Cisco Spark, the app-centric, cloud-based collaboration, and communications suite is being re-branded as Cisco Webex Teams, while WebEx is to be re-branded as Webex Meetings.
Speaking April 18th at the Cisco Collaboration Summit 2018 show in Phoenix, AZ., Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco's Applications announced the name change as part of its new Webex portfolio of products.
Webex will be repositioned as the umbrella name for the company's entire collaboration portfolio consisting of Webex Meetings (formerly WebEx), and Webex Teams (formerly Spark).
Now before we continue, yes it is Webex, not WebEx, the removal of the capitalized “E” is part of the new look and feel.
In this article, we will highlight some of the essential aspects of this re-branding including reasons behind the changes. We will also discuss some of the new features and functionalities of both Webex Meetings and Webex Teams.
Why Spark to Webex Teams - Is what is old new again?
Actually, there are multiple of reasons, but what is the most exciting are all of the new features and functionalities that make up the new Webex portfolio, .
Brand Recognition: With approximately 14 million users of Webex, the Webex name is far more recognizable and accepted than that of Spark, in fact, in a study conducted for Cisco says that 4 out of 5 workers are aware of the Webex brand.
One converged platform for all meetings, teams and calling requirements: The integration of Spark and Webex into Webex Teams, Webex Calls, and Webex Meetings will enable users to have a seamless experience across the platform, with similar functionality, user interface, and experience.
Give organizations what they want: One of the most persuasive arguments for the change is in the way Spark, and WebEx were previously marketed. With Spark, organizations were limited to collaboration (team) functionalities, while WebEx was strictly a meeting platform. Under the new Webex portfolio, the solutions now adapt to the organization's requirements, instead of forcing the organization to adapt to the solutions. Some organizations may require Webex Meetings, while others may require Webex Teams. However, most businesses will need a combination of both solutions. To get an even better user experience, Cisco has redesigned Webex to enable users to move seamlessly between Webex Meetings and Webex Teams.
What is new in Cisco Webex Meetings
- New intuitive UI with enhanced controls to share content, mute, record, etc.
- Integrated calendar option to enable users to view all upcoming meetings.
- One click to join on any device.
- Proximity join.
- Meeting reminder notifications.
- Ability to schedule meetings.
Enhanced Video Experience
- Multistreaming – See all participants regardless of how the user joined the meeting.
- Grid view layout for up to 25 participants.
- Capacity for up to 75 users.
- Hybrid Media Service will be re-branded to Video Mesh, allowing for a more efficient use of bandwidth for meeting participants from within organizations' networks by deploying a piece of the Webex cloud on-premise.
Cisco Webex Device integration
- Integrated functionalities including Proximity, facial recognition, noise suppression, Webex Assistant, speaker tracking.
- One click to integrate any video device.
Enterprise Tools Integration
- Calendar: Google, Microsoft Office 365, native.
- Messaging apps: Microsoft Teams, Slack.
- Social Media: Facebook Live.
Enhanced Audio Experience
- Enhanced toll-free coverage for 72 countries.
- Local language audio prompts PSTN support.
- Additional language audio prompts.
- VoIP support for up to 1,000 users.
What is new in Cisco Webex Teams
Integration to Webex Meetings
- Users can join Webex meetings from Webex Teams with a single click.
- Integrated host functionalities of Webex Meetings into Webex Teams.
- Support for up to 75 participants.
- PSTN dial-in and callback options.
- Attend meetings without a Webex Teams account.
- Record meetings then upload them to specific spaces.
- Participants list.
- Noise suppression for participants.
Expanded Whiteboard Experience
- Enhanced feature set for multiple video devices including Webex DX80, Webex Room Series, MX, and SX series.
Microsoft PowerApps & Flow
- Native integration with Microsoft PowerApps and Flow within the Webex Teams client.
Cisco Webex Calling
- Cisco Spark Calling will be re-branded as Cisco Webex Calling.
- Assign an extension number to any room device or room board.
Cisco Webex Meeting Notes
- Cisco Spark Meeting Notes will be re-branded as Cisco Webex Meeting Notes.
- Further developments will be announced.
Cisco Webex Share
- Brand new device for enabling a regular TV for Webex Meetings.
- Allows wireless screen sharing from the Webex Teams client, as well as easily join a Webex meeting.
- Support for enterprise-grade wireless networks and protocols, for a fully secure experience.
Cisco Webex Assistant
- Brand new voice-based smart digital assistant, specifically built for business applications.
- Built-in to all Webex Room Devices.
- Easily join meetings, share your screen, start calls and control the Room device using voice commands.
- Free / included with Webex Room Devices subscriptions.
When will all of this be available?
Below is the planned release schedule from Cisco:
- Meetings: June 2018
- Teams: June 2018
- Share: Q4 2018
- Assistant: May 2018 for Early Field Trials
- Flex Plan: Available Now
Over the last few years, Cisco has put a lot of emphasis on collaboration as an essential business segment for the company. According to Q2 fiscal 2018 earnings, the company announced that its Applications (Collaboration and Unified Communications) business generated $1.184 billion in revenue, respectively—an approximate 6 percent increase over the same quarter the year before and that it now accounts for close to 10 percent of all Cisco revenues.
With all of the new features and functionalities of Webex, we see that Cisco is well positioned to maintain its dominance in the collaboration market.