Today is a big day for me personally. As a product designer, it’s an honour to be awarded “Best of the Best” Red Dot design award. It’s the highest level of industry recognition one can get.
I feel like what a movie director must feel like when winning the Oscars for best picture. I am so proud to accept the award on behalf of the amazing team that has helped make our vision into a reality.
Giving Technology the Human Touch
At Cisco, we always try to humanize technology at work through design that honors human interaction. The world works better face to face, but in today´s fast-paced global economy it is not possible to travel for every important meeting, nor sustainable.
With the Webex Room Panorama, we wanted to create an executive meeting room experience that put the human-to-human interaction at the centre; a panoramic view to the people you are with. It gives the feeling of being in the same room together, even when far apart, clearly seeing everyone around a table in life-size and hear them as clearly as if they were sitting right next to you. It´s like we have cut the room in half and added 5000 miles in between, but it feels like you are still sitting around the same table.
With a reduced design language, subtle furniture-inspired design elements and materials and a colour palette that minimizes the contrast to the interior space, we´ve created a pleasing and inviting product that hides all the powerful video and audio technology, yet fits naturally into modern executive meeting spaces.
The result is a product that uniquely allows people to focus on the people and conversation at hand, not the technology. Ultimately, it´s about making people feel effective, inspired and fulfilled at work. Everything needs to feel natural – which means literally every detail counts.
As humans, all our senses are engaged in how we perceive reality. So, for something digital to feel natural, we need to design with all of them in mind. If something is just a bit off, we easily spot it and our attention is drawn to the technology, rather than on the people and conversation you are having.
Playing Together in Symphony
With the Webex Room Panorama, we needed to get the size of people on the screens just right, perfecting the camera position and field of view to achieve good eye contact and correct perspective. We worked a lot on the microphone and speaker technology to be able to pick up sound from the different places in a room and replay it on the same side of the room on the far-end system. This is important, as your focus naturally goes to where a sound is coming from.
Finally, we took all this complex and powerful technology and were able to hide it inside a single beautifully crafted wooden wall structure. All you really see are the displays and the furniture-inspired fabric speaker grills.
All of these elements had to be thoughtfully considered and orchestrated into playing together in symphony. The attention to every single detail is an expression of how much we care about the experience the end-user will have.
In the end, seeing how the products and experiences we design positively impact people´s lives, both at work and in life, is really what drives us as a team.