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Webex Accessibility
Webex: Bringing accessibility, usability, and inclusivity to the forefront

Truly inclusive experience

It’s more important than ever for everyone to have equal access in the virtual workplace. A vital part of this is making virtual meetings accessible to everyone – especially employees with disabilities. People with vision, hearing, or mobility disabilities have different needs so at Webex, our goal is to create truly inclusive experiences that can adapt to everyone. We know and believe we can achieve more when diverse ideas and workstyles can come together seamlessly.

We always build and continuously improve our collaboration solutions with accessibility, usability, and inclusivity in mind.

Closed captioning

Closed captioning

Our Webex Assistant provides automated closed captions, making meetings accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing participants. When someone speaks, their mic picks up everything and Webex Assistant adds it as text captions above the meeting controls. It’s like using subtitles on your television. Closed captioning is also available on Webex devices for Webex Assistant for Meetings subscribers.

Real-time translations

Webex Assistant also helps by providing real-time translations. Meeting participants can choose closed captioning translation from English to one of the 100+ additional languages supported. You can select the language and spoken words in the meeting are translated in real-time. Real-time translation aids understanding and creates a more inclusive meeting, where language no longer be a barrier to great collaboration.

Automated transcription

Having a transcribed record of what was said in a meeting can be invaluable for many reasons but its especially important for people with hearing disabilities. Written transcriptions of your full meeting, complete with clearly labeled speakers, means you never miss a detail and you can go back and review the exact information you need, at your own pace. You’ll never have to miss anything discussed in a Webex meeting (and don’t have to re-listen to the whole meeting to get the answer you need).

Voice commands

Voice commands

You can also use Webex Assistant in your meetings to handle common meeting tasks like note-taking, follow-ups, and more with just your voice. By simply speaking phrases like “OK, Webex. Highlight that” or “Take a note,” your words trigger automated action. No keyboard activity is required so it’s especially useful for those with limited mobility.

customize your layout

Customize your layout

Webex let you customize your view and experience so you can focus on the people you want to see.

 You can also easily customize your view in a meeting to ensure that you can always see a particular person’s video such as a sign language interpreter. You can lock focus on a specific participant, even when others are speaking. The person you need to see is always front and center throughout a meeting or event.

Webex has zoom in and out capabilities to adjust your grid view from 5×5 to 2×2, or anywhere in between. An easy slider at the upper right corner allow you to zoom in to see larger images or zoom all the way out and see as many people as possible.

Gestures

Webex gestures make it easy for everyone to participate in the meeting and have their voice heard, even if they never speak a word. Webex AI automatically takes your natural, non-verbal gestures and translates them into animated images that everyone in your meeting can see on-screen. Even better, you never have to unmute or use the keyboard or mouse.

Recognize hand gestures_AH

For those with for those with limited mobility, who may not be able to show facial expressions or hand gestures, you can manually choose emojis by simply leaving the “Recognize hand gestures” button unchecked and click on the emoji of your choice.

Keyword Shortcut

Keyboard shortcuts

Webex supports keyboard shortcuts that provides limited-mobility users with an alternative to using a mouse for navigation and accessing features. Keyboard shortcuts can also save time and reduce mouse clicks.

These are just a few of the accessibility-focused features in Webex and there’s more to come. New features and enhancements including additional keyboard shortcuts and screen reader notifications are coming soon. We know you can’t get the most out of your meetings unless everyone can engage and participate equally so we’re not slowing down. We’re is committed to making collaboration accessible and inclusive for people of all abilities and backgrounds. That has been our biggest priority in Webex feature development and we are very pleased to share these advanced capabilities that help everyone participate equally.

Learn more about Collaboration that works for everyone

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: May 2021

Break free from the crowd by enabling smaller breakout sessions for engaged and focused conversations

Give every Webex attendee a voice: 3 ways Webex makes your virtual meetings and events come alive!

 

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conference room looking onto Webex devices with main meeting room
Facilitating a safe Return to the Office and creating an Inclusive Hybrid Work environment with Webex Devices

When the world went remote, companies were tasked with equipping their workforce with the collaboration tools they needed to work from home. However, we are slowly returning back into the office, and companies are now faced with another task – supporting a hybrid workforce.

Facilitating a hybrid work environment is no longer an option, but essential for a successful business and a thriving workforce. We need to ensure that remote workers feel included, and that office workers are able to collaborate just as well with their remote counterparts as they are with their colleagues in the office. Here at Webex Devices, we are always striving to create inclusive collaboration experiences for all – whether you are at home, in the office, or anywhere in between.

