In this new hybrid work world we are in, it can be frustrating to move between multiple meeting applications like Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting. Because Telcion is a Cisco shop, we’ve been using Cisco WebEx for many years. Even though WebEx has been around for over two decades, it is still the industry standard for secure web conferencing and provides many useful features for today’s hybrid environment.
I’ll be the first to say that WebEx was caught flat-footed when the pandemic hit. It just didn’t have some of the usability features that we have seen in other platforms. I might go so far as saying they had become somewhat complacent. That’s a dangerous place to be in the technology world, as it creates room for the competition to step in.
Having said that, what I love about Cisco is that they don’t just sit around and watch what’s happening around them—they get back to innovating at a ferocious pace. And they have done that with excellence this past year. Cisco WebEx has been reinvigorated with a new user interface, compelling and useful features, and gorgeous devices (how often do we say that about tech devices?).
As much as I love all these new things, there was one issue that was driving me crazy—the inability to use other meeting apps with my awesome Cisco Webex video units.
Cisco Webex devices have been tightly integrated with the Cisco Webex app to provide a seamless and delightful user experience. Inevitably, one of our vendors would schedule a meeting with a 3rd party app. Then, rather than our team coming together in a conference room with a WebEx Board, we’d sit at our desks and use our individual laptop cameras because that was the only way we could participate in the meeting.
I’m super happy that has all changed now.
With the latest release of Cisco Webex devices, Cisco now natively supports USB-C ports to enable passthrough capabilities for camera and audio. What this means is that you can connect your laptop via USB to any Cisco Webex device and be able to use that device as an extension of your PC for the purposes of using the camera and audio. This effectively makes the device available for 3rd party conferencing apps and removes the barriers that we’ve had in the past.
What if you have an existing Webex device that doesn’t have a USB option? There is an excellent 3rd party solution out there from Inogeni that will enable this same functionality by being a mediator between the PC and the Webex Board. So if you have the older style boards, you can still get this feature capability with an add-on product.
Now our team can use the conference room with our existing Webex video boards to seamlessly join 3rd party conferences. This makes our investment in this technology even more useful.
This post was contributed by Lance Reid, our CEO. Lance has worked in the technology industry for over 25 years. He is a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert and serves on Cisco’s SMB Advisory Board.