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When teams work collaboratively from anywhere, SPARKS FLY!

Posted On: June 23, 2016

Topic: Cloud & Hosting Solutions

Collaboration_managed.jpgIn today’s digital era, your organization needs to be flexible, responsive, and flat – and most importantly – built for speed. The practice of using unconnected tools for team messaging, virtual meetings and phone calls creates an environment that lowers productivity by constantly switching between the different mediums.  With its recently announced new offering Cisco Spark, Cisco aims to speed up productivity by blending team messaging, meetings and phone calls in the cloud for vastly improved collaboration, communication, and teamwork across organizational teams. "When teams work collaboratively from anywhere and across virtually any device, sparks fly."

According to Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Collaboration, Data Analytics and IoT groups, Cisco Spark is about “making tools for work that are as simple and delightful as the tools we use at home.” However, simple to use does not mean Cisco Spark is not a robust environment. Cisco has also built powerful, open APIs to enable developers to create innovative and useful apps that extend the value of the offering through Spark for Developers.

Why Cisco Spark?

The practice of overloaded emails, the influx of mobile, and frustration with audio-only conferencing is not working well for today’s fast-paced business environment. Cisco Spark is changing that by:

Simplified Connections

  • Connecting Phone Systems to the Cloud
    Cisco Spark Hybrid Services connects phone systems and other on-premises equipment. When you place a call from a Cisco IP phone, the call automatically creates a meeting in the Spark room where you can then show content with a single click. Cisco calls this a “zero-touch meeting” because it happens seamlessly.
  • Linking Calendars
    Cisco Spark Hybrid Services can also link on-premises calendar servers to the cloud to make preparing for, arranging and joining meetings easier, and it works from your mobile device. Simply type “@spark” or “@webex” into the location line when you create an invitation, and meeting details are automatically put into the invitation.

Simplified Teamwork

Cisco Spark simplifies teamwork in three main areas: Messaging, Meeting and Calling. It provides a secure, central location to store and share documents and files.  Together in one place, team members access their text-based discussions, documents they work on, and have the ability to connect in real-time with multi-party voice and video.

  • Messaging
    Persistent messaging allows team members to stay caught up on project decisions and next steps. Messages and alerts from other applications can be accumulated in one place, so information, questions or required actions never get lost between meetings. End-to-end encryption ensures that all sensitive information stays secure.
  • Meetings
    Whether physical or virtual, meetings are more productive as team members jump right into the project without having to waste time with catch up or rehashing old business. Setting up a video room is quick and easy, allowing video conferencing and screen sharing from any desk or device to create a conference room that brings together team members from around the world or just down the hall.
  • Calling
    Users can answer business calls from their Cisco desk phone or from the Spark app on their mobile devices. No hassles with call forwarding or ring sequencing. Cisco Spark synchronizes call history and contacts across devices, so users are always up to date. With a single click, you can turn a phone call into a video meeting.  With a swipe you can move a video call from a room system to your mobile phone and then to another room—so you don’t have to miss anything when you need to move.

"To stay competitive, business leaders and employees are desperate to modernize their organizations, becoming more agile and nimble and less hierarchical. Existing tools like email were built for a slower moving world and aren't cutting it today. To truly transform, businesses need a new way for their teams to communicate and move faster,” said Trollope.

Cisco Spark Options

Anyone can sign up for a free Cisco Spark account. Services included in the free app include:

  • One-to-one group messaging and file sharing
  • One-to-one video calling and meetings
  • Screen sharing in rooms with as many as three participants
  • Integration with mobile calendar and contacts
  • End-to-end content encryption
  • Online self-service capability

Beyond the Basic Options

Expanded, paid options allow for larger video meetings, recording, white-boarding, integration with existing VoIP systems, and Spark Room Systems for enabling every conference.

Making Cisco Spark Work for Your Organization

With Cisco Spark, organizations enjoy modern, streamlined communications, better teamwork, visibility, and control. It’s a platform for complete business communication and collaboration in the cloud.

To learn more about how Cisco Spark improves your agility to adapt to the pace of modern business, contact OneNeck IT Solutions today.