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Cisco bolsters Webex for the hybrid workforce

The major update includes an end-to-end events platform, speech optimisation and data-loss prevention

Cisco has unveiled an all-new suite of services for its Webex platform with features it hopes will serve as the foundation for "inclusive" hybrid work environments.

The cloud firm's research estimates that 98% of future meetings will include at least one remote participant and that this requires more broad investment into non-traditional conference rooms. 

Its new suite of services, which also sees the introduction of a new Webex logo, includes an end-to-end events platform, an analytics tools to track audience engagement, speech optimisation, machine learning software to improve video quality, data-loss prevention and collaborative hardware to enable use either in the office or at home. 

"Cisco's collaboration business is incredibly essential to our customers," said the company's CEO, Chuck Robbins. "With all the integrations the team has added - 800 new features and devices since September - we truly have the most comprehensive meetings, calling, messaging, and event management solution on the market powering the future of hybrid work.

The analytics tools will include functions for polls, Q&As and an audience engagement service which Cisco calls an "industry first". This will be integrated across all collaboration experiences with the polling feature available now in Meetings.

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The Camera updates include a "People Focus" function whereby machine learning and AI technology is used to individually reframe meeting participants who are spread across a room. This will remote participants to feel more connected, according to Cisco, with everyone in the meeting able to benefit from seeing body language, facial expressions and more. 

The suite will also come with security features to prevent loss of data for Webex, which automatically blocks and removes confidential information and prohibits users from posting classified content rather than redacting or deleting content after it is posted. Additionally, European Webex customers will be able to host and process their content within the EU.

The new suite is available now and is priced at 40% lower than "a-la-carte", according to Cisco. Webex Desk, a desktop video device option for home offices and small meeting spaces, will be made available for order later in June for $1,249.

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