Future of Work News

Cisco Takes Distracting Background Noise Out of WebEx Meetings with BabbleLabs Technology

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There are countless environments that impede conversation effectiveness due to  external noise.  You’ve all had them.  Maybe you’re speaking with someone walking on a busy street, or in a subway station, at a ball game, or at home with a child playing guitar.  Regardless of the source of the noise, it makes the conversation difficult.

Today, with millions of people working from home, it’s become an even bigger challenge.  You never know when the neighbor is going to start mowing the lawn or blowing leaves, or when the garbage truck is going to come by, or when your dog is going to start barking.  When you’re on a call with colleagues, customers, or partners, these noises are, at the very least, distracting, but they can quickly taint what would otherwise have been a productive, professional, collaborative interaction.

It’s a very common problem:  According to a recent Cisco survey, nearly all (98%) workers have experienced frustration due to distractions during video meetings, with background noise among the top reasons.

BabbleLabs put an end to that scenario with its background noise removal and speech enhancement technology, which allows users to have professional conversations wherever they may be located.  Now, Cisco is integrating the AI-driven technology into its WebEx platform, having completed its acquisition of BabbleLabs.  The acquisition follows Cicso’s strategy of adding intelligence into communications solutions to make interactions more productive with less wasted time.

“BabbleLabs complements Cisco’s focus on secure collaboration by processing noise removal at the source where the noise happens (on the client side),” said Javed Khan, SVP/GM of Cisco Collaboration.  “BabbleLabs will align with Cisco’s strict data policies, complementing our longstanding commitment to security and privacy and the culture of security we’ve built.   All of this enables Webex to deliver a great user experience and helps our customers stay safe.”

With the integration of BabbleLabs’ technology into WebEx, Cisco is adding to the intelligence already built into the platform by adding high quality noise suppression that includes:

  • Distinguishing speech from background noise;
  • Removing background noise in real-time; and
  • Enhancing  speakers’ voices to elevate communication, independent of language.

These features are in addition to the existing productivity features in the WebEx platform, including:

  • Pre-meeting insight into attendees and simple sign-on;
  • High audio and video, including video optimization for available bandwidth;
  • Blurred or custom backgrounds on any OS;
  • Collaboration tools like, simple file sharing, digital whiteboarding, automated note taking, live transcription, and capturing action items; and
  • Automatic delivery of meeting notes and action items post-meeting.

With its AI-driven noise removal, the BabbleLabs technology can turn a difficult and unprofessional meeting into a productive (and much shorter) one.  Whether its vacuums in the home, sirens or machines outside, external noises are eliminated so users can be heard clearly, eliminating repetition and misunderstandings.  Cisco is integrating the BabbleLabs technology natively into its Webex platform.

The latest trends in communications and customer engagement and experience, including automation, AI, and messaging/communication tools, and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can benefit organizations and their communities of customers and users, is the crux of Future of Work Expo 2021.  Taking place at the brand new Miami Beach Convention Center, June 22-25, 2021 as part of the #TechSuperShow. Future of Work will again sit beside its collocated events – ITEXPO, SD-WAN Expo, MSP Expo, IoT Evolution, The Blockchain Event, and more – to deliver a compete learning and networking opportunity for business leaders who need to know what new technologies will drive their companies into the future.




Edited by Erik Linask

Future of Work Contributor

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