Cisco unveils tools to service the post-coronavirus workplace

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Cisco has unveiled a ‘business resiliency’ portfolio that offers enterprises the tools to cope with the realities of a post-COVID business landscape, including remote working technologies and workplace systems.

The portfolio combines industry-specific as well as general-purposes services to give customers the means to cope with the new reality of social distancing in the workplace and difficulties in engaging remote workers.

Cisco is rolling out the portfolio as the effects of COVID-19 continue to take their toll, and challenges such as mass remote working and fragmented IT continue to loom. This is in addition to further updates to WebEx, Cisco’s video conferencing platform, and integration with collaboration platform WebEx Teams and Box.

Industry-specific tools released as part of the business resilience package including a remote learning system, as well as an IT infrastructure kit to allow governments to establish a temporary hospital, in the mould of the NHS Nightingale sites. The temporary connected field hospital, as it’s dubbed, includes wireless networking and the associated technology to establish a temporary facility within five days.

“Over the past several months we’ve seen major disruption to many industries and organizations at a pace like never before. Businesses that once mapped digital strategy in one to three-year periods have been required to scale their initiatives essentially overnight,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

“Cisco’s new business resiliency portfolio will help customers reevaluate their business strategies and implement solutions more quickly and easily than ever before.”

The remote workforce systems include a remote contact centre system, enabling contact centre agents to work from home using cloud-based systems or the capabilities to securely access their on-premise tech remotely.

Flexible remote access gives employees the expertise and tools to access the network, endpoints and applications remotely, while the final prong, secure remote worker, offers businesses tools to analyse the effectiveness and security of their VPNs.

Among the workplace technologies being rolled out is remote office connectivity that extends a corporate network to adjacent and remote locations so workers can benefit from increased bandwidth and faster connectivity.

Finally, social density monitoring and insights gives workplaces a view on how busy their workplace environments might be at any one time. This is in order for facilities teams to plan return-to-work strategies with social distancing in mind.

The WebEx integration with Box, meanwhile, allows workers to use the content management platform’s secure file-sharing capabilities to share documents with colleagues. With regards to WebEx, Cisco has tripled the video conferencing platform's capacity in light of the surge in users as a result of the pandemic.

WebEx will also introduce a fully-fledge voice-activated virtual assistant, building on Cisco's intentions to use voice tools to explore the 'next frontier' of data insights, outlined in January this year.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.