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Cisco Spark - New Virtual Room Collaboration Service

Cisco announced today the release of it collaboration service Spark (aka Project Squared), Spark is a cloud collaboration service which enable the user to create virtual rooms that acts just like physical rooms, the user can do a 3-party videoconference, share his screen content, group messaging, file sharing, etc. For me it is Cisco's response to Google Handouts or Skype for business.

One of the key things of this service is that the basic service is free and you can have all of the functionality of a licensed system with some restrictions; at the same time, Spark can be bundled with Cisco WebEx and it is currently available in GPL.

You can watch the introduction video here:

Additionally, you can download the Spark client on your PC/MAC or iOS/Android devices, and there is also a web interface with the same capabilities (HTML5 videoconferecing).

The paid version includes Single Sign-On, Administration interface, 8-party videoconference, moderator controls, cross-launch with Cisco WebEx, AD integration, Usage Metrics and Analytics, Role based access, etc... So it is a really nice empowering application to try in the workspace, since all the information for a project, team or discussion can be shared accessed from the virtual meetingroom.

You can sign-up for free on the Spark website, if you already had a Project Squared beta account, you just need to download the new client and login with your existing credentials.


Software defect on Cisco IP Phones will brick them after reboot.

Cisco released a Field Notice regarding IP Phones that fail to boot after a power cycle, as the field notice says, the issue is caused by a memory component which field failure rate is kind of low and were manufactured between 2005 and 2010.

The affected model are the 7942, 7945, 7962, 7965, 7975 and the 9900 expansion modules (CP-CKEM-C and CP-CKEM-W).

The workaround is to RMA the phone, however if you do not have a service contract or if the phone is not under warranty you will need to address this issue with the Cisco Account Team.

Below you will find the field notice link:


Prime Collaboration 10.X/9.X Product Training

Just want to take some time to share these links, I found these Prime Collaboration product training pages very useful, I wish Cisco did the same for the whole UC portfolio (specially for Telepresence):


Testing Cisco WebEx 29.11 CMR Cloud

I got an invitation to test the latest WebEx cloud version, while testing the new features I was thrilled by how fast the WebEx loads, I am also impressed by the new design, they make it (as John Chambers once said) "CEO-idiot-proof", it was really easy to join the WebEx session through my web browser, through the Android/iPhone App and more than that, from my EX60. WebEx 29.11 comes with the option to add Telepresence Collaboration Meeting Rooms to WebEx, or better known as CMR Cloud, this option allows the user to have a dedicated videoconferencing URI available anytime, no need to buy TMS, Conductor and Telepresence servers, you just need your VCS/Expressway convination with either Traversal or Rich Media licenses in order to connect your video endpoints to the WebEx Cloud CMR.

At last, I just want to share some snapshots that I took from the WebEx, as mentioned before, I joined from my EX60 into my personal meeting room:

At last, the best thing were the options, you can join this meeting by phone, on your laptop, from the WebEx App on your iPad or just dialing the SIP URI address from the video endpoint or Jabber. Did I mentioned that it supports up to 25 video endpoints and 500 web video and 500 audio only clients? Well, I will leave you guys with the At-A-Glance PDF link:


Answer Jabber call when iPhone is blocked finally added to Jabber 10.6

Cisco finally committed the Answer from notification panel on IOS into Jabber 10.6, we have been expecting this feature to be added to Jabber for iOS since in some cases where the end-user have setup complex passwords / PINs it is almost impossible to unlock your phone in order to answer the call, this feature allows the user to answer/decline the call from the notification panel without the need to unlock the phone first.


After answering you won't be able to access all the Jabber features, only the end call button will be shown, in order to use transfer, hold, conference, etc you will need to Answer the call first.

This is a great improvement on Cisco Jabber for iOS since this small change solves a big headache.


My experience with Cisco Prime Collaboration Deployment 10.5

To be honest, I never tried Prime Collaboration Deployment on a production environment before, so last week I finished installing CPCD on my company and loaded it with the latest CUCM/CUC and IM&P updates along with the latest DX650 firmware, the process was very simple, however, there is not much documentation for this product (not much to ask since it's free, right?).
So, I installed release 10.5; I had to submit a PUT (Product Upgrade Tool) request for the latest CUCM 10.5 media since this software is not downloadable from CCO, 24 hours after that, I recevied an email from edelivery with access to the downloadable ISO.

