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Cisco Puts a Spark into Communications Service

December 14, 2015

According to Cisco (News - Alert), the release of its new Spark Hybrid Services could “[reinvent] the collaboration experience.” Its latest software offering will operate in the cloud and try to revolutionize the way employees complete calling, initiate meetings, and send messages to one another.

Spark, which operates entirely in the cloud, begins with the premise that all communications devices and corporate servers can be connected to the cloud. Everything from desk phones to mobile devices to database and calendar servers can exist for use from anywhere. IT admins can first connect desk phones to the company network by simply scanning a bar code. Servers can easily make their way to the cloud in a similar manner.

Then when two callers want to initiate a call, they can expect their voice connection to exist as both a voice call and a data sharing service. When a call or conference begins, users will be able to speak to each other and then access a Web-based meeting room that can accept file transfers and visual demonstrations. Spark creates these meeting rooms automatically to add another level of functionality to communications.

When in a voice call, a user may want to transfer to a video call with the same person. Spark also makes this possible with just a swipe of the touchscreen or press of a button. That same logic applies to any switches between two-person calls and group conferences. All users in any type of call can visit company calendar servers, for example, and view the availability of anyone in the office. Individuals can join conferences when they are available and access all the content the group has previously shared.

From there, everything lies in the hands of developers. Businesses can create their own Spark add-ons by utilizing the Cisco API. The API remains open for changes at the discretion of developers and therefore allows for extensions of Spark that Cisco could not have envisioned beforehand. Although the functionality of this new communications system may be advanced to start, it cannot prepare for all possible situations. Businesses with unique needs can code their own applications with the API to make their lives even easier.

Spark is set to land in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2016 and then make it to at least 21 countries throughout the rest of the year.




Edited by Peter Bernstein

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