Michelle Burbick
Michelle Burbick is the Associate Editor and a blogger for No Jitter, UBM Tech's online community for news and analysis...
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Michelle Burbick | March 11, 2016 |


Cisco Invests in 'Magical Moments'

Cisco Invests in 'Magical Moments' Cisco makes cloud strides, creates developer investment fund, acquires search technology.

Cisco makes cloud strides, creates developer investment fund, acquires search technology.

Cisco's Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of the IoT and Collaboration Technology Group, walked onto the Enterprise Connect stage on Tuesday for his keynote address... and then kept walking. He marched right to the front of the stage, continued down the steps and out down the aisle into the middle of the audience -- perhaps taking a page out of the playbook of former Cisco CEO John Chambers.

Something was missing, though. Trollope wasn't wearing the sneakers he usually sports when hitting the stage. In fact, he looked all around a little more dressed up than usual. We learned why soon enough: Rowan explained to the audience that he only dresses up for "special occasions," and this would be a big day for Cisco because of the announcements he'd be making. "I couldn't be more excited to share this moment with you," he told the crowd.

Magical Collaboration
Of late, Rowan has been focusing the collaboration team's efforts on the user experience, putting a lot of stock in the benefits of cloud models. This year, Cisco made three main announcements, all of which revolve around Cisco Spark.

Remember, Rowan told the audience, "we're not building things in the cloud just because it's a new technology. And it's not because of cost either. It's to be able to create a breakthrough experience -- building magical moments."

Spark, Rowan said, is built using modern practices, meaning continuous integration and continuous delivery. As evidence of that, Rowan said Cisco has rolled 40 features into Spark since its launch.

Spark Calling is the latest evolution, a full business-class telephony solution delivered from the cloud. It uses RESTful APIs, rather than SIP. Spark Calling, announced in December 2015, is now officially available in the U.S., Rowan told the Enterprise Connect audience.

A second announcement, in partnership with Cisco Investments, is the creation of the Cisco Spark Innovation Fund, a $150 million investment aimed at developers. Rowan indicated that when Cisco initially announced Spark for Developers, it had only 10 partners. But just in the last month, he said, 10,000 developers signed up to develop of the platform.

"To show that we're really serious about this platform, we're going to put our money where our mouth is," Rowan said, adding that while he knows that Cisco dev team can do a lot of great things, so can a lot of other people out there who have innovative ideas. The goal with this fund is to help these developers do these great, innovative things -- and further, to finance those efforts.

Finally, while not discussed on stage, Cisco this week announced the acquisition of privately held Synata. In a Cisco blog, Rob Salvagno, VP of Corporate Business Development, explained:

"Synata's technology allows users to search both on-premise[s] and cloud-based applications simultaneously from one platform. Their search technology will also work within Cisco Spark's unique approach to end-to-end encryption in the cloud, which makes them a great fit for our team. Like us, they prioritize cloud development that allows customers to have privacy and control of their data at all times."

The aim is to further enhance the search capabilities within Spark, Cisco said.

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