I remember speaking to my Cisco channel account manager about getting a Cisco Desk Pro. He told me "it is the best desktop video unit Cisco ever made!" I laughed and really didn’t think much about it. I heard good things about the Desk Pro, but I thought it can't be that much better than my Cisco DX80.
Wow, was I wrong!
I have had the device for some time now and I still come across new features and functionality. Here are some great features that I believe make the Cisco Desk Pro the best desktop video unit on the market today.
1 - Excellent primary display
Easily connect your PC or Mac to the Cisco Desk Pro and take advantage of a 27-inch, high definition 4K display. For the best experience use a USB-C cable, but an optional HDMI port is available.
It also comes with an easily accessible mini-jack port for audio and a USB port to connect a wired or wireless headset along with the following:
2 - The USB-C port
The USB-C connection provides a couple of excellent features. Navigate your touch enabled PC from the Cisco Desk Pro. This is not natively supported by the Mac, but here is a third party driver to enable it. https://touch-base.com/drivers
You can also charge your Mac or PC through the USB-C port. In the past I would purchase a separate power adapter for my Mac or PC. One for at home and one for the road. No need anymore, now I just have one for the road. Another bonus is having one less cable to manage around my desk and another open USB-C port on my Mac.
3 - Flexibility to join any meeting
We all get invites from different meeting platforms, whether it is from Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, etc. It can be frustrating when there isn't a SIP URI in the meeting invite and you want to use your desktop video endpoint.
You have to figure out how to easily connect to the meeting using VoIP for audio and use your built in camera from your PC or Mac for video. For me this is a huge challenge since I close my Mac when I work. I use my desktop video endpoint as a monitor with an external keyboard and mouse. So I don’t have easy access to the internal speakers, mic, and camera on my Mac.
But now with the Cisco Desk Pro I can connect my laptop to the USB-C port and leverage the HD camera and audio from the Desk Pro. No need for another USB camera or flipping open my Mac and rearranging my desk to support the new video angle. I can easily select my Desk Pro as the audio and video source when I join the meeting.
4 - Intelligent and simple
No need to point and click on someone's phone icon in the directory anymore. You can just say "OK, Webex call John Smith" or if you have a scheduled meeting, just say "OK, Webex start my meeting". Although this feature is not exclusive to the Desk Pro and is included on all the latest Cisco video endpoints with Webex. It is worth providing an example of how the Cisco Desk Pro and Webex combine to make routine tasks easier.
5 - Automatic Framing
Sometimes you need to stand up and stretch your legs in the middle of a long video conference call at the end of the day. The Cisco Desk Pro has the intelligence to automatically frame you in the center of the video window without touching the device.
6 - Immersive Share
When combining your Cisco Desk Pro with Webex you can take advantage of immersive share. This feature makes sharing your desktop that much better of an experience. Instead of your video being lost in a small window as you present. You are now displayed in front of the presentation. Your audience can focus on both the content and you at the same time. This feature is great for providing training.
7 - Noise Cancelling
I didn't think much about this feature when it first came out. Then my dog starting barking during a Webex meeting and I couldn't believe no one in the meeting could hear him. Now I take this feature for granted and I get a little frustrated when I can't use it on other meeting platforms besides Cisco Webex.
8 - Whiteboarding
A picture is worth a thousand words. And when you have a chance to share a document and annotate over it. It can really help paint a better picture for those in the meeting. By leveraging the touch display of the Cisco Desk Pro you can easily create a new whiteboard and begin drawing on a fresh canvas or share your screen to annotate over your screen share. One way whiteboarding works on most meeting platforms when the Cisco Desk Pro joins the meeting's SIP URI. To take advantage of two way whiteboarding or co-create functionality you will need to use a Webex Teams meeting created from a Webex Teams space also known as a space backed meeting.
All in all, the Cisco Desk Pro has more than exceeded my expectations. Here's a list of additional Cisco Desk Pro features. I am sure I will find more great features in future software releases.