SAN JOSE Calif. and ORLANDO, Fla. – March 17, 2015 -- Today at Enterprise Connect 2015, Cisco announced that its new collaboration service is having a significant impact on how teams get work done. Employees across many industries are now using Cisco Spark – introduced under the name “Project Squared” at Cisco’s Collaboration Summit in November -- to collaborate simply and securely inside and outside their organizations in ways not previously possible. When teams work collaboratively from anywhere and across virtually any device, sparks fly.
Cisco Spark – built with significant customer feedback and accessible from nearly every major mobile or desktop device - creates secure, virtual rooms where teams work together from anywhere. Just by downloading Cisco Spark from an app store or by pointing a web browser to http://web.ciscospark.com any member of any team can initiate the service and start a Cisco Spark room on any topic. Once in the room, team members securely send messages, share and view files, start multiparty voice and video calls and share their screens.
Because a Cisco Spark room is the one place where all the teams’ files, documents and decisions are stored and the same place where the team holds all its virtual meetings, video calls and chat sessions – teams are instantly more productive. Here is how some customers and partners are using Cisco Spark to transform their firms into Agile Enterprises:
- Telstra Makes Collaboration a Cornerstone of Product Development: Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company Telstra wanted a collaboration tool that was easy to use, highly mobile and secure, that bridged the gap between time zones and geographies. It trialed Cisco Spark and was surprised at the rate of change in behavior, as staff spent far less time on email and in meetings and saw team productivity boost as a result.
- Cisco Spark Delivers Information and Community to Loggoss: Co-located in Hangzhou, China and Barcelona, Spain, Loggoss serves the Chinese ex-patriate population in Spain by providing vital services -- like real estate, telephone and insurance services – that help to reduce language and cultural barriers. Loggoss used an early pilot of Cisco Spark’s APIs to integrate to its existing CRM platform so customers can easily access documents and information needed during their transitions. Because Cisco Spark thrives in a mobile environment, Loggoss customers can always quickly access these services. Nearly 2,500 users are engaging on Cisco Spark, and the company is preparing to extend the service to all 40,000 members.
- Zdi Embraces Cisco Spark to Efficiently Share Field Knowledge: Years ago, when the Zdi team started utilizing two-way radios, their productivity soared. Employees could pose questions over the radio and experts within earshot could immediately and collectively suggest answers and alternatives. That type of collaboration decreased when they transitioned to cell phones. Now, Zdi is using Cisco Spark to bring that type of collaboration back to life. With Cisco Spark, team members can securely share insights, drawings and content at a moment’s notice from their desktop or mobile device.
Customer Input Vital to Agile Enterprise Product Development
After launching Cisco Spark as the fast-moving ‘Project Squared’ in November 2014, Cisco evaluated an incredible amount of customer input – much of it provided through the product itself. Based on that feedback, Cisco also announced the following customer-driven enhancements:
- Room Moderation: Users* can control who invites (or removes) others in rooms; providing another layer of control on top of existing end-to-end content encryption.
- Simple Administration: Administrators* can set up single sign on (SSO) and directory sync; enable role-based access, get usage reports, and more. Partners start trials, manage accounts and ensure customers get the most out of their Cisco Spark experience.
- Calendar Integration: Users create a Cisco Spark room from any calendar meeting invite with a single tap, enabling a virtual workspace for everyone to share content and ideas before, during and after the actual meeting.
- Windows Client: A new Windows client provides faster access to content on the desktop and provides notifications - even if Cisco Spark is not open.
- Enhanced Meetings: Firefox users can share their video and computer screen with no plugin required. All users can view video and shared screens simultaneously.
- Expanded Language Support: Expanded language support to include: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English (UK and American), French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin American and Spain), Swedish and Turkish.
Individuals can sign up for Cisco Spark and start using the following features for free: 1:1 and group messaging, file sharing, 1:1 video calling and meetings with screen sharing in rooms up to three participants, mobile calendar and contacts integration, online self-service functionality and end-to-end content encryption.
Additionally today, Cisco is announcing value-added subscriptions of Cisco Spark. Cisco Collaboration Specialized Partners can now sell** Cisco Spark to customers looking to accelerate collaboration within and between teams. Packages for Spark have been created to cater to individual company needs:
- Cisco Spark Message – All the benefits of Cisco Spark with the following additional functionality: Room moderation, Single-Sign-On (SSO), directory sync, and live support. This helps IT teams add security for their users and gives them the tools they require to provide and manage collaboration services for their organization.
- Cisco Spark Message and Meet – All the benefits of Cisco Spark Message with the following additional functionality: meetings in rooms up to 25 users, entitlement to use WebEx Meeting Center or Enterprise Edition. This enables broader real-time meeting capabilities within Cisco Spark rooms and provides access to one of the world’s best conferencing tools.
Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President, Collaboration Technology Group, Cisco
“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. We knew we had a game changer on our hands with Cisco Spark when we saw companies using it to transform how teams work together. Cisco Spark is enabling this transformation by bringing everything together in one place– team members, their text based discussions, documents they work on, and the ability to connect in real time with multi party voice and video.”
Philip Jones, Executive Director of Global Products and Solutions, Telstra
“Telstra used Cisco Spark to help us improve collaboration within our product development team and we were genuinely surprised at the rate of change in behavior, as staff spent far less time on email and in meetings and saw team productivity boost as a result.”
Sr. CHENGZONG QIU, CEO Loggoss Group & President of Logos & He Foundation “It is our goal at Loggoss to let our customers ‘focus on their business and forget about the rest.’ Cisco Spark helps us deliver this vision by providing us a communications vehicle that perfectly creates an environment for disseminating information, creating communities and providing excellent customer service through video, audio and chat communications.”
A host of other companies are also using Cisco Spark to increase productivity and collaboration. Publishers are using Cisco Spark to source, write and approve content. Because it is accessible from nearly any device, editors no longer have to be in the office to collaborate with editorial teams. Instead, they are now filing content from the field, getting content out faster. Financial services are adopting Cisco Spark, in part, because of its end-to-end content encryption.
Cisco Simplifies Collaboration Through Contact Center and Video Innovations:
- Cisco is transforming the customer care experience with a new Contact Center feature, Context Service – read the full announcement here.
- Cisco is extending the power and functionality of the Cisco Telepresence MX800 and has announced a software platform that will delight video customers - read the full announcement here.
- Collaboration Blog by Cisco’s Rowan Trollope
- Video of Cisco Spark
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*Features available to customers utilizing Spark Message and Spark Message and Meet.
** Final pricing is subject to volume and customer discount tiers.
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