Cisco’s Spark Board looks like an iPad — and acts like one


The Spark Board meeting device that Cisco Systems introduced on Tuesday is not so much a whiteboard or a videoconferencing screen as a giant tablet that everyone in the room can share.

There’s even a “home” button in the center of the bottom bezel that takes you back to the main menu. If Apple didn’t have a partnership with Cisco, you might even expect it to accuse the networking giant of copying its iPad design.

But Apple and Cisco are in fact working together, so closely that iPhones can work with the Spark Board a little more smoothly than other phones do. And in developing the new all-in-one device, Cisco focused on simplicity and ease of use, which haven’t exactly been hallmarks of the networking giant’s products up to now.

“For this product, we needed something that was familiar. We needed an experience that was obvious,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of IoT and applications, as he introduced the product on Tuesday in San Francisco.

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