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Forward-looking: Mercedes-Benz recently published a detailed rundown of the features of its 2024 E-Class sedan, coming later this year. Among them is a native app store that will launch with a few entertainment and communication apps, including Cisco's Webex video conference tool.
Cisco and Mercedes-Benz have announced that the Webex video conference app will be available in the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan when it rolls out later in 2023. The vehicle will allow conference calls using its interior camera, Wi-Fi, and 5G capabilities. The camera can also record videos and take selfies.
In-car hybrid work software could be an effort to facilitate employees' return to the office after two years of pandemic-necessitated working from home. Hour-plus-long commutes are a significant issue in the office-versus-home work debate because many see them as a colossal waste of time and gas.
Cisco doesn't mention that conflict but acknowledges that hybrid work is here to stay. The company says Webex could help people keep in touch with coworkers while picking up their kids (childcare is another significant obstacle facing the return to offices) or taking business trips.
Fortunately, for safety reasons, the car will switch calls from any app to audio-only when moving to prevent driver distraction. Using the car's video-conferencing software while parked could be helpful when users can't access a phone, tablet, or laptop.
Instead of piggybacking off mobile devices like Apple Car Play or Android Auto, The 2024 E-Class will have a native operating system and third-party apps. Aside from Webex, the app store will include TikTok, AngryBirds, the Vivaldi web browser, and Zoom at launch. Zoom already allows video conferencing in Teslas and one-on-one calls through Car Play.
The Webex in-car app will include noise canceling and auto transcription to make voices sharper and easier to understand. It will also feature content sharing, emojis, and other reactions.
The upcoming Mercedes-Benz will offer in-car entertainment streaming through the Zync entertainment platform. Zync's interface will incorporate options like local programs, sports, news, and content from 30 streaming services. Mercedes-Benz doesn't specify which services Zync includes, but it says it will work with various regional partners to expand the number of available channels.