Cisco has unveiled its newest service which is called Spark. With Cisco Spark, businesses can stay connected either by using voice or video communications.
While Cisco has primarily been viewed as a hardware provider for telecommunications equipment, Cisco Spark is Cisco’s entrance into the cloud hosted telecommunications field.
Many experts believe that Cisco’s Spark offering is meant to compete against the popular Skype platform, which Microsoft has begun baking into their new Office 365 deployments to encourage verbal collaboration when in front of a workstation.
Cisco says that their entrance into the cloud hosted telecommunication arena was a direct result of customer feedback. Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco, recently mentioned that customers want to manage less hardware and shift their workloads into solutions that are offered as a service.
But wait a second, doesn’t Cisco own WebEx, which essentially performs what Spark says that it will do?
Yes and no.
While WebEx is a robust meeting platform that is hosted by the cloud, WebEx doesn’t provide Skype like functionalities. It isn’t really practically for two end users to jump on WebEx each and every time they need to talk. That being said, WebEx is Cisco’s hottest business product with revenues recently eclipsing $1.12 billion.
You could say that Cisco’s Spark is riding the coattails of WebEx. Given the positive reception towards WebEx in the business community, it makes sense for Cisco to try and pivot towards offering voice and video communications as a service.
As hardware becomes more brand neutral, Cisco has to cast a wider net in order to catch corporate clients. Could this pivot towards offering voice and video communications directly to the consumer help Cisco maintain its dominance in the telecommunications sector?