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Meetings, Distance Education: Re-invented

Cisco Spark combines video meetings, messaging, file-sharing and whiteboarding in unprecedented cloud-based collaboration device and app

Outdated hardware, dongles and tangled wires litter most businesses’ conference rooms. Classrooms — often in rural areas — remain disconnected from centres of learning, exacerbated by outdated or clunky technologies. For knowledge workers, outdated facilities cause meetings to be tiresome and inefficient. For students, opportunities to collaborate and learn remain limited due to old, broken or non-existent infrastructure. These are daily challenges faced by South Africans, whether in schools or offices across the country.

For those who want to improve how education is delivered and meetings conducted, Cisco Spark™ Board offers a dramatic step forward. Considered a breakthrough piece of hardware, it has been designed and developed together with cloud-based software, promising to be the simplest and most comprehensive product of its kind on the market.

“Spark Board is a productivity enhancer and communication tool that brings people together — either in person or remotely — to create, share ideas, solve problems and work together more effectively,” says Hilton Romanski, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “It transforms where we work and learn, as well as how we work and learn.”

All-in-one device

Spark Board will be launched in South Africa in March 2017, at Cisco Connect , one of the largest gatherings in the country’s ICT sector. The all-in-one device connects physical rooms to virtual ‘spaces’ so that meetings, brainstorms and idea sharing can be more easily hosted, whether face-to-face or hundreds of kilometres away.

Unprecedented: worldwide network of workspaces and no remote!

Access any Cisco Spark Board anywhere in the world. As you approach, the board will recognize and greet you. With one click it is possible to share your screen using a PC, Mac, tablet or mobile phone to control the device. Integrating the Cisco Spark platform with groundbreaking ultrasound wireless pairing technology means that no remote control is required.

Interactive digital whiteboard

Whiteboards are where some of the best ideas take root. Traditionally, whiteboards have been limited by participants having to take a snapshot of completed projects without any opportunity to make retroactive changes or further iterations on the content. With Cisco Spark Board, all content is shareable, editable, and safe. It automatically saves work to a space that a team shares so that it is possible to take a break and pick up where you left off later. All meeting comments, follow-up action items or notes from the meeting are posted in the same space. Everything needed for continued collaboration is in one place.

App-tastic

Provided a Spark Board participant has the Cisco Spark app they can make their mark in real time, allowing them to simultaneously whiteboard, even if working remotely. With Cisco Spark Meetings built into the app, it is possible to whiteboard even if no one has a Cisco Spark Board. Within the app, it is also possible to schedule meetings, with the app automatically preparing participants for the meeting by creating a team space so that an agenda can be created.

“With the app, chances are good that the meeting itself will be shorter and better; in the end you may not even need to meet at all,” adds Romanski.

Theatre-quality audio and video

With a 4K camera Spark Board ensures that participants enjoy crisp visuals for video calling, and anyone voice quality is crystal-clear thanks to an incredible microphone array and VoiceTrack technology. Setup is as simple as mounting it to the wall and plugging it in.

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