Apple and Cisco have found a way to integrate many of the best collaboration features introduced in iPadOS/iOS/macOS to Webex. The new integrations even extend to Deskview, a new feature that lets a user share a video of their desk while in a Webex meeting.
Webex gets the best of Apple collaboration
Cisco announced its news today at Webex One. The big takeaway: Apple and Cisco continue to extend the partnership they began in 2015 around the time Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared at Cisco Live to introduce the tie-up.
The idea behind these integrations is to give users the flexibility to get work done in their own way on their own terms. You could think of it as being the best of FaceTime with the best of collaboration for enterprise tech, though it remains to be seen if the arrangement is exclusive or not.
Capabilities of Webex and Apple’s latest integrations include:
Mobile Camera Share
- Allows users to share content from the rear-facing or front-facing camera via the Webex Meetings mobile app to annotate over images.
- Enables users to write, draw, and add shapes, in real-time and simultaneously with any number of meeting participants.
- Offers more effective collaboration by leveraging the high-quality video capture capabilities of Apple devices.
- Lets Mac users opt to use their iPhone as a webcam.
- Unlocks powerful video effects like Center Stage, Portrait mode, and Studio Light directly on the iPhone.
- Supports Desk View in macOS Ventura to show user’s faces and desks simultaneously.
What Cisco said
Explaining the plans on the Webex blog, Jeetu Patel, the company’s executive vice president and general manager for security and Ccollaboration business units, wrote: “People today want the flexibility to get work done their own way and on their own terms. That includes using their favorite devices and working anywhere — in the office, at home and everywhere in between…. I’m excited to share a couple of new integrations between Webex by Cisco with Apple technologies that make all this possible.”
Discussing Mobile Camera Share, Patel explained:
“This industry-first innovation enables frontline workers to collaborate more effectively by leveraging the high-quality video capture capabilities of Apple devices. Architects, engineers, or construction workers can share job site progress with clients in real-time, instead of sending static images or screenshots.”
The idea, of course, extends to any situation in which an engineer, technician, or front-line contact needs to share what they see in their iPhone camera with a colleague. It should enable first-response teams in any situation to get the help they need within the Webex ecosystem.
The impact is that the best of Apple’s limited FaceTime ecosystem is being made available to partners for use within other collaborative video applications. Though at this point, I am not clear if the APIs that inevitably make these integrations possible will be offered to developers on a wider basis.
The Apple-Cisco relationship
This is by no means the only interesting news to emerge from Cisco with Apple across the last 12 months. In that time, we’ve been introduced to Webex for iPad, AirPlay for Webex Devices and Webex Meetings for CarPlay.
Patel promises the two companies will continue to innovate together. “Hybrid work is here to stay,” he wrote. “But it’s far from perfect and will continue to evolve. Today marks another step forward in providing workers with the flexibility they deserve.”
To my mind, these steps are of great significance. Webex has an established position in business communications, while Apple has a growing status in enterprise IT. In combination, both companies can now claim to deliver business-trusted communication tools via the enterprise-capable (but consumer-simple) Apple ecosystem.
To paraphrase something Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said, it’s like enterprise communications, but by better designers.
Back in 2017, when Cook joined Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins at Cisco Live, he explained Apple’s thinking concerning enterprise tech: “People were spending tons of money, but when you looked at the user experience it wasn’t very good,” he said. “We thought we could bring Apple ease-of-use to the enterprise and change the way people work.”
That work seems to be moving forward. Cisco Webex One 2022 begins today in the Americas and ends Thursday in EMEA/APJC. Meanwhile, Apple seems to be forging ahead in the enterprise market.
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