Keeping the Human Element in Cognitive Collaboration 

When Cisco set out to deliver a cognitive collaboration platform, we placed the focus squarely on the human element. After all, making sure people connect is an essential part of making them feel engaged, which leads to more productive business outcomes. We asked ourselves what we could do to help bring down the silos and barriers, both social and technical, and replace them with a breadth of data, paired with powerful artificial intelligence to help get people to that point more quickly and more consistently.

The Human Element in Meetings

Look at meetings, as just one example. The small snags that happen in meetings seem insignificant when taken separately, but when added together, they form a barrier between people and their goals. Little things, like scrolling through an email thread trying to find the log-on code for a meeting that has already started. Or struggling to remember what the meeting is about. Or trying to focus on a conference call amid the distractions of ambient noises like keyboard typing coming through the speaker. Or not knowing who’s who on a web conference or what their relationship is to the topic.

In an era when deals and reputations can be built or lost in seconds, a clear mind and timely actions are vital to remaining competitive.

Connection Makes all the Difference

Every connection you make needs to become an exponential experience, seamlessly delivering insights and value. And every distraction you suffer brings with it a long tail – the time it takes to recover your focus can be counted in minutes, not seconds, and added up over a day, this turns into a perpetual state of dissonance.

The Digital Transformation – From Little Things Come Big Ideas

So, that’s where the genesis of cognitive collaboration came from. And this is how we now define it:

Cognitive Collaboration is defined as context and intelligence woven throughout all collaboration experiences. This fosters human relationships, enhances customer interactions, and builds high performance teams across boundaries to make smarter and faster decisions and allow you to serve your customers better.

It’s an optimistic and also very achievable view of a new generation of workplace interaction – a new opportunity for business that helps achieve a more agile workstyle.

To make the benefits clearer, let me use an analogy. Think about your car. The cars people drive today do not require any mechanical knowledge. You simply get in and go.

Here are the major benefits of what make cars agile today:

  • No need to crank the engine or do any priming It just starts.
  • There’s no need to have to learn how to manually use a stick shift It cycles through its gears with intelligent computerized efficiency.
  • There’s no need to pull out a map or memorize directions Your on-board navigation system will take care of that.
  • There’s no need to flip between radio stations Your entertainment center blends seamlessly with your phone.
  • And backing up? Parking? Staying in your lane? Defensive braking? Keeping track of servicing needs? All taken care of
  • And of course, if you worry that you forgot to lock it – no problem You can do that remotely.

Transformation to Maximize Productivity and Enhance Lives

Astute car manufacturers have already redefined their products from being modes of transportation to being mobile communication and entertainment centers. They are also redefining their companies from “car manufacturer” to “mobility company” in which a customer’s other devices play an influential role.

As we move further into the world of self-driving, autonomous cars, the transformation will further enhance customers’ lives and maximize their productivity by empowering them with the time, resources and mental clarity to make more out of every day.

I for one cannot wait for the day I can drive my car to the front door of my building and then let it go and park itself, and then have it pick me up at the front door at the end of the day. That wins back time, peels away stress, and lets me focus on more important things. That’s what intelligent technologies should always do.

Rather than being “dumb terminals” that just accept your keystrokes, they should be proactive and intelligent virtual assistants, working with you, understanding you, anticipating your needs and setting the scene for maximum return. They should be the butlers and chauffeurs of your professional life.

Welcome Cognitive Collaboration – the New “X factor” in Innovation

That is the promise of cognitive collaboration technology. It provides more context and delivers more power, allowing people to be better prepared. If you were Batman, this would be your Alfred.

Cognitive collaboration is about pairing intelligent workspaces with intelligent workstreams to deliver a heightened and more profitable experience for employees and customers. Every company has customers – maybe hundreds, maybe thousands or even millions.

AI ensures each is cared for at a highly tailored, individualized level. AI helps companies predict what each customer will need next. It will put context around the customer experience and deliver it across every channel. It applies a predictive view on how people interact, to ensure the company responds more quickly and serves the customer with an almost telepathic efficiency.

What is the X factor in the New Cisco Webex? Watch and find out:

The True Value of Artificial Intelligence

My point here is that when talking about technological innovations like artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can easily drift into the weeds, looking at the machinery rather than the benefits it brings to all of us. But the true value of AI is that it will continue to evolve in ways that will enhance the smaller but still vital activities that make each business day more productive.

Learn more about the future of Collaboration and what’s to come from Cisco

What is Cognitive Collaboration?


Aruna Ravichandran

Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

Webex Collaboration