Making sure everyone is seen and heard with the Webex Room Kit Mini

The Webex Room Kit Mini is our entry level room device perfect for pervasive video collaboration in the hybrid workplace – already equipped with Webex Assistant for a touchless meeting join, and facial recognition to count the amount of people in the room, so you can ensure that capacity limits are being withheld.

Now, we are making the experience for the people on the remote end of the Room Kit Mini even better! We’ve added 5x manual zoom, making it easy for remote participants to see what matters; perhaps you want to show an early prototype of a physical product, or zoom in on a detail. This ensures that everyone can have a say regardless of their work location.

In addition to this, the audio pickup from the internal microphones will now be able to pick up audio clearly up to 4 meters from the device. At a time where there are strict distance requirements, this will make sure everyone in the room is heard clearly for the remote participant. The Room Kit Mini is now also shipping with the award-winning Webex Room Navigator touch controller with environmental sensors that helps ensure the wellbeing of your employees.

We are all adjusting to new cleaning schedules and many environments have heightened cleaning requirements. This is why we are now also offering the Webex Room Kit Mini with a metal grille. This new version makes it easier to clean the device, and for it to stay clean. Please follow our Cisco Guidelines for cleaning products to ensure correct and safe cleaning.

Webex Room Kit Mini

Bringing the new immersive into more meeting rooms

In the era of hybrid work, screen real-estate is a precious commodity. The majority of communication is non-verbal, and for collaboration to be truly efficient one needs to tune into facial expressions and body language. In addition to this, people need to have the same frame of reference – they need to view the same content! This is where multi-screen devices come in. Take for example the Webex Room Panorama. The Webex Room Panorama provides the ultimate immersive videoconferencing experience, built for the modern c-suite.

The Panorama is not only built for the modern C-suite, it is ideal for the hybrid workplace. With two screens for video and one screen for content, The Panorama allows for a rich hybrid collaboration experience – the people on the remote end can see everyone in the room and whatever content is shared, and the people calling in from the Webex Room Panorama can view people spread across the two video screens, and content from the content screen. We believe that everyone deserves to experience beautiful design and powerful functionality, so we’ve now made a low ceiling height version of the Room Panorama! This allows you to equip more of your meeting rooms with immersive video – the new low ceiling height version comes with two 82” screens for a fully panoramic video experience.

The Room Panorama now comes with the new, award-winning Cisco Microphone Array for crystal clear, directional audio. The Cisco Microphone Array recognizes which side of the table the speaker is on and uses advanced audio cancellation techniques to deliver clear audio to remote participants. Deployed together, Webex Room Panorama and the new table microphone helps create the best possible meeting experience for both in-person and remote participants.

Every meeting participant should be a first-class participant, no matter whether they are joining from home, the huddle room or the board room. Webex Devices provides inclusive experiences for everyone.

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: May 2021

Hybrid working: three tips to keep it safe, healthy, and productive

Meeting fatigue? Aren’t we all experiencing it?

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Cisco and Prezi enhance the video collaboration experience
Cisco and Prezi enhance the video collaboration experience

Cisco Webex partners with Prezi to deliver an end-user video presentation solution with “the hybrid workplace” and a “10x better experience” in mind. Prezi provides an enhanced and more engaging virtual meeting by immersing the document content right alongside the presenter to capture and retain the audience’s attention.

What is the Webex and Prezi solution?

In an increasingly virtual world, Cisco Webex and Prezi Video bring people together to keep them engaged so that collaboration doesn’t just happen; it flourishes. Prezi Video transforms any content from any application into video-ready, professional graphics. Now your audience will not have to choose whether to concentrate on the speaker or the presentation. They will be able to see you and your content simultaneously, in the same frame. To make it easy for everyone to get started with this new way of sharing, the integration implementation is designed to be as simple as possible. All you need to do is open the Webex and Prezi desktop apps at the same time and import the content that you want to share.

Now you might be familiar with the amazing Immersive Share feature that was added to the Desk Pro. And maybe wondering, “what if you don’t have a Desk Pro?” To further our mission of creating inclusive experiences, we have partnered with Prezi so that Webex users who do not have a Desk Pro can also experience immersive share during their meetings.

Webex partnered with Prezi to deliver a new level of interactivity and engagement in Cisco Webex meetings, unleashing the potential of virtual collaboration. With Prezi as the global leader in virtual presentations and Cisco Webex as a market leader in secure virtual meetings, our products are better together as an amplified solution for our joint customers.

