November 27, 2017
From Microsoft to Google and Amazon, the largest technology developers in the industry have their own version of an AI assistant. Alexa, Siri, and Google Home assistants help us navigate through the vast capabilities of our applications to find the right tool in less time. Rather than scouring through your apps to find a music player, then scanning through your music library until you find the perfect tune for the occasion, you can simply say, “Alexa, play Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.” In moments, the song will be playing. Now, Cisco is bringing this functionality into the workplace with the new Spark Assistant.
The Cisco Spark Assistant
The Spark Assistant is the first of its kind—an enterprise-ready AI assistant specifically designed to make meetings easier and more productive. Much like its home entertainment cousins, the Spark Assistant is accessed by saying aloud, “Hey Spark…” and following it with a command.
- Start meetings
- Join and leave meetings
- Call contacts in your organization
- Navigate and control your Spark device
Cisco is planning a phased rollout of the Spark Assistant, so this is only the beginning of its capabilities. As Cisco continues to refine the Assistant, it will become more intuitive. The goal is to avoid rigid, pre-generated commands that the user must memorize. Instead, Cisco wants its users to speak naturally and the Spark Assistant to successfully interpret the command.
Coming Down the Pipe
The ultimate goal of AI is to become an integral part of your daily workflow and meeting process. Effectively, this will require the Assistant to be able to perform nearly all functions of Cisco Spark through voice commands. Cisco has officially announced the following capabilities to be released in future updates.
- Record meetings
- Take meeting notes
- Finding, retrieving, and displaying documents from Spaces
- Screen sharing
- Activating the White board tool
- Finding a free conference room
- Booking conference rooms for your meetings
An Essential Update for Cisco Spark
The core value of Cisco Spark and collaboration technology in general is to make communication more efficient. Too much time is lost during the day planning, organizing, and coordinating meetings and projects between a team. Spark does an excellent job providing order to that chaos. The Spark Assistant takes an important step forward to make the tool itself easier to use.
As any Spark User will tell you. Spark itself doesn’t organize your collaboration efforts by default. It provides a means by which you can more easily organize it yourself. The Spark Assistant is another matter entirely. With the Cisco vision realized, your collaboration and project management will be as efficient as your voice. You will be able to summon the information, contacts, or meeting that you need exactly when you need it.
The Spark Assistant provides a level of efficiency unlike anything else in the collaboration industry, and it distinguishes Spark from its competitors in a real, tangible way. This marks an important step forward in collaboration tech, and we are excited to see what this leads to.
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