The News: This past week Cisco Live brought the company’s vision and innovation to its customers and users around the world. As part of the event, the company’s collaboration group announced a number of new products and services. The product innovations and updates announced at Cisco Live focused on the following:
- Helping IT transition to the new normal – with new detailed analytics for workspaces, calling and expanded DLP and compliance options
- Enabling seamless remote workflows with expanded integrations with productivity tools for every workstyle
- Evolving the workplace with new meeting and desktop options
Analyst Take: While events have been forever (or so they say) changed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cisco Live was delivered in a familiar form for Cisco as the company was able to use its Webex Teams and Meetings platform to share with analysts like myself the news and updates from the company’s June launch.
While Webex has certainly been a big winner during the pandemic, the need to continue to innovate to make remote meetings more engaging, secure, accessible and enjoyable are top of mind for the company. This led to a broad launch that encompasses a number of areas–all of which seeking to support a new or evolving normal that can be facilitated by the next wave in collaboration technology.
Transforming IT to the New Normal with Webex Control Hub
The first big round of announcements covered Cisco’s Webex Control Hub, which provides a global view of collaboration resources to help enterprises overcome complexity, scale remote work securely, and provide workspace and meeting room insights via advanced analytics to aid organizations in managing the transition back to the office.
Updates included the addition of Workspaces, which is designed to give IT real time experience data and insights into meeting room environments. This new solution, which is targeted for GA this month provides next level analytics to better understand the best use of spaces, better scheduling and utilization data and peripheral data like ambient room noise, which can be optimized for better meetings.
Other announcements in this area included Webex Cloud Connected UC, which enables Control Hub to centralize multi-cluster UCM into a single streamlined control plane and Webex Calling Service Assurance, which offers advanced tools to administrators to simplify onboarding, management and troubleshooting.
Making Collaboration More Secure
I’ve long been candid that I like Cisco’s security focus across the board and in particular for its Collaboration portfolio. With this week’s announcements, Cisco is doubling down on our focus on security – introducing industry leading integrated DLP and compliance for meetings content as well as expanded meeting security and encryption options.
Announcements included extended security pack through the Webex Control Hub, which better protects meeting data including shared content. The company is also expanding its end-to-end encryption capabilities with more options.
Creating Seamless Remote Workflows With Strategic Partners
Additional announcements from Cisco Webex provided customers with new options for meeting rooms and desktops aid customers in more effectively collaboration-enabling every space to optimize real estate and deliver smarter no-touch experiences.
Two new partnerships were touted in the briefing.
The first was a telehealth connector for EPIC, which provides an important vertical capability that will accelerate the adoption of telehealth and EMR with one of the most utilized EMR platforms worldwide.
The other partnership announcement focused on enterprise content management with Box. This new workflow allowed user to connect Box to share content from Box folders directly into Webex Teams.
Both of these are important partnerships in their own right. More of these types of integrated workflows with content and vertical market software will be welcome to help deliver a more complete collaboration experience.
Evolve Workspaces, Devices and Sustainability
Cisco had a plethora of other material announcements that included a new Webex Room Phone, an eco-friendly IP Phone, an SMB focused “Work Bundle,” expanded VDI support and an Expert on Demand front line worker solution.
These enhancements are all welcome as SMBs turn to collaboration, sustainability continues to be a front and center topic and data-center architectures continue to evolve.
Overall Impressions of Cisco’s June Collaboration Launch
For most of us as users, it felt like the whole deploying collaboration at scale was more or less plug and play. The cloud and a well designed application can make us feel that way at times.
Cisco’s Collaboration portfolio launch during Cisco Live addressed key areas from control planes, support, security optimizations and key integrations show that the company continues to see its role in not only delivering a collaboration front end experience, but enabling enterprises to confidently support work in the next normal.
A solid launch for Cisco. I’m looking closely to see how these investments yield greater customer wins in the coming quarters–something I anticipate as work from home isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.