In order to provide better visibility on conference connections, Cisco integrates its ThousandEyes agents with the Webex collaboration platform.
The growing impact of hybrid work is forcing companies to reassess their network infrastructure, including gaining insight from remote workers and making sure collaboration resources are functioning properly. “In this hybrid working environment, Cisco products will increasingly look to lock down networks and support collaboration and application monitoring environments,” said Todd Nightingale, executive vice president and general manager of charge of enterprise networks and the cloud at Cisco, as a preamble to his keynote address at the Cisco Webex One 2021 conference, held online this week. “It is becoming more important every day for remote and hybrid users in critical functions to have a network and collaboration tools – the only recourse now for many companies – that operate optimally,” said the leader.
ThousandEyes agents for Cisco’s Webex Collaboration Platform are part of Cisco’s initiatives to help organizations adapt to the ever-expanding hybrid environment. Announced this week, the ThousandEyes Webex Agents, now integrated with Webex platforms, provide two-way visibility of the Webex environment and allow the IT team to have visibility into user location and Webex services. “With this extended visibility, the IT team can see every node in the network on the front and back paths that can impact user connections to Webex services, giving them the visibility they need to optimize performance and ensure exceptional user experiences, ”wrote the OEM in a blog featuring these agents.
ThousandEyes spreads in the Cisco portfolio
To better analyze the performance of local and wide area networks, as well as the performance of collaboration and cloud applications, Cisco has implemented the ThousandEyes solution, acquired in 2020, across its entire product portfolio, “In addition, the information provided by ThousandEyes agents can be combined with those of Cisco’s Meraki Insight management solution, allowing customers to monitor the performance of web applications and WAN links on their network and identify potential network or application issues ” Mr. Nightingale said. Meraki Insight uses AI to automate root cause analysis and define specific remediation steps and help IT manage the Quality of the Webex experience. “Building on ThousandEyes’ global software and agent system, Meraki Insight provides cloud, enterprise and endpoint service insights to help network, application and cloud teams to work together to isolate and resolve issues quickly, ”Cisco said. “With this package, businesses have a complete, end-to-end network and application monitoring solution and allow customers to benefit from the best possible communication experience, wherever they are,” he added. M. Nightingale.
Application performance can also be processed through Cisco’s AppDynamics platform. “Earlier this year, Cisco integrated ThousandEyes technology into its AppDynamics dashboard to correlate application and business performance data with network and Internet performance metrics and quickly determine whether external dependencies or Internet vulnerabilities caused a problem, ”said the OEM. “In a hybrid work environment, the cloud becomes the new data center, the Internet becomes the network and SaaS becomes the new application stack,” Cisco said. “The new reality of hybrid work is to replace real-time, face-to-face on-site interactions with virtual team connectivity, knowing that the one-size-fits-all approach to work is not optimal in the post era. -pandemic ”. Aside from announcing these new agents for Webex, Cisco also announced other improvements in the area of collaboration, including the addition of a voice equalizer so that all participants in a conference telephone can be heard regardless of their distance from the conference device.
Extend the capabilities of Webex to Zoom and Teams
Cisco has also convinced more than 60 partners to integrate their applications into Webex so that users can access them. This is notably the case with Smartsheet, Hacker Rank, Thrive Reset, Miro, Mural, and many others, now available directly in Webex. The intelligence of the cameras on Webex devices will allow them to better visualize the facial expressions and body language of the participants in the room. In early 2022, further improvements should make it easier to visualize people in meeting rooms, for example, by showing conference participants in individual windows. Another feature called Webex Whiteboarding, allows users to create, find, edit, and share whiteboards with any meeting attendee – including people outside the company – using any device type, whether mobile, tablet, laptop, or Webex touch devices. Also on Webex, Cisco added several all-in-one desktop devices – Desk and Desk Pro – for hybrid workers, including a screen, camera, speakers, and whiteboard stylus.
On the network side, several offers are aimed at hybrid workers, including the Meraki Z3C Teleworker Gateway, which combines a firewall, a VPN gateway and a router. With this gateway, administrators can deploy network services, including VoIP and remote endpoints, with automatic provisioning and zero intervention. It also supports a built-in LTE modem for cellular failover. Other technologies for remote workers include home SD-WAN routers with a wireless connection for backup, and Cisco Umbrella security support that allows users to access applications remotely. and in complete safety.
Update of the Hybrid Work index
Finally, Cisco recently launched a hybrid work index called the Hybrid Work Index, which the company will update quarterly to assess the evolution of work habits and technologies in a context still conditioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. . As the firm explained, the index is compiled using anonymous customer data from a number of products, including the Meraki network, ThousandEyes Internet visibility, Webex collaboration, and security platforms Talos, Duo and Umbrella. The index also incorporates data from third-party surveys of more than 39,000 people in 34 countries.
Here are some of the findings from the October Hybrid Work Index:
– Businesses See Collaboration Applications as Critical to Successful Hybrid Work: Collaboration applications are now the most heavily monitored globally. They have moved beyond secure access control and productivity monitoring solutions, which were more heavily monitored at the start of the pandemic and during the transition to working from home.
– Home networks are now one of the most critical parts of the corporate network. The number of devices used in telecommuting has grown twice as fast as the number of office routers, showing that business connectivity is expanding significantly into the home environment.
– The number of devices connecting to corporate WiFi networks has increased by 61% compared to the situation six months ago. This growth is particularly important in the higher education, professional services and hospitality sectors.
– Before the pandemic, people used mobile devices 9% of the time to connect to their meetings. In the hybrid world of work, that number has tripled and now stands at 27%.
– Remote workers use multiple remote and mobile devices to work, extending the threat perimeter. Hybrid workers use multiple devices and connect directly to the internet to access cloud applications. Work that was previously performed mostly on managed terminals is now performed on unmanaged terminals.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, collaboration tools have gained in importance because of their ability to ensure a good level of productivity between teams forced to work remotely overnight,” said Christopher Trueman, senior analyst of research at Gartner, in a statement. “As a large number of companies move towards a long-term hybrid workforce model, cloud-based personal and team productivity technologies, along with collaboration tools, are fueling a series new work poles able to meet the requirements of remote and hybrid staff ”.