New Collaboration Tools Introduced by Cisco

Spark Hybrid - Series of collaboration tools to help customers get more value from the cloud

New Collaboration Tools Introduced by Cisco

Recently, Cisco left the world of communications awe-struck once again when it rolled out a new series of collaboration tools intended to help customers get more value from the cloud, while still allowing for on-premises deployments.

The latest offerings arrived on the market just as the demand for enterprise collaboration tools has begun to soar, and Cisco expects that the solutions will keep Cisco’s huge collection of legacy customers happy with their investments. The new tools will include the Spark Depot, which effectively acts as an app store for Spark, and the Spark Flex plan which will give customers the chance to choose from a range of cloud-based and on-premises services which they can adjust at any time.

Cisco also plans to introduce its Spark Hybrid Service, which gives users a chance to automatically use the cloud when local resources are inaccessible. What’s more, Cisco will be updating its Business telephony options with a cloud-managed adaptation of its Enterprise solution “Business Edition 6000”, and an SMB offering “Business Edition 4000”.

Simplifying the Cloud Transition

According to the GM of Cisco’s Applications and IoT group, Rowan Trollope, the transition to the cloud represents a huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes. However, not all businesses are ready to jump into the cloud head-first. Cisco is attempting to create a solution that lets customers move into the cloud exactly how and when it makes sense for them. The Spark Flex plan is designed to allow this, by letting customers decide exactly how much they rely upon the cloud on a monthly subscription basis. Using one contract, customers can choose from a hybrid service, an on-premises service, or a cloud service.

No matter how the combination of solutions is adjusted, the price remains the same. This makes Flex particularly useful for legacy customers who have already started to make significant investments into their on-premises solutions. If customers have already invested in on-premises options, they can add other cloud services and combine the lot into an on-going subscription solution.

The Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service

The latest Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Service also permits for some flexibility through cloud deployment. Without any additional cost, customers will be able to deploy their Cisco Spark application meetings in the cloud or on-premises. The service will automatically determine the ideal solution for delivering the meeting to each user.

At the same time, the media solution works to improve video and audio quality, while keeping the media on-premises for privacy and reducing internet bandwidth costs.

The Spark Depot

The Spark Depot offering is a hub in which users should be able to find a range of different applications that have already been integrated through the existing Spark platform. This development comes through about a year after Spark for Developers was introduced by Cisco.

With the launch, the Depot will include about 70 different standard integrations, including options that have been developed both by third parties, and Cisco themselves. Third parties have the chance to submit their options to the Depot, where they will need to be validated before they are offered to customers.

Upgraded Telephony Services

Finally, Cisco will be updating its telephony solutions – beginning with a complete new offering for small businesses. Emerging in the coming months, the Business Edition 4000 will be able to provide voice mail and voice services for up to 200 devices. The solution comes in the form of a box that is located on site, and ongoing management that comes through a cloud-based interface.

As the companies with this solution grow, they can choose to upgrade to the BE 6000 offering, which comes with improved installation and configuration processes.


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