Cisco Spark Hackathon June 1-2 Dublin

Spark Haus by Cisco is where coders, developers, and business minds connect, share & collaborate.

We’re bringing Spark Haus to one of Dublin’s most unique and creative venues for a two-day popup experience featuring a hackathon! Learn some new things, hear some inspiring tech talks, win some prizes in a fun and dynamic atmosphere. This will be two days of intense hacking, coding and competition using Cisco’s Spark platform.

Register here

Have fun and win prizes while learning and building on Cisco’s communications APIs. This isn’t the Cisco you think you know – no networking gear here – these are APIs designed to help you collaborate and communciate with customers, partners, and colleagues. The APIs are created by experts in developer experience, designed for developers like you.

While you’re at it, you’ll have the chance to hear from some of the best tech minds from Ireland and abroad. Hear inspiring stories, learn at technical tutorials, and find out what Cisco has coming next.

We’ll have food and drink, some surprise judges, and plenty of swag and prizes.

Ready to get started? Register here to reserve your spot.

What’s possible with Cisco Spark?

In Spark, conversations take place in virtual meeting rooms. Some rooms live for a few hours while others become permanent fixtures of your team’s workflow with titles like Daily Standup or Build Status. Spark allows conversations to flow seamlessly between messages, video calls and real-time whiteboarding sessions. No other solution brings together so many facets of collaboration into a single unified platform. Learn more and download Cisco Spark for free at www.ciscospark.com.

What can you do with the Cisco Spark APIs?

The initial release is focused primarily on room management and getting content in and out of Spark. With this initial set of APIs you can already:

Create a room and invite people
Post messages into a room
Get room history or be notified in real-time when new messages are posted by others.
Search for people in your company

Soon, we’ll be adding APIs for creating automated bots, controlling video calls, and managing your entire Spark experience.

Learn all about our developer platform at Cisco Spark for Developers or watch the video below from our CTO for APIs & Integrations:

Get to Know Spark for Developers

What is Tropo?

Tropo makes it simple to automate communications, connecting your code to the phone network with both voice and messaging. You use the web technologies you already know and Tropo’s powerful cloud API to bring real-time communications to your apps.

If you can create a web site, you can create an application that makes and receive phone calls, uses voice recognition or interact over text messages. Your code can even create multi-party conference lines and transcribe entire calls to text. There’s no need to learn new languages, wrestle with VoIP software, or learn about telephony. Host your code with Tropo, or use your existing web server in the language of your choice. Tropo adds a few simple communications commands to your favorite programming languages.

Try Tropo for Free

WHEN
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 7:00 PM (IST) Add to Calendar
WHERE
Dogpatch Labs – The CHQ Building Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland – View Map

Getting to grips with Cisco Spark

In December 2015 Cisco announced its intention to launch a new collaboration tool. This new tool was to be aimed at the enterprise messaging space which Cisco typically do not play. Cisco had launched Webex Social and Quad with limited success.

The messaging product range today can broadly be divided into two categories instant messaging and Enterprise messaging. Both categories offer quite different user experiences and features. Slide09

Classic IM&P tools available today include Lync, Watsapp, Jabber, Audium etc.. These tools include access to contacts and content sharing as well as presence. They are designed for synchronous communication.

Enterprise messaging tools include classic email and a range of new tools such as Slack, Hangouts, 8×8 etc. These are targeted at work groups teams and the management of business flows and projects. Within these tools the content can be stored recalled and shared.

Cisco Spark is a product that fits comfortably as an enterprise messaging application. Spark however has two additional capabilities which make it particularly useful for modern enterprises. Spark encrypts all content on the local application, in flight and in the data centre. The second is its API capabilities.

Spark is 100% cloud centric. There are Spark apps available on Google play, Apps store and also has a web interface at https://web.ciscospark.com.

As Spark uses an encrypted outbound connection some enterprises may need to open ports. Network connectivity can be verified using the following tool https://mediatest.ciscospark.com. This tool becomes more relevant when you consider the UC capabilities available within Spark this includes both Spark Calling and Spark Hybrid services to be covered in another post.

Slide1

Cisco Spark comes with two subscription models. The first is free which includes the ability to create unlimited rooms, 1:1 messaging, file sharing, and the ability to create a three party call using Spark calling.

