What is Cisco Webex Teams?

Written by Stu

13th November 2018

What is Cisco Webex Teams?

Formerly known as Cisco Spark, Webex Teams is an app for continuous teamwork with video meetings, group messaging, file sharing and whiteboarding. Webex Teams makes it easy to work anytime, on any device, with anyone, in one place.

It’s not a new concept, but its simplicity makes it easy to get to grips with. You’ll be up and running in no time.

You can sign up for the free version to get used to how it works. You can even send a request to colleagues to join Webex Teams and your spaces. 

The benefits of Webex Teams?

So, I have been using Webex Teams since its early spark days. I’ll be honest, at first, I was a bit dubious about it. I was used to Slack, Skype, and Jabber. I couldn’t see how much of a difference this would be but we wanted to explore its capability, so I gave it a try.

Simple things like being able to move your call from your mobile to your laptop, and even to your video device if you have one is so easy and set it apart from its competitors.

It might sound far-fetched but it’s really not. I was walking my dogs, and I literally live in the middle of a field! I had a call from a colleague come through on Webex Teams and I was able to see the content she was showing me whilst I was walking home. As soon as I got in, I went to my office and moved the call to my video device, within 2 seconds the call moved from my phone to my DX80  and we carried on the conversation. All it took was two taps on my phone and we were practically face-to-face. That’s the way to get sh!t done!

Webex Teams vs Webex Meetings: What to use when?

It’s a good question and you’ll be surprised how often that question is asked. Should I have both? When do I use Webex Teams and when should I use Webex Meetings?

Simple answer… Use Webex Teams for quick, ad-hoc team or project meetings and discussions. Bring your project team into a space where you can post documents for quick reviews, start quick video meetings in the space with people you need to talk to, and those you don’t, they don’t have to join.

We use Webex Meetings for scheduled discussions or meetings. Things that may take time to look over or talk about.

Check out Jo’s blog: Webex Meetings vs Webex Teams

What can Webex Teams actually do?

Webex Teams uses ‘spaces’ and ‘teams’ to arrange all of the digital chaos that can happen in these types of apps. I’ll go into a little more detail shortly, but in essence, it’s a nice simple way of keeping all of the work and collaboration together. It uses chat and video very well. The video experience, in my opinion, is the best on the market today. Living in the middle of a field with one of the worst upload speeds we have in the team, people can still see me pretty clearly. Once you’re in HD speeds, it’s practically pixel-perfect!

You can share applications and screens whilst in the video meetings, just as you can with Webex Meetings, Skype or Zoom.

Sharing files is simple too, you upload them as you would expect to with chat, and then the files are kept in that space, so anyone can view them. If you view them within Webex Teams, you get a cool preview of the document in all its glory. If you want to download it, just download it and edit it as you see fit.

Teams, spaces, team spaces…huh?

What the heck are these about? Well, it’s a good question and it can get confusing at first.

So, Teams can have multiple spaces within them. Let’s say you have a department, but within it there are sub-departments. Take Human Resources, for example, they have Recruitment, Learning and Development, and Payroll teams. Everybody in HR is added to the “General” space automatically, they can then choose to join the spaces that are important to them.

A Space doesn’t have to be part of a Team though. You can create individual spaces without having to create a Team. So, let’s say you want to create a space just to chat with people, like a digital water cooler. Just create the space, invite people to it and call it “The Water Cooler”.  I’m in a space that’s a place to vent frustrations (we all have those moments), another where we share idea’s for marketing and a Space where we talk about technology and different application uses. These are just some examples of the different spaces I’m apart of, spaces can be used for anything and everything.

Put simply, to get started just create and use spaces. Teams and team spaces can get complex to manage. If you’re going to be working on projects or short to mid-term challenges, use a space. Bring the folks in who need to be in and then get going. You can also add people who aren’t part of your organisation. So, if you need an expert to help with things it can be done with just their email address.

People can leave if they want to leave, but you’ll get people contributing pretty quickly.

Scheduling Meetings in Webex Teams

You can schedule meetings from within the space too, so if you did want to have a weekly catch-up, you can do so by going to the waffle button and clicking the Meetings icon and then “Schedule a meeting”. Your invite will pop up, chose the date and time, then send. That’s it.

Device sync

Another feature I love, and one I have been hoping for from Webex Teams competitor apps for a long time, is how whatever is typed or shared is seen across all devices. It makes it easy to pick up your conversation on any device. Move from your laptop to your mobile and continue the conversation. Webex Teams has all the content on all of your devices, all of the time. Simple!

Whiteboard like a wizard

If you have used Webex Meetings before or even other video conferencing apps, you’ll be aware of what a whiteboard is. If you haven’t then simply think back to when you were sitting in a meeting room with some colleagues and one of you had to draw or scribe on a flip chart. Whiteboarding is basically, the digital version of that.

Whiteboarding in Webex Teams is done very simply, no whistles or bells but it just works. Simply start a whiteboard from any device and you and the team can draw away. You can draw using your mouse, use your finger if you have a tablet, phone or touch-screen laptop, and if you have a Webex Board, it’s even better. Every whiteboard is saved within the space so if you need to come back to it at another point, it’s there. You can even add to it later too.

Webex Teams in a nutshell

It’s simple and effortless to get work done. .It’s easy to have a conversation with someone who isn’t in the same office, region or country as you.

Over the next few months and into the future, The Team at Webex continue to make updates and add new features  which I can’t wait to try out! It really does enable you, your team, colleagues, friends to produce excellent results. I even learned to play the guitar solely through Webex Teams, a first for my tutor. It just enables you!

 

Leaving change to chance never works

Employees won’t use your new digital workplace tools if you don’t tell them why and teach them how. Sei Mani gets everyone using new tools in the best ways by raising awareness, revealing the value and showing how to work smarter in this digital age.

They’ll be happier and more effective. You’ll transform the business.

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