back to article Cisco challenges the tyranny of Outlook with short, self-terminating Webex meetings

Cisco has upgraded its Webex collaboration suite in ways it hopes will both boost productivity in the post-COVID age and meet the 2020 moment by "giving everybody a voice" and making online meetings "10x better" than the real world. That empowerment schtick is partly Cisco making sure it's seen to be on the side of racial …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "building the relationships they need to be successful"

    Put a free cafe machine in the office, the best way to make co-workers socialize.

    Having to deal almost everyday with Teams and Webex, I prefer the latter: much more enduring, no lag, no audio cut whatever the number of participants, not like the former.

    The shiny new devices marketing loves? Hmmm... I will let the marketing play with it, I don't need more crap on my desk, thank you.

  2. sanmigueelbeer

    `tis in the roadmap.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meetings or chats

    I separate this guff into chats (hows it going, any idea about this, why the f*ck have you put my contract within IR35) with individuals, and meetings with a group. If its a meeting you decide up-front what the meeting is about and what needs to be accomplished for the meeting to complete.

    If anyone needs a James Bond like count-down to do effective time-keeping, then it should include some Crystal Maze like features. Anyone useless (or unjustifiably enthusiastic about their own abilities) gets locked in a room until everyone else has gone home.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Meetings or chats

      Meeting cut-off in my company is enforced by the Mangalers having meetings scheduled back to back all day, at the appointed hour any talk is drowned out by the rapid 'drop' beeping.

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: Meetings or chats

      Short meetings would entirely be taken by Gary from BizOps introductory remarks about how he and the random vendor he's chosen could do the project and really don't need any IT buy in and anyway IT is insignificant next to the dark side power of being a budget owner. Repeat every 15 minutes for different projects and different Garys...

  4. AMBxx Silver badge

    Ugh - webex

    I seem to have used every meeting/screen sharing software ever created over the last few years. Bottom of the heap is WebEx. Sharing my screen yesterday stopped me selecting emails in Outlook. To get the information I needed, I had to stop the sharing, open the email, then start sharing again.

  5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Cisco's Prices

    My place is a big Cisco user (various software and hardware products) but once MS-Teams entered the room the Cisco account team realised that they were about to loose the entire collaboration space to Microsoft. The problem, for Cisco, is cost. Microsoft bundle Teams as part of your standard Office 365 package and it's tough to compete with free* - doubly so when you charge Cisco's sky high prices. (I was seeing others already drifting away from Cisco prior to Teams due to Cisco's sky high prices)

    I got an NDA heads-up about the Webex Desk Pro months prior to its launch and at the time questioned the price point but Cisco were adamant it would sell.

    Cisco want to be the Apple of the corporate world - but they're just not pulling it off.

    * Yes I know there's no such thing as a free lunch and we're ultimately paying for it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For us...

    Webex has only 2 features better than Teams/zoom (and even then one of them is only because In house security struggle to grasp remote working contractors is a thing).

    1. Telephone support (now mandatory since my main machine is a power book running Catalina... And the pc sound support is a 32bit app...). We used to use this alot since using computer sound on Webex was painful to put it politely, even on fast net connections. Dodgy office WiFi just makes it soo much worse. Teams though, in honesty just seems to work. Sound rarely goes wonky and I've been on meetings in the Highlands of Scotland with only a few cutouts owing to driving into a valley.

    2. Recordings - At least a Webex meeting is a small and compact file that can be easily shared... Teams however doesn't want to play nice with remote workers not using our company instance of Office 364 1/2. This makes Teams a poor choice for demos thst everyone needs to refere back to and so now thats all we use Webex for.

    Anon because security hate me enough anyway...

  7. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Real time translations

    This is a fantastic team building tool, speak with an accent (any strong regional seems to work) and enjoy minutes of gibberish being autogenerated for the delight of your fellow workers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish they would fix virtual camera support on MacOS

    Used to be able to use something like OBS to produce complex backgrounds (static content, live streams, media), better quality video (Webex vitrual background support is pathetic, even with a green screen and studio lighting) and better audio.

    However, since Apple added some security enhancements* to the OS, Webex no longer supports virtual camera devices that things like OBS create. This also affected Zoom and Teams, but they were updated months ago. Lots of requests on the Webex forum for a fix, but no action from Cisco. I wonder if this is an attempt to force people to buy the Cisco "professional" conferencing kit that cost $lots?

    I now use Zoom in preference, when I can.

    * Webex will only allow plugins signed by Apple or Cisco to run within a Webex session.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone thinks this isn't useful?

      It makes things a lot easier when running remote teaching sessions with multiple cameras and media sources.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux support

    Screw all this millennial gibberish, when are they going to add native Linux support? Firing a web meeting through the browser is a sure recipe for audio lags and 100% CPU usage.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Linux support

      To be fair, what percentage of desktop users are Linux?

      1. Gnomalarta

        Re: Linux support

        Well, everyone where I worked for Cisco!

        1. TheMeerkat

          Re: Linux support

          I believe Cisco these days give Macs to employees too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux support

        Enough to make it a pain for some people to join meetings that I have to host.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux support

        I'd say at least 30% of Big Blue's user base run Linux in their laptops and they are forced to use WebEx for meetings. Is that enough for you?

  10. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    Success metrics

    Feedback will also flow from new analytics features Cisco said will produce a social graph of interactions across a company so that managers can understand if their teams are "building the relationships they need to be successful". Just how success metrics are determined was not discussed. Privacy was assured.

    Success and productivity stems from knowing your shit, talking to the right people at the right times, and generally getting stuff done. It is not wasting time endlessly networking to build relationships.

    A social graph won't tell you how well people are working. It will tell you how much time they might spend "collaborating" with others, but without transcribing the conversation and analysing that data, there's no way to go from that to any kind of useful productivity metric.

    It certainly does not indicate productivity. Work done indicates productivity, but that requires managers to actually oversee the work being done rather than just looking for a number in a dashboard.

    Microsoft just binned a very similar tool because manglers equated collaboration to productivity and started coming down on people with lower collaboartion scores, saying they weren't being productive enough.

  11. s. pam

    Office bullying aka Teams then eh cisco?

    Wonderful news the feature most hated by MSFT Teams users cisco is vomiting out. Yet more reason to use Slack/Zoom vs. cisco bloatware!

    "There's also a new meeting format that allows quick chats to be arranged by just adding people to a list and firing up the meeting. This, apparently, enhances productivity."

  12. Robert Grant Silver badge

    > Noise cancellation has been enhanced so that those working from home in noisy environments or using a blender during a meeting will be heard. The blender is not a rhetorical flourish: Cisco's demo literally showed off a user making a smoothie while collaborating productively.

    This actually sounds quite cool. And I say this as a hater of Webex.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Indeed sounds great. I live in relatively small house and our budgies keep on chirping endlessly during the day. Apparently annoys the hell out of others.

      At least the hamster is silent as long as the wheel is oiled. Or jammed.

  13. ciaran

    Better keybord mapping for remote control?

    My company uses webex, and its a real pain trying to type something into a client's putty window if they don't have the same keyboard layout as mine.

    Thank $deity for the keypad.

  14. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down!

    I always have calls to make after a WebEx meeting. When the meeting is over, just release the damn phone line. I am already a paid user. I don't need a forced 30-second product advertisement recording...."Visit us on-line at double-U double-U double-U dot Web Ex dot com...." If I hang up my end, then WebEx should immediately hang up their end.

    That one simple thing would make WebEx so less annoying.

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