Cisco, Telstra seek to ignite collaboration with Spark

Mobile app brings Facebook-style UI to unified communications

Opening night at Cisco Live in Melbourne

Opening night at Cisco Live in Melbourne

Cisco and Telstra took the wraps off of a work collaboration app designed for mobile devices.

At Cisco Live in Melbourne, the companies introduced Cisco Spark, a cloud-based app that provides a Facebook-like user interface combining notes, photos, messaging, whiteboarding and other unified communications features into a single interface.

Telstra announced it will make the Cisco Spark app available to enterprise customers next month.

The product will initially reside in the Cisco Cloud but Telstra will bring it into its own cloud over time, said Boris Corluka, Telstra director of unified communications products.

Cisco Spark lets users start a virtual room in which up to eight team members can securely send messages, share and view files, start multiparty voice and video calls, and share their screens.

Telstra will also make available a paid version that includes more controls for enterprises. Expanded features include room moderation, single sign on, directory sync, live support, larger rooms supporting up to 25 users, and integration with WebEx Meeting Center.

While Cisco and Telstra stressed the mobile benefits of the app, a desktop version is also available. Spark is available for download from the Apple and Google Play app stores, as well as the Cisco website.

The app was originally introduced under the name “Project Squared” at Cisco’s Collaboration Summit in November.

"Telstra used Cisco Spark to help us improve collaboration within our product development team and we were genuinely surprised at the rate of change in behaviour, as staff spent far less time on email and in meetings and saw team productivity boost as a result,” said Philip Jones, Telstra executive director of global products and solutions.

Adam Bender travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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Tags unified communicationsCisco SparkCloudmobilityciscomobilecollaborationTelstra

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