Enterprise Connect, the Super Bowl of Collaboration, kicked off this week!  In full swing, vendors are sharing their best efforts, with this week’s news focused on the power of integrated platforms.  If any vendor isn’t moving at lightning speed in this direction, they’re about to be blown away.  But here’s the bold assertion – interoperability and integration are about to become table stakes – necessary, but totally insufficient.  There has to be more!

OK, you might ask, so what is the more? What’s next?

I’m glad you asked. Because that’s where we come in. This week, we announced our vision of Cognitive Collaboration. We shared how the “beyond” will be about intelligence and context woven into every aspect of collaboration – every single piece of the greater portfolio.  It means changing the face of communication and bringing AI/ML enriched context to the user – without them needing to lift a finger. Cognitive collaboration will become the foundation to deliver massively personalized experiences and will transform how we work. We waited to announce this until it wasn’t just talk or slideware.  When we went out, we wanted it to be real…to be able to put it in your hands now.  So here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • People Insights deliver a more effective meeting experience, with relevant, “just-in-time” information you need to better understand and relate to the people you’re sitting down with.
  • Facial Recognition identifies all of the individuals in a meeting – hello virtual name tags so you actually know who is talking!
  • Webex Assistant helps you join meetings through simple voice commands. It can call the right “Susan,” share your content, or control the meeting, even adding the right colleagues for the project at hand.
  • Customer Insights will deliver advanced AI and Customer Journey Analytics via our hybrid cloud model. Available across our entire on-prem portfolio, these new solutions will deliver more personal and contextual experiences.
  • Webex Calling combines Webex Teams with enterprise class PBX, powered by Cisco BroadCloud.

Why Cisco to bring this all to market?  Well, for starters, we’ve got the distinctive data. The data platform we’ve rolled in from Accompany, my startup, which Cisco bought 10 months ago, combined with all the Webex platform data we already had. At Accompany, most of us on came from Google, where we built Google Analytics.   The two things we know how to do really well?  Build a super scalable data platform and crawl the web.  So we put those skills to good use and created a massive ingestion engine that is on the hunt for people and company information every nanosecond of the day. This rich and dense data platform now has 250M people and 25M companies in it and forms a key part of the Webex Graph backbone.  You’ll see this same level of intelligence weave into every piece of Cisco’s collab portfolio – across Webex (Meetings, Messaging and Calling), devices (phones and video) and just wait until you see what’s coming to contact center.  It’s going to be mind blowing! (Hint: think potential customer lifetime value….)

Promises made, Promises Kept

While we’re making Cognitive Collaboration a reality, we guarantee we won’t lose sight of the promises we’ve already made to you. We promised to simplify, to create a single, unified portfolio and to interoperate with the products our customers already have in place. We’ve built bridges across calling, messaging, video/audio devices, meetings and contact center. We also made the promise to keep investing in the prem based portfolio that so many know and love.  We have 45M customers that depend on Jabber, so you better believe we’re going to keep bringing an absolutely compelling experience to all of our fabulous on prem customers.  They deserve it.

The New Basics

So what should customers expect? Well, not just the pieces of the puzzle, that’s for sure.  You should expect solutions and by that, I mean a complete solution, as table stakes.  On top of that, we want you to expect and be delighted by context and intelligence brought to you on a silver platter, without needing to work to get it.  We’re weaving that level of AI/ML directly into every aspect of the portfolio – across calling, messaging, meetings, devices and contact center. We’re just going to bring you hit after hit over these next 18 months, because that’s how we’ll deliver on this vision – to create cognitive collaboration that just works!

That’s the plan, and that’s our promise to you.