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Cisco Connected Hospitality Solutions to be featured in Guestroom of the Future

As hospitality professionals prepare to attend the 2012 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), the world’s largest hospitality technology exposition and conference in Baltimore at the end of this month, it is exciting to anticipate the emerging mobile-enabled technology and trends that will be on display and discussed during the event.

Throughout the conference, Cisco will discuss with partners, customers and industry professionals about the impact of wireless demand on hotels and how different platforms such as smartphones, tablets, and other devices are impacting how hoteliers reach guests. If there is one rule in the hospitality industry, it’s that a positive guest experience is paramount and during the conference, Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer, Bob Friday, and John Bollen, vice president of technology with MGM Resorts International will be speaking about how mobile technology can do just that.  In a speaking session titled, “Take on the Wide World of Mobile, Platform by Platform”  on Monday, June 25th at 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m, the duo will discuss how to build an infrastructure that works with guests’ wide-range of bandwidth and device needs and offers guests the option to connect their personal electronics to your equipment and networks in the resort. If you will be in attendance at HITEC, I encourage you to attend this session.

Building off of the mobility conversation will be the solutions featured in the GUESTROOM 20X, a model guestroom featuring the latest and near-future technologies for the modern hotel room.  As the patron sponsor of the GUESTROOM 20X, Cisco will be displaying two Cisco Connected Hospitality solutions that enable mobile hospitality and transform the way guests experience a hotel property. These solutions are mobile hospitality and travel applications that can run on any device including Meridian by Spotlight Mobile, an indoor location-sensing system application enabled by Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine and SuiteLinq, a digital media platform application accessed through Cisco’s high-speed wireless connectivity portfolio.

The Cisco Connected Hospitality solutions featured at HITEC don’t end at GUESTROOM 20X. During the conference, Cisco will be showcasing how digital signage can enhance the guest experience through an interactive kiosk on the show room floor and hosting hands-on demos of the Edge 300 in the Cisco Business Suite. The Edge 300, part of Cisco’s Small Business line of network solutions, is a portfolio of affordable managed switches that provides a reliable foundation for your business network and is ideal for small hotels.

These mobile solutions are indicative of just what is possible in a future hotel room. And as we prepare to attend HITEC and discuss how mobility is shaping the hospitality industry, it is clear that the time to start planning for tomorrow’s hotel is now.


Smart Zoning and UCS for ISR

Everybody is resting and recovering from a week at Cisco Live. I’m recovering from a week at Microsoft Tech Ed in Orlando, Florida. I had the privilege of talking to customers at Microsoft Tech Ed about our new Cisco UCS E-Series x86 blades for the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR). The Cisco ISR is our branch office router line that comes in fixed configuration and modular configurations. The ISR is commonly used to consolidate branch office services. The Cisco UCS E-Series brings serious x86 power to the modular ISR models further consolidating branch devices into the router itself. The E-Series even supports VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V bringing virtualization goodness at the branch. A common configuration is to load a simple Windows Server Core onto the E-Series with read-only ADS in case you lose connectivity to the main office. But that’s just an easy example. The E-Series has many more uses, and our customers are discovering more every day. If you are unfamiliar with the Cisco ISR, check it out, it’s a great product for branch offices.

Getting back to some of the goodies announced at Cisco Live. With NX-OS 5.2(6),  MDS customers get a new feature called Smart Zoning. In order to discuss what Smart Zoning is, we need to talk about zoning in general and today’s best practices in zoning.

Today when we set up a zone on our SAN, all devices within a given zone can talk to any other device in the zone. While this is all well can good, in large SAN environments it can lead to the depletion of a hardware memory resource known as ternary content addressable memory or TCAM. Every device in a zone takes up a TCAM entry and multiple large zones can use up TCAM. In order to get around this, today many large SAN administrators do 1 to 1 zoning. With 1 to 1 zoning two devices are both assigned to a single zone by themselves. This preserves TCAM resources by excluding all the other possible devices that could be in that zone. But this comes at a price. With so many zones it becomes onerous to keep track of them all and even simple storage changes may require yet another zone change. Storage administrators spend too much time maintaining and documenting zones with the 1 to 1 model.

With Smart Zoning, you can establish a one-to-many relationship between devices. Thus a single storage target with 20 servers connected get only the connection between the storage and the target, not the additional server to server SAN connections that happen with traditional zoning. This allows SAN managers to create larger zones, based on task without worrying about depleting TCAM resources. However the big savings comes in administrator time. Instead of creating multiple 1 to 1 zones, administrators can now use a smart zone and with a single command add a member. A more logical zone structure emerges as well, more closely aligned to the application/cluster.

These features are available in NX-OS 5.2(6) and can be enabled on a per-VSAN basis on the MDS product line. Check it out, it could save your company time and help simplify the SAN network.

Cisco is a Leader in the 2012 Gartner Wired & Wireless Magic Quadrant with a Policy-Guided Approach to Today’s Networks

In the past few years a number of paradigm shifts have made policy-based networking essential to effective enterprise IT management. Some of these shifts include an increased reliance on virtualization and the cloud; the “consumerization” of business networks that has occurred with the popularity of devices such as tablets and smartphones; and the rapid adoption of video in business communications. By applying appropriate policies within the network, IT managers can do a better job of meeting users’ expectations and become business enablers.

We believe our message of One Policy, One Management and One Network has been recognized in the recent Gartner 2012 Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant, where Cisco has been positioned as a leader.

Foundational to Cisco’s One Policy strategy is the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), which enables organizations to create and deploy unified policy to address the need for BYOD compliance. ISE enables one consistent policy across the entire enterprise, as well as enforcement by correlating a unique combination of contextual information including user, device, location and time.

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Cisco Product Info Now On Your Mobile Smartphone

Here’s something I think you’ll like: Rich information about the entire Cisco product and services portfolio is now available free in a smartphone-friendly format.

This update includes:

  • More than 7,000 product series and model pages for mobile access
  • Complete coverage for Services products
  • More than 1,180 product oriented videos now playable on mobile devices for the iPhone and Android platforms. (We’ve converted 31 GB worth of videos!)
  • Links to data sheets and other key information that you can browse to quickly, in both HTML and PDF format.

You can access it from your mobile smartphone start at We’re treating this like a “Beta” — primarily because we are still working on table treatments — and tuning every day. But I know you’ll find a lot to like here when you’re on the go.

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Where Cloud and BYOD Meet, Opportunities Abound for Service Providers

The explosive growth of mobility has had a transformative impact in recent years. Increasingly, it is viewed not just as an industry force but as an overall economic lever, driving expansion on a GDP level.

This was a core theme of the 2012 Canadian Telecom Summit, which I attended last week in Toronto. Certainly, Canada itself is a prime example, and there was much discussion about the vital role mobile video and data have played as key enablers in Canada’s economy as a whole.

My presentation and panel at the Summit focused on the opportunities afforded to service providers by this unbridled appetite for mobility, especially from a business-to-business perspective. In particular, I discussed the intersection between cloud and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement. This evolution, I believe, will be a critical catalyst, ensuring the continuation of mobility-driven productivity and economic growth.

The fact is, service-provider-delivered business-to-business cloud services have not Read More »

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