Cisco adds virtual backgrounds to videoconferencing software
Cisco’s Webex says that it has unveiled virtual backgrounds for its videoconferences. Users now have an option to apply a blur effect to mask their background or they can replace the background with one of Webex’s preset background images.
Webex did so to catch up with the popular features offered by some of its new competitors in the market. This feature helps users to limit distractions and maintain privacy in their current surroundings by using a virtual background to blur or replace the background during a meeting, event, or training session. Blurring the background makes the user’s surroundings appear out of focus so that the othera can’t see the details of what’s going on behind.
Webex is one of the oldest players in the videoconferencing space and it was founded in 1995. It was later acquired by Cisco in 2007 for USD 3.2 billion. It is used as a business application and focuses on companies, rather than personal customers. Webex can be integrated with the apps used by users regularly so that they remain connected.
Before the pandemic, video meetings took place in an office room where the background was merely a wall or a whiteboard. Today video conferencing has entered almost every home globally. For privacy purposes or to maintain a professional look, users can hide the room background or entire surroundings
Zoom, is the most popular videoconferencing app of the time. However, off late Webex has enhanced the features on its freemium version during the current pandemic scenario citing the surge in demand for remote meetings.
Recently, Google and Microsoft have introduced their rival apps with better facilities. The rivals Google Meet and Microsoft Teams allow users to upload their own custom images for background displays. Microsoft has grown its Teams app to 75 million daily active users in April and Google’s Meet recently surpassed 100 million daily meeting participants.
Similar to other videoconferencing competitors, Webex also experienced a surge during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns with many people working from home and schools functioning online. The company in April remarked that it has tripled its average number of meeting minutes to 25 billion.