Cisco has unified its two, largely separate, collaboration packages \u2013 Spark and WebEx \u2013 into a single platform that supports a single set of features.\nThe move makes sense because Cisco had been developing the somewhat similar packages separately, and there was some confusion about that in the market and sales channels. No more.\n\nWebex Teams combines collaboration features in Cisco Spark and WebEx\u00a0 such as whiteboarding, persistent messaging, roster, meeting controls, content sharing and so on.\u00a0\n\u201cPrior to this convergence, we had Cisco Spark with its own type of meeting \u2013 the Spark meeting, but we still had WebEx with its own WebEx meetings. Users could join Cisco Spark meetings only from the Cisco Spark app, and WebEx meetings from the WebEx app. Users could join WebEx meetings from Cisco Spark if they were clever, but they did not get any of the critical meetings features. With this convergence \u2013 it\u2019s all simplified,\u201d wrote Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO for Cisco's Collaboration Business in a blog post announcing the merger.\nBefore, the Cisco Spark management tool \u2013 Control Hub \u2013 provided some basic analytics for Cisco Spark. WebEx customers used a different tool \u2013 Site Admin \u2013 with a separate set of analytics capabilities. Now the Control Hub supports customers using both WebEx Meetings and WebEx Teams, and provides analytics functions for WebEx, he said.\nSome other important facts about the merger:\n-The WebEx backbone will now be used for all used for all meetings, regardless of whether they are joined from the WebEx Meetings app or the WebEx Teams app. Cisco has meeting servers in both public clouds and in Cisco\u2019s data centers, and the WebEx backbone interconnects with both of them. The WebEx backbone IP network provides global transport between customer ISPs and Cisco meeting servers, optimizing for video quality. Cisco Spark meetings were powered by servers in public clouds and weren\u2019t making use of the WebEx backbone.\n-Prior to this convergence, the Cisco Spark management tool \u2013 Control Hub \u2013 provided some basic analytics for Cisco Spark. WebEx customers used a different tool \u2013 the Site Admin\u2013 and had a good set of analytics capabilities there. With this platform convergence, the Control Hub now supports customers using both WebEx Meetings and WebEx Teams.\n-Cisco Spark\u2019s hybrid media service, which let customers deploy servers on premises, could be used for the audio, video and content share streams for Cisco Spark meetings. But they worked only for Cisco Spark meetings. With the convergence, these hybrid media nodes can be used for any WebEx meeting type, including regular WebEx meetings and Team meetings, Rosenberg said.\nCisco introduced Spark in 2015 to \u201creinvent the collaboration experience.\u201d The idea was to make collaboration tools such as messaging, meeting and calling easier to use.\nCisco bought WebEx in 2007 for about $3.2 billion with an eye toward competing more effectively with Microsoft and other collaboration software vendors.