Cisco to acquire Socio Labs
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Cisco has recently announced their intention to acquire Socio Labs, a US-based event technology platform – the latest in a series of acquisitions. Cisco’s Webex Events provides meeting, webinar and webcast capabilities, including polling, Q&A, chat and real-time translation. This acquisition will allow Webex Events to cater to large-scale, hybrid events and conferences. Solution capabilities will include live streaming, sponsorship, networking, and advanced analytics – including for pre-event and post-event activities.  

Collaboration Platforms are Here to Stay

2020 was the year video conferencing and collaboration finally became mainstream. With the exponential rise of remote and hybrid working, the investments in collaboration technologies has increased – and Ecosystm research shows that the trend is continuing well into 2021.


Experience Economy

The other aspect that has been impacted by the pandemic is the Events business. With social distancing regulations, Events and Marketing teams are being challenged in their outreach and go-to-market initiatives. Even when countries allow in-person events, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get people to attend events. With most organisations allowing remote working many attendees are away from the CBD/ commercial areas and are reluctant to commute to attend events. This has seen the rise of a hybrid event model that caters to both in-person and virtual attendees.

While some countries are beginning to bring back in-person events, they will remain largely virtual. Event organisers will have to cater for those who are happy to attend in-person and those who want to access the event virtually. Providing a better experience for hybrid events, will require richer features using video and collaboration platforms to allow live streaming, chat, feedback, analytics – to gauge audience engagement – polling and other interesting ways to retain audience attention. Additionally, it will be important for these platforms to facilitate sponsorship, registrations and even ticketing capabilities directly from within the platform. These new dimensions to step up engagements for both virtual and in-person events have become necessary for the world we are living in. 

Cisco Strengthening Collaboration Capabilities

Cisco is enhancing the virtual/hybrid meeting and events experience they provide and this has been evident from their recent acquisitions. They clearly see the need to enhance audience participation and engagement from pure static video and collaboration environments. Socio Labs’ business accelerated during the pandemic and they built a platform that offers a deeper engagement with the audience. Their customers include Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo and Hyundai.

Last year Cisco acquired BabbleLabs, a noise removal technology provider and the product has been integrated into their Webex platform, to improve the audio experience. Earlier this month Cisco also completed their acquisition of Slido. This means that Webex users can now leverage Slido’s capability of gathering real-time audience feedback, rather than just asking questions via text or chat. The solution can also enhance the learning experience during team training sessions and offers built-in analytics to gauge audience participation and where the gaps are. These acquisitions are an indication that Cisco is serious about their market presence in the video and collaboration space – and is keen on making a mark in the Events market.  


Ecosystm Snapshot
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One of the foremost multi-disciplinary analysts in the APAC region, Audrey boasts an eclectic set of expertise, in segments as diverse as enterprise collaboration, unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), video, contact center, CX, outsourcing as well as artificial intelligence, enterprise mobility and digital transformation. Audrey has a proven track record both as an analyst and a business leader, having spent close to two decades in various analyst roles at Frost & Sullivan, providing counsel to C-level executives on go-to-market strategies – most recently as Head of Research and Senior Fellow at the firm’s ICT practice in Australia and New Zealand. As one of the pioneers of the firm in the region, Audrey played a pivotal role in its regional expansion, including building and mentoring a team of analysts across various markets in Asia-Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Beyond her involvement as an analyst, Audrey is also a prominent keynote speaker, having delivered over 150 speaking engagements addressing various technology segments. She is regularly quoted in the media for her insights into ongoing technology trends and news. Audrey is an honours graduate from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administration (ICSA) in the UK. She also holds Diplomas in Management Accounting and Financial Accounting from the London Chamber of Commerce Institute (LCCI). In her free time, she loves to read literary fiction and is a jazz enthusiast.


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