When project teams are empowered to collaborate, costs go down, client interaction and productivity go up, and efficiency improves. Cisco Spark delivers on its promise to boost team performance, jump-start collaboration, and fuel high-octane meetings. Spark can be used as an application on a smartphone, a desktop client, a desk phone, or a telepresence endpoint.

I’m back at it again with another blog entry. In my first blog, the main focus was on collaboration as a whole with a few tidbits of information about products. This time, I want to take a deeper dive into what I believe is an emerging new IT communications technology.

Not a New Energy Drink

If I had a quarter every time Cisco Spark popped up in social media, I could retire right now. Lately, it seems as though everyone is talking about all the hype surrounding Spark. During the few remaining pre-holiday weeks of the year, Spark has become the most popular toy of the Christmas Season… and everyone is lining up to bring their Black Friday selections to the register for checkout.

I have to be honest with you, the very first time I heard Cisco Spark I did a double take and said, “What?! Did Cisco just acquire an Energy Drink company?” Naturally, the name alone captured my attention, and I immediately wanted to know the 4-1-1 about it.

Spark is a complete business collaboration service from the Cisco cloud that enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. Spark delivers an easier way to work with all your teams, from practically any device. Spark can be used as an application on a smartphone, a desktop client, a desk phone, or a telepresence endpoint.

The Spark software is easy to manage in a single pane of glass by a management portal for administrators. You can use open APIs to integrate Cisco Spark with your business critical apps plus customize the spark user experience. Cisco Spark is primarily hosted in the cloud, but there is also a hybrid service that allows you to integrate your existing on-premise collaboration environment with the Spark Cloud. Your business does not need to rip up and replace its existing VoIP environment; instead, you can let Spark evolve it.

Core Components

Cisco Spark offers three main core components:

  • Message: The Spark messaging application is central to the Cisco Spark service experience. Messages provide an unmatched mobile–first experience that includes softphone capabilities and simple escalations to voice calls, video calls, and video-capable meetings. Unlimited business messaging lets you prepare, share, and iterate on content together. Enjoy one-on-one or group messaging in virtual rooms with persistent content and context for team interactions. Break down communication barriers and make it incredibly easy to work with anyone.
  • Meeting: Connect teams and meet customers easily with the added benefit of before, during, and after-meeting messaging and content sharing. Schedule and join a meeting at a main office, a branch office, at home, on the road, or from a room-based video system. Every meeting can have audio, web, and video conferencing capabilities. Users shouldn’t have to think about what type of conferencing they need before scheduling; after all, it’s just a meeting.
  • Call: Spark includes voice and video communications through mobile, desktop, and room-based services. The application includes features such as full public-switched-telephone-network (PSTN) dialing and one-touch directory dialing. You can also join meetings from anywhere, on any device. Mobile users can take advantage of new features that include single number reach, single voicemail service, video services, and the ability to smoothly navigate between devices during a call.

Final Thoughts

According to Webster’s Dictionary, one of the definitions of the word spark is “something that sets off a sudden force.” Well, isn’t that fitting (especially if the spark helps the team to rally)?

Cisco Spark delivers on its promise to build up teams through better meeting collaboration. Even though it’s mostly cloud-based, give it a shot; you might like it.

Until next time… Cuevas out