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Cisco Announces Updates, New Features for Webex

Cisco announced new features, updates and devices for its Webex platform that the company says will add functionality, improve collaboration, accelerate data insights and simplify workflows, according to a statement released by the company.

Cisco's goal is to make virtual collaboration experiences 10x better than in-person, according to the statement.

The announcements were made at Cisco’s WebexOne digital collaboration conference. Cisco introduced a new Webex solution, a new digital app hub to enable third-party application integrations and three new collaboration devices.

Cisco Announces New Webex Features

The Webex updates include all-new Webex for meetings, messaging and calling with new functionality, expanded people insights and actionable recommendations and a new Webex Contact Center for agents, customers and businesses, according to the statement.

Cisco said features available now include noise cancellation and speech enhancement, transcriptions and closed captioning, the ability to highlight information and create action items using verbal commands and enhanced video layouts. A new Webex Huddle feature allows users to spontaneously pull together specific team members for a team huddle.

Upcoming features slated for calendar year 2021 include in-meeting gestures powered by AI, immersive sharing, the ability to save and share meeting artifacts, and, coming in February 2021, real-time translation and transcription in more than ten languages. Languages include English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Dutch, and Japanese.

Later this year, Cisco said it will introduce scalability to host large events from 25,000 to 100,000 attendees with Webex Events.

Updates to messaging features include AI integration with messaging to help prioritize projects, spaces and people, message pinning and the ability to automatically share meeting recordings to specific people and with groups.

Webex calling feature updates include interactive voice response and video on hold, the ability to quickly escalate a phone call to a Webex meeting, and new calling plans with PSTN delivered directly from Cisco. This will be available in the U.S. in mid-December, Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and many more countries globally throughout the year.

New people insights features for individuals can highlight trends, including when days typically start and stop, track time spent on video calls and more, according to the statement. For teams, new analytics capabilities allow users to visualize team interaction patterns to ensure efficiency and productivity. The tool can also inform strategy to ensure more inclusion across a team, according to the statement.

Cisco Announces New Webex Contact Center

The new Webex Contact Center allows businesses of all sizes (even with the smallest of contact centers) access to a cloud contact center with thousands of agents on day one, according to the statement. The Webex Contact Center uses microservices architecture to enable rapid feature innovation, while open APIs allow for easy customization, Cisco said.

Customers can now choose how they connect to service agents and support resources – whether by chat, email, voice, text and social media. New AI-powered voice and chat bots can answer questions and/or route to contact center agents, with related background information to speed up resolution and improve customer satisfaction, Cisco said. Integration with Webex Experience manager will show agents customer sentiment data up front, according to the statement.

Cisco Announces New Webex App Hub

The new Webex App Hub is a collaboration app ecosystem that includes prebuilt integrations with existing applications, according to the statement. Webex App Hub will allow users to easily add and collaborate with third-party applications while in a Webex meeting, then save the work to follow up afterwards, according to the statement. App Hub also allows IT managers to make native integrations company-wide.

Webex App Hub initially integrates with Box, Dropbox, Miro, MURAL, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workplace from Facebook, with more coming soon, according to Cisco.

Cisco’s New Intelligent Device Portfolio

Finally, Cisco announced three collaboration hardware devices in Webex’s intelligent device portfolio: Webex Desk Camera, Webex Desk Hub and Webex Desk, according to the statement.

Webex Desk Camera includes facial recognition capability and can track occupancy metrics, and now includes the ability to mute and unmute a microphone with a gesture. Webex Desk Hub, now in preview, allows workers to personalize any available desk by pairing, charging and connecting personal devices; cameras, headsets, displays, laptops and mobile devices, according to the statement. In addition, Webex Desk Hub lets users reserve a desk using their laptop, badge or cell phone to authenticate identity. The Webex Desk Hub also gathers real-time environmental data, occupancy and desk usage to help manage office space, or can deploy digital signage with reminders to help enable a safe return to the physical office, Cisco said.