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Cisco's Spark grows into a phone and meeting platform for the cloud

Stephen Lawson | Dec. 9, 2015
The service will get call features and integration with in-office collaboration systems next year.

This will allow for smooth integration, Cisco says. For example, when an employee with a desk phone gets a call from a coworker who's using Spark, a one-on-one meeting room in Spark can immediately open the phone user's PC browser so the two workers can use video or share content.

Spark can also be integrated into specific devices in the office that can be updated to run Spark as an operating system. This capability will come first to Cisco's 7800 and 8800 Series phones and the Cisco Telepresence SX-10 big-screen videoconferencing system. A meeting host will be able to connect an SX-10 to a Spark meeting by entering a code or just by walking into the room and tapping one button on the Spark smartphone app.

Another addition to Spark be a powerful spur to broader adoption. Cisco will now let developers extend the platform by writing their own applications or adding ones from third parties. Starting Tuesday, the company is offering APIs (application programming interfaces) through a developer portal with community support.

When Spark becomes available, it will include native integration with several applications, including Instagram, incident management tool PagerDuty and task management app Trello. For example, without any coding, users can set up Trello to notify a group chatroom in Spark every time a task in that group's project is completed, Daniels said. Spark will be a data source for app integration services like IFTTT and Zapier to set up actions such as notifications.

 

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