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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins’ 10 Boldest Statements From Best Of Breed 2021

‘Software … allows us to move faster, innovate more quickly and allows the customer to actually get to the outcome faster. And if we get it right, it’s better for both our business models because [it provides] more predictability. But we have to get it right because it’s complicated to figure all that out,’ Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins tells an audience of solution providers.

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On Webex

It’s funny, a few years ago, people would ask: ‘Why are you in that business?” People don’t ask anymore.

We’re trying to do a couple things. The whole notion of hybrid work is different than meetings. The team has driven innovation and the platform that we put out last year; I think we have the best [platform], period. If you understand all the features that the team has put in--the work they’re doing with the inclusive [features], the real-time translation, gestures, background noise suppression--all those kinds of things are fantastic. But if you saw what Zoom was trying to do with Five9, that tells you what they think needs to happen, and we’re already there. Our teams are leading with cloud calling and cloud contact center. If it was just meetings, then I think customers would say, ‘Whatever.’ But I think it’s important enough to how companies are going to work that a lot of them are now stepping back and saying, ‘OK, we got through the pandemic with whatever we had’ but now a lot of customers are trying to think strategically about what is the platform that is going to support hybrid work going forward most effectively.

Of the 61 million meetings that we do every month, the data would suggest that just under half of the participants in those meetings actually say something. Think about that. Fifty-two percent of people attending meetings aren’t contributing. So, creating features that pull people into meetings--we all know the old meetings where you are the one person on a remote audio bridge and everybody else is in a conference room. You are not in that meeting. It just doesn’t work. Using some of this intelligence to give the host of the meeting a little tickle that says, ‘Hey, maybe you should ask Susan what she thinks about this topic. She hasn’t said anything the whole time.’ One of the funny things is in the old world of meetings, the remote person would be sort of left out. Now in the new world, if you have 10 people at home and four people in a conference room, the four people in the conference room take up the same size little square that each of the 10 individual people get, so it’s actually a worse experience for them. So, [our team] is putting in facial recognition technology that zeroes in on each of the individual people. It sounds like simple things, but when you think about how this needs to work to be effective and keep people feeling part of the discussion, those kinds of technologies are going to be important.

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