Cisco Spark Evolves From Collaboration Product to Platform
In addition, Cisco, with its Spark for Developers, is including open APIs that programmers can leverage to create their own apps to run on the Spark platform. Spark for Developers and some Spark services are available now. Complete Spark services will be available in the United States in early 2016 and will roll out to other countries throughout the year and into 2017. Spark Hybrid Services will be released in 21 countries in the first quarter of 2016. The Spark platform comes as businesses continue to migrate toward software- and cloud-based collaboration offerings to address such trends as increasingly mobile workforces, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the cloud. Established players like Cisco and Microsoft are moving to make their offerings more cloud-enabled, while a growing number of smaller vendors—such as 8x8, RingCentral and, on the video conferencing side, Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network—are looking to gain traction through their software- and cloud-only products. There also is a move toward a single common platform for both on-premises and cloud communications offerings, such as ShoreTel's Connect offering. Analysts with IHS in September said that worldwide revenue for business cloud voice-over-IP (VOIP) and UC reached $4.2 billion in the first half of 2015 and could hit $15 billion for the full year in 2019.
Trollope has been in charge of Cisco's collaboration efforts for the past three years. Over the past 12 months, the company has refreshed its entire endpoint lineup and reduced the number of endpoints from 65 to 17, while growing revenue for four consecutive quarters, including by 17 percent in the last quarter. Cisco in August announced a partnership with Apple in which the companies will make their products work better together, and has bought a number of companies in the space, including Tropo and, more recently, Acano.