There’s a new Team in town! What’s new in Webex Teams and how it affects you

Recently, Cisco announced a rebranding of their collaboration solutions at their Collaboration Summit. Cisco Spark will now be rebranded as Cisco Webex Teams, and Cisco WebEx Meeting will continue to represent the Webex suite of services (i.e. Meeting Center, Event Center and Training Center).

Along with this rebranding comes a facelift to the UI that users can expect to see sometime in June 2018. So, has Cisco taken the “Spark” out of meetings with this move? Amidst all the bells and whistles of this new release, we’ll help summarise and decipher what these new enhancements mean to you.

 

1. Video-first meeting approach

“It’s never a meeting without video!” You’ve probably heard this at one of Cisco’s Workplace of the Future presentations. Webex Meeting Center has always had the same content focused UI for as long as we’ve known Webex. The traditional layout of having content on the left, taking the majority of the screen space with all other menus and panels on the right, is now making way for a full video experience similar to what you see today on ArkadinVision, BlueJeans or Zoom.

Together with the Webex-enabled video endpoints (formerly Spark-enabled endpoints), this creates a more consistent and familiar user experience across all devices. Most importantly, this now shifts the emphasis from content to what is at the heart of all meetings, people.

 

2. Unified meeting engine under Webex

There is a good reason why Webex was once synonymous with web conferencing - the reliability and stability of the service. If you have hosted a meeting on Webex Meeting Center and Spark, you would have noticed that the two are on different platforms. Sending an invite on Spark means you must join the meeting on Spark, and likewise for Webex. With this upcoming enhancement, both Webex Teams and Meetings will have meetings hosted on the same meeting platform. So it won’t matter if you or your participants are joining from Webex Teams or Webex Meetings, everyone will be in the same meeting that is hosted on a robust and reliable meeting engine.

 

3. PSTN audio support on Webex Teams

One of the other advantages of having a unified Webex meeting engine is PSTN audio support. Previously, Spark’s audio only supports VoIP. With PSTN support on Webex Teams, you can now choose to initiate a call back to your mobile, or dial a local number via Cloud Connected Audio (CCA-SP) to join a meeting on voice if you have poor internet connectivity.

 

4. Democratised meeting capabilities

In a physical meeting scenario (with exception to companies with autocratic management styles), anyone can turn on the projector, draw on a whiteboard or open the door for a guest to enter a meeting room without needing permission from the host. Likewise, with this new feature, anyone in a Webex Teams space can perform tasks such as scheduling, starting a meeting, recording, admitting guests and muting attendees which are typically reserved for the moderator or a host of a meeting. This reduces the dependence on the host to start discussions and empowers team members to keep the project moving along.

There are many other exciting items such as Webex Share, AI and augmented reality on Cisco’s roadmap that will pave the way for an even more engaging meeting experience. Contact us today to find out more about Webex Teams and how it can enhance your meetings.

 

This article was contributed by Daniel Ho, Head of Product Marketing, APAC at Arkadin. View his LinkedIn profile.