Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Achieving Distance Zero – a new frontier in hybrid working

April 9, 2024

98% of meetings today include at least one remote participant. Although the concept of the workplace has evolved significantly, remote workers still don’t always feel included in discussions on the ground. That’s no surprise when less than 15% of 87 million meeting spaces out there are equipped with video conferencing technology. To encourage a sense of belonging, collaboration, and productivity, businesses need to figure out how to make hybrid work, work.

Distance Zero

The accelerated pace of generative AI development is going a long way to dissolve distance and make virtual interactions as close as possible to being as engaging and natural as face-to-face communication.

At Cisco, we’re delivering this through Distance Zero – our vision for creating life-like experiences in hybrid meetings so that collaborating remotely is almost like being there in person. From messaging and calling to contact centre solutions, we’re empowering all participants to be active, visible, and integral parts of the conversation.

Bringing people together

Cisco’s latest Hybrid Work Study reveals 83% of employers acknowledge that collaboration-driven enhancements effectively attract and retain top talent. We are meeting their needs through diverse technologies including the multifunctional, AI-powered room device Cisco Board Pro G2. It features advanced video capabilities to deliver equitable viewing experiences and participation for meeting attendees, whether they are in a long meeting room, using the device for ideation or presentations, or joining remotely. The Cisco Desk Phone 9800 Series has been designed for modern office layouts, providing seamless, end-to-end personalised collaboration experiences that have the flexibility to run on-prem or on a cloud calling platform.

Spatial computing

The intelligent adoption of smart collaboration solutions will continue the transformation journey of the workplace. Looking ahead, spatial computing is the next important step for collaboration technology. Cisco is introducing tomorrow’s innovation today with our partnership with Apple and a tailored Vision Pro Webex app that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world. Also, our ongoing partnership with NVIDIA to support deploying distance zero at scale. Their Jetson edge AI platform is 20 times more powerful than previous generations.

Real-world benefits

Given the myriad of platforms modern professionals rely upon, new features and tech must have clear practical benefits – not merely technology for technology’s sake. In Webex, our AI Audio Codec and Super Resolution technologies both use machine learning to remove noise and automatically frame videos, eliminating common distractions and focusing attention on what truly matters: the meeting and its participants.

We have further integrated AI by combining Large Language Models and Real-time Media Models data. This enables Webex to recognise non-verbal cues – for example when a participant leaves their desk to pick up a delivery. We recently announced the general availability of AI Assistant capabilities in the Webex Suite including AI-powered Meeting Summaries and Vidcast Summaries. These capabilities save users time catching up on a missed meeting or video message, by generating smart meeting summaries and concise actionable insights, so no one misses out on critical discussions.

Tomorrow’s workplace

Simplicity is at the heart of our design philosophy. Our strategic partnerships with Microsoft and Samsung provide customers with an easy-to-use and unified collaboration experience. Cisco Room Series devices are interoperable with Microsoft Teams, integrating the Front Row layout where all attendees are positioned at eye level for maximum immersion. This view is enhanced by the high resolution and vibrant colours of Samsung’s Smart Signage screens, working with bespoke Cisco devices for impactful video collaboration.

As we continue to innovate, our vision remains clear: to deliver inclusive collaboration experiences, without the barriers of geography, language, personality, and tech familiarity, to drive connection, engagement, and inspiration.

Take a look at more of what we are doing and the exciting innovations we launched at Enterprise Connect recently.

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