With enterprise collaboration technologies on the increase, Cisco has announced a series of major updates to Webex in a bid to better compete with Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Announced this week at the company’s WebexOne event, the all-new Webex App Hub offers the following new benefits:

  • Noise cancellation and speech enhancement: Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the system will detect and automatically suppress background noises while at the same time amplifying the speech of the meeting participant.
  • Transcriptions and closed captioning: Cisco is adding automatic meeting transcription and real-time closed captioning in 10 languages, available in February.
  • Highlights and action items: Allow meeting participants to use verbal commands to have Webex Assistant perform specific actions
  • Enhanced video layouts: New slider control to allow you to change the video layout of a meeting
  • Webex Huddle: A single-click method for starting a meet now option with other Webex users

Jeetu Patel, Cisco SVP and GM, Security & Applications said: “Cisco’s purpose is to power an Inclusive Future, and collaboration technology plays a critical role in levelling the playing field so everyone is able to participate in the global economy regardless of geography, language and personality type. This is why we are driven to deliver a Webex experience that is 10x better than in-person-and at the same time make in-person interactions 10x better too.”

At the event, several key integrations with Box, Dropbox, Miro, MURAL, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workplace by Facebook were also announced.

As the world’s largest network tool, Webex has been a longstanding favourite corporate tool, additional features include the ability to read gestures by participants. For example, a physical thumbs up will translate into a virtual reaction which can be seen by the speaker. Furthermore, technology deployed will help meetings progress with the use of templates – where attendees who have dominated, may be locked out of speaking again until everyone has a chance to speak.

Karandeep Anand, VP, Workplace from Facebook said“Cisco’s industry-leading video conferencing technology, security, and scalability, coupled with Workplace’s community-building engagement platform for businesses, built on 15+ years of experience connecting people on Facebook, is a powerful combination. In just a single click, companies will be able to use Cisco’s hardware and software to go live and connect directly with others through reactions, comments, and Q&As – turning broadcast experiences into real asynchronous conversations, regardless of where or how people work. Together, we are able to offer the best of breed from both companies that will unlock engagement at levels like never before.”

Webex has about 600 million monthly users. Companies including International Business Machines Corp., Facebook Inc and T-Mobile USA Inc. are among its customers.

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