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Cisco seeks Webex enhancements with Slido acquisition

Webex users will soon be able to use polls, Q&As and access engagement metrics to gain insights

The Cisco Webex as seen on a computer display with the webcam light activated

Cisco has acquired audience interaction company Slido in efforts to enhance the Webex video conferencing user experience and stay relevant with the likes of Zoom, Teams and Google Meet enjoying a surge in popularity.

The firm is hoping to integrate Slido’s audience interaction and engagement features, such as polls and Q&As, into the Webex platform to improve the quality of the product and make it more appealing for users. 

The acquisition will pave the way for meeting owners to create engaging content such as infographics, get real-time insights as well as obtain feedback. This is in addition to Slido’s inbuilt functionality to support virtual conferences and massive events.

“Slido technology enables higher levels of user engagement―before, during and after meetings and events,” said Abhay Kulkarni, Cisco’s VP and GM for Webex Meetings. “The Slido technology will be part of the Cisco Webex platform and enhance Cisco’s ability to offer new levels of inclusive audience engagement across both in-person and virtual experiences.

“In the massive shift to “virtual everything,” remote meetings and events have become the lifeblood for connecting people in all aspects of their lives - from friends to family to work colleagues.

“Slido has over seven million participants monthly and provides its customers with an inclusive audience engagement platform that enables real-time feedback and insight before, during and after any meeting or event via dynamic polls, Q&A, quizzes, word clouds, surveys and more.”

Bundling such features into the meetings experience is something that Cisco is hoping can keep Webex relevant at a time where its industry rivals such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom are enjoying rampant success.

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This isn’t to say, however, that Cisco’s enterprise collaboration platform hasn’t enjoyed a surge in popularity itself, recording 590 million meeting participants in September, for example, according to Reuters. Zoom, however, boasted a staggering 300 million daily meeting participants during the height of the pandemic in April. 

The company describes its goal as delivering experiences that are 10x better than in-person interactions, which the integration of Slido’s audience engagement tools will help to contribute to. Cisco will also hope to integrate further insights into the broader Webex platform, with a view to raising productivity while workers are still based remotely.

This isn’t the first recent acquisition that Cisco has made squarely with the view to enhance the Webex experience, having previously acquired BabbleLabs earlier this year. The previous deal saw the firm seek to integrate AI processing technology into meetings in order to suppress background noise and enhance speech clarity. 

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