Cisco unveil new Webex logo, new look and add a bunch of new features


Last night, Cisco unveiled a new “modern” logo for its Webex product suite along with annoucing a new set of features coming soon which range from background noise cancellation to adding polls and quizzes to make meetings more interactive.

The video Conferencing race continues as the leaders of the pack, Microsoft Teams, Webex and Zoom and Google Meet continue to see steady usage growth fueled initially by coronavirus pandemic which has now transformed into most beleive will be a longer term seismic shift to hybrid / home and office working and learning post pandemic as the world’s largest working from experiment has proved (for many) the effectiveness of home working and improved life balance achieved by ditching the daily commute.

New Webex logo

The new Webex Suite

Cisco, which also unveiled a new Webex logo, said its new hybrid work “suite” is circa 40% to buy when brought together compared to the individual components as you’d expect.

The new Webex Suite

In their blog, Cisco said they had subtly added almost 800 new features and devices since September last year to enhance the customer experience across meetings, calling, messaging, and event management specifically to address the long term needs of hybrid work which are very different from a pure remote work model.

Top new features

There was a handful of notible new features announced following a series of acquisitions over the past few months which Cisco are now ready to start baking into their new suite.

In December 2020, Cisco’s acquired Slido, and audience engagement tool with capabilities which include Q&A, polling, trivia, and gamification.

Last month, Cisco then acquired Socio Labs, an event technology platform for live, large-scale events and webinars.

Another new feature aims to more intelligently frame and reframe the speaker or most active meeting participants using machine learning and AI technology to allow the audience to better see body language and facial expressions in meetings – something more easily missed in remote/online meetings.

These new tools which will being Cisco up to or ahead of their competition, (in the case of Slido), are designed to make Webex better suited for the future of meetings and events of all sizes, including large “hybrid” events that combine in-person and virtual attendance, something all the major conferencing venues and hosts need to get right.

New logo, new look

The new webex suite comes with new fresh and dynamic look (which accompanies its new logo) which Cisco says better reflects the products values and initiatives.

The new Webex (image (C) Cisco)

Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s SVP and GM Security and Collaboration was quoted saying to ZdnetWe are unmistakably committed to inclusivity and making sure everyone has an equal voice and an equal seat at the table, no matter where the table is,”

Price “enhancements” too

Cisco said that the new Webex Suite will cost around 40% less than buying the individual components and services a-la-carte.

This is of course expected, with any suite of products but good to see and of course customers can save even more money by replacing legacy tools or disconnected services and platforms with tools from the Webex suite.

Read more?

You can read more and try this out by visiting the cisco blogs here..

4 to 9 is not 49 but its’ a leap in the right direction for #MicrosoftTeams

There’s no doubt Microsoft haven’t been busy this past few months with some may say, it’s own rapid #MicrosoftTeams feature response took to #covid_19.

Whilst in preview for many at Microsoft for a while, Microsoft posted to twitter and the uservoice feedback site this afternoon (Monday 13th April) to announce that it will very shortly (we beleive this month) be increasing the number of participants viewed simultaneously on the meeting view from the current 4 to 9.

Teams 3×3 display (Image (C) Microsoft.)

Zoom however, lets users see up to 49 participants on a single screen

Microsoft have also said though publicly, that they are “continuing work to increase this limit even further.”

User voice update

Is this all just to compete with Zoom?

In parts I think… Yes

But… Microsoft have been working on this for a couple of years but was obviously never really seen as a huge priority (despite the number of user requests).

Bear in mind Teams isn’t Zoom, but we often compare aspects of a product with a different solution. Zoom is purely a video conferencing service (whereas Teams is far more than that… Chat, channels, co-authoring, secure collaboration and integrated into Microsoft 365).

Of late though with everyone working from home, due to #covid19, Zooms features have been priased both in both the enterprise (security noise aside) and personal space…

I think this is mainly because Zoom lets users see up to 49 participants on a single screen and whilst this is probably not practice to required for most Enterprises (but great maybe for schools and gym classes) the user community seems to think that the changes don’t go far enough to help with orgs with large team sizes….so the pressure on Microsoft to increase this further is by far from over!

Zoom can show up to 49 live video windows


Given the focus on enterprise and quality however it is likely Microsoft will put security and quality ahead of just features in this “turf war” and they have said they are continuing work to increase the limit even further “soon”.

Does good’old Skype still have a place along side the new craze of Zoom and House Party in the wake of COVID-19

If COVID-19 had happened at the beginning of last decade rather than this one, all we’d be seeing in the digital social video world would be people using Skype instead of seeing everyone from gym instructors, church choirs and even government’s COBRA having calling over Zoom – even with all the recent concerns over security and privacy which have seen a number of business and other governments banning it!

According to Microsoft, Skype (this is consumer skype, not Teams or Skype for Business) is seeing circa 40million daily active users (a huge dip in the numbers they saw even 5 years ago), however, most of the newer generation seem very much in the new Party Chat or Zoom world, leaving the Skype Marketing team having to re-promote itself in light of the sudden huge wave of competition by its new “casual” friendemies on the block.

Zoom certainly seems to be on the lips of most people as the go-to service for hosting everything from business meetings to virtual pub quizzes and even weddings, there has also been huge concerns and negative press about Zoom’s privacy and security handling of user data.

It seems that team over at Skype is finally (let’s face it no one has really talked much about Skype for a while) s looking to regain mindshare by positioning itself as the safer Zoom alternative – and why not? Skype is a mature solid product that has stood the test time.

Skype is adding some new features though

Recently, Skype has been beta testing a new feature borrowed from Skype for Busienss and Microsoft Teams called “Meet Now” that gives it the same hassle-free experience being touted by Zoom users.

Skype Meet Now Screen Shot


Meet Now appears as a new button in the new Skype Insider build (this is the beta release and not the general version mind). Clicking this will open a window where you can see a call link that you can share with others over what ever messaging platform your choose.

The nice thing here is that anyone can join and – even users without a Skype account will be able to join and participate in the group call, but “Meet Now” also creates a regular group chat where you can send messages to other participants.

Right now, Meet Now has only been rolled out to Insiders in Beta releases and have not really advertised or promoted their capability to provide an alternative solution to Zoom which, given the security and privacy concerns could, if promoted well, re-light the Skype fire. 

The biggest hurdle to Skype had always been the need to have a Microsoft account for use which for occasional guest users was a huge pain in the bottom!  Since they have now lowering the barrier to entry by removing this requirement with Meet Now, Skype is already a more secure platform than Zoom and is offering many new features for free.

Ok – so what is still great in Skype?

  • First there’s the new Meet Now feature
  • There’s now the ability to utilise picture-in-picture when navigating away from the core Skype app with a new split-view mode
  • You can record meetings and have those recordings stored for up to 30 days.
  • You can add live translation sub-titles 
  • Its very reliable, great quality video and very secure!

What does it lack to beat the younger competition

There’s still a lot Skype lacks if you were to compare to the competition. In my view this includes:-

  • Awareness and Coolness – Skype needs to be cool again – its reputation is a bit “fossil” like now being used by the older generation and not millennials!
  • More video windows – we know Zoom can do 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, 5×5 etc can Skype, well cant do anywhere near that!
  • Custom Backgrounds – another thing that many of the other competition do – it woudl be nice to see “fun” things coming into Skype – its not a business product after all so be great if Skype made this more fun and social
  • Quizes and Games – these would be nice a nice touch too – these are things apps like HouseParty are doing really well during our COVID-19 lock-downs
  • Same look and feel across all platforms – if i look at Skype and Skype Beta on iOS, Android and Windows, the look and  feel of the app does feel very different.