My wife and 10-year-old son just drew a picture together. No big deal, right?
He was drawing on a whiteboard in Presidio’s Newport Beach office.
She was drawing on her iPhone SE in the backseat of a car crossing the dusty no-man’s-land between California and Arizona.
Oh, and they were laughing and seeing each other in-app the whole time.
(My mother-in-law joined in on the laughter, too.)
But wait. There’s more.
There was no planning and zero training for this. They opened an app and just started using it.
How is this possible, you say?
We use Cisco Spark. It’s that simple.
Here’s how it happened.
I brought my son to work. It was going to be a fun day since we were installing Presidio’s Newport Beach Spark Board, and I wanted him to experience it. (Full disclosure: We played hooky for this.)
We walked in and and the board was on the wall asking for a 16-digit code, which I read aloud. My son typed in the code and hit the checkmark, figured out what time zone we were in and hit another checkmark, then hit a checkmark one last time to register.
(You read that right: a 10-year-old set up the Presidio Spark Board. It’s that easy.)
Less than a minute later, the Spark Board was up and running. A few minutes after that, it grabbed a newer version of code and upgraded itself. (Each upgrade took about 2 minutes, and it’s upgraded a total of four times since I had one of the first boards off the manufacturing floor.) We were ready.
On my iPhone, I opened the Spark space I use to keep in touch with my family. Yes, my wife, son, parents, brothers and in-laws are all in a “Miller Family” team in Spark. We have several “spaces” for different topics (Healthy Encouragement, Recipes, Harry Potter book club, etc.). For this conversation, I opened the general discussion space and within seconds had access to all the files in the space.
Best of all: I could whiteboard with everyone, and everyone could see and edit the whiteboard.
In real time.
From any device.
From there, my son grabbed the Spark Board pen, and he was off to the races. So my wife could experience what he was drawing (a vampire cowboy), I tapped the whiteboard twice to open a call for everyone in the space. My brother joined from his car, then my wife joined, then my mother-in-law. The party was on within seconds.
By tapping “Share live” on the whiteboard, I was then able to push the whiteboard to everyone’s device (Android phone for my brother, iPhone SE for my wife and mother-in-law). They saw my son drawing live as he worked away on his masterpiece.
Once the vampire cowboy was completed…
…my son opened a new whiteboard and started sketching a building and nukes.
My wife (who had quietly itched to make the vampire cowboy fall in love) could no longer contain herself from balancing out the apocalyptic art theme. With one tap, she went from watching to editing the whiteboard. She drew daisies on the left while he drew nukes on the right.
If any of you have ever had kids to the office and they’ve drawn on the whiteboard, you’ve had to take pictures to preserve the memory. Not any more! We left the office, and the drawings live on in the Spark space — still available to be continued at any time, by anyone in the space, on any device.
After a life spent in technology, I’ve come to think of technology as more of a barrier to creativity than an enabler. It is often too complex, too cumbersome, and simply gets in the way of the creative process. Spark changed that for me, not just because of the Spark Board, but because of the intuitive whiteboarding capability Cisco has infused into every Spark app. You don’t need a Spark Board to whiteboard with teammates anywhere, any time, and on any device. It just makes it a LOT more fun.
I’m really excited about Spark and the Spark Board. For those who have been using Spark already, it is a natural extension of the app. For those who have been missing out on Cisco Spark, it’s time to jump in! If you’d like a demo of the Spark Board, reach out and I’d be happy to show it off to you! If you want a free account in Cisco Spark, sign up here, and hit me up in-app at firstname.lastname@example.org.