Prosys-Spark-BoardResearch has shown that organizations waste about 15 minutes per meeting because of ineffective technology. Time is wasted while people try to connect to the meeting. Time is wasted while each remote participant announces that they’ve joined the meeting. Time is wasted tracking down the agenda and reviewing and aggregating meeting notes. Time is wasted untangling wires and dealing with unreliable technology.

The problem is compounded by the number of meeting places, both formal and informal, in many organizations. Perhaps the main conference room has a whiteboard, audio and video conferencing tools, content-sharing capabilities and other technology required to hold a truly collaborative, efficient meeting. But many meeting places have nothing more than a speaker phone.

Cisco seeks to remedy wasted meeting time with the Cisco Spark Board, which brings together wireless presentations, whiteboard, video and audio conferencing, and more into a fully integrated smart board. Cisco calls it a “cloud-powered, all-in-one device” that allows users of any Spark Board, regardless of location, to share their work with one click. Hardware, software and apps are combined in one easy-to-use tool.

When a user approaches the Spark Board, it recognizes the user because the user’s device is integrated with the Cisco Spark platform and new ultrasound wireless pairing technology. There’s no need for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or remote controls. This capability makes it possible to create a worldwide network of workspaces in which all content on a digital whiteboard can be shared and edited by any user that has the Cisco Spark app.

With the Cisco Spark platform, data is encrypted before it leaves the device and remains encrypted as it travels to Cisco’s cloud servers so content can only be read by intended recipients. Single sign-on simplifies user access, and room moderation allows you to control who enters your meeting.

You can participate in a video conference while you whiteboard, and work is automatically saved to a shared space. The old-school speakerphone is replaced with the Cisco Spark Board’s theater-quality audio and video, with a 4K camera, microphone array and VoiceTrack technology. Simply mount the Spark Board to the wall and plug it in. A 55-inch version is available now, and a 70-inch Spark Board will be introduced later this year.

Cisco has also introduced Cisco Spark Meetings, which it calls “Cisco Spark Board in your pocket.” When you schedule a meeting in the app, you automatically receive what you need for the meeting. It also creates a team space, where you can set the agenda, invite and chat with the appropriate people, and share content. This typically leads to shorter and even fewer meetings but with better results.

A meeting is started with a single touch and follows a consistent, activities-based workflow on all devices. All brainstorming, post-meeting comments, and action items are captured and saved within the team space. The same Cisco Spark security and encryption features apply to the Meetings application.

Simply adding more tools to your meeting spaces will not eliminate wasted time and unnecessary meetings, or create a better experience for remote users. Let us show you how Cisco Spark Board and Spark Meetings bring together the tools and capabilities you need to make meetings more efficient and productive.

by Michael Hritz