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Cisco Spark: Room for Everyone


June 19, 2015 - 4 Comments

My mom…one of the best moms out there in my book.  She plans our fun family reunions, plays a mean game of golf, and keeps a busy household in order.  And she’s also a successful businesswoman with a very full plate.  She runs marketing and advertising for a small business and is an active member of the community.  She is constantly multitasking – jumping between projects and meetings on a host of different topics.  She is “collaborating” all the time.

As a marketer of collaboration products, I can’t help but analyze how people work – especially folks that may not know about all the great collaboration technology out there.  My mom happens to be one of those people.  I’ve actually seen her drive to the office to review some creative designs or spend an hour composing a long email when some simple messaging could have helped her get to the point faster.  And despite her ability to multi-task as any good mom can, I’ve noticed that she often puts small tasks on hold while over-rotating on a key deliverable, later ending up behind schedule because she’s “catching up.”  But all of this is not for a lack of familiarity with technology.  She definitely holds the role of the Chief Technology Officer for our family (sorry dad)!

Until we launched Cisco Spark, I didn’t have a simple way to get business collaboration tools directly into her hands to see if that might help make her a little more efficient.  But with Spark, it’s just one tap to download and you’re in.  So the last time I was in town I took her on a quick tour of Spark to see if it was something that she might find useful.  The short story is, she loved it.  Now, phone calls start out with a series of questions or ideas about Spark instead of questions about me (which I’m totally fine with!).

In our initial walkthrough, here are a few of the features that she liked the most:

  • Immediately add people to a Cisco Spark room. My mom loved how easy it was to start using Spark.  I added her to our 1:1 “room” and she was able to blow through a few simple steps to download the app and get right into our conversation.  After playing around with it for a minute, she ventured to click on the plus sign to start her own workspaces with colleagues.  Go, mom.

This video gives you the lay of the land on how to add people to Cisco Spark rooms.

  • Ability to easily share and view files. My mom is constantly working with creative design images and sharing stuff in lots of different places.  She liked the idea that a Spark room could be the “hub” for her next project.  So we grabbed an important file that was sitting in an email thread on her iPad and opened it in Spark.  I also showed her the file preview experience, enabling her to tap on a document to expand it to full view in the app without having to download it.  I could tell the wheels were turning now… 

Here’s a more in-depth overview of the file sharing experience in Cisco Spark:

  • Work face-to-face with video calling and screen sharing. But the sparks really flew (mind blown) when I told her that in addition to sending messages and sharing files, she could also launch into video call with screen sharing.  The notion that she could have a call with her designer, watch his revisions to a document in real-time, and then download the finished product immediately all in one spot cemented the value of Spark for her.  She also liked that there is flexibility to do this on her iPad if she’s working remotely, or right on her desktop via a web browser when she’s at office.  

Check out Cisco Spark working on a browser for yourself!

My mom summed it up best when she said, “This is how people want to work!  Working consecutively just doesn’t fit anymore; instead we need to work simultaneously with lots of different people on many things.”

The goal of Cisco Spark is to make teamwork simpler.  After using Spark with my mom, it’s clear that in addition to delivering new value and benefits for users, it has to be easy and intuitive so that everyone can participate.  Even mom.

Who are you using Cisco Spark with?
Have you tried it with anyone that you haven’t worked with before?
What was their first-time experience like?



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4 Comments

  1. I should definitely get my team to finally start using Spark :)

  2. When there is heavy collaboration within a Spark room, the content can get out of control very quickly. It would be nice if all the content could be organized, perhaps in a forum-like manner.

    • Hey Jeffrey - thanks for using Spark and for your feedback. We are working on ways to enhance how users can find and organize content. Stay tuned, and in the meantime be sure to also submit that feedback right in the app.

  3. Spark has been very helpful on projects where we have people inside and outside the company who need to stay connected and collaborate on decisions. I'm not searching through my e-mail to find the latest anything -- it's all in our Spark room. I also tested it outside work when I traveled out of the country. My eleven-year-old and I used the video for daily chats and sent notes & pictures back and forth so he knew where I was and what I was doing.