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Cisco Consolidates Collaboration Under Webex

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Cisco Consolidates Collaboration Under Webex

April 18, 2018
By Paula Bernier
Executive Editor, TMC

Cisco (News - Alert) has converged its team collaboration solution (formerly known as Cisco Spark) and Webex Meetings solution. And it’s moved the Cisco Spark solutions under the Webex brand.

So Cisco Spark is now known as Webex Teams. Cisco Spark Assistant is now Webex Assistant. And the Cisco Spark Board from this day forward shall be known as the Webex Board.

“Everyone knows the Webex brand. It’s like Kleenex,” Jonathan Rosenberg, Cisco VP and CTO collaboration, said during a press briefing today.

During his keynote presentation this morning at the Cisco Collaboration Summit, Rosenberg talked about how the company has simplified Webex Teams for ease of use. The new color palette is easy on the eyes, he said. People can use a single button to create a new collaboration space and do a range of other things. Users can join meetings through their calendars if they so choose. And APIs enable Webex features to live within existing business applications and workflows.

“It’s minimal. It’s sleek. It’s visually stunning,” he said. “We’ve taken everything out except all that’s necessary.”

Rosenberg added: “This is now a full-fledged meeting application. I don’t have to go somewhere else.”

At today’s event in Phoenix, Cisco also:

• unveiled a hardware device called Webex Share,

• revealed augmented reality functionality it created with the Apple (News - Alert) SDK is now available on iOS devices, and

• announced new features to its Flex Plan that make it easier for Cisco customers to buy its collaboration solutions.

Webex Share enables businesses to transform regular TVs into Webex communications and collaboration interfaces. Pricing has not yet been announced for this hardware device, which will be available later this year.

Cisco demonstrated a new augmented reality feature of Webex that’s available on Apple devices running iOS. The company showed how a sales or marketing person could display a three-dimensional image of a product, and even rotate the product, to demo its own wares to customers.

And Flex Plan now includes a complete meeting suite with bundled audio, bundled storage, and the ability to support up to 1,000 participants in a meeting.

Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of the applications group, also talked about Cisco’s interest is taking artificial intelligence beyond command and control. The next step in the AI journey involves natural language understanding, he said, adding that’s a hot area of research right now.

Tom Puorro, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s UC technology group, then took the stage to provide a “sneak preview” demo of how AI could enable a knowledge worker to end a call by saying something like “schedule next meeting in two weeks,” and AI could look at the schedules of everybody on the current call, find a time two weeks out that works for everyone, and then automatically send a meeting invite to everybody in that group. Puorro said Cisco intends to introduce something along these lines in the future, but didn’t provide a timeline for that.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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