Telstra adopts Cisco Spark for collaboration

Telstra will host an instance of Cisco's new consumer-like team collaboration platform Spark in Australia, with plans to offer the service to customers from next month.

Telstra and Cisco are aiming to "consumerise" how enterprise teams communicate, bringing Cisco's team collaboration platform Spark to Australia in Telstra's cloud.

Boris Corluka, Telstra (Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

The service, announced by Cisco in Florida on Tuesday, was formerly known as Squared, and sits under Cisco's WebEx unified communications platform.

It is designed to get offices out of using email for collaboration and adopt a chat service that can be used on the desktop as well as mobile devices via the Spark app.

Any team member can create chats, conduct voice and video calls, and hold virtual meetings. It also has screen sharing, and supports mobile calendar and contacts integration. It can handle up to 25 users on a video call at this stage.

Telstra has been testing the platform over the last six months, using the service in its product development team.

Telstra's unified communications director Boris Corluka said that the platform had been designed to have the look and feel of a consumer platform, because that is what employees are demanding now.

Cisco's vice president of cloud collaboration for Asia-Pacific and Japan, Peter Hughes, said that by hosting the service in Telstra's cloud in Australia, it would also avoid data sovereignty concerns held by Australian businesses.

Individuals can sign up for Spark for free, but Telstra said it would also be looking to sell the Spark service to its enterprise customers.

Corluka said Telstra would offer the service from next month, after further testing it internally.

"We've already installed a proof of concept in Australia. We're starting to understand what is possible here," he said.

Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.