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When Free Conferencing Services Aren’t Really Free

I’m sitting across a table from a guy we’ll call Mike.* He’s trying to join an 8:00 a.m. conference call from one of those free services. It’s not working.

First, the hold music is awful. I can hear it from here. I’m pretty convinced that it must be worth a few bucks a month to avoid just that aspect of the experience.

The call drops about 20 seconds after the chirpy voice announces “you are the only participant on this call.” When Mike calls back in, he gets the horrid music again before the system promptly launches him into a seemingly endless loop of two different recorded voices competing for his attention: “Please enter your conference code” and “Please enter your PIN.” (It’s not clear which voice is more authoritative, so he tries both codes. Neither work.)

He dials in a third time and lands in the same loop of arguing voices. The third time it not a charm after all.

He gives up and dials Luke, who originally set up the call, directly. Luke was also having trouble, so he agrees to set up another call through a different service.

All this for an audio-only bridge? Why is it so difficult?  Read More »

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SX10 and Spark: A Connection in the Cloud

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a Wainhouse review that evaluated the ease of use and deployment, and cost efficiency of the Cisco SX10 Quick Set for small group video meetings. I wouldn’t have thought when we introduced the SX10 a few years back that we would be able to do even more to reduce cost and simplify deployment, but we have. And we’ve done it with a connection in the cloud.

At our annual Collaboration Summit this week, we announced the new Cisco Spark Service, which will deliver messaging, meetings and call capabilities hosted in the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. As part of this development, the SX10 will be the first endpoint to be cloud-registered. It will also debut new intelligent software – the Spark Room OS software platform – to make the SX10 and other video endpoints even easier to install, use and maintain. Spark Room OS will be the operating system software for all video endpoints that connect to the Cisco Spark service in the cloud.

The SX10, together with Spark Service, will allow us to make another leap in bringing business class video to growing businesses by significantly lowering the threshold and cost of video adoption as well as improving the user experience. If you didn’t get a chance to see Rowan’s keynote at Collaboration Summit, I invite you to view it for an impressive demo of the SX10 registered to Spark.

Lowering threshold and cost of video adoption. Today, less than 7% of conference rooms are video enabled. This is because Read More »

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The Importance of Taking an Integrated Architectural Approach to Your Collaboration Deployment

Collaboration is all about enabling diverse and distributed team members, both inside and outside your organization to effectively communicate, share information, and work toward a common goal. The benefits of collaboration show up as:

  • Productivity gains
  • Better and faster decision making
  • Improved communication and teamwork
  • The ability for remote and virtual team members to take part meaningfully

Before investing in new collaboration technology, it pays to take a moment and define your goals: What do you want collaboration to deliver, and to whom?

I’m not talking about departmental or point-to-point focused  goals that will address only an immediate need (like deploying video endpoints to several offices to enable better team interaction for a particular group, say an engineering team). I am talking about looking beyond that.

What benefits do want your organization as a whole to derive from collaboration? Read More »

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Ringing in 2015, the WebEx Way

Happy New Year! As I return from the holidays and begin the year ahead, I’m energized and excited about all the amazing accomplishments we achieved with WebEx in 2014. Many recollections come to mind that I’d like to share with you. And I have exciting news for 2015 — already! More on this in just a minute…

WebEx is really at the core of everyone’s work life. With over 60 million users and more than 1 million meetings a day, we really impact how people work and live. It was just a little over a year ago that I started leading the Cloud Collaboration Applications team at Cisco. When I started, I challenged the WebEx product team with a new goal to dramatically improve our already great web conferencing tool. A key element of this goal was a focus on simplicity. Making WebEx simple in addition to enhancing functionality was the target. Bottom line: It is our mission to delight every WebEx user and make their work life more productive.

The New WebEx

My team took this challenge to heart and made significant product changes in this direction. In October 2014, we launched the New WebEx that comes with a new clean intuitive interface, improved web landing pages that make it easier to join online meetings, much faster meeting load times, better video layout, and wideband VoIP audio for better audio quality. Read More »

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We Have Moved! Join Us on the Collaboration Blog for Video Updates

This is not goodbye!

Video Collaboration is a big deal at Cisco, as you can probably tell from some of our recent announcements about the Cisco TelePresence IX5000 and the first non-transcoded video call between a WebRTC application and an existing video endpoint. We’re constantly working to make video easier for you to use and as collaborative as possible. In our quest to put users first, video at Cisco has become integrated with, and synonymous to Collaboration at Cisco. We want you to have a seamless collaboration experience, regardless of device or location.

So what am I getting at with all this? We’re archiving the Video blog as part of this effort for a holistic, seamless collaboration experience. Join us over on the Collaboration blog, where you can continue to get updates on what is going on with Video Collaboration in the industry and at Cisco.

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