Cisco Merges WebEx And Spark To Simplify Collaboration
Until recently, Spark was Cisco’s go-to video conferencing and collaboration solution for modern teams seeking a fleet and flexible platform for messaging, content sharing and video calling. It was essentially an amped up version of Cisco’s popular WebEx collaboration solution. Now, in an attempt to streamline its collaboration offerings, Cisco will be merging Spark and WebEx so that all users can access the benefits of both platforms./p>
"Prior to this convergence, we had Cisco Spark with its own type of meeting--the Spark meeting, but we still had WebEx with its own WebEx meetings," explains Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO of Cisco’s collaboration business. “Users could join Cisco Spark meetings only from the Cisco Spark app, and WebEx meetings from the WebEx app. Users could join WebEx meetings from Cisco Spark if they were clever, but they did not get any of the critical meetings features. With this convergence it's all simplified.”
Let’s take a look at a few of the changes in store for Cisco WebEx and Spark users.
Whether you’re using WebEx Meetings or WebEx Teams, the WebEx backbone will interconnect with both of them, with meeting servers in both public clouds and Cisco’s own data centers. This consolidation of power means that customers will be getting the best video with the lowest latency possibe.
Before the merger of Cisco Spark and WebEx, the two platforms provided totally separate management tools. Spark offered the Control Hub for basic analytics, while WebEx users had access to the site admin for their management needs. But now, with the absorption of Spark into WebEx, the Control Hub gives customers using both WebEx Meetings and WebEx Teams the same set of analytics functions.
One of the most exciting features of Cisco Spark was its hybrid media service, which allowed customers to deploy on-site servers which could be used for audio, video and content sharing streams. But these on-premise servers only worked for Spark meetings. This convergence makes these hybrid media nodes accessible by both WebEx meetings and Team meetings, and to mark this change, the hybrid media service has been rebranded as “video mesh.”
It is absolutely crucial for a video conferencing and collaboration solution to give users the freedom to connect with people outside their company. The standard strategy for making such connections is to create guest accounts for outside users, which has a major downside: these accounts make for security risks, as they allow users to share information beyond the border of the company in ways that can’t be tracked by compliance tools. This vulnerability makes it possible for employees to share confidential information (accidentally or on purpose) with no accountability. WebEx Teams solves the problem by eliminating guest accounts--B2B collaboration is built in, so users can connect with everyone from the same application while giving companies the power to detect any leaks.
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