Cisco wants to turn your Mercedes into a moving meeting room

Cisco Webex in the Mercedes E-Class
(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

Cisco reckons it has found the next hybrid working trend, and it’s partnering with Mercedes-Benz to start delivering it, but spoiler alert: it’s not the first to have thought this up.

The two companies have joined forces at MWC 2023 to bringing its video conferencing platform Webex to mid-size Mercedes E-Class sedan vehicles.

In a press release, Cisco notes explains how hybrid workers “expect an exceptional experience regardless of how and where they work - and the car is no exception.”

Cisco Webex in Mercedes E-Class

The company added that it wants its business users to be able to “take a meeting between visiting a client and picking up the kids from after school care”, opening up a new type of time optimization that flexible workers could only have dreamt of up until recently. 

Workers whose companies use Webex will be able to take part in “frictionless” meetings and calls on the go, benefitting from the platform’s noise cancellation technology which will be tapped into to reduce unwanted road noise and passenger noise.

Two levels will be unlocked depending on the driver’s state of alertness. When the car is parked, they will have access to video meetings, automatic AI-powered transcription, content sharing, and reactions, just as if they were sat in the boardroom or at their desk. Even when they’re on the move, workers will still be able to participate in voice calls.

This feature forms part of a wider Mercedes E-Class update that was previewed earlier in February, including the adoption of 5G connectivity and an API that allows developers to create apps for the car's media system (MBUX). Mercedes says European customers will get delivery of their new E-Class models by the summer, with US customers due to receive their models by autumn.

Other applications currently announced for the infotainment system’s built-in app store include TikTok, Angry Birds, Zoom, and the Vivaldi browser.

Because car companies typically introduce newer features on their high-end cars, such as the introduction of this third-generation MBUX in the E-Class, it’s possible that at some point in the future, cars like the C-Class may also get Webex integration. The C-Class remains a popular car for company car drivers and is substantially cheaper than the E-Class.

Beyond Mercedes, Zoom and Tesla announced a collaboration before Christmas that would see its electric vehicles benefitting from video conferencing capabilities.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!