PHOENIX AZ, April 18 2018 – “Let’s talk about it—I’ll set up a Webex!” Ever heard (or said) that sentence? If you are like most workers, the answer is yes; the name “Webex” is synonymous with the word “meet”. It is the gold standard when it comes to real-time meetings and getting things done. More than six billion meeting minutes happen in Cisco® Webex® every month.
But the way people meet is changing. And Webex is ready.
To make it easier for teams to meet and get great work done, today at Collaboration Summit we announce that we are converging the Cisco Spark™ and Webex platforms. The result is a new Webex Meetings application for your meetings and a new seamless team collaboration application called Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark). We are putting all our award-winning video devices onto this newly converged platform. And we’re adding a new hardware device that turns any work space with a TV into a Webex room. We didn’t stop there. We’re making everything easier to buy. And we’re continuing to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence that will dramatically improve meetings as we know them today.
Here’s more information about each part of our news:
We launch an all-new version of Webex meetings.
The first thing you will notice about the new Webex Meetings is that it is “video first,” meaning you’ll be strongly encouraged to turn on your camera. That’s because seeing and being seen are fundamental to good teamwork. Gone are the days when you’d stare at the screen only to see the presentation. You’ll now see all your teammates, in crisp, clean layouts whether you are using your laptop, your Cisco video room device or your mobile device.
Because we deliver Webex through the cloud, the one hundred million people worldwide who use Webex do not need to take any action. They will simply get the update in the coming months.
We launch a brand new version of Cisco Spark and at the same time give it a new name
Today’s business challenges are getting more and more complex, creating an urgency to help teams connect and get their best work done. We want to make it simple for our Webex users to take the next step to team collaboration.
Our goal has always been to make Cisco Spark the simplest, most secure team collaboration tool on the planet. Today, we launch a new version of Cisco Spark, and give it a new name: Webex Teams. Now, when companies are ready to make their move to team collaboration they can do so with the brand that they already know and love—Webex. All they need to do is add the Teams extension to start using team-based persistent collaboration.
With this new version, we have completely integrated the technology across the applications— so you can expect the same rich Webex meeting functionality in Teams meetings, and a common experience no matter which you choose. Webex Teams gives you a much richer set of tools –including whiteboarding, persistent messaging, simple guest access, content sharing and integrated tools—to support teams both during and after the meeting.
The new name also extends to our award-winning devices. For instance, the Cisco Spark Board becomes the Webex Board. That’s because Webex meetings are even better when you join from one of Cisco’s video devices.
We announce a new device that turns any space with a TV into a Webex room.
While visiting customers we noticed that many huddle spaces—most, even—have a little-used TV hanging on the wall. What if we could enlist these TVs to make team huddles better? we asked.
Out of that question came Webex Share™, a low-cost, super-simple way for teams to share content on the big screen in the space. Simply plug the palm-sized adapter into the back of the TV. Pair with the system, and start sharing your document or screen. When you’re done, keep the work going in your Webex Teams space. Plus, with Webex Share, teams will be able to easily reserve rooms, know when a room is already booked, and much more.
Webex Share will be available for Webex Meetings and Teams towards the end of 2018.
We share an all-new roadmap for how Webex will work with tools from Google, Microsoft, and other companies.
We believe in choice. We want our customers to be free to choose whichever tool is right for them. Want to use Webex for meetings but Microsoft for team collaboration? No problem. With the new Webex you can do just that. We’ll work with Google, Slack and others, too. It’s important our customers have choices, and therefore it is important to us to make it easier for them.
We make buying great tools for your team easy.
Buying should be simple and with the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan, it is. As of today, companies can simply pay a subscription fee for each active user. And with Webex Meetings, now up to 1,000 people can join and we have added more storage, advanced security and analytics capabilities.
We put artificial intelligence (AI) to work to end lousy meetings.
In November, we announced our plans to use AI to make meetings better. Today we build upon that in two ways:
Webex Assistant™ (formerly Cisco Spark Assistant) will be available on more devices and with more functionality. We continue the journey to inject AI into every meeting, every call, every conversation and every interaction that you have. Based on technology from our MindMeld acquisition, Webex Assistant will start showing up over the next couple of months in all our cloud-connected Webex Room Kit and Room Series devices.
Noise suppression saves the call. The loud typist. The barking dog. The side conversation. These are just a few of the annoyances that disrupt many meetings. But not anymore: all Cisco cloud-connected and on-premise video devices can now suppress disruptive noises. This means the next time someone starts loudly shuffling papers on a call, the system will automatically turn the volume down enough so that the sound no longer interrupts the conversation. And when the paper shuffler chimes in with a comment, the system will “know” that and automatically stop suppressing the sound. To the user, it’s magic: no need to do a thing.
“Everything we do is designed with people in mind—to help them work, collaborate, and create together. That’s why we have invested so much in Webex,” said Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM, Applications Group, Cisco. “Our vision is to bring this amazing experience to a billion users and conference rooms all around the world.”