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More locals take to Cisco Webex for remote working

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Garsen Naidu, GM, Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa.
Garsen Naidu, GM, Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa.

Cisco says its Webex video-conferencing solution has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of South African users over the past year.

The American multinational networking conglomerate says it has seen a 30% to 40% uptake in the use of its video-conferencing solution locally, with around 160 000 meetings per month hosted on Webex and 400 000 monthly attendees.

The COVID-19 crisis led to a rapidly-growing video communication service market in SA and across the globe, with tech giants battling it out to introduce new remote working services or expand existing offerings.

With more companies opting for remote working policies, competition has been intensifying between video communication service rivals such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger Rooms, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets and Cisco Webex, which all reportedly garnered massive user support.

In a telephone interview with ITWeb, Garsen Naidu, GM of Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa, noted that as the world transitions to a hybrid working model, the networking giant is strengthening its hybrid strategy to meet the demands of a flexible and supportive workplace model, as more organisations prepare for a new era of work in a post-pandemic world.

“We’ve seen a very high demand for Webex in SA. The reason behind the tremendous increase in demand is mainly because of the highly-secure infrastructure used on the platform. Webex is built to be completely secure from the ground up, through MTA encryption and several other features.

“Since the onset of COVID-19, we have shifted our focus to the new hybrid way of work. It’s not just about remote working, it’s about a hybrid way of working – as people return to the office, an area of growing consensus is that the future of work will be hybrid,” said Naidu.

The cloud-based team collaboration platform works with Cisco’s devices and apps ecosystem to enable better teamwork for organisations and their employees.

A global study conducted by PC maker Lenovo shows a vast majority of surveyed businesses (83%) expect to work remotely at least half the time, with employees sharing the same sentiment.

To meet the demands of the growing number of South African companies considering implementing new technologies and flexible working arrangements, Naidu noted Cisco’s hybrid strategy combines the power of Webex with the use of physical space to create a seamless collaborative experience for employees, online learners and those attending online events.

In August, Cisco announced it had acquired Silicon Valley-headquartered start-up BabbleLabs, to improve the audio quality of the networking giant’s video-conferencing service.

Following the acquisition, Cisco introduced over 800 new capabilities for its video-conferencing solutions.

“Webex innovations in this space include real-time translations and meeting transcriptions from English into 108 languages and counting. Gesture recognition allows users to communicate non-verbally without having to tap icons,” said Naidu.

“In a post-COVID-19 world, we expect that while people will not be working remotely on a full-time basis, remote working is going nowhere. We expect that advanced technologies such as machine learning are going to play a more important role in making video-conferencing services more innovative in future.”

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