Cisco Webex Gets Generative AI Boost, AT&T Network Integration

In the meantime, AT&T is targeting SMBs with a new self-service platform.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 7, 2023

5 Min Read
Cisco's Jeetu Patel on stage at Cisco Live 2023, Cisco Webex
Cisco's Jeetu Patel speaks at the 2023 Cisco Live conference.Cisco

CISCO LIVE — IT giant Cisco just unveiled plans to enhance its Webex collaboration platform in multiple ways, with AI-based large language models (LLMs) powering more interactions, and tighter network integration with AT&T giving hybrid workers more flexibility.

Cisco Webex will feature a “Catch Me Up” feature, which summarizes conversations that employees missed, whether from chats, calls or meetings. Moreover, Webex will also feature intelligent summaries for both meetings and contact center calls.

These features, which the company announced this week at Cisco Live, will go live by the end of 2023. Channel Futures is on scene in Las Vegas.

“Generative AI will quickly become pervasive as we see businesses and workers embrace the technology to become materially more productive,” said Jeetu Patel (pictured above on stage), executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration. “At Cisco, we’ve been using AI for years. Now we’re unveiling how we’re incorporating generative AI into our existing products, helping customers drive real value to unlock the most secure, unrivaled work experiences possible.

Want to know which companies are offering cutting-edge products and services? Here’s our latest roundup.


Cisco’s Jeetu Patel

The announcement pairs with generative AI-related portfolio updates Cisco unveiled on Tuesday. Cisco is enhancing its Security Cloud platform with two particular AI capabilities. Generative AI will power both a policy assistant and a SOC assistant.

AI, particularly generative AI technologies such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, are getting a big spotlight in these days. According to Cisco’s latest State of Global Innovation Study, generative AI came in as the technology most likely to impact IT professionals’ businesses. It didn’t take long for analysts to bring up the topic in a Tuesday Q&A session with Cisco’s senior leadership team. Asked if Cisco is going to invest more in AI, Patel was clear.

“When you have a platform shift like the one that we’re experiencing with AI, there’s not that much debate on, ‘Oh, do we actually double down on it?’ That just happens automatically. We are doubling down,” he said.

He also said Cisco needs to make sure it’s following a responsible AI framework. That includes engaging with the public sector and providing feedback on regulatory decisions.

Cisco Webex and AT&T

On the connectivity side, Cisco Webex platform now is natively integrated into the AT&T mobile network. The integration lets business customers use Cisco Webex on an AT&T smartphone with a single mobile number.

The offering, AT&T Cloud Voice with Webex Go, will go live later this year. Customers must buy an AT&T Wireless CRU Plan and a Cisco Webex calling license.

“Mobility is key to enabling hybrid work. Businesses want a seamless and reliable communication experience,” AT&T senior vice president of business products Mike Troiano said. “At the heart of our collaboration with Cisco is a shared vision to empower organizations with secure connectivity, unmatched reliability, and deep network expertise. By deeply integrating our technology, businesses can be assured their communications are built on a solid foundation. Together we are unlocking new levels of productivity, agility, and connectivity — enabling teams to thrive in the modern work landscape.”


Cisco’s Mike Troiano

In addition, AT&T launched a self-service platform to help small and medium-size businesses deploy SD-WAN. This fits well with the trend Channel Futures is seeing of carriers targeting the SMB segment through digital and marketplace mediums.

Moreover, the self-service announcement fits in with the trend of simplicity Cisco is pushing at its annual Cisco Live conference.


Cisco’s Jonathan Davidson

“[People] want to think about their business. They want to turn the tap water on, and they want the water to come out. They want the network to be there,” said Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco Networking.

Troiano in a Q&A with analysts and media said he encourages his team to think about the sheer difference between how small and large businesses buy and consume technology.

“I understand how big CIOs buy, but just think about down market. How is Mike’s Pizza Shop going to buy, procure [and] deploy? Now that Mike’s Pizza Shop has six Mike’s Pizza Shops, how do they manage that in a very simple way? They want to run their business. They’re not so focused on the technology itself,” he said.

The companies are targeting the enterprise with AT&T SD-WAN with Cisco. That fully managed solution includes both security and application optimization. Moreover, Cisco announced that it can embed AT&T wireless connectivity into its devices.

Davidson said the announcements cement the idea that networks power the modern – and very much hybrid – workforce.

“The ability to get things done is no longer reliant on where you are, but how you are connected. Hybrid work only works when there is a seamless, consistent and secure experience for workers, regardless of location. Together with AT&T, we are giving businesses what they need to securely connect everything and everyone — wherever they are. Because when everything is connected, then anything is possible,” he said.

Troiano added that AT&T is happy to turn to Cisco to reach end customers.

“It may not be AT&T direct distribution selling to Mike’s Pizza Shop. Cisco has an incredible indirect distribution network that we will build products and solutions for to help enable them to be successful with both of us moving forward,” Trojano said.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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