Supporting a hybrid work environment is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. Recent surveys find 98 percent of meetings will need to accommodate remote participants. The hybrid workplace must provide consistent tools and experiences for all employees, regardless of location. Webex® has accelerated your ability to deploy a hybrid workplace with our intelligent workplace solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices with environmental sensors and remote management dashboards built on an open, secure platform make intelligent workplace technology one of the best tools for getting employees back to the office safely while providing an inclusive experience for remote workers.
This guide is intended to provide IT and facilities managers guidance on redesigning safe collaboration spaces and which Webex® features enable an inclusive experience for remote workers. Recommendations include practical applications, taking advantage of your existing investment, and what you will need to deploy the latest Webex Rooms enhancements.
An investment in the Webex platform and devices is an investment in your employees and your company’s future. From the home office to the lobby and the boardroom, our AI-enabled devices present endless possibilities to provide intelligent and customizable experiences.
All Webex devices operate on the Room Operating System (RoomOS). RoomOS is under agile development, with monthly updates that ensure you can take advantage of the latest and greatest enhancements as soon as they’re available.
The reception area will set the tone for how your company is handling the safe return to the office. Greet employees and visitors with digital signage and custom web apps from Webex. You can immediately begin health assessments and provide safety guidelines. Overtime use the same equipment for new applications such as contactless reception, company news, and satisfaction surveys.
Digital signage has been used for years to deploy brand messages. What’s different about digital signage from Webex is that you can centrally deploy corporate messaging in all meeting rooms in bulk within seconds to any cloud-connected or hybrid platform (Webex Edge for Devices) registered Webex device.
This includes all devices from the reception area to the boardroom and even devices in a home office. Digital signage is natively displayed on the screen when Webex devices are not being actively used for collaboration, and it doesn’t require any third-party hardware. Digital signage is an easy, cost-effective way of centralizing and delivering a range of multi-media content.
Today, you can deploy digital signage to provide vital health and safety information. Over time, use the same technology and applications for community messages, reminders, and corporate branding. Custom messages have been proven to be effective for reception areas, open huddle spaces, walkways, personal desk devices, and larger meeting rooms.
Consider communicating the following to kick off your digital signage deployment:
Digital signage is available on the following devices:
Requirements: Stable channel for full cloud devices or a minimum of CE release 9.12.3 for on-premises devices connected via cloud-connected devices.
How to enable digital signage: You can enable digital signage for your Webex devices through Webex Control Hub or from the web portal.
How to purchase:
Using the same underlying mechanism as digital signage, custom web apps are tools you can load directly onto your Webex Board or Webex Desk Pro’s home screen. Typically, web apps are used to provide quick access to commonly used applications, like O365 or Trello, at the touch of a button. Web apps can also provide a custom experience for your visitors and employees when they enter the office.
To support this new way of working, there may be new policies upon entry. Some organizations are planning health checks and surveys before employees can enter a common space. With custom web apps, you can provide employees with digital health and contact surveys on arrival. You can help them find an available space for the day and how to get there or connect them with an expert through video chat if they have questions or need additional help.
Office visitors can use the Desk Pro to check-in and provide a registration workflow that takes pictures, provides NDA documents to sign, and notifies an individual who is expecting a guest that they have arrived. Desk Pro can even connect to a badge scanner or a badge printer (requires an additional device like a Raspberry Pi) to print access badges or stickers for guests. As organizations are in various states of returning to work, with some reception desks remaining unstaffed, the visitor management solution will help to manage visitor details and traffic flow in and out of the office.
Custom web apps are available on the following devices:
Requirements: Stable channel for full cloud devices or a minimum of CE version 9.12.3 for on-premises devices connected via Webex Edge for Devices.
How to enable digital signage: You can enable custom web apps for your Webex Rooms devices through Control Hub or from the web portal.
