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Report from Cisco EMEAR collaboration summit

18 March 2022

I spent two days in Lisbon at Cisco EMEAR collaboration summit last week seeing how beautifully designed, innovative messaging, phone and video technology can be used to collaborate brilliantly with colleagues and customers. This is my report

Spark and WebEx: simple, connected and delightful

Cisco have invested in perfecting the design of both their hardware and software solutions delivering user experience to rival Apple’s.

The Cisco MX800 and collaboration tools in action 

Exciting times lie ahead for Cisco partners who have invested in software development expertise like we have at Ideal - development and integration of Spark is at the centre of Cisco’s strategy.

I am confident that this flexible messaging, meeting and call platform together with such desirable video endpoints will give the vendor and partners like us competitive edge in the market. Key to success will be simplicity of integration with apps that are critical to customer operations.

If I can successfully integrate Ideal’s leadership team Spark room with our Trello strategy board so can all of our customers.Spark APIs can deliver real time updates from business critical applications to teams that really matter.

Meeting face to face with other partners and Cisco executives is a great way to share ideas and take time to think about our own strategy and how we can use communication technology to make us more agile and efficient as a business.

Living and breathing the technology we sell is critical to our success and I am looking forward to using the new technology in 2016. A highlight for me will be finally being able to simply launch video from WebEx. By applying 3 design principles: 1 Simple, 2 Connected, 3 delightful - WebEx has been transformed.

Can IT culture be as forward looking as the tech?

It was heartening to see so many women at the event - while women were still very much in the minority, I was surprised to get in a lift populated only by women on the way down to conference kick off. We all know we need to tackle gender imbalance in the tech industry and I’ve written about the subject before. What I don’t get is why this universally known truth does not impact on male behaviour at IT events (when even Alan Sugar tweets about it).

I was shocked to hear about an exhibitor at the event who had referred to his free water bottle gift as having an alternative use as a sex toy for the delegate’s wife. What century are we living in? Am I being unreasonable or is it completely inappropriate to be discussing female sex toys at an IT conference?

Susan Andrews referred to ‘the relentless sexism of all the banter’ in the 1980s and 90s and noughties wearing women down. Judging by the response of my male peers last week and the ‘Elephant in the Valley‘ survey which found 90% women said they had witnessed sexist behaviour at company offsites and/or industry conferences, it seems little has changed since Susan began working in the industry decades ago. In fact if Susan's experience is anything to go by it's got worse. Only by tackling this behaviour head on will we make progress in our quest to balance gender inequality in IT.

I’d love to hear what you think. Am I being unreasonable to expect higher standards or do I just need to learn the rules of this game?

And if you'd like to talk to us more about collaboration and using tools like Spark and WebEx to help your business we'd love to hear from you. 

Why not call us on 01273 957500, or send us a message.


Header image: Cisco image of MX800
Body image: Cisco illustration of the MX800 in action
Elephant In The Valley report published by Women In Tech, c 2015