One of the main challenges organizations are faced with daily is the ability to have productive meetings. Disjointed tools and legacy technology create complexity, resulting in decreased productivity and a poor user experience. Meetings rarely start on time, and for many participants, meetings can be a giant waste of time.
Having just attended my 8th meeting of the day (before 2:00pm), it’s very apparent that productivity is not a singular event. Productivity happens when people exchange ideas, share and review content, and collaborate over time via numerous interactions. To put an end to painful meetings, you can’t just add a new device or app. You have to take a unified approach and design something that is elegant, simple to use, comprehensive and affordable, so that everyone has access to it.
On Tuesday (1/24/17), Cisco launched its latest meeting room product and it’s setting the Unified Communications and Collaboration industry on fire. The device, known as the Spark Board, packs wireless content sharing, ultra-high-definition video conferencing, voice-tracking technology and an advanced interactive whiteboard into a single offering. When you couple this with Cisco’s Spark Message and Meet platform, you instantly enable dispersed and virtual teams to have a richer collaboration experience; one that is part of a continuous work stream.
The Spark Board is a cloud-based solution that easily connects your digital and physical workspaces. The reimagined, interactive whiteboard allows anyone with the Cisco Spark app to draw on, mark-up, comment, and collaborate in real-time, regardless of where they are physically. Content is saved instantly, so it can be shared or viewed by anyone that is part of the meeting or space. Once shared, the content and whiteboard are living documents that can be edited at any time. The entire work stream is persistent.
To satisfy the need for face-to-face communications with those who can’t be in the room, Spark Board comes equipped with twelve microphones and a next-generation 4K camera. There is no need for a separate voice or video endpoint in the room to make and receive calls. And with the built in voice-tracking technology, the system automatically focuses on the active speaker, even in large rooms.
To round out the board’s capability, it comes native with Cisco’s proximity technology, enabling laptops and mobile devices to pair with the board using high-frequency audio. Seamless pairing happens automatically with any Spark Board – yours or not. There is no need for cables, Bluetooth, NFC, PIN codes or anything else to connect. As you walk into a room, the board automatically wakes up. As you approach the board, the board recognizes and greets you, and then suggests an activity to choose from. Users can then share and receive content wirelessly, addressing a major pain point that we have all experienced in conference room and huddle spaces for years. Further, basic endpoint control of the board can be done through your Cisco Spark app-enabled mobile device, allowing you to make and disconnect phone calls. It’s truly unprecedented. Cisco is creating a global, worldwide network of workspaces, which can be individually accessed from anywhere.
The Cisco Spark Board is revolutionary in its usability, capability, and design. Cisco Spark provides a phenomenal end-user experience with a reliable and consistent user interface across all Spark-enabled devices. Spark is delivered simply and securely through the Cisco cloud and is offered on a subscription basis, allowing organizations to update services automatically or on demand if they desire.
Welcome Spark Board to the collaboration landscape! And thank you Cisco for continuing to find innovative ways to bring people together in this increasingly connected world. Let’s make collaboration simple together. Meet less; meet better.
To learn more about Cisco Spark Board, click on the videos and articles below:
Cisco Spark Board Keynote (Chuck Robbins, Rowan Trollope and Jonathan Rosenberg)
Experience the Cisco Spark Board
Cisco Spark Board Launch
White Boarding in Cisco Spark: Always Yours, Always Live, Always Secure
Cisco Spark Security and Privacy