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IBM and Cisco will provide the Webex conferencing tool for free to charities 

9th April 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Two technology giants have teamed up to offer free video conferencing to charity staff.

IBM and Cisco have joined forces to offer teachers in over 24,000 schools and staff in over 185,000 charities across the UK free access to video conferencing through use of the Cisco Webex web conferencing tool.

The technology offers simple and intuitive features for online collaboration in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak. To support new users get started IBM and Cisco employees are volunteering their time to help install the video-conferencing technology and provide ongoing guidance to maximise the tools.

Paul Reddish, chief executive of Volunteering Matters, said: “On behalf of the voluntary sector and our partners it’s fantastic that IBM and Cisco want to support charities at this critical time. By Cisco providing video-conferencing software for free and IBM employees volunteering their skills and expertise to help charities put this in place, there will be huge benefit to charities. We know charities urgently need support like this to help people and communities respond to COVID-19, but they may not have the resources to do so. So thank you to IBM and Cisco for stepping up to support charities and help them provide essential services to those who need it at this vital time.”

The Cisco and IBM collaboration is open to all schools and charities in the UK. The initiative began in Italy in response to the government's call for companies to support schools as they closed and has now expanded to over 14 countries, including the UK where it has expanded to support charities as well as schools. There are already 3,000 IBM staff volunteering to make this a reality across Europe, supporting over 200,000 students in 2,000 schools.

David Meads, Cisco’s UK and Ireland chief executive, said: “These weeks have been challenging for all of us, and the need for us all to stay connected has never been more important. We’re firm believers that we need to create a digital society for everyone, and that remains true in critical times like these, when the spirit of collaboration really comes to the fore. We’re proud to be able to offer a tool that will hopefully help ensure students can continue learning, and charities continue their vital work.”

The Cisco Webex platform has more than 130 million monthly users worldwide, and processes more than six billion minutes of meetings every month. Always accessible through an internet connection, it guarantees the privacy and security of the data and content exchanged in the sessions using advanced security and encryption tools.

If you would like to request support from an IBM or Cisco volunteer for advice on getting started and making the most of the tool, please register through the following form.

In the meantime as a teacher or charity worker you can sign up for a Webex account here.