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Cisco Webex Business Review

 Cisco Webex Business Review

Cisco Webex Business has seen a considerable revamping since the last time we tested it, particularly on ease of use. But it also remains one of the more expensive video conferencing solutions we tested. Pricing aside, however, the combination of enterprise integration and security with a newly simplified front-end is a nice match. Cisco also intends to keep expanding its offering, with spokespersons showing us the Webex Assistant, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered meeting assistant that will take care of administrative tasks, like meeting transcription. However, while we saw that software in action during a demo, we couldn't perform a hands-on evaluation as Cisco says the Webex Assistant will only be available later in 2021 with pricing information to be announced then, too.

Even without the Assistant, however, Webex remains a very full-featured platform with integration and security features aimed squarely at mid-sized to large businesses and enterprises. While it's more expensive than some of its competition, the new interface's simplicity coupled with back-end muscle is enough to allow Webex to retain its Editors' Choice designation, along with competitors, Intermedia AnyMeeting and Zoom Meetings.

Pricing and Getting Started with Cisco Webex
For our testing, we used the Webex Business tier, which starts at $26.95 per host per month; however Cisco has other tiers as well. To start, there is a free tier, likely to help Cisco compete with Zoom's installed base of consumer customers that's grown hugely since the start of the pandemic. Cisco's free plan is decently featured, though it's limited to a single host, 50 minutes of meeting time, and a maximum of 100 meeting participants. That may sound like small numbers until you look at other free plans, like Intermedia's, which limit you to four meeting attendees total. In other words, Intermedia's free plan will let you chat with your parents, Cisco's will let you host a virtual family reunion.

Next is the Starter level, which will run you $13.50 per host per month. This tier can handle between one and 50 hosts, its meetings can last up to 24 hours with up to 150 meeting participants, and also includes 5GB of cloud storage space for recorded meetings. The Business tier, which is the tier we evaluated, is Cisco's most popular small to midsized business (SMB) tier, though with an emphasis on midsized. This tier ups the maximum host count to 100. The meeting duration remains 24 hours, but the number of attendees rises to 200, and customers have up to 10GB of included cloud storage for recorded video sessions.

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