Event – During its annual Webex One 2022 event, Cisco announced the arrival of several features in its “bundle” of video conferencing and collaboration solutions. Called WebEx Suite and launched in 2011, this bundled offering marketed “at a monthly price lower than Netflix” — according to Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM Security and Collaboration at Cisco — had been announced a little earlier, in June.
WebEx Suite is enriched with new features such as the whiteboard and improvements to already existing tools such as real-time transcription and translation of exchanges, audio calls, instant messaging, webinars, WebEx Event (for organizing virtual events) or “engagement” tools (such as surveys during a meeting) .
Asynchronous video for AI
A brick that is particularly highlighted by Cisco in this “suite” is asynchronous video (Vidcast), that is, the ability to record a video in a few minutes (tutorial, notes, etc.) and broadcast it to a team. The interest is to be able to communicate with people with incompatible agendas. The second is the brevity that the exercise requires.
According to Jeetu Patel, since its release a year ago, asynchronous video has saved 47 million meeting hours. “Every week I use it to communicate with 12,000 of my employees,” he says.
Indicators allow you to track how this video is being used (how many people watched it, when, etc.).
Vidcast is enriched with artificial intelligence-infused editing capabilities “that drastically reduce the time required to produce polished, quality content,” boasts Cisco.
Cisco has revealed a security feature for marking audio tracks. When a meeting is recorded, participants are notified. But some, including the most confidential, will not. However, there is always the possibility that a bystander could record what is being said with a third-party device (eg a laptop) and then leak it.
To remedy this “workaround”, Cisco adds an inaudible audio track to the ear in each audio stream. This marking (Audio Watermarking) is different for each participant. This way, if someone plays a recording, Cisco can track which meeting participant unauthorizedly recorded the conversation.
Openness and alliance with Microsoft
Historically, Cisco is a manufacturer (servers, networks, etc.). Although it has also become a publisher, it continues to release collaborative hardware (equipment for rooms, headsets, cameras, tablets dedicated to video conferencing, hardened terminals for field technicians, secure wifi terminals, etc.).
In this area, its philosophy is clearly evolving towards “openness”. “The future is for cross-platform devices,” sums up Jeetu Patel. Specifically, we must be able to participate in a meeting [sur un appareil] whatever software is used to organize it, be it WebEx, Google Meet, Zoom or Teams,” he continues.
With this in mind, Cisco has announced a new partnership with Microsoft, notably providing access to Team Rooms on their devices.
In addition to video
Several announcements of improvements (audio cleaned by AI, etc.) on other products in its range also show that Cisco is looking to expand WebEx beyond the collaborative use of video.
The publisher and manufacturer insists that it offers versions for call centers and after-sales service (WebEx Contact Center) as well as for the customer journey – the famous CX – (WebEx Connect) to interact from multiple sales channels (16 in all), now including Instagram.
Both can be connected in an end-to-end “WebEx platform”. Cisco adds that these tools integrate directly into all major CRM or support backends (from Salesforce to Oracle, via SAP or Zendesk).
WebEx One, on the other hand, did not highlight the holograms that had raised some curiosity, for example for Fields Services. Cisco assures MagIT that this is still a priority, that it continues to test the solution with customers. And that we can expect announcements about this augmented reality in the near future.
A growing competition
According to IDC figures published in September 2022, Cisco is number two in the Unified Communications & Collaboration market with a market share of 8%. It is now well behind Microsoft (38%) and narrowly ahead of Zoom (7%).
Growth rates are also at the expense of WebEx: Microsoft is developing at a rate of more than 20% per year, Zoom at +7%, while Cisco is almost stagnant (+1%).
With this battery of announcements, therefore, the publisher and developer hope to once again relaunch WebEx in light of the competition that continues to gain ground.