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Reimagining Workspaces Today: A Keynote Presentation from Webex by Cisco's Aruna Ravichandran


Return-to-office mandates appear to catching on, readers. Perhaps not everywhere (nor for every single organization that only allowed in-person work, once upon a time), but much of 2023 and even these two months of 2024 have already highlighted this shift.

So, how do these organizations’ leaders make a back-to-the-ol’-on-site grind that much more worthwhile?

Simple: They don’t go “back to the ol’ grind” at all.

Instead, they change the game.

This is the general blueprint laid out by Aruna Ravichandran, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Customer Officer of Webex by Cisco. During last week’s ITEXPO 2024 in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ravichandran made the audience of her keynote presentation very aware of the current facts, according to a new study:

  • “50% of office spaces are still dedicated to less-than-ideal collaboration spaces,” she said.
  • “72% of conference rooms aren’t working, either.”
  • “75% – and counting – feel there is a sizeable inconsistency for remote worker experiences versus hybrid or in-office participants.”

So, how is Webex by Cisco changing the game, precisely?

By reimagining every critical aspect of a reliable workspace, and modernizing it with what today’s workers really need.

“Our goal has been to make offices a magnet, not a mandate,” Ravichandran explained. “We’ve now achieved this in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and even Paris between spring of 2022 and winter of 2023. Both individual work areas and full-on collaboration spaces must be video-enabled and smart-centric zones to allow people today to genuinely do what they do best.”

Webex by Cisco is focusing on this through “ideation, co-creation, and a sense of belonging” via friction-free workspaces that give workers:

  • Personal Productivity Hubs that can be reserved via an app (with meetings and other calendar events transferred automatically)
  • New Webex by Cisco Conference Room Series devices (many powered by NVIDIA); smart boards, desk equipment, phones and headsets
  • Automatic Background Noise Removal technology (part and parcel with the latest in visual distraction block-outs and crystal-clear audio/visual)
  • Office Access Points (accessible via workers’ phones), which are also sensors that monitor room occupancy, air quality, etc.
  • Real-Time Translation and Transcription solutions built into the rooms themselves to elevate and enrich experiences
  • Webex Suite for meetings, messaging, calling, webinars (and other events) whiteboards, polling, video messaging and more
  • Distance-Zero Experiences with smarter AI-powered zooms that keep the speakers’ voices, faces and expressions in the limelight to react to without technical hiccups
  • Personalized AI Assistants that log meetings, provide summaries to participants (and even create “trailers” of what happened during a particular conversation), etc.

“This is only a slice of our new roadmap,” Ravichandran concluded. “I last spoke at this expo in 2020, and the world has changed so much since. We must continue reimagining and transforming workspaces to maximize what it means to work in the present day, not in what’s become outdated. Our people deserve much better.”

Learn more about Ravichandran’s keynote here.

Edited by Alex Passett
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