Avit Group was started up in 2003 as specialist in IP telephony and networks. In the meantime, this expertise has developed, next to enterprise networking, into a focus on collaboration tools, the unified workspace and security solutions. Avit was granted the Cisco Collaboration Award several times, as was reason for us to inform you about what’s in store for the period to come. According to Cisco, Avit has expertise that can be used to assist customers in the transition from on-premise to cloud. We spoke with Ronald Kraanen, CEO of Avit Group, and Jan Roggeveen, Country Lead Collaboration at Cisco, to get deeper into new collaboration technology.
Since 2012, Avit is Gold Partner of Cisco. The strategy of Cisco is to proceed towards a full Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, and as to collaboration this involves the Webex solution. Eventually, Cisco wants to facilitate with Webex everything customers may need in the field of collaboration. Presently, Webex is mainly used for video conferencing and chats, as evidently has proven to be highly relevant in these times. The corona crisis forces companies to collaborate remotely. With hindsight, our interview about collaboration therefore seems even more to the point in the current situation, since collaboration tools like Webex have meanwhile become one of the most important tools for companies to stay afloat. Apart from this ‘good’ timing, Kraanen and Roggeveen, however, also told us about several plans which will still be interesting after the corona crisis.
Cisco committed to unburden users as much as possible
The plans of Cisco for Webex in 2020 can be summarized in four words: maximum ease of use. Roggeveen told us that the focus is on technologies like AI, which allows e.g. voice control and face recognition. As a result, it is possible, for instance, to have new participants in a video call join through speech with Webex, whereat it is immediately recognized who joined the call through face recognition. This also directly displays the correct name and users do not have to find out first whom they are actually talking to. With this type of technologies it must become possible for users to fully focus on their meeting, instead of on preconditions. Through a dialogue with users of the service Cisco wants to further explore what exactly is needed to make such preconditions disruptive as little as possible.
Another example of such ‘unburden technology’ is real-time automatic transcription which is currently available in English and Spanish. However, other languages are being developed. This innovation provides users immediately with a transcription of a meeting, talk or interview, without any additional software being required for this or the need for taking minutes by hand. This kind of tools really saves the users of Webex a lot of work and time.
Avit is the connection between Cisco and the end user
Ronald Kraanen of Avit stresses in our interview the missing links that often exist between the applications of customers and the ones of major suppliers such as Cisco. Building connectors for integrating collaboration tools like Webex in applications of customers that is where the expertise of Avit gets involved. For instance, collaboration tools can be directly integrated in CRM solutions, but also in applications which might be less obvious. What comes to mind are patient environments in medical workplaces, where smooth integrations will involve less waste of time and, as a result, improvement of healthcare.
Remote care, for instance, also becomes easier with integrations of collaboration tools, because medical staff have direct access to their own applications. Supporting this type of specific verticals is something Avit focuses on in particular. This is how the use of Cisco solutions like Webex, can be perfectly customized to the specific industry where a customer is active. And so, a solution adjusts itself to the user, instead of the other way around.
Supplying this added value is one of the reasons why Avit is Gold Partner of Cisco. This trust is also seen in the short-term plans of the company. Kraanen tells us that Avit has developed a complete automation layer which is suited for on-premise, as-a-Service, but also for hybrid environments. This automation must ensure that collaboration will be possible on a hugely large scale, whereat large numbers of users must be able to use the same platform. This is also how a transition from on-premise to cloud is computerized. Kraanen specifically mentions as example a customer where employees from dozens of different cultures must all be able to use a specific video conferencing system. Avit is able to ensure that all these employees will be presented the same interface, and therefore have the same user experience. Thus, from dozens of linked sources one unity is created. Projects like this will eventually be scalable up to 200,000 employees using this.
Look at the future
As far as we are concerned, this kind of large-scale projects are the future. It is not inconceivable that collaboration tools will permanently play a bigger role in the future, bearing in mind the current crisis. On the other hand, it remains to be seen, of course, how large the impact of the corona crisis will be on the economy, for in that case this type of ambitious plans may have to be kicked in the long grass. As for now, nobody can tell what will happen. When disregarding this note, however, it is highly interesting to keep up with any new innovations in the make at Cisco, and how companies like Avit can take them to customers in new and creative ways.