In the recent Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco made several announcements in Collaboration technologies by introducing, what it seems to be, a simple and flexible offering with SPARK and Collaborations Business Edition. These new innovative offering complement Cisco’s clear strategy for Digital network architecture (DNA) and Cloud-managed solutions. The announcement includes:
- Cisco Spark Flex Plan:
Cisco is introducing a Flex-Plan Licensing Model in which allow customers that are having strong cloud-based strategy to gradually migrate their Collaborations workload by providing a customer choice to have a little mix between Spark Cloud and On premises services with a flexibility to decide which load can be on premises and which can be managed in the cloud with Spark, all with a single Contract. Meetings can be hosted in the Cloud with Spark Meetings/Webex or on-premises using Cisco Meeting Server. Calls can be handled using Cisco UCM on-premises and Voice gateways or using Cisco Spark Calls. “Migration” of any service can be done at any time within this Plan.
- Cisco Spark Depot:
It is a newly introduced Depot for developing Partners to leverage the open API of Cisco Spark to find integrations to simplify the workday. Google Calendar, Jive, Trello, Box and more can be integrated with Spark to allow fully unified experienced. I advise you to check it on https://depot.ciscospark.com as well the very interesting http://sameroom.io as well.
- Spark Hybrid Media Service:
Spark Hybrid will give customers the option to deploy Cisco Spark meetings on premises, in the cloud, or even both at the same time. not sure if it would be integrated with the Flex Plan eventually, but it might be.
- Cisco Business Edition 4000 :
With the same strategic direction in Cloud-based Collaborations, Cisco introducing Cisco BE4K targeting the Small-to-Medium-Business (SMB) sitting alongside Cisco UCM Express, Cisco BE6K, and Meraki MC. As announced, it will support 8800 and 7800 Cisco Line of IP Phones. Features like: Make, receive, park, hold and transfer calls.Auto-attendant for effective call routing, Voicemail, Hunt groups, and Audio Conference will be offered here.
With a feature of zero-touch deployment (from the customer perspective) the BE4K can automatically download its configuration from the Cloud once plugged-in into the remote site Network. I will try to find some more information on the specification and operation of the new introduced BE.
- Cisco Business Edition 6000 pre-configured before shipment:
With the same approach, Cisco is improving its management tools for Partners in ordering Cisco BE6K to have a lot of the installation workload done before shipment to customer’s site. Cisco claims it will save up to 60% of the workload. I believe we need here more information about this scope as well.
Please checkout Gary Wolfson Blog on Cisco blogs on the link http://blogs.cisco.com/partner/collaboration-just-got-simpler-and-more-flexible