How to purchase:
Technology at the desk
Webex Desk: Offers an AI-driven collaboration experience with noise suppression, virtual backgrounds, and advanced co-creation capabilities
Cisco Headset: Provides noise cancellation and background noise reduction to help people stay focused and productive wherever they are
Desk workers need access to the same high-quality collaboration they experience in meeting rooms. In some cases, intra-office communication and collaboration may go virtual and the new reality is that remote participants will be part of every meeting. A dedicated space with collaboration devices at the desk will help reduce contact with shared devices and help maintain social distancing.
Enabling every employee with a full-featured, intuitive collaboration experience that allows them to message, meet, call, share content, co-create, and collaborate from anywhere, just like they could in the office, is a foundational requirement for the hybrid workplace.
Webex devices provide video-first collaboration and co-creation experiences for in-office and remote workers so they can collaborate with others in the office and with teammates working from home.
Desk workers can leverage the following devices:
As more offices begin to open their doors, employees will inevitably need to move around the workplace, to find a meeting room for a video conference, or more rarely these days, find a place to talk in person.
They need to feel safe and secure in their environment. And providing clear room availability information on top of a touchless experience can help.
The Cisco Webex Room Navigator is an intuitive, 10-inch control unit designed to aid collaboration by providing instant access to meetings, contacts, directories, content, and more. It can be mounted on the wall outside meeting rooms or set on a conference table inside the conference room. Optimized for an effortless user experience, the table version of the user interface can rotate 180 degrees when the device is tilted, and the wall version includes LEDs for clear communications from a distance.
To deploy this technology, offices need: Webex Room Navigator
Employees looking for available meeting space can easily see from a distance which rooms are open.
From the outside, a mounted wall Webex Room Navigator will indicate if meeting space is available or booked through an LED light surrounding the device:
From the inside of a room (if the Room Navigator is inside only), you can also make an ad-hoc booking through the Webex Assistant. Five minutes prior to a meeting ending, meeting participants will be alerted. Meetings can be extended with the Webex Assistant voice commands and if there is a Room Navigator outside the room, it will remain booked for that time.
To enable touchless room booking, here’s what you need.
How to enable touchless room booking: You can enable touchless room booking for your Webex Room devices through Control Hub.
How to purchase: Room booking is free to customers who have already deployed a Webex Rooms device; it uses the same license as the endpoint.
Environmental changes are leading to a completely different work dynamic. Meeting rooms that were built for large teams can only support a few people to ensure social distancing. Employees in the same office may be using videoconferencing to talk with their teams in other rooms.
The Webex team has created macros — custom code that can be easily deployed — that any organization can quickly leverage, and it’s just the beginning. Custom macros and open APIs enable any organization to build their own capabilities or work with partners to build enhancements that meet the needs of their organization and workspaces.
Some examples of macros include:
Meeting room capacity limits are crucial for staying safe. Using Control Hub, you can set capacity limits.
Facial detection will count how many people are in a room, and a notification will automatically appear on the screen if the numbers are exceeded, ensuring social distancing measures are being upheld.
Social distancing alerts are available on the following devices:
Requirements: Firmware CE version 9.12.3 or newer if you want to use the algorithm for facial detection or Cloud-Based RoomOS Stable
How to enable social distancing alerts:
How to purchase: Social distancing alerts are free to customers who have already deployed a Webex device and it use the same license as the endpoint.
Keeping employees informed about conference room cleanliness and the last time a meeting room was occupied is an important part of instilling employees’ confidence about being in the office.
We have created a macro that uses the intelligence of Webex devices to:
The macro will record cleaning times and the number of detections since last cleaned in a secondary macro which it will also create itself. The cleaning button is PIN-protected, and the PIN can be edited in the macro.
Cleaning notifications are available on the following devices:
How to enable social distancing alerts:
How to purchase: Cleaning notifications are free to customers who have already deployed a Webex device and it use the same license as the endpoint.
Enable touchless interfaces for meeting rooms and desk spaces.
