Experiencing the Cisco Hybrid Work Experience
It’s easy to talk about what the new hybrid workplace will look like, but actually setting up several different types of hybrid workspaces to replicate various use cases takes a bit more creativity. Leave it to Cisco and Webex CMO Aruna Ravichandran to pull it off in less than two weeks. Cisco has gone full throttle into the world of hybrid work, providing thought leadership based on surveys and studies, as well as providing the technology to support flexible, inclusive, supported, secure, and managed experiences.
Cisco launched more than 1,000 Webex innovations in the last 12 months, many of which were featured at its Webex One event this week. Webex One highlighted new products and technologies designed to better enable the future of hybrid work while showcasing how these tools can be used in various hybrid workspaces. Cisco also introduced several new products and dedicated devices to support these hybrid scenarios, as well as a new operating system – Room OS 11.
During the Webex One keynote, Javed Kahn, SVP and GM – Collaboration Webex One, introduced 14 different spaces designed to showcase how Cisco’s products can be used in various use cases, including the home, office, and anywhere in between. I was fortunate to be among the handful of analysts that got a sneak peak of Cisco’s Hybrid Work Showcase a couple weeks ago to preview some of the new hybrid work technologies being announced at Webex One.
The idea behind the workspaces is for customers, partners, and Cisco to have conversations about the space, rather than about having meetings or buying video conferencing hardware.
Ravichandran explained that Cisco thought about how to build out a workspace if starting from scratch and built the workspaces from the ground up to understand what customers are going through. The company then created a cookie-cutter playbook and E-book to make it easier for customers to purchase the necessary devices and software. “This gives customers a way to visualize and reimagine various workspaces for their employees. It brings use cases to life.”
The workspaces cover Work from Home (WFH), Work from the Office, and Work from Anywhere. For example, for WFH, Cisco designed workspaces for the kitchen, bedroom, and home office space. Work from anywhere spaces include coffee shops and a doctor’s office. For work from the office, Cisco designed seven types of closed and open spaces, including a lobby with a virtual concierge, small conference room, boardroom, jump room (individual spaces for meetings generally aimed at one person with a dedicated device), hotdesking room (for knowledge workers and contact center agents), an ideation space for people to huddle together, training room, and even a network operations center (NOC).
Cisco will be packaging up each of these various workspaces with the technologies needed for each type of space, including desk phones, cameras, meetings licenses, device licenses, etc. Cisco created an E-book that provides all the details for putting these rooms together, and plans to put the various elements together in a single SKU to make it easy for customers and partners. For example, the kitchen workspace features the new Webex Desk Mini, Meraki Z3C Teleworker Gateway, and Webex Suite capabilities. The ideation space features the Webex Board Pro 75, the Webex app and whiteboarding software.
The E-book puts this all together, presenting the various workspaces with the recommended products for each space.
During the analyst tour we viewed six workspace rooms, which were built from ground up essentially overnight, to help reimagine what the various workspaces will require. For example, the kitchen workspace takes into account various types of noises that are common in typical kitchens, and features the new Webex Desk Mini, a portable device supporting multiple apps, and can double as a monitor. Design elements were key when developing the Webex Desk Mini, which comes in several different colors for various rooms and decors (First Light, Carbon Black, or Woodland Green, Nordic Blue, and Desert Sand limited editions). It features a 15.6-inch interactive 1080p display, 64-degree HD camera, full-range speaker and background noise removal mic array, with prices starting at $995.
The kitchen workspace, featuring the new Webex Mini
The following demonstrates the Webex Desk Mini in the kitchen.
The new Webex Mini
For those who have a home office and don’t need to work out of their kitchens, the home office workspace features the Webex Desk Pro ($2,499), including immersive share, and one-click join for Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams meetings. It features high-def touch screen, appropriate for whiteboarding. The workspace also includes the Webex Room Kit Mini, including Webex Room Navigator ($1,499), and the new Bang and Olufsen 980 headset ($549). Supporting software includes the Webex app with Webex Assistant capabilities.
This video shows some of the new features and ease of starting a meeting.
Webex Desk Pro with Immersive Share
Highlighting the new integration capabilities with Google, Zoom, and Microsoft meetings with one-click join
Highlighting the Work from Anywhere scenario is the café or coffee shop workspace. Workers in these noisy environments can leverage the new Bang & Olufsen Headset 980 ($549), the Webex Suite with real-time translation and background noise removal, as well as the new Webex Go. Webex Go extends a worker’s Webex Calling business line natively to their personal mobile phone to make and receive business calls using the mobile phone’s native dialer, without an app, while eliminating the need to carry two mobile devices, one for personal and one for business.
For the return to the office, conference rooms and ideation spaces feature Webex Board Pro with integrated video conferencing, dual 4K cameras, directional audio, two active styluses and a choice of a 55- or 75-inch responsive display, plus wheels for mobility.
Webex Board Pro
Many offices will utilize Hotdesking for flexible seating. Cisco’s hotdesking features Webex Desk Hub and Desk Camera ($738). The Desk Hub helps employees find a free desk and pair their phone to authenticate their phone and calendar, and join upcoming meetings with the press of a button or hands-free with Webex Assistant voice commands.
Webex Desk Hub
Hybrid work is here for the foreseeable future, and organizations need to be thoughtful about creating the appropriate workspaces for all types of workers. Seeing the products in action in the various workspaces brought to life how work from home, work from the office, and work from anywhere can be reimagined. While most of us won’t have a dedicated Cisco device in our kitchens or bedrooms, we can start thinking about the possibilities and ways to improve the communication and collaboration experience from any location. As we now know, work is what you do, not where you go. The new Cisco Webex products and workspace scenarios can help businesses and individuals envision what a workspace can be.