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Manufacturing a Successful Cloud Strategy

I just finished an interview on the topic of “Cloud in Manufacturing” with a German machine-building and factory automation magazine. The interview ran an hour longer than scheduled—an indication of the publication’s interest, as well as its lingering doubts about whether cloud services truly can benefit “real manufacturing.”

We discussed an abundance of cloud-related ideas – most pertaining to obvious areas such as web presence in marketing, after-sales application hosting to make field engineers more productive, and collaboration as a service to enable partners and suppliers to work together more effectively on large projects.

The uncharted cloud territory, however, is the area that manufacturers see their “core”: the physical making of things. Can cloud play a role in supply chain management (yes, it can)? Will there be a cloud service for motion control (due to latency and determinism considerations, not yet) and for asset management and MIS applications (yes)? Read More »

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Online Retailer Turns to Cisco Partner to Help Upgrade Network

Imagine running a call center where all of your phones rang for a single call and your operators had to roshambo to decide who would answer. Pure chaos, right? Well, that describes the situation Wayfair (formerly CSN Stores) was in before INX (recently acquired by Presidio) stepped in to upgrade and enhance their networking capabilities. (Okay, maybe without the roshambo part, but still chaotic nonetheless.)

Wayfair is the largest online retailer in the home goods space. As they grew from a two-person company to one with 800 employees, they looked to INX to provide various network solutions—from expanding their older VoIP-based telephony solution to designing and implementing a scalable Cisco Unified Communications/Collaboration Solution.

Wayfair Co-founder and Chairman Steve Conine says, “We really needed to upgrade to a system that had much more sophisticated routing and better tie-in with our call order system. Having the ability to take advantage of some of the Cisco wireless phone technology for the operators on the floor and the warehouse has been pretty neat.”

Steve also gives glowing reviews of INX. “Over the years, working with INX, they’ve really become a trusted advisor to our IT operations group.”

But INX didn’t become Wayfair’s trusted advisor overnight. Watch as Steve shares why INX continues to be a group he relies on when it comes to providing network solutions.

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Hey, it was a joke. No need for handcuffs.

Last week it was reported in the media that two British tourists were detained at Los Angeles International Airport due to the threatening tone of messages on Twitter (“tweets”), as one of the two travelers had said that they were going to “destroy America” on their holiday. It turns out that either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noticed those tweets through their efforts to monitor social media, or, as has been suggested more recently, someone explicitly reported the tweets to DHS as a prank. The legal ramifications of this event are worthy of examination when we consider that this event contains elements of language (slang), location (whose laws apply based on where the alleged events took place), and intent — particularly if the prank allegation turns out to be true. Read More »

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Empowering the Internet Generation

The internet generation has their own way of working; they are not confined to one space and want flexibility to use different tools; they are more mobile, social, visual, and virtual.  They use technology to expand their community of influence across coworkers, suppliers, and customers, breaking down barriers to solve problems across and within these communities.

I have recorded a VoD were I share my thoughts on how Cisco is uniquely positioned to empower the internet generation to transform businesses by expanding the reach of video and making it pervasive.  Take a listen and share your thoughts with me.

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Digital Britain: Converting Customers into Advocates

The desire to interpret people’s body language during in-person meetings has been studied by psychologists and marketing focus group researchers for many years.  In contrast, the notion of observing your customer’s virtual online body language is a relatively new concept.

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