Prezi in virtual presentation

See the Prezi technology in action here for Mac users and here for Windows users.

Customer success stories with Prezi

Prezi Video and Cisco Webex Integration allows ConvergeOne to lead remote trainings  

ConvergeOne was looking for a fresh new way to conduct internal training and onboarding — the shift to a virtual model made it harder to keep remote audiences paying attention. ConvergeOne found that the combination of Webex and Prezi gave them something innovative and captivating for their training attendees. Not only did this solution increase audience engagement, but it also led to better absorption of the material and an enhanced learning environment.

Bret Lathrop, Senior Director Offer Management & International Alliance Practice at ConvergeOne said,

“Strong communication, collaboration, and connection are crucial in helping our organization deliver top-of-the-line solutions to our customers. The combination of Webex and Prezi Video has breathed new life into the way we conduct internal training and engage with our partners & customers and has empowered the team at ConvergeOne to be efficient, impactful, and successful.”

Prezi CEO Jim Szafranski says, “Prezi Video with Cisco Webex helps companies create more engaging video meetings for the new hybrid office. We are pleased to now be a part of the Cisco Webex ecosystem.”

What’s next?

As Cisco continues to develop the ecosystem and partnerships journey, Alyson Hoagland-Pace says, “Cisco has added a missing piece to the user experience by partnering with Prezi to deliver impactful virtual meetings. We are excited about what the future holds.”

Learn more about Webex and Prezi on App Hub or contact your Cisco representative for more information on how to take advantage of this partnership.

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Announcing a Webex special event | The blueprint for Hybrid Work. Made Real.

What’s new in Webex: May 2021

Give every Webex attendee a voice: 3 ways Webex makes your virtual meetings and events come alive!

Read more
Break free with breakout sessions
Break free from the crowd by enabling smaller breakout sessions for engaged and focused conversations

About the guest blogger

Getting a handle on engaging students remotely comes with its share of trials and discoveries. Kirsten Mortimer (she/her), Technology Adoption Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, shares useful tips all educators can start applying in their classroom now.

Kirsten works with faculty and staff to increase their knowledge of, and proficiency with, technology tools as a member of the Learning Technology Center at the university. She has assisted numerous faculty and instructional staff with learning how to use Cisco Webex as well as how to leverage the suite of products to engage graduate and undergraduate students and enhance their learning experiences during the transition to remote delivery.

Engaging students remotely

Remote instruction using Webex Meetings provides opportunities and challenges for our precious instructional time.

I serve as the lead trainer for Webex Meetings at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which provides the opportunity to work with many instructors on integrating breakout sessions to accomplish their learning objectives. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have also served as a technology coordinator for a fantastic, seasoned professor emeritus who teaches a few classes.

After first learning the functional aspects of using breakout sessions in Webex, I was ready to click ‘Start Breakouts’ with my class of instructors who would take what they’d learned from me to the wilds of their classrooms. Nervous doesn’t quite cover it!

Tips on smaller breakout sessions

Since that first training and after working with breakouts since the fall in tandem with my adventurous faculty partner, I’ve learned a lot. I highly recommend Beth McMurtie’s excellent article, How to Make Breakout Rooms Work Better, for details on what many of us have learned by trial and error. Here are some Webex-specific tips:

Partner with your students: One music instructor starts her class as a large group and then provides one-on-one instruction to students in a breakout room during the class. While most of the students work together in the main session on a piece, she and an individual dig deeper into that student’s needs. Music mode and the stability of Webex prove invaluable during these sessions.

Breakout session assignments

Use technology to save yourself time: When pre-assignment landed in Webex Meetings, our campus sighed a collective breath of relief. Creating lasting, community-building breakout groups became quick and easy. Pre-assignment makes project work, peer reviews, and complex assignments over multiple sessions more productive and less time-consuming. One instructor developed breakout session groups in his class that met once a week for a few hours. Students dug into complex topics much as they would have in person—virtually ‘moving around’ and being exposed to multiple perspectives during what could have been a long virtual class.

 

Thank you, Webex, for flexibility: While pre-assignment offers consistency, I’ve found that the ‘Reset’ button should be considered a friend. Depending on your class flow, you can start with pre-assigned groups and then shift to new, random groups for quicker exercises. This allows for students to engage with others and keep it fresh. 

 

Don’t be afraid to take chances: For the class where I serve as technology coordinator, Doc teaches in-person with half the class, while myself and the other half of the class join remotely. We send our “onliners” to breakout rooms often while in-person students participate in breakouts together. We get back together for discussion debriefs, often employing chat and a whiteboard to get us on the same page. After using breakout rooms during class, we see more student videos and experience more voluntary sharing by voice and chat. 

 

Stay tuned in: While instructors can join breakout sessions, this can be awkward and may stifle conversation. I’ve found that shared collaborative apps, notably Google Docs and Slides, allow me to keep tabs on student activity without joining the breakout rooms every time. These shared apps also provide documentation for when groups report back to the main session. In one icebreaker, students in the classroom lined up based on height and also birth months. To simulate this activity for our “onliners,” we lined ourselves up using Google Slides in a breakout. After joining the in-person group, we shared the screen to show them how we measured up!

 

Break out of the classroom: Campus leaders continue to amaze me with their creative uses of breakout rooms: student advising walk-in sessions, alumni awards celebrations, active writing groups, student organizations, conference sessions, campus working group problem solving, student government meetings…you name it! Engaging in meaningful experiences often extends outside the classroom.

 

While we want to be experts before trying new methods, I’ve found that the students I work with are willing to take chances, ready to engage with content in new ways and help develop creative ways to use breakout rooms. After all, our goal remains to help them find their voice in a flexible learning environment. 

 

Here’s a guide on how to use breakout sessions.

 

Share your story on the Webex community and read more on how other educators are using breakout sessions in their classrooms.

Kirsten Mortimer
Guest blogger: Kirsten Mortimer (she/her), Technology Adoption Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Learn more

Challenges faced during distance learning

What’s new in Webex: May 2021

Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

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hybrid work made real
Announcing a Webex special event | The blueprint for Hybrid Work. Made Real.

The blueprint for hybrid work

Companies are mapping out the next stage of hybrid work plans and return to the office. But hybrid work isn’t just about choosing where to work. It’s about unlocking human potential.

It’s about giving everyone an equal experience wherever they work — and designing workplaces that are supportive and empathetic for a more resilient workforce. At Webex, we believe hybrid work is more than just technology. It’s about reimagining employee and customer experiences.

Hybrid Work Made Real event

On June 8, at our Hybrid Work Made Real event, we will be introducing industry-first innovations across our collaboration suite and supporting specialized experiences for contact centers and other events that you won’t want to miss.

By joining this digital event, you will learn about industry-first hybrid solutions that help organizations understand:

  • How do you facilitate a safe return to the office?
  • How should your offices change to meet the new hybrid work model?
  • How can you ensure your remote employees feel included and have an equal seat at the table?
  • How do you remove fatigue and enable employee well-being no matter where they work?
  • How do you build a company culture that sustains human connections in virtual world?
  • How can you create delightful customer experiences in this digital world?
  • How can you scale and secure all of it?

This is an exclusive event and we are offering registration on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you are looking for a blueprint to create inclusive hybrid work, Register now!

Event Information

Americas & EMEA | June 8, 2021

The Asia Pacific | June 9, 2021

Visit www.HybridWorkEvent.com and click Register Now to sign up for the event.

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WorldTour Team DSM takes the road with Webex for a new hybrid sports experience

What’s possible when the worlds of sports and technology play together…

Creating Exhilarating and Exciting Experiences with Cisco Webex and McLaren Racing

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Top rated collaboration Cisco Webex
Webex earns Trustradius top rated 2021 award in collaboration

After winning 1st place in “Best of” TrustRadius Award categories in February, Webex has earned more recognition in April with the Top Rated 2021 Award in Collaboration. It is great to see that our commitment to innovation and 10x better experiences is paying off.

Since 2016, the TrustRadius Top Rated Awards have become the industry standard for unbiased recognition of B2B technology products. Based entirely on customer feedback, they have never been influenced by analyst opinion or status as a TrustRadius customer. Here is a detailed criteria breakdown on the methodology and scoring that TrustRadius uses to determine Top Rated winners.

Take a look at some of the feature scores that came from the reviews customers left us:

We also saw some fantastic quotes from Webex users on their experiences using Webex.

“Our whole company uses Webex as our preferred messaging application. It is fantastic for keeping us connected when we are all working from different locations, as we can easily chat, call, and meet from desktops or mobiles.” –IT Consultant

“The end-to-end security within the whole Webex stack is a massive plus as well and you know your data is secured from the moment you start typing a message.” –IT Professional

“It’s an easy-to-use application, has the best cost-benefit ratio, is easy to understand and install, and it is also compatible with other Cisco applications.” –Applications Engineer

Webex is the Best Business Collaboration Platform Around.” –Network Services Manager

What’s next for Webex?

Webex continues to innovate with well over 400 features introduced in the last 6 months. Just this month, we announced custom layouts and post meeting summaries in Meetings, Box and Appspace integrations, and real-time calling and messaging analytics in Control Hub. Expect more exciting announcements in the coming months in Webex blogs.

Check out more TrustRadius reviews here. Have your own use case to share? Review us on TrustRadius.

About TrustRadius: TrustRadius helps technology buyers make better decisions and helps vendors tell their unique story, improve conversion, engage high-intent buyers, and gain customer insights.  Each month over 1 million B2B technology buyers, over 50% from large enterprises, use verified reviews and ratings on TrustRadius.com to make informed purchasing decisions.

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What’s new in Webex: April 2021

Post Meeting Summary

How People Insights will help empower a more inclusive and engaging work experience

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex.

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

 

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Cisco Hawking Rooms and Devices
Meeting fatigue? Aren’t we all experiencing it?

Meeting fatigue, co-designing, and technology

The best way to fight virtual fatigue is doing what we do in the real world, don’t “die by PowerPoint,” do better – Co-Create!

This is a story about co-designing, running virtual workshops, and co-creating with teams across companies across locations.

Last Winter, I was invited to an event hosted by Vitra that took place in Vienna, with the schedule: “workshop – decoding the office.”

The organizers told me to expect a “design thinking” session with about 150 people. Having facilitated co-creation workshops myself, I was wondering how this was going to work out.  And I must admit, it was a great experience to witness how Tim Reusch (Head of Vitra Design Studio) pulled it off by using an “event” version based on his methodology.

vitra event 1.PNG

 

Design thinking-  joining space and technology

After the session, Tim and I discussed the importance of the interlock of space and technology. During that time, Vitra and Cisco were already collaborating on the Cisco Webex Room Panorama, providing the ultimate immersive video conferencing experience for the modern C-suite.

We agreed on the need to take our partnership one step further, by joining company forces to discuss the marriage of space and technology, using Tim’s design thinking methodology.

Therefore, our Head of Design for Webex Devices, Sondre Ager-Wick, came on board to support. Time got Hendrik Woywod from Vitra Global Sales involved to assemble a diverse group for the workshop.

Webex and Vitra join together for a virtual design thinking workshop

After a few follow-up meetings in early 2020, we agreed to invite 10 participants from each company and aimed for two slots – a kickoff at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, and a second slot in the Cisco Executive Briefing Center in Oslo, Norway. We were ready to start, but then all of a sudden the entire world went remote overnight.

The challenge was obvious: We still wanted to run the workshops and asked ourselves whether it was possible to do this virtually – using Webex? And it sure was.

The goal

We had one goal in mind, which was to transform the office. To facilitate the workshop, we split up into four different working groups to focus on the different areas.

The key questions for the Space architects and Technology experts were:

SPACE: When people walk through your office, do they really want to work there? If you can answer “yes” to this question, then you have reached a level of psychological comfort and safety.

TECHNOLOGY: Assume 50% of your co-workers are remote. Can you still answer the previous question with a definite “yes”?

Vitra workshop

 

The workshop

Since Webex is designed for collaboration with distributed groups, we onboarded the Vitra participants to Webex and created a team structure for the plenary session using a Webex Space. The joint introduction session was followed by splitting up the group into four small and diversely staffed working teams.

image28.png

You find your chat messages there, your documents and files, and of course, you can ad-hoc start a Webex meeting. The key was the possibility to have the whiteboarding templates integrated into the platform.

We started with the architectural layout of the new office.

image9.png

Any breakout group member can edit the whiteboard in real-time from any location, and editing can be done by teams offline. A single meeting can be joined from multiple devices. For example, a laptop is being used for the meeting, while the iPad is used for whiteboard edits.

Templates and “Flipchart-like” drawing tools, “stickies” – all the tools you are familiar with from design thinking are included. The Webex Architecture allows flexibility to use all of these across companies and locations.

The facilitator is highly flexible in the reviewing progress on each of the whiteboards without joining every single breakout meeting.

image17.png

When we run these kinds of workshops within Cisco, most employees prefer to join with their Webex devices from home. In this workshop, we were a very distributed group of people joining different locations using different technology. Therefore, it was great to see how technology became an enabler to entirely focus on true co-creation from leveraging diverse views and technologies.

Click here if you wanna see how this looks with a “fancy” device

Some workshop impressions:

Devices

image8.pngimage5.png

Each team assigned a team lead and then got to work on their schedule for four weeks. Afterward, each group presented their outcomes to the overall panel.

Afterwards, it was great to see the amazing results of this invigorating collaboration; as an example, take a glimpse on how the teams structured the scenarios:

dancing wall 2_AH

Many thanks again to the folks from Vitra and Cisco who contributed to this experience. I must admit that this was the first time I could do this myself virtually and across companies, countries, and colleagues, and I am pleased about how well it worked out.

We then agreed to run a second round which focused on two specific topics: “Safe Return to Office” and “Work from Home.” My team member Mathilde Salvi facilitated this round together with Tim and Hendrik.

Fast forward to today, where are we now

Here are a couple of examples of joint ideas that we are working on with customers now:

Dancing Wall + Webex

Many companies adapt to the increasingly unpredictable changes in their markets by creating agile organizational structures. To facilitate this, they require office furnishings that can be easily reconfigured – if possible, by the users themselves. Dancing Wall is a solution for these new working environments.

Dancing wall

dancing wall 2_AH

Kado + Webex board:

Modern offices need to be flexible to adapt to changing conditions. Yet, at the same time, an open office landscape needs organizational structures that reflect the company’s identity and define pathways for movement and communication. This is where Kado Office comes into play.

Kado

Huddle Spaces:

Huddle Spaces will have a considerable stake in the new offices setup. Hence, we explored the following scenarios:

Huddle SpacesA big playground, the home office:

home office

All those pictures look great, but of course, this needs to be experienced in the real world. Another great proof point of this collaboration is the Webex Panorama in the Vitra Showroom:

Vitra officeshowroom frankfurt 4

Back to the co-designing piece

In our Design-Thinking Sprint with Vitra, we managed thanks to the integrated whiteboarding capabilities in Webex. If you want to try this yourself, just download the Webex Client and give it a go.

Webex is an open platform to expand the experience even further, so you can easily integrate co-creation apps.

Here is an example of Miro.com embedded into Webex:

I’d recommend choosing Miro when you want to run workshops with a large number of participants, requiring an assortment of templates supporting a wider variety of work-styles:

Image 1

  Miro on Webex Board

miro board.jpeg

Miro on DeskPro

miro deskpro.jpeg

Now, the world is used to virtual meetings, but in my opinion, the era of co-creation – especially hybrid co-creation – has just started, and exciting times are ahead of us!

THE BEST RECIPE AGAINST MEETING FATIGUE IS CO-CREATION and this is true for physical, virtual as well as hybrid meetings.

See how Webex Devices can help your team communicate clearly and create together in real time

About the author

Alex Braumann joined Cisco in 2000. As Business Development Manager & Collaboration Evangelist the Austrian is covering Technology Evolution and focuses on Partner Enablement, Verticalization and the Digitization capabilities of Cisco Collaboration in EMEAR & APJC. During his career at Cisco, he worked in different Systems Engineering, Sales & Business Development roles in the fields of IP Telephony, Unified Communication and Collaboration.

Resources

The all new Webex

Ready to make the switch to the new Webex?

Learn more

Making Video Fatigue a Thing of the Past— Webex Devices Deliver 10x Better Experiences

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

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Woman video conferencing and using noise reduction
Life happens. Background noise doesn’t have to

The Adoption blog series: Sharing our must-have features on Webex to make your life on Webex a little bit more easier and a lot more awesome

Taking the distraction out of background noise

Working at Webex means I’ve always worked from home (even pre-pandemic). But now it feels different, and I’ve been thinking about exactly why that is–it’s not just that we are working from home, but now we’re living our lives at work. My manager recently described it as “we’re all in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Personally, that couldn’t be more on point.

A lot has changed in the past 12 months, and while our team used to be focused on general Webex adoption, the needs of our users have changed significantly as the entire world moved to working virtually (for the most part). On top of that, I’ve also changed significantly. I took on my most important role to date: momma.

“Will my team think I’m unprofessional if they hear my dogs barking? What if the baby is crying so loud that I need to stay on mute and not engage as much in a meeting? Will it impact my career or brand?”

Working from home with a family

Charlie was born in July, mid-pandemic, to a changed world–a world where returning to work wouldn’t involve commute traffic, but rather focus on how I manage work time (and more importantly, focus time) amidst family time all in the same physical space—home.

Any parents among you know that returning to work is hard enough, but thinking that your baby’s cries, dogs barking, and day-to-day noises of running a home would be a feature in work meetings adds an additional layer of anxiety. I had visions of trying to soundproof my office, make sure doors were closed, and ask the teenagers in my house to keep it down when I have important presentations.

Webex is here to help

I‘m not alone. We hear from thousands of users in our Webex Community that transitioning to remote work 100% of the time has required an additional layer of consideration in so many ways we never thought about–from the basics of being heard to the advanced challenges of a fully remote team inclusion in brainstorming and more. We’re all in this together and Webex is here to help.

Announcing feature of the month series

Each month, we’ll be sharing our top features to make your life on Webex a little bit easier and occasionally a lot more awesome, starting with noise removal. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you’re missing out.

One day, after turning on noise removal, the baby was…let’s just say “approaching lunchtime” quite loudly and I apologized for the noise. My colleague looked confused: “I don’t hear a thing!”

What is noise removal?

It’s easy to confuse noise removal with noise cancellation. These are very different things! Noise cancellation is all about drowning out distractions (normally delivered via hardware like headphones or headsets by using white noise). Noise removal on the other hand is way smarter. It uses innovative technology from BabbleLabs to intelligently listen to the audio on a meeting and digitally remove distracting sounds. I’ve got to be honest and say I was dubious when I heard about it and worried it would be like many consumer apps I use that try to do the same thing, but the actual result is one person’s audio goes too quiet and I miss what they were saying.

See it in action:

I was amazed that after enabling noise removal, my colleagues could hear my every word despite the doorbells, and then, of course, my two colleagues barking at every car that drove by. I should also probably let you know that my colleagues consist of two dogs—a 16-pound pug and a 110-pound labrador. Everyone needs to be using this!

remove background noise UI and speaker and microphone

It really is very, very cool. If you find yourself working from home, this is a must-try feature from all of us here at Webex. If you’re already using it, share how for your chance to win a Cisco 730 Headset (also very, very cool..and a blog for another time). If not, we’ve made a handy guide to help you turn it on—check it out below.

Download my noise removal guide to learn more

About the author

Image of Heidi RhodesHeidi Rhodes, Leader, Digital Experiences and Enablement Mom. Wife. Passionate about the adoption of cool technology and helping Webex’ hundreds of millions of users all around the world. Heidi leads Webex Customer Success Digital Transformation, Digital Experiences, Training and Enablement Teams and posts from time to time on how businesses and individuals can fully use the power of Webex to connect, collaborate and achieve more.

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The rise of AI speech enhancement & better team collaboration

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Webex Noise Removal- BabbleLabs| Unboxing [Video]

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What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

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Collaboration for the win
Webex lights up green for St Patrick’s Day!

Míle Fáilte (A thousand welcomes) to all our Cisco colleagues, partners and customers around the globe!

We are thrilled to announce that last week, the Great Place to Work ranked Cisco as the Best Large Workplace in Ireland 2021. Participating companies were ranked on their ability to create a positive and supportive workplace environment; with an incredible 91% of Cisco employees in Ireland agreeing Cisco is a great place to work.

“Winning the Great Place to work in 2021 is not only a testament to our employees and leadership but a testament to how Webex has enabled us to continue to grow a culture albeit virtually. Since March 2020, the pandemic has not stopped the Irish team having a fully engaged culture of trust –  what a great place to work is truly built on. Webex gave us a platform, be it on video or through messaging, to enable our employees to be there for each other either professionally or personally. This last year I would never have been able to do my job without Webex, it’s as simple as that!”

Sheila Greaney – Site Engagement Manager

One of the key factors that makes Cisco a great place to work is that each and every employee is encouraged to embrace their local culture. And today, March 17th, our Irish team celebrate St Patrick’s day. A day of festivities and joy for all as we remember the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick.

St Patrick’s day calls for us to don our finest green attire – with shamrocks and ginger beards highly encouraged. We dive deep into what it means to be Irish and dust off our dancing shoes to fully embrace our world-famous traditional music and rich culture. And this year was no different – not even Covid could stop the fun.

Being part of the Cisco family means we are all fortunate to have access to industry leading tools that maximise our virtual celebrations, making them 10X better than being in person and inclusive to our global teams. Here are just a few examples of how our teams made this St Patrick’s day one to remember:

Galway team Webex

Each year, our Galway team transform the Cisco office building green, but the way we work has changed dramatically this year. With Webex becoming our new virtual office, it only made sense that we light up Webex green too. For the first time ever, and for one glorious day only, the Webex you know and love, is turning green. This was available only to users in our internal Cisco trials, but who knows, it might be something we productise for this and other holidays in the future!