Digital assistants and touchless technology in the workplace were nice bonus features before the pandemic. But with employees being concerned about touching shared devices, it’s no longer just a nice-to-have capability; now it’s essential. A digital assistant for the workplace goes a long way to ease concerns by making any meeting or interaction a zero-touch experience.
With Webex Assistant you get a voice-controlled collaboration experience and with Cisco Intelligent Proximity, employees can pair their mobile device or laptop with a Webex device and control the meeting or share content without ever having to touch another device or cable it the room.
Intelligent Proximity is a suite of features that activates through ultrasound technology when bringing mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, or laptop) close to a Webex device. It allows employees to see, control, and capture content from a meeting directly on their own devices.
Intelligent proximity is available on the following devices:
How to enable: Intelligent Proximity is enabled by default if you have downloaded the Webex Meetings and/or Webex mobile or desktop apps.
Webex Assistant is a voice-activated, AI-powered digital assistant. With Webex Assistant, employees can voice their commands, removing the need to touch anything in a meeting room. Webex Assistant uses natural language processing, so empoyees don’t have to memorize a list of commands — they can speak like they normally would and Webex Assistant will understand their intent.
Webex Assistant is available on the following devices:
How to purchase: You can enable Webex Assistant for your Webex devices through Control Hub or from the web portal.
How to enable: Webex Assistant for Webex Rooms is free to customers who have already deployed a Webex device and it uses the same license as the endpoint
Wireless guest sharing for Webex devices allows people to share content wirelessly to any Webex registered device. There’s no need to download a Webex app or sign up to a Webex account and it’s completely touch-free.
Most offices receive a constant flux of people. When people come into your office for a meeting, it can be rather tedious to ask them to download an app in order to wirelessly share to a Rooms device. Many times, they also require access from an admin to download the new software on their work laptops, which may not be practical when you are a guest at a different office.
The wireless guest share feature allows guests to simply visit a website and enter a code found on the device. After doing this, they can wirelessly share to a device. The only requirement is an internet connection. Whether the guest wants to share an app, their entire screen, or just a tab from their browser, it can be done with a simple step.
Guest share is available on the following devices:
How to enable guest share: Guest share is enabled by default on all cloud-registered devices. End users just need to press the “Sharing Options” button to view the “Guest Code” to join via the website.
How to purchase: Guest share is free to customers who have already deployed a Webex device and it uses the same license as the endpoint.
IT administrators need visibility into every device on the network, regardless of whether it is being used remotely or in the office. You need to be able to deploy, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot every device in the organization to quickly analyze device issues (e.g., packet loss, jitter, latency, etc.) in real-time.
And it is not only about technology. In this new season, it’s about how spaces are being used in every scenario.
Webex Control Hub provides an easy-to-use, intuitive way to navigate to important details about your Webex services. This allows you to offer the best collaboration options for everyone, with consistency of experience, security, and single-pane-of-glass management that is critical when deploying collaboration devices across an organization, at work, and at home. Providing actionable workspace insights arms IT with the important information you need to make important ROI decisions.
Workspace utilization insights provide organizations with a deeper understanding of how their meeting spaces are being used and then give them the ability to break down the types of activities that are happening within them, all through Control Hub.
This is achieved with intelligent sensors, such as people count and presence. Essentially, workspace utilization extends the capabilities of the camera, microphone, and speakers on your Webex devices to increase their functionality by detecting movement and people within the meeting room. The key part of this feature is that it analyzes all activities in the room, not just interactions with your device. This means that it captures whether the room is in use, regardless of whether a device is active or inactive.
Control Hub provides the ability to go deeper into each workspace to find out what is happening in real-time, including the ability to set capacity limits to provide alerts when the maximum number of people in the room is exceeded. You can find information on scheduled meetings, including who has booked which meeting room, and for how long. For privacy reasons, the meeting title is obscured.
Control Hub also provides the ability to analyze over time how your workspace has changed, allowing you to slice and dice the data to deliver custom insights. The dashboard natively provides a live snapshot of key data points relevant to your meeting rooms.
Workspace insights is available on the following devices