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Cisco takes over hybrid event manager Socio Labs

Cisco will pair Socio Labs' hybrid event product with Webex video and Slido audience polling tools. Cisco believes events with in-person and online participants are the future.

Editor's note: This story was updated July 8, 2021.

Cisco has completed its acquisition of Socio Labs and plans to add the company's event-technology platform to the Cisco Webex portfolio.

Cisco officially took control of Socio Labs this week. The company's event platform for in-person and online participants will enable Webex to support large-scale hybrid events, as well as online meetings, webinars and webcasts. Cisco has folded the Socio Labs team into its collaboration group.

"Being able to offer novel, refreshing and inclusive experiences for all attendees -- whether in person or virtual -- is paramount in today's new era of hybrid events," said Jeetu Patel, general manager of collaboration and security at Cisco, in a statement.

Socio Labs' suite of virtual event products handles attendee registration, video streaming and post-event analytics. The company's in-person meeting platform creates customized event apps, provides content for conference-hall screens, helps participants network, and checks attendees in and out of events.

Javed Khan, vice president and general manager, Cisco collaboration divisionJaved Khan

Cisco expects post-pandemic events to include services for in-person and online attendees. Therefore, the company plans to become a one-stop technology shop to assist companies hosting those events, said Cisco executive Javed Khan. Its offerings will include Socio Labs, Webex video conferencing and Slido audience-engagement technology.

"Hybrid events require a dramatically different product," Khan said in a blog post.

Cisco acquired Slido in December. Slido's technology interacts with event audiences through polling, trivia and Q&As. Cisco will offer Slido as a standalone product and with integrations with the other event technologies.

Cisco competitors have also improved their event-hosting capabilities. For example, Microsoft has revamped webinars in its Teams video conferencing platform. The changes let event hosts register attendees, send notifications and transfer participant data to customer relationship management software. The company also increased the number of people who can view and participate in the webinars.

Socio Labs was the third acquisition that Cisco announced in May. The others included Sedona Systems and Kenna Security. Sedona's technology bolsters network speeds for future uses like augmented and virtual reality. Kenna provides risk-based vulnerability management technology.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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