As the technology industry collectively turned the calendar over to 2019, the topic of enterprise collaboration tools seems to be garnering a major share of the spotlight. Here’s the first in a series of blog posts you’ll see from Carousel SMEs on this topic with the initial focus on Cisco.

Cisco Webex Gets Major Overhaul

Without question, team-based enterprise collaboration continues to gain traction with Carousel clients and here’s what I find most exciting – innovative collaboration solutions from our key technology partners are rapidly changing. The software and combined hardware functionality are being designed to make end users more productive, more efficient, and naturally, to make it easier and more seamless to work effectively across teams.

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One case in point: last year, Cisco announced several enhancements to its Webex platform including a new version of Webex Meetings, as well as a new Webex Meetings desktop application, which replaces Webex Productivity Tools.  These features brought a new look and feel as well as new capabilities and an even faster join experience.

Cisco has put a major emphasis on improving user experience. Case in point: they have added a new modern dashboard and video-first UX for Webex Meetings. Carousel clients are increasingly adopting video in meetings, both for remote users and in the conference room. We are also seeing increased usage of Webex’s Web App, a WebRTC browser-based client, which has become the de-facto way to join meetings. Another cool new feature is the Webex Meetings Desktop apps’ ability to locally scrape calendar info from Microsoft Outlook, allowing for simple scheduling, personal room access, and proximity to wirelessly share, join, and control video room devices.

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Carousel clients are showing a lot of interest in what Cisco is enabling in the huddle space through their Webex Room Kit Mini and Webex Share products. Webex Share’s ability to display the room’s calendar and availability, auto-pair to ‘wake’ the display upon entering the room, and wirelessly share are simple ways Cisco is increasing the use of video in these huddle rooms. Clients will be happy to hear that these new devices are being offered at a very competitive price point.

For our clients with larger conference rooms, the recently released Webex Room Kit Pro (which replaces the SX80) is ideal. Room Kit Pro is powering triple-screen 4K conference rooms with increased inputs and powerful in-room controls, plus AI features like noise suppression, intelligent views, facial detection, and people count. In addition, the Webex Board has seen enhancements (e.g. one-button to push, annotation, phonebooks), increasing this devices ability to be used as an all-in-one endpoint to collaborate in the office.

Cisco’s team-based collaboration client Webex Teams enables simple business-to-business collaboration with a focus on end-to-end security. Webex Teams now supports native integration with Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive and SharePoint Online. This solution helps users increase productivity by allowing the ability to share and co-edit files from OneDrive and SharePoint in a Webex Teams space using existing permissions and CASB/DLP policies. For Carousel clients that use Microsoft Teams, paired with Webex Meetings, Microsoft Teams can also experience the same rich set of conferencing features provided by Webex Meetings, installed via the Microsoft Teams store. This provides users with a dashboard of their Webex Meetings within Microsoft Teams channels as well as a bot to ‘mention’ Webex via chat to single-click to join.

Cisco also continues to improve upon their unique differentiation of Hybrid Services. More recently, Webex Edge Audio is saving clients on per minute monthly spend for Webex toll-free audio by transporting these calls via their on-premises voice infrastructure. This is important as a lot of users still continue to use the traditional phone dial-in method into meetings – although we encourage the use of the Webex Meetings mobile application on iOS and Android for the easiest way to join – with single-click access, and no entering of meetings IDs or passwords.

For clients new to Cisco Webex, existing Webex clients, clients with Cisco on-premises deployments, and clients looking for a way to migrate to the cloud, Carousel recommends the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan as the best way to consume Cisco collaboration technology. Through Carousel’s Lifecycle and Success Management program, we are enabling ways for our clients to purchase, consume, adopt, and manage technology in the subscription economy. We are also maintaining subscriptions such as the Flex Plan for our clients, adjusting their licensing model throughout the subscription’s lifetime to ensure they are capitalizing on their investments, and so that they can instead focus on their own strategic initiatives and the actual experiences the technology provides.

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