Work from anywhere has now become a reality with Mercedes launching cars made for the remote workforce.
Cisco’s Webex Meetings and Calling platform is now available in Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class cars, enabling workers to take the “work-from-anywhere” mindset on the road. This collaboration follows Cisco’s “good, better, best” strategy, which has led to the platform’s evolution from Bluetooth connection to interfacing with the car’s head unit via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to building apps natively for car manufacturers. Jeetu Patel, executive VP of security and collaboration at Cisco, stated that “this partnership with Mercedes-Benz, marks a big step forward in delivering the flexibility to work.”
The Webex-equipped cars offer several features, such as AI-powered noise cancellation and transcription capabilities that can capture notes from meetings. However, the platform is available only for audio calls while driving, and the complete immersive Webex experience is accessible only while the car is parked. While the Mercedes-Cisco alliance makes for a splashy announcement and a high-end experience, the E-Class’s starting price of roughly $60,000. This might not be affordable for the average American worker, whose median annual income in 2022 was $54,132.
Other Car Makers Hop On The Trend
Cisco’s move to integrate Webex with Mercedes-Benz is part of a broader trend, with more car manufacturers adding access to third-party apps from the car’s control panel. For instance, Volkswagen Group is planning to roll out cars equipped with its in-house developed app store.
As more collaboration tools become available in cars, it is vital to consider safety concerns. Although the Webex-equipped cars put appropriate safety controls in place, all mobile communication while driving, is considered “distracted driving.” Therefore, it is essential to prioritize safety when considering meetings in the car.