Cisco Spark merges with Webex: What it means for you

 In IT News/Events, News, Solutions

Cisco Spark is no more.

The platform is now being rolled into Cisco’s Webex in a rebrand that converges the functionality of both platforms and streamlines Cisco’s product offerings.

What does this mean for Spark and Webex customers? Let’s take a closer look at what’s changing and what’s new.

Why Cisco is rolling Spark into Webex

Spark was introduced last year as a platform that worked in tandem with Webex. But there was some confusion among customers about what that meant for the future of Webex, the bread and butter of many organizations.

Cisco, of course, never stopped investing in Webex, and has now decided to blend the features of Spark into the trusted Webex brand.

Ultimately, that means that if you’re already a Webex customer, the biggest changes under this rebrand are new features that you can immediately take advantage of.

What’s new in Webex

Some of the biggest new features are in AI, video, and interface enhancements. Here are four highlights:

  • Webex virtual assistant: Similar to Siri or Alexa, Webex virtual assistant is a natural-language AI that can carry out standard meeting actions with a voice command. It can help with everything from workflow to completing tasks to joining a meeting. Just say “OK, Webex, join my meeting,” and it’ll connect you.
  • Webex share: This piece of hardware connects to standard HDMI displays for wireless content sharing without the need to log in to Webex.
  • More video endpoints in a meeting: Cisco tripled the number of video endpoints supported in a WebEx from 25 to 75, giving the new Webex Meetings even more powerful video capabilities.
  • New and improved interface: Cisco tidied up the design, consolidated menus, and generally improved the Webex interface to make it more intuitive. This is a direct response to customer feedback on Spark.

What’s going away and what’s here to stay

The convergence of Spark and Webex has brought Spark products under the Webex banner. Here are some of the most significant changes to come out of the merging of the two:

  • Webex Calling replaces Spark Cloud Calling: Cisco’s recent BroadSoft acquisition will power cloud-based calling as part of a Unified Collaboration as a service (UCaaS) offering. Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) will remain part of the UCaaS portfolio.
  • Webex Meetings replaces Spark Meetings: This change includes the expansion to 75 concurrent video users, populating participant contact info, Facebook livestreaming, and mobile capabilities that include AR features for iPhones.
  • Webex Teams replaces Cisco Spark client: This offers full Webex functionality inside teams, including PSTN, roster, meeting controls, and more. It also means the Webex backbone powers meetings whether you join through Teams or Meetings.
  • Cisco Control Hub replaces Site Admin: Webex Meetings and Webex teams are now managed through the same portal, consolidating the backend for admins.
  • Webex Board replaces Spark Board: Besides the name change, this product remains the same.

What the Cisco Spark rebrand means for you

Ultimately, layering the features of Cisco Spark into Webex streamlines the product line and roadmap going forward. Bottom line: It’s a good thing.

These changes are the result of Cisco listening closely to customer feedback. Cisco is continuously working to make Webex as easy to use and intuitive as possible, and merging Spark and Webex is a big step in that direction.

The changes enhance products that current customers already use, improving features and functionality, so there’s no immediate action customers need to take. If you were considering Webex or Spark, it’s a great time to get started.

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