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lamottewebex
Beginner

Ability to Allow Host to Unmute Participants Without Sending Request to Unmute

I was recently upgraded to Webex 40.10.4.2 and am unable as host to unmute participants directly.  It now sends a request instead.  It does not matter if I have selected to allow users to unmute themselves or not.  Is there a way around this?  Our hosts control our meetings and need to be able to unmute speakers at specified times in our meetings without the speaker having to approve the request to unmute.

94 REPLIES 94

Mr. Callahan,

Thank you for your response to my original question. In our case, the
issue is not regarding training or users not knowing how to unmute. Due to
Covid and remote meetings, we run meetings where the host is responsible
for controlling the microphones of various speakers that have specific
times to present their information. Their laptops and cameras are setup
where they are not within easy access when it is their time to speak. Our
host will unmute them at the assigned time, the speaker will then present
their information, and the host will mute them and unmute the next
speaker. That is a very simplistic description of our situation. There
are more aspects to it but that is the main idea.

Regarding the security/privacy aspect, is it possible to have a user
setting where the participant can select to "allow host to unmute". That
would give their consent then for the host to unmute. Our speakers could
then select that option and the host could unmute them when needed. Other
users could opt to not allow the host to unmute and instead would only
receive the request to unmute.

Regards,
Doug Christian

I am a Project Manager and noticed this change immediately. It has caused major issues as I host sometimes up to 10-12 conf calls a day. I also host upgrade/cutover event calls that last hours with engineers/techs/customers from multiple locations. Having the ability to mute/unmute participants is a must have to properly run these calls. 

As others have stated, there are many scenarios that involve a participant not being able to mute/unmute themselves. Most of the time the participant doesn't even realize they are disturbing the call (keyboard typing, road noise, data center environment, wind, etc) and many times it is a temporary fix until it is their turn to speak. If someone is in their car driving listening to a call, it is difficult and dangerous to be switching their WebEx mute off/on on their device, so the host can help with that change as needed. In the same way, many times someone is away from their screen on a wireless headset doing work and not easily able to switch their mute status.

I could list out dozens of situations where this is a needed feature. As someone in the telecom industry that implements PBX solutions daily, I can say that customer want more capabilities not less. The idea that unmuting someone is a privacy issue seems far fetched to me considering the lack of privacy throughout our society now. Simply unmuting a willing participant in a controlled call doesn't seem like a concern at all.

Fritz_H
VIP Rising star

@DSlate 

There is no doubt about the necessity to be able to mute all participants.
But force-unmute is a different thing.
(BTW: I am not referring to vintage-style meetings via phone-calls...)

In fact the current solution reminds me of remote-assistence-Tools like TeamViewer, AnyDesk etc.:
The Support-Team also needs you to confirm the access-attempt first before gaining remote-Control/-View of your Desktop.
This is very similar to the Cisco unmute-request solution.
Since I have not yet seen how Cisco implemented this, I have to admit that the current implementation my perhaps lack some usability..

You say "Simply unmuting a willing participant in a controlled call doesn't seem like a concern at all."
This includes at least 2 assumptions: willing and controlled <environment>


In large meetings you will always have people who just joined because they have to do so for some reasons;
esp. participants from higher level management will so something else in parallel to the meeting.

I don´t think your manager will appreciate, if you force-unmute him while he e.g. is talking to his assistant / wife or children (homeoffice) etc.

The postings in this forum show that there are very different use-cases and I do agree that in some of them force-unmute by the host makes sense (children, home-schooling etc.) while in other situations it´s undesirable.

In the Cisco-Suggestions-Forum I offered the idea of a 2 stage mute: one controlled by the host and one controlled only by the participant which overrules the host.

Which solution do you suggest to cover both: ease of use and privacy?
Your experience my help to improve the product even further...

How about literally anything other than what Cisco did? They made the presumption that it's more secure and will work for everyone from allowing a host to unmute other participants, to simply sending the request.  That is NOT the solution.

