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Cisco enhances hybrid work with AI Webex innovations

Comms tech giant makes AI-powered enhancements to collaboration offering, encompassing devices and customer experience to deliver more personalised and inclusive experiences with camera intelligence

Cisco has integrated purpose-built artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into its Webex collaboration suite to deliver what it called an “unrivalled” hybrid work experience.

At the heart of the offering are the concepts of reimagining workspaces, maximising customer experiences and optimising collaboration. The firm noted that as employees increasingly come back to the office, “great hybrid work experiences” require innovative use of video intelligence to ensure everyone is able to participate equally when they collaborate. That is to say, in today’s hybrid world, organisations must provide employees with flexibility in when, where and how they work – which requires technology that best optimises collaboration.

It added that as customer expectations are at an all-time high, and organisations have billions of interactions with customers daily, it has become impossible for agents and legacy systems to keep up with the volume, velocity and disparity of interactions and the personalisation required to address this.

To deliver such experiences for hybrid workers and customers, the Webex innovations span three categories built on its platform, which has a track record of hundreds of AI and machine learning features already embedded in Cisco products.

Building on AI capabilities already available in Cisco Collaboration devices today, Webex is expanding video intelligence in its devices through conference room operating system Cisco Room OS. Users are given the capability to provide automatically optimal views in a meeting in any space.

With cinematic meetings on Cisco Collaboration devices, cameras follow individuals through voice and facial recognition, automatically switching views to capture the best angle of the active speaker. This is said to benefit people in the room with immaculate focus on the speaker. Cisco assures that hybrid workers not in the meeting room will feel included even if they are not physically there. 

With the meeting zones capability, IT admins can set virtual boundaries for any collaboration space in the office, turning it into a meeting zone. People are then individually framed in a condensed view – leaving any blank space out of the shot. Only people that are inside defined boundaries are included in the meeting, and this, said Cisco, is critical in busy open spaces as much as it is in conference rooms with glass walls, to eliminate the distraction of people outside the meeting.

Read more about the new normal of work

In what the company has called a testament to Webex Calling’s ability to deliver the flexible hybrid work technologies organisations need, Cisco announced the service has reached a new milestone of connecting more than 10 million users, nearly doubling year-over-year growth. To further optimise collaboration, Cisco is introducing new AI capabilities in the Webex Suite, including high-definition (HD) meetings that don’t require HD bandwidth, smart relighting and an automatic “be-right-back” update.

Cisco also unveiled a vision of its self-learning contact centre, and is introducing new AI capabilities for its customer experience offerings, spanning Webex Contact Center and its cloud communications platformWebex Connect.

“AI presents the next evolution of hybrid work, holding the key to unlocking a materially enhanced hybrid work and customer experience,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice-president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco.

“Cisco has decades of experience in AI with its industry-leading natural language understanding, and audio and video intelligence in Webex, which I’m thrilled is extending into even more innovations across our collaboration portfolio,” he said.

“As we double down on our AI investment, we’re empowering our customers to deliver exceptional hybrid work and customer experience outcomes based on their datasets, while relentlessly protecting their confidentiality and privacy.”

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