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Cisco to add Worklife team-meeting software to Spark

Cisco buys startup Worklife to fold its team-meeting software into Spark. Worklife provides tools for creating and sharing tasks, agendas and meeting notes.

Cisco plans to use its recent acquisition of startup Worklife Technologies Inc. to make the Spark team-messaging service a better place for planning, conducting and following up on virtual meetings.

Cisco said this week it had bought the San Francisco-based developer of team-meeting software, which Worklife markets as a tool for raising employee productivity. Cisco did not disclose financial details.

Founded in 2014, privately held Worklife is used by teams in more than 13,000 organizations, ranging from startups and enterprises to schools and nonprofits. The company has less than 10 employees, according to its LinkedIn page.

Cisco will fold Worklife into the cloud collaboration business unit, which is responsible for Spark and WebEx, an online service used for video conferencing and sharing presentations

Worklife team-meeting software can help people track each other's calendars before meetings, create agendas and collaborate on note taking in real-time during meetings. Overall, the software "adds some nice organizational tools," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research.

"It will help them [Cisco] focus Spark on creating persistent meeting spaces that not just include a file and chat repository, but also tasks, agendas, notes, etc.," Lazar said.

Worklife subscribers to get software for free

Cisco plans to offer Worklife team-meeting software as a free stand-alone product while integrating it into Spark. People who bought the premium features of Worklife will receive a refund, company founder and CEO Dave Kashen said in a blog post.

Since 2013, Cisco has acquired a half dozen collaboration software makers. Others include Collaborate.com, Assemblage, Tropo, Acano and Synata.

Cisco is building its collaboration and security product portfolios as growth in its core business of selling specialty hardware for networking is slowing. For the fiscal year ended July 30, switching sales were flat, while routing revenue fell 4%. Sales of the company's collaboration and security products grew 9% and 13%, respectively.

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