Cisco to Spark collaboration with new multi-level service

San Jose, Calif.-based IT giant Cisco Systems Inc. has announced Cisco Spark, a new service that will deliver team messaging, meeting and phone call services from the cloud.

Spark will invite users to log into and switch between the three methods of communication “in such a simple way that it is hard to tell where one ends and the next begins,” the company said in a Dec. 8 press release.

“With a single click you can turn a phone call into a video meeting,” the Dec. 8 press release said. “With a swipe you can move a video call from a room system to your mobile phone and then to another room — so you don’t have to miss anything when you need to move.”

In addition to introducing Cisco Spark as a standalone service, the company is also allowing the tens of thousands of customers who use its current phone and video conferencing systems to access their services from the cloud.

“My team is passionate about making tools for work that are as simple and delightful as the tools we use at home,” Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Collaboration, Data Analytics and IoT groups, said in a statement. “Spark lets us give amazing experiences to companies of all sizes—from tiny startups to the Fortune 100. And we’re just getting started.”

With Cisco Spark, simply placing a call will automatically create a so-called “Spark room” that both parties will immediately share. If a colleague wants to join they can simply log in, or one participant needs to share content, they can turn the Spark room into a video conference with a single click.

Spark will even allow users to link calendar servers to the cloud, starting a room at the scheduled time so that any groups invited to a meeting can share immediately share content or ideas.

Cisco expects to release the complete Spark service package in 21 countries, including Canada and the United States, during the first quarter of 2016, with other countries being added throughout the year. The service’s pricing will be determined by Cisco partners, who will be authorized to sell the company’s messaging, meeting and calling services from the cloud using a monthly subscription model.

Select Spark services, including Cisco Spark for Developers, are available now.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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