Cisco’s Webex Almost 60 million users are getting a new noise filtering feature

Cisco’s video conferencing app, Webex, had 590 million participants in September and is well on its way to reaching over 600 million this month. This is almost double what it was in March when countries began shutting down due to the pandemic. There are also plans to introduce a feature to filter out background noises like a dog barking or the sound of a car driving by from an ongoing meeting after the BabbleLabs acquisition in August.

“We’ll be making it available to all Webex users at no additional cost beginning October 30,” said Patel, adding that Cisco remains open to further acquisitions that will add new functionality to Webex.

After offices closed due to COVID-19, employees turned on video conferencing platforms to work from home, which led to the rapid growth of platforms such as Webex, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

While the expansion in Webex user numbers began in March, it hasn’t decreased, and attendees are at a peak in October amid a resurgent pandemic, Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s general manager for security and applications business, told Reuters.

Webex had registered 324 million meeting participants in March. Zoom announced 300 million daily subscribers in April, and Teams announced 200 million in April. The numbers may not be comparable because companies may use different methods of counting participants and they may not disclose these methods.

Zoom and Microsoft declined to provide updated user numbers.

Webex and Teams originally focused on business customers, while Zoom entered the market for everything from virtual classrooms to church services.

Although attendees at the meeting more than tripled from last year, a very large percentage of usage is still coming from businesses, Cisco said.

But Cisco is working to change that. Webex has a new product for schools that lets you set up a large classroom, split the class into small groups, and bring them back together.

“We are very aggressively focused on education,” said Patel.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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