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10 Technology Trends for 2012

Hollywood’s once high-tech future fantasies are not far off. Much of the technology depicted in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey is now reality, and smart houses like Eureka’s  S.A.R.A.H. might be sooner than we think.  But what will we see this year? Here are my top ten best guesses:

1. Old technology being used in a new way

This year will be about going back and using technology we already have in new ways. For instance, the new Ford Escape is reducing wind noise with pre-WWII technology.   Many items that showed up at CES like the Nest, used old technology (thermostat) and applied new technology (internet connectivity and new interface) to create a gadget that has flown off the shelves.

2. Internet-capable features dominating the television market

With the popularity of devices like Roku and Apple TV, this will put more pressure on innovation in the world of television manufacturers. The next natural step will be for simplifying the connectivity for smarter and easier connected entertainment.

3. Near instantaneous media streaming

Current “4G” is considerably faster than 3G and is making headway towards the low-bandwidth, high-information capability of ITU’s official 4G standards.

4. Second Screen Experiences- a household term

With our attachment to mobile devices and The Sundance Film Festival’s introduction of “The New Frontier Story Lab” last year, it is likely we will see more films made for the second screen experience.

5. Cloud-based networking expansion

Cloud is not just for businesses anymore as seen this year at CES. Many companies are switching to cloud-based networks for accessibility and safety. To help pave the way, Cisco is delivering powerful innovations in its switching portfolio.

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Tips on Maintaining a Productive Telework Environment

February 10, 2012 at 10:17 am PST

Do you work from home or on the road often? Do you love “work from home Fridays” where you can drink your coffee in your sweats while responding to emails? So do we. Working remotely saves hours of time on the road that can be better spent getting the kids ready for school or taking that early morning conference call and then immediately hopping on your laptop to work. We also know that teleworking can be great for a more flexible lifestyle but it can also present some challenges if managers do not set expectations of what is expected and if teleworkers don’t create productive work habits.  

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Augmented Reality in the Drivers’ Seat

February 10, 2012 at 9:30 am PST

Augmented reality (AR) isn’t new but it definitely continues to gain momentum and is becoming a driving force in the way we engage with our content rich world. An AR experience is appealing to most age demographics because it enables us to interact in fresh and engaging ways with a variety of mediums. So no surprise that ABI Research estimates the market for augmented reality in the US will reach $350 million in 2014. That’s up from only $6 million in 2008!

I have explained in past blog posts what AR is in detail, see the below list of blog links to learn more. To recap for those who are new to the concept Wikipedia defines augmented reality (AR) as a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Here is an example of AR solutions that have been generating a lot of buzz and excitement J

At CES this year Mercedes Benz unveiled their experimental networked applications with augmented-reality and gesture-controlled features. Of course Mercedes is not the only automaker exploring how to make the car smarter and most are experimenting with voice controlled features because obviously there are safety concerns with these approaches.

“Cars are becoming platforms to participate in the digital world in a fully networked sense, just like your tablets can and your phones can,” said Venkatesh Prasad, a senior technical leader with Ford Motor Co.’s innovation division. “It’s our job to take those computing services people are used to at 0 mph and make them available at 70 mph.”

For example, icons flash on your car windshield, hologram style, as your car approaches restaurants, stores, historic landmarks or the homes of friends. Point at them, and the icons open to show real-time information such as when that building was built, concert schedules at a local theater, or reservation options at a restaurant. Wave your hand again, and you’ve made a restaurant reservation. Or take Mercedes’ messaging app which will create a menu of text options based on your location and your car’s speed — “I’m stuck in traffic,” or “I’m just north of San Jose” — and display them on the screen. So if you are late to a meeting you can choose from the options  and push a button to post the one that fits, instead of having to manually type the words.

These systems are not road ready yet and most automakers are looking beyond to making the road safer by working on systems that would allow vehicles to talk to each other about road conditions, weather and traffic issues. Read More »

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#1 Kudos for Cisco.com

February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am PST

Web analysts SiteIQ have just ranked Cisco.com among business IT sites, tying with our friends at IBM.com, and beating out 22 other sites for the honors.
SiteIQ noticed the many subtle improvements we’ve been making across the site in the last year: “[There] is hardly a space on this site that one can’t notice a single, although quiet, improvement. This relentless march towards optimal usability is exactly what gained Cisco.com its first place ranking—and made IBM.com share the spotlight.”

I know there’s a lot still to do to make Cisco.com into the best in the world, but nice mentions like this certainly boost our resolving to keep driving to that end.

See the SiteIQ blog for more on their rankings.

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Security Practices for Online Collaboration and Social Media

February 10, 2012 at 9:00 am PST

In my last blog we discussed how on-line tools for desktop sharing, audio and video collaboration, and enterprise social software play an increasingly important role in corporate business. We discussed how the industry is also seeing a trend toward “IT consumerization,” where employees and other users experience new technologies before they are supported by enterprises. The first impact of this trend is producing more employee requests to access their personal social media accounts from their work computers as a way to manage both work and life responsibilities. The even bigger impact is that employees want to use these types of collaboration tools for enterprise business purposes.
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