At first sight, you could be mistaken for thinking that the recent transformation of Cisco Spark to Cisco Webex Teams, is just a simple name change.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a convergence of two platforms, the combined effect of which delivers a much improved customer experience.
Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO for Cisco's Collaboration Business, also wrote about this recently in his blog, citing 5 significant enhancements that provide a much improved customer experience.
Here’s my take on these now that we’re a month or so further down the road.
1. Spark Meetings are no longer
Before the two platforms converged, Spark meetings were hosted on the Spark platform, and Webex meetings on the Webex equivalent.
It was fiddly to say the least, to join a Spark meeting from the Webex app, or to join a Webex meeting from the Spark app. Even if you succeeded, many of the features of were not available for Spark users joining a Webex meeting.
Now, we have one type of meeting – a Webex meeting that includes a common feature set such as roster meeting controls, PSTN connectivity, scheduling and recording.
You can join a Webex meeting from either the Webex Meetings app or the Webex Teams (formerly Spark) app.
This is a major step forward and simplifies the Webex online meetings portfolio from a user perspective. Whereas before we had confusion, we now have clarity and simplicity as well as consistency from the Webex meetings experience.
2. All meetings are now powered by the superior Webex backbone
The Webex IP backbone is purpose built for video meetings. This means it’s optimised to carry video traffic with the lowest latency possible. Cisco Spark meetings used a different backbone to deliver their meetings that wasn’t optimised for video. Now all meetings use the Webex backbone which will result in crystal clear audio and video fully synched in real time.
3. Spark customers will enjoy more in-depth analytics
The superior analytical tools and functions available for Webex customers, are now available to Spark users too as they will both share the same platform.
4. Combining the benefits of on-premise and the Cloud
Cisco Webex users can now take advantage of Cisco Spark’s hybrid media service, renamed Video Mesh. Customers can deploy servers on their premises and share audio, video and content data streams for Cisco Spark meetings. This provides customers with the best of both worlds – the benefits of on premise and the security and accessibility of the cloud.
5. Guests from outside your organisation can now join meetings without compromising security
Competitors enable external guests to join meetings by creating guest accounts on their team collaboration platform in the cloud. These have to be requested by end users, and users have to log in and out of the app when the want to meet with people outside of their company. This is also a big security issue as any confidential company information could be shared with outsiders, without it being tracked by compliance tools.
With Webex Teams, there are no guest accounts so you don’t need to ask administrators to create these. All users have a single account in the Webex cloud – with a single account each. So companies can ensure that confidential information isn’t leaked by their employees. And even if they do, it can be detected and dealt with. Webex is the first team collaboration service to provide this level of secure multi-company collaboration.
Hopefully you’ll agree that all of this amounts to a lot more than just a change of name!