Cisco WebEx share

Bold and ProudThe New Cisco WebEx share is targeted towards making any room into a conference room, sometimes you may have a conference room but not enabled for Video Conferencing, thereby enhancing the conference experience. This product is a low cost option to convert the TV in that room into a high quality  collaboration experience whereby one can enable wireless content sharing without the need to connect any dongles to enable it to work. It allows you to book a room, display the calendar on screen and join the meeting with the WebEx Teams Application. The WebEx Teams Application will show you the room in proximity that you are able to connect to. This easily simplifies and enhances the meeting join experience by simply launching the WebEx Teams application and connecting to a device:

If it has identified a device it will show up as such:

The WebEx share is a nice and compact device designed to transform any TV into a WebEx device. This makes use of the great cisco innovations we are used to in a traditional video endpoint packed in a dongle. Turning on the HDTV display is triggered by;

  1. A person simply entering the room
  2. A WebEx client app pairing with the room device
  3. Calendar event scheduled 15 mins before the meeting
  4. Making noise in the room

The device supports HDMI with a 1080p resolution and 30fps.

You can connect using it in three ways;

  1. Wi-Fi this is the default option – on powering up with no wired connection it will initiate AP mode, while in this mode it the connection will be secured via WPA2 with a numeric password – once the connection is established AP Mode is disabled. The Dongle supports 802.11ac, an IEEE standard with speeds reportedly reaching 1.3 Gbps,
  2. PoE – Yes Power over Ethernet, this will plug into any PoE enabled switches
  3. Wired – Non-PoE

It has Enterprise grade security for wireless by supporting the EAP Protocol suite including PEAP, FAST and TLS. It Supports wired 802.1x port based Authentication & Proxy Support. The EAP/TLS and 802.1x can have local or customer CA signed certificates.

How to provision:

  1. Login to WebEx Control Hub
  2. Setup a new ‘place’
  3. Enable calendar service and associate a calendar mailbox to the ‘place’
  4. Generate activation code and enter on WebEx Share activation screen

As with any cloud registered webex device, WebEx chare will recognise and greet you upon entrance to the conference room as long (as you have the WebEx Teams App running). This technology is identical to WebEx room kits or the WebEx board.

When a room is reserved you can see the Room Name (top left), Current Time, any current and upcoming  meetings:-

Comparison to Competition
There are a number of players in this space, namely Polycom, Crestron, Barco and some others. While they all have Local Wireless sharing in common Enterprise management is offered by some but Meetings and calendar integration is not offered by any except Cisco WebEx Share. The Price it will be released at is incredibly competitive and especially considering the technology it is packed it will be worth it.

This Device will be available Q4 CY 2018 across North America, Australia and Europe, limited orderability is available before that.

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Cisco #Spark notes

Cisco Spark is broken down into three component areas

  1. Cisco Spark Platform
  2. Hybrid Services
  3. API’s
spark
1. Cisco Spark Platform

The Cisco Spark platform is comprised of the following core services

a. Message
b. Meeting
c. Call

message
Message allows a participant the to have 1on1 and Team messages in Virtual rooms, it allows Persistent messages with File Sharing, share photos to the rooms which are then accessible on all devices including mobiles, you can search content, people anytime within a inbuilt search function, @mention allows you to create a kind of notification to the intended participant so that when i @yournamehere you get notified someone mentioned you thus allowing you to quickly respond all with Secure E2E encryption

this is a free service that allows you to invite and collaborate with anyone with just an email address, Spark will send a email to the user who if they do not have a Spark account they will then be able to register with the link provided… pretty straight forward and takes <1min to complete..

meet

Meeting  allows you to easily meet with anyone at any time, meetings are initiated from a single click or can be scheduled for a later time. users can connect to these meetings face to face on a HD Voice and Video call. this offering supports upto 25 participants on a call to include Voice, Video & screen sharing, it supports any Spark client sharing and Spark room systems. if additional quantity is required WebEx meetings will need to be scheduled which supports upto 200 participants but only supports a separate Web client, PSTN integration, Video Systems. while there is no clear transition or escalation path from Spark Meeting to WebEx, i suspect this is something the WebEx/Spark teams are looking into and can imagine it to be available soon.

whats pretty cool here is that when WebEx / Spark is integrated into the on-prem environment (through the Calendar Connector), you can automatically create a room by just adding @spark and @webex to the calendar invite.