There are subscriptions plans available that cover Message and Message and Meet. The key differences between the free and subscription versions are administrator portal access and room moderator.

To get started using Spark download the app here https://www.ciscospark.com/index.html

Deploying Cisco UC in a VDI environment

More and more customers are looking at deploying hosted virtual desktops as a way to manage security and escalating costs of standard thick desktops. Running UC in a virtual environment causes challenges in several ways.

Firstly if the UC client is running in softphone mode on the HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktop) the media will pass between both HVD’s and then down to the local client and be embedded in the display protocol. This is what’s termed the hairpin problem see below

Slide1

Some desktop virtualisation vendors have looked at the problem from the perspective of the display protocol and given priority to rich media traffic which goes some way to solve the issue but does not always succeed as it tends to ignore video.

Cisco has a solution which allows users with a Citrix or VMWare HVD infrastructure to run Cisco Collaboration such as Jabber in softphone mode on a local thin client. The client can run SUSE linux, Windows Embedded or eLux Unicon. More client variants to follow.

When implemented as part of Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), you can provide a superior virtual workspace experience that is collaborative, mobile, and highly secure for all users. The solutions works with Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp for Published Desktops and VMware View. It will deliver High-definition audio and video using local media processing as the media does not traverse the HVD but passed directly between the two thin clients. As the media is passed between the clients outside of the display protocol we can give improved quality of service (QoS) using QoS marking for voice, video, and data traffic.

The implementation requires three software components:

  • A VXME agent running on the HVD on the data centre
  • A VXME client running on the local thin client
  • Cisco Jabber 10.0 or greater. The versions of VXME agent and client must match the version of Jabber deployed.

Local audio and video can be delivered through USB attached devices such as Logitech or Plantronics devices. Jabber includes the required drivers.

VXME can also run in CTI Deskphone mode allowing Jabber to control a deskphone.

From a licensing perspective, VXME is regarded as an endpoint on Communications manager. Therefore the minimum license required to enable VXME is a UCL Enhanced license. If the user has VXME running Jabber softphone as well as a deskphone the license required is a UCL Enhanced plus.

There is no charge from Cisco for the VXME agent and VXME client software.

New Additions to the 88xx range

There have been two new additions to the Cisco 8800 range in the last few months. These include two new phone namely the 8845 and 8865. Both devices have the same form factor as the existing 8800 series phones, however they both support HD video.

1430506034187The key product features are as follows:

  • Fully featured 720P video solution for daily use
  • USB charging ports
  • High end wideband audio experience 
  • Bluetooth support on 8845 and 8865
  • WiFi support on 8865
  • Full color WVGA display with an enhanced UserExperience
  • Gigabit Ethernet switch

Side USB expansion connector allows for additional Peripherals such as the Key Expansion Module.

Cisco 8845 and 8865 Camera Resolution and Bit Rate 

720p @ 15fps requires 790 kbps or higher,  720p @ 30fps requires 1360 kbps or higher

The price point for both fall into the older 8900 range bracket.

Additional information is available here http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoints/ip-phone-8865/index.html#

Cisco 78XX Phone range Battlecard

Cisco’s recent rationalisation of the IP Phone models have seen the introduction of two new ranges into the portfolio. The first is the 88XX range which will be covered in another post and the second is the 78XX range. When looking a phone ranges and models it can be difficult to separate the models based on features and capabilities. This may help.

Below is a simple diagram outlining the main difference between the units.

Slide1

 

SX10 retrofit those older VC rooms

Cisco recently announce the SX10 a small and neat unit that sits on top of an existing 1080p capable TV or monitor and is a full UC endpoint. The device registers directly to Cisco Unified Communications manager (not VCS) and as its a Communications Manager endpoint it requires a Telepresence Endpoint License.

SX10-2

The unit ships with both a standard VESA bracket for easy attachment to an existing flatscreen, or a small wall bracket is a VESA mount id not possible. Of key importance is the power requirements. The unit runs from a POE enabled switch and in standby mode will consume 5w. In normal operation it will draw 12w. A power supply unit is also supplied in case POE is not available. The units optics has a field of view of 83º which make it ideal for small to medium rooms.

Installation is simple and only required a HDMI cable to connect the monitor or screen and an ethernet cable for network access.

