Revolutionize the way you meet!

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.

DarlingOn 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

Access, Access, Access

The concept of a digital workspace has evolved over time. Most clients we speak to can imagine new ways of offering services to their users. Questions remain though;  How much gear do I need to provide them? How can I make it simpler for my users to access and keep pace as the industry continues to introduce new applications and methods to consume and create content? How can we maintain security and ensure data is protected? Most IT professionals are working with their organizations to shore up screen-of-life-blog-imagethe gaps in their security when lines of third-party SaaS providers are introduced and then have difficulty retaining control and accountability for access. Time-to-value for new methods, mobile apps and change of any kind that promises improvement to their organization is many times not accurately accounted for. Screens have continued to explode in popularity throughout organizations globally. These portals into the world of digitized information empower users to impose requests for the latest consumer technology and BYOD upon IT that bring both opportunities and threats. Let’s take a closer look at these screens and the power they hold.

Screens were created to read or rather watch words. They are always on and have the capability to transform any space into a digital consumption platform. Being digital allows users to: annotate, mark up, underline, bookmark, summarize, cross reference, hyperlink, share and talk to content. Adding these capabilities allows reading or watching content to become social. In order for this to become a reality we must make content portable.

Possession is not as important as it once was. Now instant access is critical, and gives many of of the same benefits and few of the disadvantages.

There is a mythical dream to backup the entire Internet. Some are attempting to do this and “The Cloud”, built upon today’s technology can enable that dream. An achievement such as this will be remembered for all time and will contain the entire works of all human kind. This is a very large library, representing approximately 310M books, 1.4 B articles, 180 T songs, 3.5 T images, 330K movies, 1B videos, 60T public webpages. Today it would take the space the size of a bedroom. Eventually will fit on the future size of a phone.

IT professionals have two views on this type of power. 1) Half are surely hoping they die before such things happen and 2) the other half want to know what’s taking so long; summon content as desired from anywhere and securely access it from the screen of their choice. Delivering a new digital workspace built as a cloud-first service, where continuous development is employed to bring new innovations on a weekly and monthly basis; will allow IT professionals to meet business and user expectations at the accelerated pace we are now moving and our users have come to expect.

Failure to provide end user’s the ability to access the required applications and data securely efficiently and effectively can have a very negative impact on business. SMP works with clients to deliver IT solutions that provide highly efficient digital workspaces and mobility, leveraging cutting edge technology, enabling businesses to move forward.