The use of Cisco’s Webex collaboration platform tripled in April due to remote work.
Image: Josh Wood/Cisco

With the COVID-19 crisis causing more people to work from home than ever before, Webex, Cisco’s remote collaboration platform, was a star of Cisco Live 2020. The conference, which was also affected by the pandemic and held remotely for the first time in its 31-year history, is fully digital and will run June 16-17 this year. It was originally slated for May 31-June 4 in Las Vegas.

Webex more than tripled its normal volume in April, with more than 500 million participants generating 25 billion meeting minutes.

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Webex saw this unprecedented growth once remote work became the norm with this spring. In April, there was three times the use of Webex services compared with February, said Javed Khan, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Group, during an exclusive interview with TechRepublic before Cisco Live.

The growth was a combination of existing customers using it 40% more, and 60% new customers adopting it for the first time. There are about 25,000 new enterprises using Webex now than there were in February, Khan said.

“We are a security company, as much as a security company, as a collaboration company, everything we do is with a security lens applied to it. And this is increasingly important based on what has transpired over the last few months,” Khan said. “We believe that this is one of our strengths.”

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Of course that means there is also added security for Webex with extended data loss prevention (DLP) retention, Legal Hold and eDiscovery to Webex Meetings. Cisco announced an expansion to end-to-end encryption including AES 256 Bit encryption with GCM mode for increased protection for meeting data and resistance against tampering.

To help companies manage an enlarged remote workforce while also helping those employees returning to the office, there are use cases for the Webex Control Hub such as the ability to instantly deploy Webex Assistant, the voice assistant technology, to conference room devices. This minimizes the number of people who have touched the screen or touchpad in shared spaces. It will also allow companies to identify the most-used rooms to plan cleaning schedules or rethink how to configure meeting spaces to better meet needs in these days of social distancing.

A new cloud-connected UC feature is being added to Control Hub that will simplify IT workflows for hybrid deployments and expanded Webex Calling analytics.

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Webex Teams and Box, the cloud content management platform, are now being integrated. Customers can use Box as well as any other platform that Webex integrates with.

“In this new era of remote work, businesses around the globe are urgently looking for better tools to help employees seamlessly collaborate internally and with customers and partners from anywhere and on any device. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Cisco with a new Box and Webex integration that enables secure remote work for our joint customers,” said Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, in a press release.

New telehealth features are also available through Epic electronic health record software. Providers will be able to use Webex Teams to conduct a video visit with a patient, review medical history or update clinical documentation. There now are more than 250 million patients with electronic records in Epic.

Cisco’s Webex has integrated with Epic so that providers can use Webex Teams to conduct a video visit with a patient, review medical history, and update clinical documentation.
Image: Cisco