Unified Communications seems to always be shifting within the market, whether from the adoption of cloud solutions or a new focus on AI. There is always some new, latest and greatest solution or technology that can help simplify our lives and our operations.
As Enterprise organizations begin to shift towards the cloud and to UCaaS platforms, a need for something more capable arose in 2019 — a need for a true and complete enterprise communication platform. With Cisco's recent announcement that Webex reached 20 billion meeting minutes in April 2020, we think it's time to explore Webex.
Webex Joins the Competition
Despite a name change from Spark, Cisco’s collaboration vision continues to grow and develop as Webex. The best current head-to-head comparison is now Webex vs Microsoft Teams, as Microsoft Teams is currently Webex’ biggest competition for the title of best Enterprise Unified Communication platform. Webex has now reached beyond the more basic chat and collaboration form of application.
While the collaboration team has shifted quite a bit throughout the last few years, Webex has continued to stand as a really strong Enterprise collaboration platform. Since Webex hit the marketing, we’ve seen other platforms develop on the market or shift their focus to the Enterprise side of the equation with mixed results.
New Collaborative Features
When Cisco rebranded Spark to WebEx, they included more than just a fresh coat of paint. The main idea was to create a single and cohesive platform utilizing just one name, Webex. With a large focus being placed on the visual aspects of collaboration, Webex takes the concept into a whole new direction, and includes a wide range of collaboration features:
- Chat – Group messaging, always-on persistent chat and customizable notifications to always stay connected
- Meet – Anyone can start meetings anywhere and use some powerful collaboration tools like screen sharing and whiteboarding
- Whiteboard – Visual collaboration on steroids with both virtual and physical digital whiteboards for real-time drawing, writing, document editing and more
- Schedule – Effectively and simply manage and organize schedules for productive meetings. Integrates with existing calendar tools, as well
- File – All your shared files are saved to the same space you work in with your team, files stay in the rooms they were shared in, and a powerful search makes it easy to find everything.
The original release of Cisco’s digital whiteboard, and deep integration into the overall platform, has added a unique focus to the platform and pushed towards a bit more towards a hardware focused platform, due to Cisco’s history in hardware, but has since seen less of a prominent role in the development and growth of Webex. For example, we’ve seen more recent an expansion into Huddle Room tech and even Webex Calling.
The Power of Cisco
At the end of the day, the biggest benefit you gain from a Cisco solutions is their long-time experience in communications, specifically a strong focus on developing video conferencing solutions. While Webex can absolutely be had without video conferencing, users can add on Webex Meetings to their solution to expand the core functionality.
From launch, every subscription and plan of Webex can take full advantage of the unique whiteboarding capabilities built right into the platform. Visual collaboration is one of Cisco’s strengths in this realm, and even rivals the intense collaboration capabilities granted through consistent Office 365 usage.
Despite the recent changes within Cisco’s collaboration department, Webex seems to be pushing forward, and pushing hard. Enterprise organizations naturally have a greater technological demand on their solutions and platforms over that of a smaller organization. Solutions like Webex are much more than taping together a chatroom and a video conferencing function, but rather about creating a cohesive collaboration experience. With the capabilities organizations gain in platforms like Webex, departments can interact and collaborate on an entirely new scale and an entirely new level of efficiency.