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1

ID: 209654

URL: https://www.zdnet.com/article/cisco-systems-revamps-webex-to-address-needs-of-hybrid-workforce/

Date: 2021-06-08

Cisco Systems chasing Zoom with revamped Webex Suite

With competitors pushing hard in the marketplace, Cisco unveils a new look and added functionality for its venerable communications platform. After watching Zoom Video Communications catch the imagination -- and business dollars -- of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company's mothership, Cisco Systems, decided that its own Webex franchise needed to get back into a virtual uniform and fight for the market share it lost in the last year and a half. The best video conferencing software Which video conferencing platform is right for your business? We've gathered details about 10 leading services. Read More At its Future of Work online event, Cisco launched an entirely new Webex in an effort to regain market position as the world's top video conferencing vendor, which it had held since acquiring the company in 2007. Over the years, Webex faced many competitors, but it managed to stay No. 1. But when Zoom took off in 2020 under co-founder, CEO and former Webex product manager Eric Yuan, many industry watchers believed Webex's best days were behind it. In the U.S., Zoom currently owns 60% of the online videoconferencing market share and rising. Globally, Zoom handles about  300 million daily meeting participants. The top 10 competitors into Zoom are Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype, Webex, RingCentral, 8x8, Fuze, LogMeIn, Mitel, and Vonage, roughly in that order. Globally, however, the story is different. A total of 41 countries -- including Poland, Iceland, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, each with a ruling market share of more than 40% -- said Microsoft Teams was the No. 1 go-to digital meeting platform over Zoom, which is said to be reformulating its global marketing strategy. No. 3 in the global market is Google Meet, with 21 countries -- such as Denmark, Italy,  and Romania -- choosing the platform. In fourth place is Skype, which saw the biggest loss with a 25.8% drop year-over-year in market share in a March 2021 study. In that poll, Zoom was named the most popular virtual call/meeting platform in the world and ranked No . 1 in 44 of the 118 countries polled.  To bolster its standing in this active market, Cisco on June 8 announced a list of new features designed to make hybrid working -- from home and/or office -- easier. In some recent research, Cisco found that prior to the pandemic, only 8% of meetings had at least one virtual participant. Looking ahead, that number is expected to grow to a whopping 98%, Cisco said. Clearly, hybridization is the way of the future, the company said. Cisco on June 8 announced the following improvements, which are expected to be rolled out by midsummer: Analyst Zeus Kerravala, principal at ZK Research who follows Cisco closely, said he believes Webex certainly had areas of strength--such as security and scale -- but it clearly lagged behind many of the upstarts in usability. "It didn't have many of the whiz-bang features -- such as virtual backgrounds -- that users seemed to like," Kerravala said. "Since then, the company has come roaring back and has quickly and methodically added feature after feature. Over the past nine months, Cisco has added more than 800 new features to Webex and added capabilities through four acquisitions, which include BabbleLabs (noise reduction), immobile (contact center intelligence), Slido (audience interaction), and Socio (events platform). " Kerravala said that hybrid working is here to stay.  "This puts an emphasis on workers' ability to collaborate with one another," Kerravala said. "Historically, the collaboration industry has been filled with disjointed tools that force users to be the integration point. The new Webex removes much of the heavy lifting and creates an experience that is easy, yet full-featured and secure."