Almost 95% of South African employees surveyed in the latest Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study want to work either in a hybrid or fully remote work way.

To assist organisations in facilitating such an enabling environment, Cisco has announced the Webex Room Bar and Cisco Desk Camera 1080p solutions as well as introduced new enhancements to Webex software.

“Employees are subject to spending long hours in front of their computers and with that, comes various downsides. Mental health has become a critical issue in South Africa. If we can create technologies that make the experience of hybrid work less stressful, we need to invest fully in this,” says Conrad Steyn, chief technology officer of Cisco South Africa.

At home, at the office, or on-the-go, each workspace brings with it a unique set of challenges. In the study, background noise, poor sound, and video quality are some of the most significant video meeting frustrations leading to fatigue. Human-centred design in hardware and software can help overcome these challenges.

The new Webex Room Bar is a powerful room device that turns huddle spaces and small-to-medium sized meeting rooms into a hub for engaging collaboration. The device uses AI to make sure everyone in the room is perfectly framed, giving all participants equal presence on the call, regardless of where they may be. The spatial audio makes it feel like dispersed team members are in the room with you.

Its AI-enabled background noise removal keeps distractions to a minimum, and ensures participants can hear clearly, without strain. And third-party video interoperability provides unparalleled flexibility to join any meeting, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.

For its part, the new Cisco Desk Camera 1080p features omni-directional microphones and face-detection to deliver best in class auto-exposure, auto-focus, and white balance. That way, whatever is going on behind you, the team can hear and see you clearly. It adds superior video quality on your home monitor or laptop and can also be used at the office for hotdesking experiences.

Cisco has also introduced real-time translation for Webex devices. Translation interprets your meeting into more than 100 languages as on-screen text. And for important meetings and events, Cisco is providing Simultaneous Interpretation. This feature sees meetings translated by a live interpreter for companies to overcome any language barriers.

Webex devices will now support Miracast wireless content sharing from Windows devices. And not only will users be able to customise the UI of their devices, Webex Desk and Board series devices will also support Kiosk Mode. This lets enterprises replace the native UI with their own customised Web app. For instance, from the app users can place calls to a receptionist, a help desk, or to a subject matter expert.

“The Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study has highlighted how more than 86 percent of South African respondents believe that hybrid and remote work have improved all aspects of their wellbeing. Technology plays a critical role in how teams communicate in this environment. And when it comes to collaboration, the Cisco and Webex solutions work in the exact ways you do, wherever and however you work,” says Steyn.