The installation process is pretty straight forward, just like any other UC application, once it is installed, you can access it with your web browser (Chrome and Firefox are supported):
Cisco Prime Collaboration Deployment login screen

After all that, I finally tested the patch installation, you have to discover the clusters first and you need to supply the OS Admin username and password for that, in release 10.5, when you discover a CUCM Cluster with IM&P it will automatically add the IM&P nodes to the cluster, however, for CUC, you will need to add a new cluster, it will be really nice if you can manually add all of the UC apps to a single cluster instead of having one cluster per app.

After that, I struggled with the sftp user, I believe this is because I am not a RTFM guy, at the end, the sftp username is adminsftp and the password is the same as the CPCD OS Admin password, as a matter of fact the web username is the same as the OS Admin, there is no web application username.

So, after sFTPing the Prime Collaboration Deployment box you will find that there are different directories, the upgrade folder is used for patches and firmwares, while the fresh_install is meant for Bootable ISOs (in case you want to schedule a new or migrate install).
Cisco Prime Collaboration Deployment sFTP folder list.

After that, I uploaded the Firmware that was needed (we have several UC independent Clusters and an SME Cluster connected to all of the UC Clusters), so it is easier to schedule a bulk update rather than manually accessing every single node of all the clusters. The process was pretty straight forward and I was amazed how easy it was to schedule the upgrade task and how Cisco Prime was hassle-free. After that, I decided to schedule the CUCM/CUC and IM&P upgrade, below you will find the snapshots of all the steps (not including manually uploading the upgrade to Prime or adding the clusters).

  1. Go to the Tasks menu and click on Upgrade.
  2. Then, Select Add Upgrade Task.
  3. Select the Cluster and the products that you want to upgrade, then click Next.
  4. Choose the upgrade file(s) by clicking Browse (in this case I am upgrading the CUCMs and IM&P nodes at once).
  5. Select the upgrade file (in this case I am selecting the CUCM upgrade).
  6. Then, when the upgrade file(s) are selected, we are good to go, hit Next
  7. If you want to schedule the upgrade, select the appropriate date/time from the datepicker or you may also start this task immediately or manually later on. Additionally, you can also switch versions after the upgrade has been completed or you can create a switch versions task.
  8. Then, you can manually change the run sequence (in case you want to customize the node upgrade, this is important on large clusters where there are more than two Call Control servers per CUCM Group).
  9. At last, review the steps and hit Finish, you can also add notes for reference.
This looks like a bunch of steps but believe me, the fact that you can monitor, manage and book upgrades and patches from a single interface for your whole cluster is a big step and one less headache, at the end you can monitor the upgrade status on the main page, this is what it looks like after performing this upgrade:

UPDATE!: this is what it looks a month after we deploy it:

Remember, Prime Collaboration Deployment is free for all customers with a valid contract (UCSS or SWSS) running release 9.X or higher of CUCM.

Hope this helps!

New feature to disable WebEx IM on Cisco Jabber 10.5

This is a problem I came through when deploying Cisco Jabber with MRA (Mobile and Remote Access) when you also have WebEx MeetingCenter, WebEx comes with Cloud IM service, so whenever the Cisco Jabber tries to discover the VPN-Less service through the VCS (dns SRV it discovers WebEx Messaging and tries to authenticate the user through WebEx insted of the internal IM&P server, thus it adds an extra step to the user, they need to manually specify the connection and server address on the client.

The Cisco Jabber BU finally added a policy on the Jabber client in order to disable the service discovery, you can choose from CUCM, WebEx and CUPS; in this example, we have disabled WebEx IM discovery, it is just a line on the jabber-config file:

Β  <ServiceDiscoveryExcludedServices>WEBEX</ServiceDiscoveryExcludedServices>

By adding this line to the config file, the Cisco Jabber client will skip the service discovery for the WebEx Cloud IM service, but please remember that for the first time, you will need to specify the settings since the service discovery priority is WebEx first.

You can find additional information on this and other jabber-config.xml settings on the Deployment Guide.

Hello World!!!

This is a test post
  • August 21st 2014 at 06:17