Webex Teams FKA Cisco Spark

Spark. There, I said it. For the past four years Cisco Spark has been the elephant in the room. Why now is Cisco coming up with a new platform? What will happen to Jabber and WebEx? Confusion abounded, and the roadmap was kludge.

When Cisco Spark was introduced, the idea of teamwork was quickly becoming obvious, but many people were not sure how to deal with it. Remote workers.  Global business. No-traditional work schedules. Security concerns. Cisco’s go-to-marketing strategy for security became a great way to discuss how the collaboration process should occur. The platform needs to be able to allow you to collaborate simply and securely: before, during, and after a meeting.

Webex Teams is more than a rebrand. It is a new philosophy at Cisco called “Work Intuitive”.


secure unified communications (UC) solution

But what is Webex Teams? Webex Teams is a business communication platform. In Webex Teams you can use persistent business messaging (different than an instant message), you can have a video call with one or many coworkers, host meetings, present content, share documents, and create team-oriented spaces. The key for Webex Teams is that it is built from the ground up as a secure cloud-based platform which will allow you and your business the ability to quickly add this solution into your workflow and streamline the way in which you communicate, securely.

Webex Teams allows you to call anyone in the space (with one click), you can access any file in the space, schedule a meeting with everyone in the room, share your content, white board, and collaborate via native video calling, and business messaging.

How did communication, calling, and meetings take place at work before this product?

Pre-Webex Teams: 

Your manager sends you an invite for a meeting with a client regarding a new bicycle concept. The client wants to discuss how it is built, how much it will cost them, and when can they have five for a proof of concept during this meeting. You go and have face-to-face discussions, writing down notes on paper, post it notes, on your laptop, or a combination thereof.  From there, you send out an email to everyone on the project with your findings. The client then asks for a rendering of the product.  Roadblock:  the image is  more than 2.0 M, and exceeds your company’s email capabilities. To further complicate the situation, the file is stored on an area of the share drive that you don’t have access to.  Solution = USB thumb drive loaded by a team member with access.  You have notes and content in multiple locations, images on a USB drive, and you now need to put them all into a PowerPoint. Pressure is mounting, don’t lose any of this content as it is confidential and, if stolen, could create legal issues for your company.

You complete this task moments before the meeting, now for the presentation! You’re sharing content through a projector (which took you 5 minutes to connect to) and the client wants to zoom in on a specific section and talk about it. You have to print it out and provide copies for all attendees, who then mark up their copies with suggested changes. You then make multiple copies of the changes for everyone to take with them. But what about the notes on the other presentation content?  After the meeting the client asks for a copy of the presentation, which you provide on a USB flash drive (hopefully they don’t misplace it).  But the presentation  is already outdated.

Months go by, multiple revisions, emails, phone calls and hand written notes later you need to have another meeting. Do you know what version is the most current?

Your client is in Japan, but still the meeting must happen now.  Likely, your experience would be over a PSTN connection with no content sharing, and static notes occurring on both sides which would then need to be retyped into an email, likely with input missing or forgotten all together.

I think it is safe to say this meeting experience just simply couldn’t handle today’s demands in business and it is time to be sunset.


Post Webex Teams:

Your client reaches out to you for your new bicycle concept and the same deliverables are expected. We need to collaborate internally and externally, so we create a space on Webex Teams which will allow everyone to collaborate. You invite the client, and all related parties within your company into this space. Before the meeting you publish your notes, PowerPoint, rendering, and cost proposal within the Team space. Your client has secure access to everything including any future edits, in real-time. Your clients arrive onsite and you sit in front of your 70” Webex Board and open the Team space on the board itself. All information in the space is available at your fingertips. The Webex Board is a fundamental part of the Webex Teams experience and allows you to pair a “space” from your Teams.

The proposal is going well, and the client wants to review the renderings. You simply share your screen on the Board. As before, some changes are required. To show these changes you simply pick up the Webex Board pen, and annotate over the image, in real-time. This allows you to maximize the time working verses dealing with technological challenges.

The meeting ends and a couple people in attendance were not invited into the Team space and ask for a copy of the rendering changes, and the presentation deck. No worries! After being added into the Teams space, all content, chat, white boards and annotations are available to them.

Months go by, multiple revisions are made on the project and it’s time for another meeting.

Your client is in Japan. How is the meeting experience? It’s very similar to the initial meeting. Your client can access the meeting in many ways, but we believe video-based meetings are the future. In Japan, they have an older Polycom unit but that is no issue since Webex Teams meetings are powered by Webex. Joining is simple, a single green “Join button” which allows access to the meeting on virtually any device, using VoIP, PSTN, SIP, H.323, and many other variations. All content is available to all participants. Your client has a tablet, so they can annotate as well if needed.  Notes and revisions are saved to the Team space and accessible by all members.

Visibility. Access. Ease of use. All in one space. Webex Teams.

The Difference With Webex Teams

With Teams you can communicate in real time, on any device. Webex Boards are one of many products which are available for this unique experience. In addition to the meetings function, the Webex platform can connect to your CUCM instance via Webex Hybrid Services using Cisco Expressway technology, or they also offer a hosted PBX which will soon be powered by BroadSoft. Webex Teams can be a full soft client with PSTN capabilities, video call, and will also allow you to simply share your screen, schedule meetings via integrated calendar connector, white board, share content, or collaborate in any way you see fit. Additionally, the Teams environment is a fully open environment with APIs to allow you to hook into many products including a CRM such as Salesforce, an LMS like Blackboard or Moodle, or even your own product. If APIs exist on both sides, the possibilities are endless. 

Stop having static meetings with static content. Collaborate on a continuum before, during, and after your meeting. Collaborate in one location where all notes, messages, files, meetings, discussions can occur securely, and intuitively. Collaborate with Webex Teams.

Contact SMP today and learn how we can transform your business and revolutionize how you collaborate.