Cisco upgrades Cisco Spark and launches Cisco Spark Board

Cisco Spark is the company’s cloud-based, unified communications platform, while the Cisco Spark Board is an interactive electronic whiteboard for the future workplace. Prices below.

Cisco showcased its upgraded Cisco Spark – the company’s cloud-based, all-in-one messaging, meetings, calls and conferencing platform designed for the workplace of the future.

The new version of its flagship collaboration solution includes a simplified user interface, more features, and seamless linking to Cisco’s wide portfolio of corporate phone systems, WebEx meeting and video conferencing technologies.

The launch was held at the Impact Hub Singapore, a coworking community with over 670 members comprising both ideation stage startups to billion-dollar “Unicorn” ventures.

Cisco also launched for Asia its Cisco Spark Board, a new plug-and-play, all-in-one device for team collaboration that lets users wirelessly present, whiteboard, and video or audio conference whether you are in the physical conference room or not. (Prices below.)

The 55-inch (140 cm) version of the Cisco Spark Board is available from Cisco partners across Asia at a recommended price of US$4,990 with a US$199 monthly subscription.

The subscription covers the cloud service, help desk and software upgrades. You can also buy through the Cisco Spark Flex Plan.

The 70-inch (178 cm) version of the Cisco Spark Board will be available in Asia later this year at a recommended price of US$9,990.

More details about Cisco Spark from the press release can be found below.

Cisco drives the future of work with Cisco Spark

Simple, Secure and Open collaboration

A critical component of digital transformation, workplace transformation somehow receives much less attention from many CEOs across Asia.

“The workplace of the future is here. We are changing the way we work, for good, and for the better. Switching, swiping and scouring between your apps or desktop is now a thing of the past; Cisco Spark can do everything, from one place, with one click. Asia’s businesses are about to get a huge productivity boost,” said Darryl McKinnon, Managing Director, Collaboration Sales, Asia Pacific, Cisco.

However, for today’s workforces, how and where they work, matters just as much as who they work for.

As a result, companies are investing in tools that help meet the demands and expectations of their younger, always-on, and mobile first staff.

Yet, despite an increasing number of convenient, richer communication mediums – live chat, video, VoIP calls, voice messaging— the technology solutions remain fragmented.

By combining meetings, messaging, and calls in one platform, Cisco Spark aims to change all that by providing a more complete experience than ever before, to serve the modern workforce.

There are several factors that make Cisco Spark particularly attractive for Asia’s businesses, many of whom are SMEs with large and remote geographic footprints:

It’s Simple: Cisco Spark is simple to install, set up and use. Installation in many cases is automatic, with everything configured and updated automatically via the cloud. The user interface is more consumer than commercial, so it’s easy to switch on. Meetings, calls or messaging are then just one click away.

If you have lived your entire life on email, there is no concern either: email conversations and attachments can be moved in their entirety straight to Cisco Spark – again with one click.

It’s Secure: What separates Cisco Spark from the competition is its security. This has been built from the ground up to provide enterprise level end-to-end encryption. The content is encrypted at the user end and remains encrypted throughout its journey, with no access to anyone along the way, ensuring “for-your-eyes-only” access from the sender to one, or many recipients.

It’s also robust enough to satisfy the stringent requirements of governments and big businesses without compromising on speed and responsiveness. Cisco Spark remains nimble enough to satisfy the “I want it now” needs of today’s hyper connected workers and secure enough for the most stringent of sectors or governments.

It’s Open: Finally, it’s built for the future. Cisco Spark is an open architecture platform. Some of the best ideas will come from the outside. Cisco Spark for Developers provides powerful, open APIs so developers and other third parties can create applications that extend the value of Cisco Spark.

Recent Cisco acquisitions, like Worklife, for enhanced meeting experiences and Synata for improved search capabilities have already been embedded into Spark and Cisco is creating strategic alliances with some of Silicon Valley’s top companies to boost the capabilities and reach even further.

It’s already connected: Cisco already has a rich heritage in business communications, with the largest suite of industry tools embedded in most large enterprises and governments: 95% of the Fortune 500 use Cisco collaboration while WebEx monthly participants have hit 85 million, with over 100 million hard and soft phones shipped and 30m Jabber seats sold.

