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What is the Cisco AI Assistant for Webex?


The new Webex logo
Source: Cisco Blog

Brief History of Webex by Cisco

Webex by Cisco (herein referred to as Webex) is well known as a unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) and UC as a Service (UCaaS) vendor. In October 2023, Cisco made several announcements, including the Webex AI Assistant, Real-Time Media Models (RMMs), and the Webex AI Codec which the company will be making “pervasive” across its portfolio.

Since Webex is owned by Cisco, the AI Assistant is referred to as the Cisco AI Assistant for Webex or AI Assistant for Webex. This article will favor the use of “AI Assistant for Webex” and will provide an overview of the features it provides, how it works, how users can access it and how much it costs. This article also focuses on the AI Assistant’s capabilities as they relate to UCaaS, not its contact center as a service (CCaaS) features.


Introducing AI Assistant for Webex

The Webex Suite provides a host of UC&C capabilities, including calling, meetings, messaging, webinars, events, video messaging and contact center. AI Assistant for Webex is accessible within each of those different functions, and others.


Understanding Webex AI Features

Currently, AI Assistant for Webex offers the following capabilities:

  • Meeting summaries, including highlights, and action items.
  • Messaging summaries, for all messages across spaces. It also includes unread message recaps. In Webex, when a user sends a message to a group for the first time they create a “space” for the group to talk and chat. This is comparable to channels in Slack or Microsoft Teams.
  • Video messaging summaries, organized by the AI Assistant into chapters with highlights. Vidcast is an asynchronous video messaging product. It allows users to record and distribute video content. As of February 2024, it is available within the Webex app.
  • Real-time translation for live events from English into 30+ languages.


AI Assistant for Webex: Features Coming Soon

There are several features that are “coming soon”:

  • Ask AI Assistant: This provides a conversational interface so that the user can prompt the AI to generate some information based on Webex messages, meetings, transcripts, and calendar.
  • Call summaries, this feature will record calls natively (if Webex Calling is enabled) and then summarize the call once it ends.
  • Message tone and translation: Uses AI to translate messages or help change the tone of a message.
  • Be-right-back summaries: If users step away from an active video meeting, the AI Assistant will detect their absence and then present the user with a summary of what happened while the user was away.

Other AI capabilities within the Webex Suite include the Real-Time Media Model (RMM) and the Webex AI Codec. As discussed here, RMMs are capable of enhancing audio and video quality (in conjunction with the Webex AI Codec) and can recognize people, objects, and actions such as movements and gestures. The AI Codec is a new, homegrown, audio codec that uses machine learning to compress audio so the application can maintain very high audio fidelity in very low bandwidth conditions.


Contact Center Implementations of Cisco Webex AI Assistant

The Cisco AI Assistant for Webex capabilities are also within Webex Contact Center and Webex Suite for paying customers. Webex also has two other contact center tiers called Customer Experience (CX) Basic and CX Essentials.


How Much Does the Cisco AI Assistant for Webex Cost?

The AI Assistant for Webex is included with paid service plans (Starter, Business or Enterprise).


Implementing AI Assistant for Webex

A company’s IT department uses Control Hub to provision, administer, and manage Webex services and Webex Hybrid Services. It provides user onboarding and management, workspace/device administration, security and compliance controls, troubleshooting tools, license usage and adoption analytics, as well as reports that an IT administrator can run across all the Webex services – Meeting, Messaging, Calling, Contact Center, and Devices.

Control Hub has a ‘Pro Pack’ that is a premium offer for customers that need more advanced capabilities; it can be purchased as an add-on but is included with most Enterprise offers. There is another premium offer, ‘Extended Security Pack’, that provides additional security features.


Cisco AI Assistant for Webex Versus Microsoft 365 Copilot

At a high level, AI Assistant for Webex delivers many similar capabilities as Microsoft’s Copilot. One of the major differences is that AI Assistant for Webex lacks the integrations to the content creation applications within the Microsoft 365 Office suite, as well as the operating system level integration that Microsoft has created for Copilot in Windows 11.

That said, the Webex Suite integrates with hundreds of often-used enterprise applications and platforms. Some of these integrations include Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams, Outlook Alerts for Microsoft 365, and a Webex Add-in for Microsoft Office 365.

Another key difference is that the licensing model for AI Assistant for Webex is more simplified as compared to Microsoft Copilot. The AI Assistant for Webex is included in the paid plans while Microsoft charges an additional per user per month license for Copilot.

Note that both the Webex RMM and AI Audio Codec are unique to the Webex by Cisco platform, so these are points of differentiation from Microsoft Copilot.


Want to know more?

Check out these No Jitter articles on some of the various AI assistants currently available in the market.


Microsoft 365 Copilot

  • What is Microsoft 365 Copilot: Microsoft 365 Copilot is available now. Learn more about Microsoft 365 Copilot, what it is, how it works, and how to use it, as well as its features, price, and more.
  • Boosting Productivity: How Microsoft 365 Copilot AI-powered assistant boosts productivity.
  • Piloting Microsoft Copilot: To help your organization soar to new heights, it is important to understand that while your Copilot may be fully capable of flying, as the pilot you must make the critical decisions.


Zoom AI Companion

  • All About Zoom AI Companion: In a video interview with Zoom’s head of AI applications, Mahesh Ram, discusses how the Zoom AI Companion applies to the contact center.
  • Zoom’s leadership discusses CX and EX.
  • Zoom’s approach to AI.
  • Zoom hopes to continue its growth by expanding into more product categories and capitalizing on more cloud migrations to come. This article includes a link to a short video discussionregarding Zoom between Dave Michels and Zeus Kerravala.
  • Microsoft 365 Copilotis available now. Learn more about Microsoft 365 Copilot, what it is, how it works, and how to use it, as well as its features, price, and more.