Cisco Goes Next Level with WebEx Hologram Collaboration Tool

by Boaz Feldman

It seems like every big company out there is putting forth a way to make real-time collaboration and remote meeting places more convenient. Now Cisco is getting in on the game. The global technology solutions firm based in San Jose, California, Cisco unveiled WebEx Hologram at its WebexOne virtual event. WebEx Hologram is a real-time meeting solution that combines augmented reality (AR) headsets with the meeting functionality of WebEx and a new wrinkle: 3D immersive holograms. The holographic capability is a big leap forward for any meeting software, and will allow workers to interact in ways that were previously only possible if everyone was in the same room at the same time.

“Our mission at Cisco is to empower the 3 billion digital workers on the planet to participate equally from anywhere in the world,” said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Security and Collaboration. “Webex Hologram represents a large step toward our mission of delivering a work experience so seamless that there is no gap between virtual and in-person collaboration.”Like many companies, Cisco switched its collaboration into overdrive during 2020’s global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdowns of all non-essential industries that drove lots of companies out of business and forced others to work remotely and communicate by whatever means necessary. Remote and flexible work arrangements have remained in place for many companies, making the ability to collaborate in real-time environments without physically being in the same place more of a necessity for the tasks ahead. The fallout of the pandemic has also upped the importance of virtual meetings in other fields, particularly medicine, where tele-visits with doctors and qualified nurses are becoming far more acceptable than in the past.

“Webex Hologram is a powerful tool for our design engineers, drivers and crews as we continue to reimagine hybrid sports and support our team on tracks around the world,” said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing. “Rather than flying a technician to the racing team or explaining procedures through flat images, with the Hologram technology we can immediately show an engine component from every angle, convey sizing, and instruct on assembly and usage as if they were in person – all while saving countless hours in travel time.”

Capabilities of Cisco WebExHologram include delivering photorealistic, real-time holograms of actual people that are not avatars, but both engaging and realistic. Presenters can share physical and digital content that allows users to co-create. For instance, an automobile manufacturer could interact with a physical prototype of the vehicle that’s shared in an AR experience. If you have multiple users in the same environment, it can produce a multi-dimensional experience for a presentation where there is one supporter with many audience members, all in different locations. Perhaps most impressive, WebEx Hologram is compatible with multiple AR headsets, including Magic Leap and Microsoft Hololens.