With our hybrid service, Cisco Spark can further extend and enhance the collaboration experience by integrating with many pre-installed systems

For example, when using Cisco Spark and hybrid call services, you can place a call traditional from a Cisco IP phone, the call automatically creates a meeting in the Cisco Spark space that the callers share. There, you can show content with a single click. We call this a “zero-touch meeting” because no one actually sets it up—it is just there when you need it.

Collaboration is now adapting to the way we work rather than the other way around. As the demands of modern workforces increase, the structure of workplaces and work change. With businesses looking for secure and simple solutions, Cisco Spark looks set to lead the way.

More details about Cisco Spark Board from the press release can be found below.

Cisco unveils meetings for the 21st Century workplace

Finally, an end to the misery of meetings

While businesses are more connected than ever, there is still one area of the workplace that remains at odds with the digital transformation taking place elsewhere – the meeting room.

“We are making meetings truly digital. Our aim is to eliminate conference room clutter and connect physical meeting rooms with virtual spaces – where the majority of work gets done,” said Darryl McKinnon, Cisco’s MD, Collaboration Sales, Asia Pacific and Japan.

Surprisingly many meeting rooms today still only contain a speakerphone and whiteboard.

When they are upgraded, the technology often doesn’t work, is hard to use, or breaks down.

Meanwhile, the tables are either littered with wires, connectors and remotes – or in many cases missing them altogether.

No wonder meetings often feel like a waste of time, when the setup and connection time is more than the time spent on the meeting.

The traditional approach to this conundrum has often been to add more clutter by developing a new “add on” app or bolting on a new device – ultimately adding to the chaos and disconnect.

Cisco took an altogether different approach. To end ‘miserable meetings’, we went back to first principles and built new breakthrough technology designed, developed and deployed together with new cloud-based software.

Above all, it had to be simple to use, super secure, able to cope with today’s modern workplace demands, and priced affordably so it is available for any size of business.

Cisco Spark Board: The New All-in-One Meeting Room

A wireless presentation device that works for everyone, everywhere

Cisco has created a global, worldwide network of workspaces, accessible from anywhere. Walk up to a Cisco Spark Board anywhere in the world – yours or not – and you can start sharing with one click. When using the Cisco Spark App, as you approach, the board will recognize and greet you.

No Bluetooth, no WiFi or network connection required. It is controlled from your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile phone. It is screen sharing that just works. We achieved it through a tight integration with the Cisco Spark platform plus new and groundbreaking ultrasound wireless pairing technology, making remote controls obsolete.

An interactive digital whiteboard that everyone can edit

Cisco Spark™ Board takes whiteboards to a new level: It ensures your creativity and content is shareable, editable, and secure and is packed with a host of features to make meetings memorable and creativity and collaboration flow.

Whiteboards are where some of the best ideas originate. But they haven’t really moved on since the 1950s when they were invented. They are great for creativity, but what goes on the board stays on the board, unless you opt for a whiteboard selfie.

Beyond snapping a photo, it’s difficult to save or share your work, and impossible if you want to go back and edit it. There have been attempts at digital whiteboards – but the experience has been terrible, and adoption limited. Until now.

No more whiteboard selfies

Cisco Spark™ Board automatically saves your work. Using the cloud your work is saved to a space that the whole team shares. Take a call, a break or another meeting then simply pick up where you left off at your leisure.

Accessible by anyone from anywhere

Now anyone can leave their mark in real time (or later) —even from a mobile phone. Using the Cisco Spark app, every participant can now simultaneously whiteboard.

Incredible meetings

Want to be on a video call while whiteboarding? You can do that, too. Say goodbye to that old speakerphone. The Cisco Spark Board gives you the video and audio quality you would expect from Cisco. The inbuilt 4K camera gives a broad, crisp view of the room without being obtrusive. The microphone array and Voice Track technology ensures that your message will come through crystal-clear on the other end.


But all these assets are worthless, if it’s too complicated to install and use. So, we’ve taken care of that too. We have eliminated all the wires and cables through our ultrasound wireless pairing technology. Cisco Spark™ Board is plug and play so, setup is as simple as placing on a stand or mounting it to the wall and switching on. We’ve now put technology in every room for our customers.

Someday meetings will be eliminated altogether, but until that time, Cisco Spark will be on hand to ensure there are less of them and they are shorter and more productive.

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