Collaboration Technology Evolves to Support Changing Workplace
At the end of 2017, the renovation of our Tokyo office was announced to Cisco Japan employees. It had been 10 years since the company had moved to the Tokyo Midtown Tower in the busy Roppongi district, home to several multi-national companies. It was time to refresh the office environment and optimize space to create a new workplace for the future.
Based on a space usage study by Work Place Resources (WPR), Cisco decided to reduce the office space by 20 percent. They reinvested the savings into refreshing workspaces for over 1,500 employees and renovating customer showcase areas.
Video Enhancement for Meeting Rooms
Among various studies and analysis conducted by WPR, one survey showed that Cisco IT’s technology, especially video, was one of the top reasons why Japan employees came to the office rather than work from home. At Cisco, employees are distributed across the globe and we regularly work with team members in other cities and countries. Video solutions allow us to connect with our peers as if we are meeting them in person, regardless of physical distances. Academic studies show that only 7 percent of communication is verbal, 38 percent is tone of voice and 55 percent is facial expression and body language. Seeing each other through high definition video makes a huge difference to how we interact and collaborate with our teams in a virtual meeting.
Enhancing the video experience was one of the main pillars of the Tokyo office renovation. Our IT and WPR teams decommissioned legacy, third-party AV system in 15 meeting rooms and replaced them with Cisco’s own collaboration endpoints, namely Webex Rooms and Webex Boards. Both devices provide video conferencing and wireless sharing services, along with the digital whiteboarding capability available on Webex Boards.
At the same time, a sales-driven project, called Game Changer 2.0, was working to replace the old MX series units in 30 meeting rooms with cloud-registered Webex Rooms and Webex Boards. As a result, the availability of video endpoints in meeting rooms increased significantly from 39 percent to 91 percent for the customer-facing floor and from 46 percent to 68 percent for the entire office. Employees benefited from a rich collaboration experience with Webex Rooms and Webex Boards and they no longer face technical hiccups that often occurred on legacy projectors and audio systems.
Huddle – Technology for A New Way of Working
While employees appreciated the deployment of new video endpoints in the renovated office, we saw a new style of working, called huddle, on the rise. In the huddle-
style of working, people meet more informally and spontaneously in open spaces for quick discussions.
Video technology that fits such a modern workstyle was in higher demand from the business.
For a long time, Cisco IT’s support for collaboration technology was limited to meeting rooms, but that had to change to meet the new business trends and needs. IT and WPR partnered closely to deploy huddle solutions to open areas and non-bookable rooms to drive the new style of working.
To that end, Webex Board 85 and Webex Board 55 were additionally installed in a newly designed collaboration area. Webex Room Kit Mini was deployed to 18 small-sized rooms. All those endpoints are available for use without advance booking. Employees can meet ad-hoc and instantly share content and get remote participants involved in a virtual meeting.
“One Operations and One Cisco” approaches create true collaborative workplace
A workplace in the digital era can be realized only when the right technology comes into the right place with the right planning. Through the video enhancement efforts for the Tokyo office, we learned that there are two key approaches:
- One Operations: Close partnership within the Operations organization
We don’t have unlimited funding to rebuild the entire office with a full lineup of the latest video technology. It is critical that IT and WPR partner closely as “One Operations” to optimize where we invest our budget. Our goal is the same – to enable employees to work more efficiently with greater productivity.
- One Cisco: Alignment with the company’s business strategy and priorities
In addition to our One Operations approach, alignment with local business teams is imperative in understanding business priority and strategy. We need to determine where we set our focus as “One Cisco” while balancing with internal technology roadmaps. This helps create a future workplace which we can demonstrate to both our customers and employees.
The Tokyo office renovation project is completed now, but the pursuit of the digital workplace will never end. Our journey continues with the next evolution of our work styles and technology.