Cisco Jabber vs Spark and Acano - The Steadfast Tin Soldier

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Cisco Jabber vs Spark and Acano - The Steadfast Tin Soldier

For several years Jabber has been the Cisco's UC answer to Microsoft. A little bit late but still successful one. But in 2015 Cisco gave birth to two Jabber's cousins:

     1) in the beginning of 2015 Cisco announces Cisco Spark
     2) in the end of 2015 Cisco acquired Acano

Both Spark and Acano projects have its own clients for collaboration, so this is a fruitful theme for speculation on which product will supersede/swallow another one.

Cisco Spark vs Jabber

Spark is the real Cisco vision for collaboration that fits the Trollope's vision for, so called, Workstream Communications and Collaboration (WCC).

WCC is considered as a new form of communication that comes up to take the UC's place. WCC tools include asynchronous messaging, real-time voice and video, content and context. Most of leading vendors in enterprise communication world jumped in this WCC train almost simultaneously – Cisco (Spark), Interactive Intelligence (PureCloud), Mitel (MiTeam), Unify (Circuit), Avaya (Zang) just to name a few.

But is it going to replace Jabber? Nope. And the reasons are:

  • Cisco Jabber has a large customer base, which would be easier to continue to support rather than to transition to another app;
  • Spark is a pure cloud solution which may not appeal to some verticals where everything has to be on premise;
  • the UC transition to WCC is not going to be a quick one, and until it isn't over Cisco still needs to compete with Microsoft.

So, I think for the next several years there will still be two clients – Jabber for traditional presence bubbles, buddy list, UC integration and Spark for team collaboration, workflow, persistence etc.

Currently there are business cases for both solutions even to be running simultaneously at the same company.

Acano vs Cisco Jabber

The Steadfast Tin SoldierAcano, acquired by Cisco in Nov 2015, is the best known of its truly interoperable video/audio bridge. On my opinion, this bridge was the primary Cisco's target and Acano is going to replace Cisco Telepresence Server and Conductor in Cisco's business video offering.

But besides the server component Acano provides the client app with contacts (no buddy list though), presence, very good persistent group chats, workflow and some other useful things. And that makes it another threat for Cisco Jabber.

Still I think Jabber will stand, because the primary task will be to digest the Acano's bridge, not the client. For example:

  • Cisco Telepresence Server replacement;
  • integration with Cisco Spark to power it with interop video meetings;
  • probably, integration with Cisco Webex.

So, my prediction is we'll live with Cisco Jabber and Spark and Acano at least until the next decade. Then all the platforms will be merged as well as client applications.