SX10

The unit supports intelligent proximity and while it only ships with a small remote control it can be used with a newer Touch 10 tablet or an app on an IPhone or Android device. This is an inexpensive option for situations where a replacement of ageing VC kit is under consideration and cost is a consideration.

Additional information on the SX10 can be found here: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/collaboration-endpoints/telepresence-sx10-quick-set/model.html

Cisco 88XX phone range battlecard

Cisco’s recent rationalisation of the IP Phone models have seen the introduction of two new ranges into the portfolio. The first is the 78XX range which will be covered in another post and the second is the 88XX range. When looking a phone ranges and models it can be difficult to separate the models based on features and capabilities. This may help.

Below is a simple diagram outlining the main difference between the units.

Slide1

 

Firstly all units have 4 lines unlike the 78XX range. These phones are therefore more suited to the Knowledge worker who will have Jabber and perhaps an iPhone or Tablet. All units are GigE. The 8851 and 8861 support Intelligent Proximity (covered in Steve Metcalfe’s blog here), Bluetooth, The ability to add a Key Expansion Module and a powered USB port.

The powered USB outlet on the 8851 enhances the usability of call handling by enabling wired or wireless headsets, as well as provides up to 500-mA power output at 5V or 2.5W for smartphone charging. The 8861 also has this USB port, however it supports a second powered USB port at the back. The back USB port (in yellow) provides 500mA power output and is upgradeable to support up to 2.1A power output at 5V or 10.5W.

The 8861 is the only model in the range that supports IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac WiFi.

Deploying IPT and UC over older Cat3 cabling

Long Reach Ethernet is not new technology, its been around for quite a few years. Its an ideal technology to deliver Ethernet services over a two wire cabling infrastructure. A new solution from a company called Phybridge (www.phybridge.com) has given LRE a fuel injection.

Phybridge have a solution that enables the delivery of Power over Ethernet over two wires (PoLRE). This makes it an ideal UC and IPT migration solution for older situations where the cabling is a challenge and cannot be replaced. Think older hospitals, manufacturing, hotels or indeed scenarios where the classic 100m Ethernet run needs to be exceeded.

The Phybridge PoLRE switch delivers Ethernet and Power over Ethernet over a single pair of wire with up to 1,200 ft reach. This means you can transform your existing, proven reliable voice wiring infrastructure into an IP path ideal for IP Telephony complementing and extending your existing data LAN. The Phybridge PoLRE switches come standard with PowerWISE technology, providing the flexibility to use either AC or DC power sources with the same switches. Power sharing, load balancing, hot swappable power supply, AC/DC options — the PoLRE switches are amongst the lowest power consuming data switches in the industry. A highly-reliable local area switch network powered by PowerWISE with multiple sources of redundancy allows for the most robust PoE platform in the industry.

The Phybridge PoLRE switch data sheet is here

phybridge-lpc-solution

 

The diagram illustrates a deployment comparison between a classic Cat5 deployment Vs a Cat3 Deployment model. On the right the network path will be from the PoLRE switch over the existing cat3 cabling through the RJ11 jack and to the small Phylink adapter. The adapter presents powered RJ45 to the end device such as an IP Phone. A 24port switch comes with 24 Phylink adapters.

The solution supports the following range of features:

  • POE with LLDP
  • Point-to-point QOS topology
  • IEEE 802.1Q static VLAN
  • Private VLAN (static)
  • Port isolation (static)
  • Thermal protection
  • HTTP server
  • CLI console port
  • CLI telnet
  • Configuration download and upload
  • Remote logging
  • Software download through web
  • Web and CLI authentication and authorization

Phybridge switches can be purchased through a Cisco certified partner and are sold under the Cisco Solutions Plus program. All support can be through Cisco.

 

DX range .. Desktop Collaboration just got even better !!

Cisco portfolio of endpoints broadly falls into two categories. IP Phones and Collaboration endpoints. IP Phones as the name suggests covers the current 79XX, 78xx, 99xx and  39xx range of phones. The Collaboration Endpoints however cover a different market segment and give a very different user experience. The range includes three new models the DX80, DX70 and DX650

The DX80

Cisco DX80 features an easy-to-use touchscreen with all commands onscreen. The DX80 runs on the Android operating system. Out-of-the-box users have access to fully integrated Android applications, including Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber. Users and business can deploy their own business specific or personal applications on this single endpoint. The DX80 offers everything you need to be productive in one sleek device that eliminates the need for an external monitor and an IP phone on the desk. As the DX80 can replace a users monitor it acts as a single collaboration desktop workstation.