Spark Room systems…..This allows you use Spark rooms on codecs such as the SX10, such that when you are on a spark call for example you can move the meeting and content to the SX10 and when you wish to leave, you can take the call with you back on the mobile device by dropping the call back on your device

call

Call allows you to deploy phones to users while utilising the cloud infrastructure, it supports the latest generation of Phones, the cisco 7800 and 8800, it offers three types of features:
Basic Telephony

  • PSTN calling+
  • Video Calling
  • Single Number Reach
  • Call Forward
  • Transfer
  • DND
  • Hold/Resume

 

Advanced Features

  • Auto Attendant
  • Hunt Groups
  • Shared Lines
  • Video on Hold
  • deskphone control with Spark
  • Ad hoc Conferencing
  • zero touch meeting

 

Administrative features

  • User Self care portal;
  • customer bulk provisioning
  • customer & partner admin portal
  • external health portal
  • support tab

 

+PSTN service are provided from a 3rd Party provider approved by Cisco, which provide local, national, international, DDI/DID capabilities
The actual deployment of devices is straight forward, its a case of entering code into the phone or hold the QR code infront of Camera, it will then register to the cloud service.

qr

hybrid

2. Hybrid Services
This allows customers to integrate premises application to Cisco Cloud such as Cisco Call Control, Calendar and Directory.

Directory service
– extends the enterprise directory contacts into the cloud for use with both Cisco UC and Spark customers, with this AD integration when a user is deactivated in AD deactivates the cloud service and removes user from all rooms and services,

Calendar Service –
Simple Scheduling – as mentioned earlier you can schedule meetings and add @webex, and/or @spark to the location field in an invite, this does away with the need for plugins. it will add WebEx details and/or create a Spark room for all attendees to get the converation started before the meeting, this way if content is shared and intros completed, come the time for the actual meeting, and you just get the job done and waste less time. If Video rooms are included in the meeting, they are provisioned for One button to push OBTP

Call Service Connect
– connects your phone system to Cisco Spark, this allows Spark to behave like a softphone, it also provides interop between Jabber and Spark. users can use either Jabber, Spark or deskphone to make calls, users can also be reached on any device. this way you are maximising on existing investment on enterprise telephony

Call Service Aware
– Jabber and Desk phone call history is pushed to Spark, so when using in conjunction with Spark, they can be called back easily. this also creates a “Zero touch meeting” which allow you to answer incoming call on any device, once it identifies both parties have spark enabled it allows you to start a room and share content directly on the spark client, this feature also allows quick redial of missed calls from anywhere
Requirements
arch

Office 365 is currently in EFT and should be available in March 2016

api

3. API’s

Visit https://developer.ciscospark.com/

 

Further Information
Spark integrations https://developer.ciscospark.com/integrations.html
Spark Availability https://support.ciscospark.com/customer/portal/articles/1940194-where-is-cisco-spark-available
Zapier https://zapier.com/zapbook/cisco-spark/
IFTTT https://ifttt.com/cisco_spark

ive been asleep..well not exactly

wow, its been what seems like a long time since I did a post on this site. 3 years long!. so where have I been? well.. for starters I completed my CCIE Voice journey back in 2012, have got involved with some amazing Cisco UC projects, completed my MCSE Communications early this year.

what are you doing now? I am now working in a Service Provider setting doing Video (mostly Cisco), so learning new things every day.

a lot has changed in the last few years in this area, we now no longer talk about dispersed and disjointed communication methods, communication is not primarily only voice. there are multiple areas that the vendors have now consolidated on to provide a truly unique experience internal or external to the enterprise.

Microsoft Lync (now SfB) took the market by storm. While they do not  provide a complete end2end solution, in complex areas of telephony lack ability to deliver and rely on heavily UCOIP partners to fill the void, they have definitely reignited and reinvented the meaning and vision of unified communications and collaboration.they have provided a new perspective to the meaning of Collaboration especially when communicating from the Edge, and with their monopoly over Skype. yea the experience is not always great but from the end user perspective its familiar, easy and pretty intuitive.

From a Cisco perspective, all systems went about their business their own way, there was a massive disconnect in their approach and the story of UC was constantly changing; this has now been drastically consolidated into a preferred architecture model whereby everything is tightly integrated around the Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform. with the IM&P server (former Presence Server) now a component of CUCM, the new Jabber softclient (new version of jabber fills now the gap between traditional telephony and softclient features), Cisco Expressway (features such as MRA & JabberGuest, B2B, Lync Interop) Cisco Conductor (resource management etc), There is now also a more defined strategy for on-prem, cloud and hybrid with finally with the icing on the cake, the constantly and rapidly evolving Cisco Spark

all of which in due time I will aim to cover in more details 🙂