Cisco upgrades cloud-based conferencing platform

Cisco has stepped up its collaboration efforts in Asia with the upgrade of 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 much simpler user interface, more features, and seamless linking to Cisco’s vast portfolio of corporate phone systems, WebEx meeting and video conferencing technologies.

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

“The workplace of the future is here,” said Darryl McKinnon, Managing Director, Collaboration Sales, Asia Pacific, Cisco. “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.”

The company says Cisco Spark is particularly attractive for Asia’s businesses, many of whom are SMEs with large and remote geographic footprints because it is simple to install, secure, and already connected.

For security, Cisco Spark 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.

Cisco Spark is also 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.

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. Cisco calls this a “zero-touch meeting” because no one actually sets it up—it is just there when you need it.