobile device to a meeting room device with the flick of a finger. For IT this means unparalleled admin control and security from a single pane of glass.

The Single Platform Advantage includes:

– Edge and hybrid services. This allows customers to link what they currently have and deliver enhanced capabilities from the cloud.

– Cognitive Collaboration. This slipstreams context and intelligence throughout every interaction, every day.

– Enterprise-class security and compliance. Our true end-to-end encryption protects data in transit, at rest, and in use. Our multilayer security includes Data Loss Protection to meet compliance and regulatory needs and is validated and continuously monitored to comply with stringent internal and third-party industry standards.

– Analytics and management. Cisco Webex Control Hub lets you manage large-scale deployments centrally and make data-driven decisions. Real-time performance visibility and diagnostics allow you to deliver the best user experience every time. Understand how each room is being used and optimise your assets accordingly. In the contact centre, understand agent call volume and customer journeys to help shape better outcomes.

“The unified modular app means we get it—we know you want the tools you rely on to do your job to be cut from the same cloth. We’ve been working hard to unify all our apps in this way—so you feel familiar with a new-to-you tool on day one. Today, we announce several new ways we’ve unified our call, message and meet tools. For instance, when you join a meeting from Webex Teams you’ll now have the same host controls as you’d have from Webex itself. And you’ll be able to see and take part in the chat, too. Also, we’ve unified the way you see presence—whether your co-workers are busy or free.”

“We also take a huge leap in offering these tools in a modular manner—it’s one app, but IT can configure it to align to each group’s needs or workstyles. Give your warehouse workers (who never join virtual meetings but spend all day messaging and calling) exactly what they need. No more and no less.”

2.Calling is core to global business and Cisco is going big on cloud calling.

IT management can preserve their existing Cisco and 3rd party PBX investments, while taking of advantage of Webex cloud applications and centralised management and analytics services.

Three enhancements:
•New Cisco Webex Edge for Calling solutions deliver a modern unified experience on top of existing PBX (Cisco and 3rd party) investments. Now IT can unify disparate environments and take advantage of Webex cloud services to deliver global dial plans, least-cost routing and centralized services including IVR, voice mail and more organization-wide. Make global business easier with consistent calling features like extension dialing, deliver more cost efficient on-net calls and let users take advantage of one Webex app for calling, meeting and messaging.

•Bring your own carrier – more options for PSTN connectivity directly to the Webex Calling cloud. We’re making it simple and giving you more choices – no local gateway required.

•New Cisco Unified Communication Manager Cloud – managed in the Webex cloud, with all of the UCM features. Accelerate enterprise cloud transitions with dedicated private instance of CUCM in the cloud to scale business globally together with Webex calling for branch offices. So, you can take advantage of a global cloud built for real-time media with all the features you love.

3.New devices bring the power of AI and whiteboarding to spaces small and large.

Part of the Single Platform Advantage, it “knows” who you are, lets you start your next meeting with your voice, and gives you deep professional information about the people with whom you’re meeting. (Learn more about all of those features and others that can truly change your next meeting here.)

– Webex Desk Pro: Think of it as an instant office—give it to the executive, the desk worker or put in a jump space for the whole team to use. It squeezes all the high-end features you find in our award-winning portfolio into a 27-inch, 4K touchscreen device with a USB-C connection. It is web-app enabled, so no need for an extra screen or charging station. It doesn’t only work with Webex—use it with any conferencing service. You choose. Walk up and it will recognize and greet you by name. Is your home office a bit, um, messy and that big meeting starts in two minutes? Blur out the background or choose a virtual one. Noise suppression makes sure a barking dog doesn’t bring the meeting to a halt.

– Webex Room Panorama: More than a decade ago, Immersive Telepresence hit boardrooms and executive spaces. The life-like experience brought global teams together to connect and execute efficiently. The concept was to cut the boardroom table in half and add thousands of miles. Now we are revolutionizing this experience by cutting the room in half and adding thousands of miles. Global teams now feel like they are sitting in the same space together, with rich content collaboration, integrations and AI features to make meetings meaningful and actionable. Not only will the global team feel truly together, but they will also have tools like facial recognition with name and title labels, crisp actions and meeting summary, and the ability to connect additional Webex Board screens into the room for touch experiences. The next generation Immersive experience has arrived.

4.New Bluetooth headset.

Called the Cisco Headset 700 series, they let you block out the office noise and hone in on what matters. Pair to any Cisco device—move around the office as you please. Listen to music while you work, then easily transition to your next call or meeting.

5.In the US, Cisco are now offering our phones, desk- and room-sized video systems as a service; renew your three-year subscription and Cisco will refresh your gear to the latest and greatest.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine