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man whiteboarding using Webex
Collaborate confidently without compromise

The hybrid workplace is here to stay

Over this past year, how we communicate, collaborate and connect has drastically changed. In the blink of an eye, companies were forced to adjust and adapt to a new environment through virtual collaboration tools. Today, as the uncertainty of the future of work continues, organizations have redefined their priorities and placed a large importance on collaborative experiences.

In a recent survey on the future of work, 98% of the workforce believe that meetings will consist of participants working from home. Currently, across just our customer base, approximately 40% of these meetings have at least one external user. To empower an inclusive future, Webex offers a safe, consistent and secure platform that supports and enables collaboration without compromise for users inside and outside your organization.

woman workng on Desk Pro at home

Seamless collaboration without settling for less

Work doesn’t stop at the organization’s door. Every day, companies work with partners, suppliers, consultants and customers. In this hybrid workplace, the most important tool they need is a way to connect.

Bottom line, in order to be successful, most companies need to be able to collaborate outside of their organization without a compromised experience or risk to their organization’s security policy.  By Collaboration, I mean meet, message, call, share files, co-edit whiteboards…you name it. This shouldn’t be a burden on the end-user, it should be the same great experience as when they collaborate internally.

With Webex, participants leverage a unified experience when collaborating with internal and external users. Through a true cloud architecture, The Webex app assigns a unique single identity to each users’ work email address, providing the ability to simultaneously communicate across spaces. Your company’s security policy is still in place, but so is the security policy of the external user’s organization. In short, I have the same amazing Collaboration experience inside and outside my organization with zero security compromises.

In contrast, our competitors’ architecture is reliant on Active Directory, great for internal users, but a patchwork at best for external users. Without a global identity platform, like Webex, that spans across all organizations, users end up being guest users, external users, or in some cases both. As guests, new identities are created for users which dismantles corporate governance for data loss prevention, retention policies, and access to features and content all while providing a confusing, unproductive experience. Imagine investing in a collaboration tool which lost you access to the very services you paid for – such as calling, your calendar, and more!

woman sitting on bench using phone

A unified Collaboration experience with uncompromised security for all users, inside or outside of your organization, is one of many Webex capabilities that enable greater workplace efficiencies across boundaries. Webex can connect you to all the tools and people in a single place. Existing applications are integrated into Webex for a flexible and customized experience, without the chaos of app switching. Through an open platform of APIs, tools like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Miro and many others can be integrated in your Webex experience. Even better, you can also integrate Webex into your other tools for ease across meetings, messaging and calling all while ensuring security and privacy standards are met. Without the daily struggle of opening and logging into several applications, you can now do your job all in one place. Webex provides a seamless Collaboration solution with security built in, not bolted on.

From my personal experience, navigating work from home has been quite the challenge, but with Webex, it has been 10X easier and better than the issues my peers deal with. A typical workday for me can consist of 10-12 hours of video calls. During my typical day, I meet, message and call multiple external contacts from our various partners and customers. I can work with dispersed cross functional teams without any concern of experience issues for users inside and outside my organization. The integration of existing applications continues to help and enable productivity amongst myself and my team while also maintaining security standards. I will also share that my Desk Pro has been a lifesaver and has singlehandedly resolved some of the meeting fatigue that we hear so much about.  With Webex, I know that I can rely on its intelligent features and security to keep my customers, employees and organization safe and productive anytime, anywhere.

As the relevance of email continues to decrease, an emphasis around secure, external collaboration becomes significantly more important. Ultimately, if a customer cares about external collaboration, it is hard for me to imagine them tolerating Collaboration platforms with terrible user experiences and serious security holes. We are all trying to thrive in a fast-moving hypercompetitive world; intelligent and secure collaboration with great experiences may be the difference between our success and failure.

If you are interested in learning more about Webex Security, you can check out Radhika Chagarlamudi’s Blog: “National Security (NSA) Collaboration Guidelines: 5 Key Questions for Assuring Security and Compliance”.

Collaborate safely through purpose-built devices for work, home and everywhere in between

 Enough about security and external collaboration, time to share an incredibly cost-effective way to add Webex Devices to your Collaboration experienceWork is no longer defined by where we are, but rather what we do. The future requires solutions that scale to meet individual everchanging needs and we can provide them. Of the current workforce, 96% want intelligent workspace technology to improve their work environment. Our devices are purpose-built and fused with Webex to enable an integrated software and hardware experience fit for every workspace.

To support the hybrid workplace, Webex is now offering new accessible and affordable ways to purchase Webex Desk and Room devices. Substantial discounts on these devices are available for new or existing customers with a Webex Meetings Active User or Enterprise Agreement. Remember that Desk Pro that I mentioned earlier, you can now get this world-class video endpoint for under $2,500 (without incremental charges like our competitors). This is almost ½ the price you would pay if you weren’t an enterprise wide Webex Meetings customer.

There are so many reasons why I love my Desk Pro, I even travel with it! Here are a few: multiple virtual background options, immersive share to present right next to my content, noise cancellation with Babble Labs, and so much more! Let the Desk Pro help reduce your daily meeting fatigue, now for ½ the price!

For more on Webex Devices, check out a recent blog post by my colleague Snorre Kjesbu: “Webex Devices to Help You Thrive From Wherever You Work — Now More Affordable and Widely Available”.

white boarding on a clear pane

Supporting the needs of all customers with the new addition of Active User 3.0

 Coming full circle, I am pleased to announce that the Active User buying model is now available in Flex 3.0 and Flex 3.0 FedRAMP. Active User is a usage-based subscription for meetings that allows customers to purchase meetings entitlements according to adoption, and closely track the return on your investment. With Active User 3.0, subscriptions can be purchased for a minimum of just 40 Active Users.

For a safe return to work, this is a great place to start your subscription! With Active User 3.0, everyone in your company will have access to Webex and you only pay for what you use. If Active User isn’t the right fit for you, check out one of our other buying models. Flex 3.0 now offers the full package of buying models (Active User, Enterprise Agreement and Named User) to support the Webex needs of all organizations.

We believe Cisco can uniquely empower organizations to succeed at home, work and everywhere in between through an all-in-one secure collaboration solution and world-class integrated endpoints. Webex is your answer for the future of the work.

Download the free version of the Webex app here today and experience secure, seamless collaboration with users inside and outside your organization!

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: April 2021

Your guide to sensors and analytics in Webex Devices

14 ways to refresh your collaboration experience

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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?

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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

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Screen Share Analytics
21 screen sharing statistics you need to know in 2021

As remote work has taken off and online meetings have replaced many in-person gatherings, effective collaboration now depends more heavily than ever on having the right software in place.

The best audio and video conferencing solutions allow for in-depth, real-time collaboration, with functionality that extends far beyond simply being able to speak with and see the other participants in a meeting.

Most importantly, they include screen sharing capabilities that enable attendees to show their entire screen or just a particular tab or window. Screen sharing is an integral part of video conferencing software and an important component of remote work, which grew 159% between 2005 and 2019.

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

Empowering inclusive and engaging work experience with People Insights

If you tuned into Cisco Live this week, you’ve heard loud and clear that the future of work is hybrid – and the future of collaboration must be more inclusive and engaging to make this new working model successful.

Whether you’re working at home, in the office, or both, teams and projects can pull you in multiple directions. How do you keep from burning out while maintaining an inclusive workplace?

Advancements to the People Insights feature

We’re excited to announce that People Insights is expanding beyond profiles with a new set of features that provide customized insights designed to empower people and teams to thrive in this new era of inclusive collaboration – right from your Webex app. People Insights will provide detailed, private insights to you and your team to help you manage work-life balance, carve out focus time, and develop stronger and more effective working relationships.

Watch the latest episode of Designing the future of work where Jeetu Patel (SVP & GM Security & Applications, Cisco) and Gianpaolo Barozzi (Sr. Director of People & Communities, Cisco Webex) shares with us the genesis and demo of People Insights:

People Insights help prioritize well-being at work

From your collaboration preferences, to meetings you join, and the network you build – every decision you make on how you spend your time and connect with others affects your output.  People Insights helps you reflect on how you spend your time.

  • How often are you accepting meetings you never attend?
  • Are you often sharing your video?
  • How many meetings are you attending during your downtime?
  • Who do you spend the most time with?

Manage your time with Webex

Webex will provide these valuable insights to help teams take control of their time. When teams spend their time effectively and achieve work-life balance, they can focus on the work that matters most, continue to build important connections, and nurture those relationships.

Quiet Hours and People insights

Privacy First

And this information is presented to you and only you. Your personal view of People Insights will be as unique as you are. No one else has this information, and no two views of insights will be the same. Each individual can set personal preferences and goals and take action directly from the Webex app.

Privacy first

Intelligence vs Scoring

At Webex, we believe in empowering individuals and teams with intelligence – not a score. People Insights is a visual representation of how you collaborate and spend your time. Work isn’t restricted to scheduled meetings within your org chart. Work is asynchronous. Our collaboration network and work output are fueled by ad-hoc phone calls, multiple messages, and introductions to new teams and people. By seeing how you spend your time, you can decide what is right for you.

Goal Setting and People Insights

Do you want to be more respectful of other people’s time? Set goals for joining and ending meetings on time, adding agendas to the meetings you host, or respecting others’ downtime.

Do you want to be more engaged during meetings? Set a goal for how often you speak up or turn on your video.

Webex is taking a people-first approach to empower inclusive collaboration and build engaging work experiences. People Insights from Webex will help:

  • enable seamless cross-collaboration
  • ensure individual wellbeing and encourage healthy behaviors
  • enhance work-life balance
  • build quality connections
  • empower diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • maximize time on projects that matter most

Cisco is rooted in our people-first culture and approach, and our product vision is the same. Empowered individuals make stronger teams, and stronger teams build better organizations that innovate and power the economy.

We’re looking forward to working with some of our top customers to help shape the future of People Insights for you!

Go to Webex.com for more information

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What’s new in Webex: April 2021

Reimagine the Future of Work series announcing the availability of solutions that are purpose-built to help companies transform how they work while keeping employees safe, connected and productive.

Cisco Webex Powers Personal Well-Being, Higher Performing Teams and Inclusive Collaboration [Press Release]

Still need help?

What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Join a Webex online meeting

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

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Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Webex Beta Program
Meet Webex Beta

Introducing Webex Beta

Today, we’re excited to introduce Webex Beta, a new early access program that replaces our Early Field Trial (EFT) and Early Adopter Programs (EAP). Webex Beta provides Webex Admins and Partners a better way to discover and apply for early access to Webex Apps, Devices, and Services, providing you with a unique opportunity to share your feedback directly with our product teams.

The voice of the customer has always been a crucial element of how we design our customer experience, and Webex Beta now ensures it’s an intrinsic part of how we bring our products to market.

If you’re a Webex Admin, you can now discover the available and upcoming Product Beta’s and ensure you and nominated users in your organization can access the latest innovations across the Webex portfolio before they are launched.

Better together

How to quickly create a company culture in a growing business

The Webex Beta program is designed to empower our customers. We value your insights and are excited for you to partner with our product teams to help shape the future of work. Your voice and experience are vital to shaping the Webex of the future and ensuring we deliver your needs.

In return, we’ll ask that you provide continuous feedback and ensure that the full range of users perspectives are represented – it’s a significant commitment you’ll need to make but one that can deliver substantial rewards.

Get to know Webex Beta

As part of your Webex Beta membership, you’ll also have to opportunity to be part of both our Webex Community and Webex Ambassador programs, enabling you to connect with others using Webex in your industry and beyond.

These will provide you with enhanced access to our team and invites to events which are exclusive to these programs.

Our future vision – Hearing every user’s voice 

A key part of the Webex Beta program is ensuring we gather the broadest possible range of insights, matching the diversity of those who use Webex daily. Hearing everyone’s voice ensures our products can be more inclusive and considerate of the full range of demands our customers have.

To ensure we have the opportunity to hear everyone’s voice, we’ll be working this year to expand Beta participation, including the ability for users to enrol directly, with Admins’ consent where appropriate, of course. Learning from users from every industry, line of business, region and ability has been a key part of many of our customer touchpoints, and we’re working to ensure our global customer base is more fully represented in our Webex Beta early access programs too.

How do I join?

As an Admin, getting started today with the Webex Beta Program is simple.

Just go to beta.webex.com and follow our three-step process. We’ll see you there.

Watch the video to learn more:

Learn more

What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

Innovations from Webex Experts: How Webex Aha! came to be

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

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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.

Learn more

The rise of AI speech enhancement & better team collaboration

Experience the all new Webex

Webex Noise Removal- BabbleLabs| Unboxing [Video]

Resources

What’s new in Webex: March 2021

Webex Training Drop- In Session [Live Class]

See What’s New in RoomOS

Still need help?

What would you like to do?

Join a Webex online meeting.

Learn more about web meetings and video conferencing.

Explore daily product demonstrations

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Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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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

Learn more

Get the best video meeting experience with Webex Auto Configuration

Announcing the winners of Collaboration hackathon

Relaunch of the Webex Ambassador Program

Still need help?

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.

Read more
Man sitting at computer looking at screen
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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Hackathon deco art
Announcing the winners of Collaboration hackathon

Transforming ideas into reality

The workplace is constantly evolving. The way we work is forever changing and advancements in technology are moving more rapidly than ever before. Innovation is key, but where does it come from and more importantly, how do we develop it into a reality?

At some point we have all had that great idea, that one lightbulb thought that could change how we work, make a process faster or save ourselves some time. The problem is that we don’t always have the resources, background or skillset to make it happen, often leading to missed opportunities. But not at Cisco. This is where innovation is born.

Building on the success of our 2-day Hackathon event hosted in San Jose in July 2019, Cisco SVP Javed Khan held our first-ever virtual Collaboration Hackathon series in late 2020 to early 2021. The series featured one hackathon for our internal colleagues and one for external innovators – organised by Product Manager Ivy Pham. Individuals and teams were welcome to participate regardless of technical knowledge or experience. The only criteria to take part: a passion to innovate and a desire to make a change.

“During these challenging pandemic times, seamless and secure virtual experiences are more important than ever. This virtual hackathon is a fun way our community can come together to develop solutions that will make virtual communication and collaboration ‘better than being there’.”

Javed Khan

SVP/GM, Collaboration 

Reimagining what is possible with our internal hackathon

The internal hackathon was open to all Cisco employees, harnessing the strength of our global workforce to provide diverse perspectives on the future of our industry. As a result, we had over 820 participants with nearly 500 submissions!

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. All ideas were welcome at the hackathon, but to help guide our hackers we created 3 key themes – Experience, Next Generation and Cross Architecture.

Experience – Focusing on our end users’ and customers’ experiences. Keeping this open to interpretation, participants could focus on day-to-day activities, operations and even analytics. Basically, keeping our customers top of mind and developing solutions to ensure they have the best experience possible.

Next Generation – The possibilities are endless when it comes to advancements in technology. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have changed how we all work, but we have only begun to scratch the surface. Here participants had the opportunity to create solutions that enable our users to work smarter, not harder.

Cross Architecture – The power of Cisco is the strength of our vast portfolio. Collaboration is just one aspect of this. Imagining innovative and creative concepts to integrate with our portfolio is game changing. This could include security, data, mobility and more.

Here are some of the solutions from the hackathon that blew us away:

Checklister

Webex is a great tool for collaboration via messages. To-do list applications are great tools for tracking ongoing tasks. Checklister would automatically suggest to-do list items to the user and allow editing before storing the message as an action item. The to-do list store could be native to Webex or third-party integrations.

Checklister

Webex Haiku

While business’s adoption of video calling tools for customer service is on the rise, not all people are avid computer users. This translates into frustration when joining Webex meetings. Cisco Webex Haiku is an online drag-and-drop editor for creating your own Webex client portal, as simple and powerful as your business needs it.

See the full list of winners below:

Hackathon Prizes

Global innovation at our external hackathon

We know that great ideas come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes a totally fresh perspective can reimagine how we work and the tools we use. With this in mind, we opened the external hackathon globally to people over the age of 18. Similar to our internal hackathon, we encouraged people to participate regardless of technical knowledge or experience. Everyone with an interest in innovation was welcome. As a result, we were delighted to see an enormous interest in university students signing up to take part (over 1100) – after all, they are the future of our industry.

To help guide our external participants we also provided two optional themes. The first was Cisco Webex and Collaboration with a key focus on the end user experience. The second was social good – creating new solutions that have a positive impact on people, society or the planet. In total we had nearly 250 teams participate and a whopping 60 winners. Below are a few highlights and the full winners list:

Sanitary Pad Dispensing Machine

The idea is an affordable and easy to operate sanitary pad dispensing machine. The project has been designed with the motive of providing 24/7 availability of sanitary pads to women, especially in rural regions where there is a lot of social stigma attached to this particular issue. One of the main objectives of this project was to make the topic of menstruation more mainstream so that parents could talk to their daughters more freely, friends could support each other, and women would not feel ashamed of something that is natural to them and a part of their life.

Webex Knowledge Extractor

This is a tool that integrates with Webex and allows questions and answers to be displayed and indexed for search based on threaded messaging. The dashboard interface will allow the end user to login via OAuth and select a room to be analyzed for Questions which have been answered by experts, then export to Excel or import into external systems for knowledge base articles.

Joey Notifications

Never miss a beat with Joey Notifications in Webex! Joey is the perfect solution to make working from home more people centric. Set reminders to stretch and take care of your health throughout the day. Joey is designed to engage you with little tips such as yoga videos or recipes and uses AI image detection to evaluate your health. Joey Notifications is the perfectly tailored plugin for you and your team!

1st prize

2nd prize3rd prize

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of innovative and creative ideas submitted during the hackathon series. Some of these amazing ideas will be put forward to our collaboration group and considered for further development.

Hackathons are just one of the many events we hold each year to spark innovation within our organization.

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events and one day your idea could become part of our collaboration offering!

Resources

The all new Webex

Ready to make the switch to the new Webex?

Learn more

Join a Webex online meeting

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

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

 

 

Read more