Webex lights up green for St Patrick’s Day!

Our internal fun didn’t stop there. The local Webex team created a selection of incredible Irish themed virtual backgrounds. Perfect to get everyone on meetings in the spirit of the holiday. Below are a few examples of what we created. We would love to see what you come up with – use #GRMAWebex to share your St Patrick’s day virtual backgrounds.

Co-workers at Cisco using Irish backgrounds in their meeting

On March 16th we also hosted a St Patrick’s Day Trad Fest – our first virtual St Patrick’s Day Festival where we invited all Cisco employees and their family members to join and learn the history behind Irish music with special performances from our very own Irish traditional Cisco band. All hosted on Webex!

St. Patricks Day Trad Fest

The band covered classics such as ‘The Kesh Jig’ and ‘The Lilting Fisherman’ – and our very own Rory Walsh gave a stunning vocal performance of ‘You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time’. The band not only showcased their beautiful talents but were able to share a slice of our great Irish history with their fellow employees world-wide.

Cisco members of a meeting all playing instruments

And last but by no means least, it wouldn’t be a Cisco event if we didn’t have some star presence. Our lucky audience at St Patrick’s Day Trad Fest were blessed with an unforgettable performance from our special guest Noel Hill. Noel is an Irish concertina player from County Clare, who has enjoyed world-wide success and now teaches concertina locally and globally with the help of Cisco Webex. Noel’s stunning performance truly was the perfect highlight to end a fantastic Cisco St Patrick’s day.

We may not have been able to celebrate this St Patrick’s day like we traditionally would but, with the help of Webex we were all able to come together and celebrate our Irish culture as a team, in style! Truly enforcing how Cisco is the greatest place to work.

Don’t forget to share your virtual St Patrick’s day fun using #GRMAWebex

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Get the best video meeting experience with Webex Auto Configuration

Announcing the winners of Collaboration hackathon

Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

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What Stanford researchers don’t know: You can meet smarter to reduce video fatigue

Factors contributing to video fatigue

Meeting fatigue is real. And, in the era of COVID, “meeting” almost certainly means video conferencing. Stanford University researchers thought the problem was pervasive enough that they conducted a study to examine why too much video conferencing can exhaust the mind and body in what they say is commonly known as “Zoom fatigue” – although the researchers indicated this applies to all videoconferencing platforms. They arrived at four key factors that contribute to fatigue and even devised a way to measure it with the “Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue” (ZEF) scale:

1) Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense

2) Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing

3) Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility

4) Higher cognitive load is much higher in video chats

While researchers gave some useful tips to counteract these problems, they are only short-term fixes to a problem that is endemic to the current era.

The answer is to meet smarter so you can meet less

Some companies, including at Cisco where I work, are implementing meeting-free days to minimize burn-out. But giving people a break from meetings and then going right back to Zoom fatigue the next day is also not the long-term answer.

The answer is using video conferencing technology to let people meet smarter so they can have fewer meetings on a REGULAR basis.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but over the past year, Webex has been working on ways to help people spend less time in meetings yet be more productive. Some of these innovations include:

  • Using an in-meeting digital assistant to capture transcripts, notes and action items, so you can fully focus in the meeting and get more done
  • Automated post-meeting follow-up enables easy distribution of notes and tracking action items, which may negate the need to have additional meetings to move work forward
  • Advanced messaging and team collaboration features let you continue work projects before, during and after the meeting, so much of it can be done asynchronously
  • Round table & Quick Sync meeting templates give everyone a dedicated speaking slot and time allocation, so no one can hog the discussion which reduces time sink
  • Real-time translation helps to break down language barriers and aids understanding, so fewer meetings are required for additional clarification

 

See Webex infographic to learn more about smart video conferencing

 

My Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue score is very low

Out of curiosity, I took the ZEF survey just to see how I would score. And not surprisingly, it was very low:  I scored in the 8th percentile in Zoom fatigue, which means about 92% of people have more fatigue after videoconferencing than I do. I attribute that to three things:

  • My comfort with video having worked in the industry for more than 10 years
  • The intelligence in Webex which allows me to meet smarter on video and, thus, have fewer meetings
  • Working on a Webex Desk device, an all-in-one personal collaboration system that is comfortable to work on and contributes to less visual and physical fatigue

See how you score on the ZEF scale. And try Webex for free.

My score on the ZEF scale:

Stanford ZEF Scale Report
My score on the ZEF Scale Report

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Making Video Fatigue a Thing of the Past— Webex Devices Deliver 10x Better Experiences

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