AJ September blog post 9 2015I spent last Sunday in a cold, damp changing room with 15 other forty-something parents. We were attending the first day of our FA Level 1 Soccer Coaching course.

It was fascinating! Our instructor really brought to life a framework for coaching the young footballers that we volunteers look after every Saturday between August and June.

But then he dished out the homework!  We were to work in teams to plan a training session that followed the FA framework. And we’ll be assessed on our work in a couple of weeks.

One of our first discussions was around how we would get together to develop our plan and divide up our responsibilities. Of course my immediate thought was to use Cisco Spark to set up a room to keep the conversation going.

I invited the other coaches simply via their email addresses. Very quickly we were up and running, exchanging ideas on what we would do, and which of us would lead each task.

But the collaboration didn’t stop there. Other Spark rooms have since popped up to share player appearance and performance stats, discuss team formations, write match reports and arrange transportation to and from fixtures.

Previously, we’d used at least three or four different tools to do this kind of collaboration: email, phone calls, Google Docs, club admin websites, and mobile apps like Teamer and Pitchero.

These tools are all great for their individual purposes, but what struck me about Spark was how much quicker we were able to exchange ideas and get to a conclusion.

This idea of using modern collaboration tools to improve the standard of sport is certainly not new to the National Rugby League (NRL) of Australia.

The NRL too is using mobile collaboration tools to share knowledge to develop Rugby League to provide consistent training and interpretation of the rules at grassroots level.

The comprehensive solution that the NRL deployed also benefits both the professional and commercial side of the game. Based on Cisco Business Edition 6000, it uses:

  • Cisco TelePresence infrastructure and room systems to facilitate remote meetings between member clubs and speed up player disciplinary procedures
  • Cisco Unified Contact Center Express to create an efficient call-center that has resulted in a 40% increase in NRL fan memberships

“We have the technology we need to grow one of Australia’s most entertaining, engaging, and respected sports.”

– Maurice Veliz, IT Manager, NRL

Of course, in the interest of balance, I couldn’t write a blog featuring Rugby and not mention the both codes of the game. As you may be aware, in Rugby Union, the World Cup is now in full swing – and the action so far certainly hasn’t disappointed.

Check-out these videos from colleagues in Cisco’s UKI marketing team. Rugby World Cup referee Nigel Owens helps to draw parallels between the rules of Rugby Union and proper online meeting etiquette:


Andy Johnston

Solutions Marketing Manager