At the Cisco Collaboration Summit 2018 at Phoenix, Arizona, the company had announced the rebranding of Spark to WebEx Teams. Their team-based collaboration app, Cisco Spark, was gaining momentum when Cisco decided to rename it to the WebEx Teams, giving a hint about their vision to promote WebEx brand, rather than maintaining two redundant brands (Spark and WebEx) for an almost similar purpose.
Another event that was on my mind when I walked into Cisco Live 2018, Orlando, was the acquisition of Broadsoft. I was still not sure about the integration of Broadsoft with WebEx Teams and the way Cisco collaboration intended to pitch the two competing products in the market.
The very first thing Cisco announced in collaboration sessions was the convergence of WebEx and WebEx Teams. The BU provided details about the technical work gone into converging these platforms into one. They further highlighted the benefits an end user should expect due to the convergence of the two platforms.
This much-needed convergence would lead to the following benefits for an enterprise.
- WebEx Teams meeting was a redundant one. It wasn’t needed to begin with. Killing it to replace with WebEx meeting was a wise announcement. It was great to witness presentations on more intuitive and intelligent tools to conduct meetings as an organizer or participants. Cisco's pitch on meetings that integrate with business workflows was especially awesome. The democratized capabilities of Cisco WebEx Teams meetings deliver a true team meeting experience to support emerging work styles.
- Cisco collaboration emphasized enough on their cloud collaboration strategy of providing "one cloud platform" to gain "one core experience" under "one brand name", i.e., Cisco WebEx. The platform of one global IP network backbone to support a converged technology stack with integrated backend systems. The final objective of this platform is to provide improved core experience so that an end user can exercise features and functionalities in a simple and fast manner, however or wherever (s)he works.
- The Control Hub, the Cisco Spark management tool, now supports customers using both WebEx Meetings and WebEx Teams. The analytics section of the control hub has improved significantly.
- Hybrid architecture of WebEx Teams supports participants joining from any of the meeting type (regular WebEx meetings, PMR meetings, and team meetings).
- WebEx Teams now supports calling in many more additional countries with the backbone provided by Broadsoft.
- It's no more a world to keep your architecture in silos! WebEx Teams offers an intelligent and experience-centric way to integrate with Office 365 suit as well. It integrates with the directory services, e-mail, calendar, and productivity tools. This makes the user experience way more simple, impactful, and intuitive.
- Goes without saying that HCL believes in delivering a top-notch solution without compromising a bit on security and compliance. Multiple sessions on security and compliance were enough to assure attendees about the security standards that the Cisco WebEx platform meets. WebEx delivers a meaningful workspace with secure features, such as messaging, file sharing, meetings, etc. to the end users. Cisco says that all your information from your device to WebEx cloud is always secured. The policies configured in the WebEx cloud are enforced all the time, even when your employees are collaborating with others outside your company.
- Also, it was unique to note their future roadmap of artificial intelligence (AI) use cases. The WebEx assistant armed by speech recognition, natural language understanding, dialog management, question answering, and machine learning. It promises a landscape of next generation to meet emerging collaboration requirements.
- The flexible subscriptions model offered by Cisco WebEx allows you to buy what you need now and lets you grow at your own pace. Managing spend also becomes much simpler through one monthly subscription.
It was great participating in so many sessions of this fast-evolving space of collaboration. Note: Cisco has recently been announced as a leader by Gartner in their UC Magic Quadrant and it was evident that their vision has been responsible for this and other plaudits.