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The View from Cisco Partner Summit 2018: Part 2

Collaboration | Posted on November 30, 2018 by Siobhan Cox

This is part two in a series about my experience at Cisco Partner Summit 2018. Part one reviewed the evolution of Cisco’s networking products and inspirational brand campaign. In this installment, we’ll cover how Cisco is revolutionizing the huddle room and the individual customer experience.

To Huddle or Not to Huddle

“Enabling Meaningful Experiences” was a big topic at the Cisco Partner Summit 2018. For Cisco, it’s necessary to create a more consistent user experience when virtual teams huddle. Huddle spaces (small offices and open areas that can accommodate up to five people) are the future. They’re currently at 20 million locations, and that number is growing, according to Recon Research.

Still, this new technology has its teething problems. We’ve all experienced the pain when struggling to get meeting technology to work for the first 10 minutes of a video call. This pain is largely due to the plethora of non-integrated collaboration solutions in today’s enterprises.

Cisco is going to take that pain away, according to Amy Chang, SVP of the Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, managing everything that makes for good huddles. This includes the WebEx suite of products, telepresence, and unified communications. Her entrepreneurial vision was refreshing and her excitement was infectious. She spoke about how “Cisco Collaboration is committed to building bridges, not islands.” This translates to bringing quality and predictability across all communication channels.

Webex for Any Occasion

In this spirit, Cisco has expanded its huddle room solutions, which include Webex Share, Webex Room Kit Mini and Webex Board 55. With this expanded line, they’re bringing big boardroom tech (actually works) to smaller spaces, at price points that can fit any budget. Based on what I have seen and used this week, these new offerings represent a big step forward.

The Webex Room Kit Mini packs a big punch. It includes the same high-end AI, cameras and microphones Cisco customers know and love. It “wakes up” when you enter the room and fine-tunes the video so everyone in the space is visible.

Cisco isn’t neglecting larger spaces, either. For people who want to co-create dynamic content, Cisco has created the Webex Board 55, including new, enhanced features like pinch and zoom.

However, the product that excited me the most is the Webex Share solution. I can see this solving today’s big meeting challenge: the awkward combination of impromptu meetings with limited physical meeting rooms, open plan offices, and remote attendees. Cisco Webex Share can solve for this challenge by turning any TV or monitor into a wireless presentation device. With just a small adapter, this kit can be used with the Cisco Webex Teams app or with any video collaboration app. It also has cool features like facial recognition, noise suppression, and a microphone array that picks up sounds solely in a tight forward pattern.

Suitably, the Cisco huddle platform plays well with others. It will cooperate with third-party offerings, including collaboration tools from Google and Microsoft. These innovations will deliver great experiences for anyone looking for smart, integrated collaboration tools without the headache.

Cisco Partner Summit 2018: Ecosystem of partners for Collaboration

Customer Experience – Choose, Use, Love

Maria Martinez, the new EVP & Chief Customer Experience Officer, continued to build on the excitement at the Partner Summit. Her announcements around the all-new Customer Experience Specialization showed how she is revolutionizing the Cisco customer experience.

Under her leadership, Cisco’s overall sales and go-to-market transformation will deliver better business outcomes for customers as they transform their business.

That starts with Cisco offering better and better ways to buy and manage Cisco technology. By making a shift towards software-based and subscription models, they are making it easier for customers to capitalize on their technology while reducing management headaches and keeping budgeting more predictable. Less fuss, greater ROI for businesses.

In Summary

Cisco Partner Summit 2018: Partnership, a foundation for success

Ultimately, the Cisco Partner Summit 2018 offered me a great chance to reflect on what it means to be a Cisco Gold Partner. Most of Cisco’s sales are through partners like Softchoice. We facilitate the adoption of industry-leading technology by organizations that demand tremendous business outcomes.

I came away feeling, more than ever, proud of the Cisco solutions Softchoice offers our clients. I’m excited about how Cisco technology will enable our customers to reinvent their networks to execute their digital transformation. In the years to come, we are looking forward to accelerating the spread of Cisco technology while managing risk and cost, to help your business thrive in the digital world.

This is an entirely new era of networking. And, according to CEO, Chuck Robbins, Cisco is just getting started.

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