 

I get the need for privacy.  The only people with the ability to unmute would be the host or co-host.  Perhaps by default, if there is someone using webex on a computer, it would be "request to unmute", and if it was someone calling in, whether it's a video conferencing unit or a phone call, allow the host or co-host to do an actual unmute.

 

Allow the host to have the settings on a per-call basis, or set the default, and when the invite is sent out, include a disclaimer by phone numbers that say "if you dial in, the host or co-host will have the ability to unmute you."  However, it won't include the ability to unmute their actual phone, if their phone is muted.

 

There.  Make it happen because this is already breaking my processes.  And just an fyi, I'm also looking in to other vendors.. so, Cisco, if you want to keep me as a webex customer, do something.

Fritz_H
VIP Rising star

@TomUT 
There are 2 sides to everything:
- Cisco may revert to the previous, privacy-violating method (and perhaps get in conflict with enterprise-customers)

or
- you may evaluate your options. For example use the APP to join meetings instead of still using vintage technology like phone-calls...
come on: it´s 2020 -  at least over here in Europe  (smiley not shown by forum-software)

We have groups of Users now switching to Zoom, am not happy about this, now we have to support another platform. Disappointed.

Hi - Zoom is exactly the same way, you can only request to unmute, you cannot directly unmute an attendee.

Exactlly! In Zoom the feature is the same, you can hard mute the attendee but in order to unmute them a request is sent for the attendee's aproval.

This is a moot point.  It was a feature in webex.  People grew accustomed to its availability.  Obviously there are considerable use cases for keeping it (education, gov specifically).  It was changed without any real consideration for its usage (implied, not certain).  The change was made without administrative controls to re-enable it.  

It is, in short, bad form. 

davidoconnor2010
Beginner

I wish to add my voice to the call for the ability to unmute room systems during a Webex Meeting to be restored.  The ability to unmute regular Webex users is not required.  My case is that our room system SX20s muted by a host cannot unmute without pressing or knowing to press *6 which only flashes up on the screen for a second and then disappears.   

 

At a minimum the message should stay on the screen to press *6 to unmute or the physical mic mute/unmute button should pass that (*6) to the Webex.  We are using the Table Microphone 20.

 

Note we are running into this problem with the mute/unmute sx20 every single day from the conference rooms.

 

 

crabtreebm
Beginner

I am requesting WebEx allow the host to mute and unmute participants freely and not send an “unmute request”. This is not efficient at all when running a meeting. 

Matthew Miktus
Collaborator

We just received our 40.11 update, with no indication of a pending change.  Looking ahead to 40.12 I don't see this being addressed either.

 

When is the anticipated release where this will be reverted to something less intrusive?  This is really causing many orgs and meeting hosts headaches.  

Unmute and Audio Privacy
Now, when a host or cohost unmutes a participant, that participant will be given a prompt to unmute, instead of being unmuted directly. This helps to prevent meeting distractions or catching others by surprise if they weren't expecting to be unmuted.

 

 

adlv
Beginner

Just echoing my peers over here and adding my 2 cents. I do believe the "hard mute" option was an extraordinary feature in the latest updates, specially when running a 20 + attendees meeting where the rogue microphones can be truly disruptive to say the least, and I understand the privacy implications about this. Why not just adding the option as a host (wether is in the meeting setup page of the meeting or the"Options" menu during the meeting) to be able as a host/cohost to hard mute/unmute the attendees.

 

I too, as IT support, have seen a major influx of my users requesting Zoom (even though Zoom has the same mute / request unmute feature) but I've noticed when using Zoom the meeting setup, GUI, addon install, joining time and overall in-meeting experience is way faster than Webex. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Webex hardcore fan but the latest updates have been frowned upon from the users stand point and I do have to yield sometimes about the practicalities of the other platform.

 

Let's see what the Webex dev and support team will come up to enrich experience and regain the lost sheep, lol.

Peter Vickerman
Beginner

This is a huge issue and a major downgrade.  Please add this back in soon, our public planning commission and council meetings are severely disrupted by this change.

 

 

agodfrey
Beginner

This is an extremely important issue that we are all facing without the ability to unmute participants as a host. Please consider pushing this update immediately. 

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