Spark Ecosystem Boosted by Cisco
Cisco Adds New Improvements to the Spark System
UC Today were fortunate enough to attend this year’s Enterprise Connect event – one of the most innovative events in the world when it comes to exploring the future of UC. During our time at the conference, we saw plenty of exciting deliveries from a host of companies, including Cisco. During the event, Cisco announced a host of enhancements focused around Spark – it’s growing collaboration platform.
The new announcements came not long after Cisco announced its new interactive whiteboard in January, Spark Board, alongside Spark Meetings, which just goes to show the rapid pace the company is moving at. Let’s take a look at the news.
New Video Hardware
To begin, Cisco revealed it’s “Cisco Spark Room Kit Series“, which came with Cisco Spark Room Kit, and Room Kit Plus. The new hardware was designed for Cisco Spark, and offers integrators the resources they need to extend conference rooms by attaching HD screens and converting them into video collaboration services.
Room Kit is designed for small-to-medium sized rooms, while Room Kit Plus is intended for larger rooms. The product is an all-in-one device with a speaker, camera, and built-in microphones, while Room Kit Plus adds an additional quad camera. Both devices are intended to interact naturally with Cisco Spark, and can be used on-premise too.
This month, Room Kit will be available for $3,990, plus a $99 per month subscription. Room Kit Plus will emerge in May for $7,990, plus the same monthly subscription fee of $99. Later in 2017, Cisco will be releasing a companion mode for these systems, which allows users to combine Cisco Spark Board and Room Kits to cater for even bigger conference rooms.
Upgrades in Security
The next announcement from Cisco centred around security, which isn’t much of a surprise if you consider the fact that the brand has put security first with most of its services. Cisco Spark has been built with end-to-end encryption for all data, and it handles decryption and encryption through dynamic keys in a Cisco Key Management Server.
During Enterprise Connect 2017, Cisco announced that it would be opening those encryption keys up to customers so that they can manage and own their keys, as well as having the option to search through encrypted data. This service will be available from June.
Opening Cisco Spark Meetings
Another piece of news is the development of a SIP URI for all Spark spaces, which enables individuals to connect with Cisco Spark Meetings using any software client or standards-based SIP hardware. This simply means that people with third-party softphones, legacy conferencing products, and other video conferencing endpoints can still participate in Spark Meetings.
This new service is also accessible from Cisco Spark Hybrid Media Solutions. The aim is to eliminate risk for businesses who are trying out Spark meetings, since they can maintain their existing infrastructure for video and conferencing. There’s no additional licensing required, and the capability should be offered as part of the WebEx and MC/C3 Spark Meeting licenses.
Greater Customer Care
Finally, Cisco announced “Spark Care”, a new digital solution for customer support designed to allow small teams and help desks to interface with internal and external customers through call back and web chat solutions. It’s designed to help organizations offer better customer service with the option to leverage contextual information from former interactions.
All of this news is part of the over-arching goal that Cisco has set to create well-designed and powerful end-to-end experiences for everyone. As we move forward into a disruptive marketplace, Cisco is placing itself at the forefront for great technology, deeper integrations between software, hardware, and networks, and cloud platforms.