Tech powerhouse Cisco continues to beef up its Webex solution in the face of Zoom's rise to workplace prominence. Having recently closed on its acquisition of audience engagement tool Slido, Cisco has now agreed to acquire Socio Labs, provider of event technology that can host virtual events and offer a management platform for hybrid and in-person meetings as well. Over the past year, Socio has refined a digital-event solution that includes livestreaming, sponsorship, networking, participant engagement tools and analytics.
Cisco will use Socio's platform to expand the capabilities of Webex Events to include large-scale, multisession hybrid events and conferences, moving beyond the webinars for which Webex is known.
"The future of events, like the future of work, will be hybrid," said Jeetu Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Security and Collaboration. "With that comes increased complexity of creating inclusive experiences, and meaningful and measurable interactions for both virtual and in-person attendees. Socio Labs offers Webex powerful technology to provide customers with an unparalleled hybrid-event management solution to engage participants whether they join in person or virtually."
Cisco believes the recent acquisitions positions Webex as an effective end-to-end solution for a hybrid meetings portfolio. Customers will be able to access the benefits of both Slido and Socio through a single Webex portal. The tech giant is positioning the tools as follows:
- Webex provides virtual-meeting innovations such as background noise removal, speech enhancement, gesture recognition, immersive share, real-time translation and customized stage layouts.
- Slido's audience engagement features include polling, trivia, Q&A and gamification, all to increase engagement and interactivity.
- Socio's platform allows planners to manage the lifecycle of an event, including large-scale virtual, in-person and hybrid events, from registration to analytics.
"We are delighted to join the Cisco Webex portfolio to continue our common goal of enabling seamless, personalized hybrid events of all sizes," said Yarkin Sakucoglu, co-founder and CEO of Socio Labs. "Teaming up with Cisco gives us an amazing opportunity to apply our technology and expertise at an outstanding scale."
Socio will continue to operate under its own name, as part of the Cisco Webex Customer Experience team. The deal is expected to close in Q4 of Cisco's 2021 fiscal year, and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.