Cisco has announced several updates for its Unified Webex application in September. Significant changes include the introduction of Cisco Webex Classrooms and the Webex Control Hub, with notable updates also coming to Webex for Education, Webex Meetings, and Webex Teams.
Currently in closed beta mode, Cisco Webex Classrooms aims to enhance Cisco’s appeal to educational institutions that are engaging in hybrid or distance learning. Key features of Webex Classroom include:
Webex Classroom complements the series of updates that Cisco is rolling out for Webex for Education. These updates include:
Cisco continue to improve its enterprise collaboration tools, too, especially with its recent acquisition of BabbleLabs. This acquisition intends to bring noise removal and voice enhancement natively to Webex. Using AI and local processing, Webex will be able to distinguish human voice from background noise no matter where you are and also enhance your voice no matter what language is being spoken. This functionality will be available in fall 2020.
This news follows a string of updates for Webex Meetings and Webex Teams for September:
Webex Room Kits are also now Cloud Video Interop (CVI)–enabled for Microsoft Teams, improving software/hardware integrations for meeting rooms.
Finally, the new Webex Control Hub simplifies call management and security for the Unified Webex app. These features include:
Source: Team Messaging and Collaboration Data Quadrant at SoftwareReviews. Accessed: September 6, 2020.
Cisco is pulling out all the stops to ensure it leads the way for not only remote work but also remote education. Indeed, it is difficult to think of any other communication and collaboration suite that matches the extent of the capabilities available within Cisco’s Education licensing. Office 365 might come close with its A licensing, but Microsoft Teams surely falls short of the range of capabilities Webex Teams and Webex Meetings can offer, especially the advanced breakout room feature. SoftwareReviews thus lists Webex Teams and Webex Meetings as leaders in the Team Messaging and Collaboration marketspace and the Web Conferencing marketspace, respectively.
Source: Web Conferencing Data Quadrant at SoftwareReviews. Accessed September 6, 2020.
Moreover, with the acquisition of BabbleLabs, Cisco puts the pressure not just on Microsoft but also on other best-of-breed web conferencing software for background noise reduction and voice enhancement. End users will welcome not needing to listen to their colleagues slurp on their coffee during online meetings anymore!
However, Cisco continues to confuse with the range of tools available in the Webex Unified app, especially when many of these tools overlap in capability (e.g. Meetings, Calling, and Teams). With Webex Teams beginning to solidify its place as Webex’s go-to collaboration tool, it will be interesting to see whether Cisco decides to merge Webex Meetings and Webex Calling into the Webex Teams umbrella – especially since Webex Teams now has full calling functionality.