The DX80 supports a 23 inch diagonally measured backlit display. The display is a capacitive touchscreen with 1920 x 1800 pixel resolution.

DX80

Primary features include:

  • Dedicated, always-on 1080p high-definition (HD) video communication system
  • Extensive Cisco Unified Communications telephony feature compatibility
  • 23-inch, 16:9 screen for an engaging experience during video calls and processing needs
  • Multi-touch touchscreen for an elegant and powerful user interface
  • High-quality audio system for speakerphone

Key functionality:

  • The intelligent audio feature eliminates background noise.
  • Security Enhanced Android Operating System combined with Cisco end-to-end security features gives peace of mind to network administrators.
  • Cisco Extension Mobility supports multiple profiles, allowing hot-desking and shared workspaces.
  • Native Cisco AnyConnect VPN makes connecting to the workplace from the home office quick and easy.

Personalize your experience and increase productivity with options to customize wallpaper, widgets, and screen layouts. Enjoy the flexibility to use a variety of Bluetooth and USB accessories. The DX80 is simple for users to self-provision quickly.

  • Personalize your experience and increase productivity with options to customize wallpaper, widgets, and screen layouts
  • Enjoy the flexibility to use a variety of Bluetooth and USB accessories.

The DX80 is simple for users to quickly self-provision and get up and running.

Some great youtube demo’s on the DX80 can be found here and here

The DX70

The DX70 is smaller in size to the DX80 but none the less offers a comparable feature set to the DX80. It addresses use cases where a smaller desktop footprint may be required. Just like the DX80 the DX70 runs on the Android operating system. Out-of-the-box users have access to fully integrated Android applications, including Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber. Users and business can deploy their own business specific or personal applications on this single endpoint.  As the DX70 can replace a users monitor it acts as a single collaboration desktop workstation.

DX70

The DX70 supports a 14 inch diagonally measured backlit display. The display is a capacitive touchscreen with 1920 x 1800 pixel resolution.

Primary features include:

  • Dedicated, always-on 1080p high-definition (HD) video communication system
  • Extensive Cisco Unified Communications telephony feature compatibility
  • 14-inch, 16:9 screen for an engaging experience for video calls and processing needs
  • Multi-touch touchscreen for an elegant and powerful user interface
  • High-quality audio system for speakerphone and media playback

The DX70 runs on the Android operating system. Out-of-the-box users have access to fully integrated Android applications, including Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber.

Key functionality:

  • Security Enhanced Android Operating System combined with Cisco end-to-end security features gives peace of mind to network administrators.
  • Cisco Extension Mobility supports multiple profiles, allowing hot-desking and shared workspaces.
  • Native Cisco AnyConnect VPN makes connecting to the workplace from the home office quick and easy.
  • Personalize your experience and increase productivity with options to customize wallpaper, widgets, and screen layouts.
  • Use a variety of Bluetooth and USB accessories.

The DX70 is simple for users to quickly self-provision and get up and running.

 

The DX650

The DX650 runs on the Android operating system. Out-of-the-box users have access to fully integrated Android applications, including Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber. Users may also access the Google play store to add their own business specific or personal applications.

DX650

Primary features include:

  • Dedicated, always-on high-definition (HD) video communication system
  • Extensive Cisco Unified Communications telephony feature compatibility
  • 7-inch, 16:9 screen for an engaging experience for video calls and processing needs
  • Multi-touch capacitive touchscreen provides elegant and powerful user interface
  • High-quality audio system for speakerphone and media playback

Key functionality:

  • Security Enhanced Android Operating System combined with Cisco end-to-end security features gives peace of mind to network administrators
  • Cisco Extension Mobility supports multiple profiles, allowing hot-desking and shared workspaces
  • Native Cisco AnyConnect VPN makes connecting to the workplace from the home office quick and easy
  • Personalize your experience and increase productivity with options to customize wallpaper, widgets, and screen layouts
  • Use a variety of Bluetooth and USB accessories
  • Simple for users to self-provision quickly