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What the converging of Cisco Spark and Webex means for your customers

May 29, 2018

What the converging of Cisco Spark and Webex means for your customers

The world’s becoming more collaborative

Over the past few years, the virtual workplace and flexible workweek trends have had a major impact on the way people work. Research from Citrix, for instance, predicts that 50% of the workforce will work remotely by 2020. While years ago it may have made more sense to choose a conferencing solution or a collaboration solution, today’s workers often need both. To make it easier for teams to meet and get great work done, Cisco converged its Cisco Spark and Webex platforms. The result is a new Webex Meetings application for meetings and a new seamless team collaboration application called Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark). And, because both products are delivered through the cloud, no disruptive “rip and replace” is in your customers’ futures. Customers simply will receive the update when logging into their Spark or Webex service within the next couple of months.

What’s new with the combined Spark-Webex offering?

The two communication products are being migrated to a newly converged platform, and Cisco is adding a new hardware device that turns any work space with a TV into a Webex room. The company is also making everything easier to buy, and it’s adding new machine learning and artificial intelligence functionality:

  • Cisco’s AI-powered Webex Assistant (formerly Cisco Spark Assistant) will be available in all Cisco cloud-connected Webex Room Kit and Room Series devices within the next couple of months.
  • Noise suppression is another AI feature users will notice.All Cisco cloud-connected and on-premise video devices can now suppress disruptive noises. For example, if someone starts loudly shuffling papers (or a dog starts barking in the background) on a call, the system will automatically turn the volume down enough so that the sound no longer interrupts the conversation. And, when the same person speaks, the system will automatically stop suppressing the sound.

Note: This is not a trick to give customers a collaboration ultimatum

So, what about your customers who use Webex for conferences, but they use other tools for collaboration, such as Skype, Slack or Google Hangouts? The convergence of Spark and Webex won’t have any negative impact on your customers’ communication and collaboration experiences. Cisco wants its partners and customer to be free to choose whichever tool is right for them.

What’s next for Webex?

Another service coming soon to the Webex family is Webex Share, a new way for teams to share content via a conference room display. Simply plug the palm-sized adapter into the back of the TV, pair with the system and start sharing your document or screen. When you’re done, keep the work going in your Webex Teams space. Plus, with Webex Share, teams will be able to easily reserve rooms, know when a room is already booked and much more. Webex Share will be available for Webex Meetings and Teams toward the end of 2018.

To learn more about Cisco collaboration solutions, join Ingram Micro for a one-hour, instructor-led virtual training, titled “My Team, Your Team, Webex Teams: Cisco Calling Solutions and Video Endpoints,” happening Tuesday, May 22, at 10 a.m. PT.