As usual, WebexOne did not disappoint; providing wider insight into Cisco’s strategy across key areas such as differentiation, AI, and customer experience. There was a huge selection of news insights, but an elephant sized question stole the show: can Webex beat Microsoft and Zoom in the battleground of collaboration and UCaaS?
A true hybrid event, the in-person proportion of WebexOne took place in Anaheim California with more than 1200 attendees representing key Cisco enterprise customers and leading technology partners, including AT&T and T-Mobile. There were then a further 15 to 20 thousand attendees joining remotely, with the event hosted live on Webex Events.
We attended WebexOne this year as the vast majority of Cavell Group’s partner base is formulated from telcos and service providers, so pressing questions from the service provider community were front of mind. For example, challenges around the migration from the BroadSoft platform have called into question Cisco’s position as the premier unified communications platform provider, but WebexOne and the key messages and strategies revealed should go some way to alleviating partner concerns. However, there was one pervasive issue around Webex’s perception with businesses and users that threatened to overshadow any progress Cisco has made with its partners through the development of the Webex platform and associated commercial offerings including Webex Wholesale. Cisco announced that Webex Calling now has more than 13 million users, with more than 5 million of those users delivered by service providers. Cisco now have a range of options available to communications partners which should cater for all desired partner types across service providers and value-added resellers.
There were so many news announcements this year that I have taken a new approach to composing this research note. I have included the relevant links to news publications with wider details on each announcement at the base of this article. But there were some general themes and discussion points that I believe are more relevant to bring to the Cavell audience, which I have summarised and detailed in three sections below:
CISCO’S POTENTIALLY INSURMOUNTABLE CHALLENGE AND IDENTITY CRISIS
So, it’s important to assert that the WebexOne event was genuinely impressive. Some of the innovations that Cisco are bringing across their tech suite – further detailed in the AI section below – are genuinely transformative.