Cisco unveils enhanced collaboration tech for the hybrid workforce

Multifunctional devices from Cisco aim to enhance collaboration in offices through optimised cameras and AI-powered collaboration features for hybrid teamwork

Cisco has unveiled a range of purpose-built, multifunctional devices that it assures can deliver modernised collaboration experiences for a hybrid workforce.

This follows its announcement earlier this year that one of its key strategies for collaboration would be achieving the concept of “distance zero”, removing the distance between connected workers when they’re not in the same physical space as everyone else, with workspaces to be equipped with everything needed for engaging collaboration experiences.

Speaking in February 2024, Cisco’s executive vice-president and general manager for security and collaboration, Jeetu Patel, said one of the company’s missions in addressing the needs of hybrid workers was to reimagine the workspace and ways people can make best use of the properties in which they work.

Patel revealed a key statistic that was driving work in the field of collaboration: while 98% of meetings in the future will likely have at least one participant not in the same physical location as everyone else, only a third of the conference rooms in the world support video applications. The aim, said Patel, was to make separation a thing of the past.

The company’s first devices intended to bring about achieving distance zero are the Cisco Board Pro G2, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based and touch-enabled collaboration device, and the Cisco Desk Phone 9800 Series, designed to bring a modern and personalised productivity hub to any desk.

Cisco said research finds that employees are increasingly open to coming to the office, but over 50% of employers and employees do not think the office is equipped with the technology needed to power meaningful collaboration at scale. The latest Cisco devices are designed to support organisations as they transition into permanent hybrid models and reconfigure workspaces to enable seamless collaboration.

The Cisco Board Pro G2 is said to harness the “power of team collaboration” with a multifunctional, AI-powered room device designed for a range of small and medium-sized workspaces, including huddle spaces, meeting rooms and classrooms. It is said to provide equitable experiences for everyone joining a meeting, whether in a meeting room or remotely.

Cisco positions the Board Pro G2 as the only collaboration board that features an intelligent 96-megapixel dual-lens camera system, which is said to give remote participants a better view of people in the room.

Users have the ability to use the device for video conferencing, interactive annotation and digital whiteboarding – including Microsoft Teams Rooms certification for Microsoft, Miro, Mural and Webex visual collaboration applications.

Providing some background to the launch of the Desk Phone 9800 Series, Cisco said that to accommodate the flexible workstyles and schedules of today’s hybrid and transient workforce, offices have evolved from traditional layouts in which employees are assigned cubicle desks, to open floorplans with shared desk spaces.

Photo of Cisco Desk Phone 9800 Series
Cisco Desk Phone 9800 Series

The Desk Phone 9800 Series was designed with this modernised office landscape in mind, with a goal to deliver personalised collaboration experiences that have the flexibility to run on-premise or on a cloud calling platform.

In addition to bringing enterprise calling features such as premium audio and AI-powered noise removal to every desk, the 9800 series is also said to provide personalised productivity at any desk; enterprise-grade security; simplified and seamless user experiences; simplified manageability; and product sustainability. The series also has zero-touch provisioning and increased visibility to easily identify and troubleshoot issues with ThousandEyes observability technology.

“Cisco is expanding our portfolio of collaboration devices to deliver modern experiences to every corner of the office – from individual workspaces, to meeting rooms of all sizes and configurations,” said Patel. “With AI built in from the ground up, our voice and video devices are changing what’s possible for hybrid workers, delivering tangible outcomes that matter.”

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