For the 10,000 users on our ACE service introduction network, the new WebEx-enabled TelePresence Meeting capabilities mean everyone gets to enjoy seamless two-way video, audio, and data sharing between Cisco TelePresence and Cisco WebEx Conferencing. Users no longer have to ask, “Do I have my meetings via TelePresence or WebEx?”

The host easily schedules the WebEx-enabled TelePresence meeting using the WebEx Productivity Tool in Outlook or the Smart Scheduler Web Portal. The TelePresence video bridge information will be populated automatically, eliminating the need to manage separate invitations for WebEx and TelePresence users – it is all one click away.

Our ACE users can schedule any of the 1500 immersive TelePresence endpoints installed around the company for meetings that involve other employees as well as customers and partners. Our customers and partners can choose to join via WebEx while Cisco employees join via TelePresence, or vice versa, providing a great B2B experience. All of the participants simply click to join the conference from another room-based or personal Cisco TelePresence endpoint, from a Cisco Jabber client, or from WebEx

Meeting participants also benefit from visual improvements when viewing content through the desktop-sharing capability since all participants can see and share content with one another, regardless of the method used to join the meeting. Feedback from our early users has been very positive regarding the video quality as well as the setup, joining, and in-meeting experience.
Unlike the past, no one gets left out of the full experience because some participants are only able to receive the audio connection. Instead, we all enjoy the benefits of face-to-face communication with HD-quality video, and the display automatically changes to show the current speaker in a form that’s suited to each device.

One of my colleagues, Gene Papula, Cisco on Cisco Sales program manager, describes the experience this way:

The first time I used the WebEx-enabled TelePresence Meeting solution with my colleagues, I was happy to see how easy it was to setup. Using the Smart Scheduler functionality, I simply clicked an additional box to include WebEx and it changed my meeting from a video conference to a WebEx-enabled TelePresence meeting.

The real benefit comes when users join and participate in the meeting. Users join the meeting with their preferred method, either WebEx or TelePresence, and can get down to business right away. We no longer need to connect the two meetings together. No more asking if everyone can hear everyone else. No more explaining why we can’t see some of the participants. No more issues with sharing content.

I estimate that we were spending an additional 3-5 minutes just trying to get both video and audio participants together – or in talking about these issues. This new functionality saves a significant amount of time considering how many meetings we have and the number of participants in each meeting. Between scheduling and joining each meeting, I already save 10-15 minutes each day!

I agree with Gene when he notes that true online collaboration is about bringing people together, independent of what type of device they prefer, what capabilities the device has, or where the person is located. Within a web conference that brings together TelePresence and WebEx users, we can now focus on what we came together for: meaningful communication and collaboration.

This post is part of a series about the Cisco IT ACE Service Introduction Network. You’ll find more information in these related posts: