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The Evolution of Cisco Spark

The Evolution of Cisco Spark

by David Hasfurter, Senior Systems Engineer

Cisco has been busy over the last month making changes and adding new product/features into Spark. Spark is Cisco’s cloud-based tool that allows organizations to communicate efficiently through phone, video and their web app.

On the product side, Cisco launched the all new Cisco Spark board. It’s a digital whiteboard that has three primary functions: presentation mode, video conferencing and white boarding. It’s been out for over a month now and has taken the world by storm. Don’t just take my word for it! Here are a couple of reviews worth reading. I’ll wait.

Welcome back! As you can tell, the new Cisco Spark board is a great tool added to an already outstanding portfolio. But wait, there’s more.

The Complete Package

Cisco quietly released the Cisco IP Conference Phone 7832 for the Spark cloud, which truly fills a void with Spark calling. Not only does this version allow a conference room phone for cloud calling, but Spark now has the ability to do paging and parking because it is enabled at the cloud level. This is a great additional feature that wasn’t featured during the initial launch. Many organizations agree these features make Spark calling a more complete package.

Now let’s take a step back for a moment. There has been a lot of commotion about cloud and why it is so valuable. Let’s be honest, I can put a server in my house, offer a small feature and BAM! - it’s cloud-enabled! But Cisco’s Spark was built from the ground up specifically for the cloud. In creating it this way, they set themselves up for great success.

With this foundation, Cisco is able to offer an abundance of new features on the fly without disrupting business. How rare is that?! No downtime, no maintenance window—just more features added on the fly. Taking this into account, who knows what they will come up with next and add to the platform?

Spark is the New WebEx

As Spark functionalities evolved, so did WebEx. While at the Cisco Summit in San Francisco I learned that going forward, all WebEx meetings should be joined through Spark—a way I’ve never joined in the past. Out of curiosity, I joined my next WebEx meeting through Spark and was surprised to see how many features were now there. This leads me to believe Cisco will continue to build on this migration until Spark eventually replaces WebEx. The writing is on the wall.

If you were to buy WebEx licenses today, you will be given Spark ‘sku’ numbers because their back-end system is different from the original WebEx system. I don’t think it’s too far out to say that WebEx will eventually be replaced by Spark.

If you haven’t already seen the Spark Board, go check it out! It’s a great product that is versatile and priced extremely competitively. The Spark Board is just one example of how this platform keeps evolving over time and how they are expanding on a solid foundation.