Cisco debuted today a new tool for collaboration called Spark Board. Built for brainstorming, meetings, and team collaboration, the board was unveiled in a presentation at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco.
The board works together with the Cisco Spark chat app and can be controlled through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. iPhone users can drag and drop a call from Spark to the board. Teams working in different places with a Spark Board can draw together on the whiteboard, share files, and do video conferencing all at once.
Spark Board uses ultrasound wireless pairing technology to identify users nearby and weave connections between the Cisco Spark app and the assortment of video and meeting hardware by Cisco.
“We wanted to make a product that is easy to use and does everything you need,” said Cisco SVP Rowan Trollope. “That product doesn’t exist, and it hasn’t existed until today.”
The 55-inch screen is sort of like an enormous tablet, and it is available for $4,990 with a $199 monthly subscription. A 70-inch version for $9,990 will be made available later this year. Like a tablet or iPad, Spark Board only has a single home button. At the top of the device is a 4K 60 frames per second camera.
“It’s a tablet for your team that sits right on the wall,” Trollope said.
Cisco is well known for its video hardware and WebEx web conferencing, but that’s not why Spark Board’s first 200 customers bought the device, Trollope said. Those companies bought Spark Board for its wireless screensharing and whiteboard for team brainstorming.
To compete with enterprise players like Slack and Microsoft Teams, Cisco is working to connect its chat app with hardware and video end points.
Since the launch of Cisco Spark, its platform has integrated with SAAS and productivity software like Salesforce, Zendesk, and Trello. In December 2015, Cisco Spark for Developers was created, and the company opened APIs to connect with Cisco devices and software and to allow developers to create bots.
Partnerships were also struck last year with companies like Intel, Apple, IBM, and other companies.