Not just 5 or 6 years ago, we were still manually dialing in and out of meetings. Video conferences and audio conferences alike were pretty modest. We clicked on a Webex invite in our email calendar and let the app do its thing or sometimes went retro and dialed into the audio bridge, then typed a 6 digit code to enter the meeting. If we were leveraging a Telepresence room, we would have the WebEx/CMR dial us back, have TMS auto dial a room, or again manually dial into the SIP address of the Virtual Meeting Room. It wasn’t until recently where One Button to Push (OBTP) or the “Big Green Button” became the central part of the Next Generation Meetings discussion. A Next Gen Meeting meant that no matter where we are, what device we are on, when we were meeting, or who we were meeting with, we came to accept and expect the same consistent experience. This experience is delivered by Cisco WebEx and clocked a staggering 26.5 Million meetings per month. That pretty significant. However, Cisco is not waiting for the rest of the world to catch up to how they use Next Generation Meetings. Cisco is taking the Next Generation Meeting to an entirely new level. Combining the power and scale of WebEx, innovation of Spark and the recent acquisition of Mildmeld’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, Cisco is changing the game when it comes to meetings and productivity. This recent announcement of the Cisco Spark Assistant came at Cisco’s Partner Summit and is turning heads in the tech industry.
Here is a sneak peek into this new world of meetings.
A Next Gen Meeting meant that no matter where we are, what device we are on, when we were meeting, or who we were meeting with, we came to accept and expect the same consistent experience.
This journey starts with Cisco Spark Room Kit, Room Kit Plus, and Spark Rooms including the Spark Room 55 and Spark Room 70. The experience will be delivered to Cisco Spark Boards and the Cisco Spark App later in the calendar year. This new Virtual Assistant simply called “Spark” delivers voice and chat with natural language understanding. It helps perform common tasks like starting, joining, scheduling meetings and even sharing content while in a meeting. But it also delivers complex tasks as well like muting/un-muting, recording, adding participants and 1:1 calling.
While Cisco is really the first to enter this new world, I doubt it will be the last. In an already crowded marketplace with Alexa, Siri, Cortana and the Google Assistant, Spark has its work cut out for him (or her) to remain a leader in this space. One major advantage Spark has on its side is the superior hardware and software integration between Cisco Spark OS and WebEx paired with the hardware platform of the Spark RoomKits and Spark Boards. So keep an eye out in early 2018 for more announcements regarding the Spark Assistant.