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Cisco’s Jeetu Patel On The Dreaded ‘Second-Class’ Meeting Citizens, Playing Nice With The Competition, And Webex’s Future

Cisco’s collaboration and security leader talks about the 400 new Webex developments in the last six months, remote working challenges, “built-in, not bolted-on” security, and offered a sneak peak into Webex’s roadmap.

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What are the top concerns enterprises have about back-to-work strategies?

We believe the future will definitely be hybrid. Sometimes people will work from home, sometimes from the office. When you’re working from home, we want to make those experiences 10x better than in-person interactions. In the office, one of the big areas we found in our research was that people were not feeling safe to return. So, how do you make sure you’re maintaining social distancing guidelines and people are maintaining a certain level of hygiene and aren’t getting lax [and] potentially spreading COVID around more. So, one of the areas we are focused on is how to make sure you’re obviously working well when you’re remote, but what do you do when you are back in the office so that you have a safe return to the workplace?

The one thing that is going to be different going forward is 100 percent of people won’t be in the office at the same time -- that we think has fundamentally shifted. But the people that have been at home, historically, used to be second-class citizens in meetings. What we need to do is when there’s a group of people together and some people are not in the room, [we have to] make sure they have a level playing field so everyone can have an equal voice in the meeting. We’re thinking about; don’t drown out the introverts and make sure people can debate ideas and the people in the room don’t suck up all the energy in the room. Those are important social constructs that will make for a more inclusive world.

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