Cisco Expands Webex Ecosystem

The Six Five team dives into Cisco expanding their Webex Ecosystem.

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Daniel Newman: Let’s take this home with something that’s a little less technical, but a topic of general, great interest in the market, and that was CISCO’s WebEx One event. Pat, you and I, for a couple of days… we work across the spectrum with teams, WebEx teams. We work with Zoom, obviously Poly, which reported earnings, had a decent growth quarter, by the way, just throwing that in there real quickly. But, you know what this event was really in my eyes all about was WebEx really touting its wears that we are here to compete. Oftentimes, when you listen to the broad media, main media, mainstream media, they’re all about Zoom and Teams. That seems to be the comparison. But at the same time, WebEx has had massive growth. They’ve got their new devices, they’ve got a whole set of new features that they announced… I wrote a whole piece and you can click into this because I don’t have time like we do with Intel to go through everything.

But, they’re building on AI in a big way. They’re enhancing their camera intelligence. They’re adding insights and analytics that help better understand user behavior. They’re trying to basically create an asynchronous platform that can minimize meetings. Then like I said, they came out with some great new hardware, the Desk Mini. You and I use the Desk Pro, we call it the back phone. They got a new whiteboard technology. They, really, across the board announced a whole bunch of things. Then, of course, Pat, something we talked about with Poly at one time, they are really trying to work on the whole inclusivity and wellbeing, not necessarily in the standpoint of DEI and the overall, but the fact that in so many meetings, not everybody participates. Every company right now seems to be raising the stakes and saying, “We’re going to have hybrid work. People are going to be everywhere. We need to use analytics, use technology to make it possible that everyone that’s taking the time to be in a meeting is adding value to that meeting.”

It was a good couple of days. It was great to hear from WebEx. Overall, a good event, lots of announcements, Pat, but because we are running to the end of the show, I think that’s a great place… at least I’ll leave it to you to wrap some thoughts around WebEx One. Again, we have it in our show notes, Pat, we have a bunch of different tweets, articles, and thoughts that people who want to get more from us can get it.

Patrick Moorhead: To be competitive in this space, you literally need to do monthly updates, you need to be pulling in your roadmap, otherwise you’re going to be uncompetitive, particularly on the services side. We’ve seen just a plethora… I think there’s been 1000 feature updates in the past 12 months. For the service itself, this was really more of a hardware launch. I know just like software’s eating the world, but what is it going to run on? Services might be eating the world, but it has to run on something, particularly if you are a company who thinks you want to put the best experience together, you really do have to have hardware and software put together. We see it with Apple, we see it with Surface and Microsoft. Google is trying to go down that with Pixel. The one-two punch is really what CISCO is doing. I do think they have overall control of security as well, which I think is key.

The biggest device that they brought to the table I thought was the WebEx Desk Mini. Imagine, this really is a… I see it as a home solution. Could it be a small group, a small conference room? It absolutely could, but this is the announcement where I think CISCO can claim it has a device for every room in the home and every type of room in the business. That’s a huge investment. The development cost of the mini, and I spent 10 years in hardware, is just tens of millions of dollars. These are not small investments. The interesting thing about the Desk Mini, it reminded me of the device that Facebook has that follows you around and looks at you. But, I want to get my hands on it, I don’t want to comment on the experience. One of the things that… They also brought out B&O collaboration, Bang and Olufsen 980 headset. Now, again, I don’t know how good it is for business communications, but certainly for a choose-your-own-device list, people are going to glam onto this.

Executives who are complaining about maybe the pedestrian headsets that they have, I can see the facilities or the IT people saying, “How about B&O? How does that work for you?” It’s so funny. My wife has two B&O headsets and it looks literally exactly like that, maybe a little bit bigger to go more around the ear. But I can’t say if it’s going to sound good, I’ll be honest with you for business communications I’ve been pretty underwhelmed with consumer headsets. B&O is a consumer play, but we’ll see if CISCO was able to bring some of the mojo. My final comment is on interoperability. All of these devices have 100%, well, not 100%. I would say 95% interoperability with Google UC services with the exception of end-to-end encryption, which is important because that’s just not possible with Google yet and CISCO equipment. The one thing I need to research, Daniel, this is kind of a TBD is Teams interoperability. Through certain video standards, you can claim interoperability with anything as long as you’ve got the right video standards. But the question is, can you truly have a collaboration interoperability?

Daniel Newman: Absolutely. 323 all day long, buddy. Let’s just throw out some 264, 265, let’s just geek out. What was that? Mr. Mom? 220, 221, whatever it takes.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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