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Santa visits Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

Children at Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane can stop worrying whether or not Santa will  find them while they are away from home over Christmas this year. Yesterday, thanks to the magic of Cisco TelePresence, young patients got the opportunity to see and speak with Santa Claus himself as he sat in his home at the North Pole.

Children and their families gathered in the hospital common areas for the video session with Santa and to share their holiday wishes. The TelePresence solution was also mobile so patients that were not well enough to walk around the hospital also received  some one-on-one time with Santa.

Naturally, Christmas is a very busy time for Santa but with the Internet-enabled video technology and services provided by Cisco, UXC and The Starlight Foundation, Santa did not even have to leave the North Pole to visit the hospitalised kids to bring some festive joy into their lives. 

Santa is visiting sick children in hospitals around the world thanks to Cisco’s annual Santa Connection program and we would like to thank staff at all the hospitals involved globally for helping make many children’s dreams come true.

Photo provided by Royal Children’s Hospital: Royal Children’s Hospital patients, including Damon here, were able to share their Christmas wishlists direct with Santa today, thanks to a bedside link-up to the North Pole.

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Empowered female leadership panel recap from Bangalore

After three exciting days in Bangalore, delegates from the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative completed their trip on a high note. The two cities are currently working toward building improved and sustainable environments through the engagement of their respective communities. During the two-day event held on December 2 and 3, delegates from the sister cities achieved one of their many goals by signing 11 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to continue to build and strengthen the cities’ existing relationship.

In conjunction with the initiative and the three-day event, Cisco hosted a panel of six outstanding women who are ranked in the top of their field to discuss what it takes for females to succeed in the modern business world. The panel, which was broadcast live last week via Cisco TelePresence connected the panelists from Bangalore; New York City; and San Jose, Calif.

Each gave an inside look into their rise to the top, but highlighted many of the challenges it took to get there.

The stellar lineup of panelists included:

  1. Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco
  2. Rani N. Borkar, Vice President General Manager, Intel Architecture Development Group
  3. Reshma Saujani, Founder, Girls Who Code
  4. Revathy Ashok, Former Managing Director, Tishman Speyer
  5. Anu Natarajan, Vice Mayor of Fremont, Calif.
  6. Priya Tandon, Founder & Chair of IndUS Setu Global Foundation

To kick off the panel, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee emphasized the important of bringing gender equality to the workforce. The city of San Francisco follows this philosophy since many women hold high-level positions within its government.

Cisco’s panel moderator Karen Snell introduced each panelist and shared a quote from Cisco’s Padmasree Warrior, “I take work seriously, but not myself.”

Warrior explained that anything in business must retain a human element. When entering the workforce, she said it’s crucial to not only have a work identity, but maintain a separate personal identity.

Other topics addressed during the panel focused on how women should seek mentorship, how they should handle criticism from peers in the work place and how to maintain a proper work/life balance.

On seeking mentorship, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code – a program geared toward teen girls to teach them relevant skills for computing fields – said because so few women enter the STEM field, the ones who do aren’t seeing others who look like them. But women need female mentors. So if more women enter fields like computer science and engineering, they can become the mentors for the future generations of women to enter those same fields.

When asked about handling criticism from peers, Revathy Ashok suggested that women should disregard gender as an issue but to “learn to fight the battle differently.”

Ashok, who for years worked alongside men and no other women, explained that she never felt she had the “luxury” to think of gender as in issue in the workforce and learned to adapt accordingly. Despite her personal experience, Ashok said she is seeing an overall shift in how the technology industry as a whole has begun to change its attitude toward women.

But while attitudes toward women may be improving since in many cases the proverbial glass ceiling has already been shattered, underlying factors still remain for woman as they continue to climb the corporate ladder like raising a family in addition to advancing a career.

During the panel discussion, Anu Natarajan said when women hold a career and also raise a family, it’s ok to ask for help when it’s needed and should accept help from a spouse or family member. Women have a responsibility to “not act like victims,” so when maintaining both a work and family life, it’s key to define a roadmap that allows for both.

Missed the live panel? Watch it here at 

Video streaming by Ustream

Cisco ACI: In the market, building momentum. Full suite on schedule for Q2 2014

If you’re a West Coaster who couldn’t quite make it out of bed at 5am last Thursday, or you just didn’t catch the Cisco Financial Analyst Conference in New York, then you might have missed Cisco CEO John Chambers sharing some exciting news about the progress we’re making with the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure portfolio.

First and foremost, demand for Cisco ACI is terrific and global already. We already have more than 300 customers in our pipeline spanning every geography and every customer segment. Just as with the ramp-up of the world-beating Cisco Unified Computing System, we’re seeing the greatest early adoption in nimble mid-sized businesses. About 30% of our pipeline is in what we call the ‘commercial’ segment here in the US. Another 15% is with the largest US enterprises. 19% of orders are in Asia Pacific and a healthy 13% in EMEAR. In short…EVERYONE wants a piece of ACI!

That type of customer demand will be music to our reseller partners’ ears. Obviously partners are crucial to our success, in the data center (and in everything Cisco does) and we’re making sure the Cisco partner ecosystem is able to accelerate ACI momentum too. In just one month since launch, we have trained 125 partners, and we will train an additional 350 with 1500 engineers in the next six weeks.

It was suggested in some quarters of the media this week that it will take years for the power of ACI to be felt in the market. Knowing the passion and commitment of our partner ecosystem, we’re betting that ACI, both in terms of the building blocks available today, and the full system availability a few months from now, we will make a huge impact much faster than that!

In his address to more than 100 financial analysts in New York, John Chambers also touched on the importance of Cisco ACI’s open ecosystems approach, and the progress we’re making there. Let me re-cap:

Since early November we have established an OpenStack working group which includes Cisco, IBM, Juniper, Intel, Plexxi, Big Switch, and Midokura to develop application-centric Neutron APIs. We also founded an Open Daylight working group with IBM and Plexxi to develop an application-centric API layer, and we’ve created an OpenSource Community Repository here.

Of course, we’re just at the beginning of the journey and there is so much more to come. In the next quarter we plan to release an ACI Python SDK built on the ACI Restful API, an ACI southbound device API, and we’ll release the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) simulator to give customers and developers early access to the APIC environment ahead of its full availability in Q2 calendar 2014.

As you can see, we’re off to a good start with Cisco ACI. What customers are telling me is that they are not satisfied with the limitations on network performance at scale, and security that the overlay model of SDN forces upon them. Tightly coupling hardware to software overcomes those limitations.

We invite you to join us on the journey!

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How Mentors Are Changing the Conversation For Young Women

It can be lonely for a woman in the technology field.

At the college level, men earn 82 percent of engineering and computer science degrees. And while women make up 47 percent of the overall workforce, they constitute only 27 percent of the science and engineering workforce. Isolation and lack of mentors often prevent women from pursuing and advancing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

View our feature on the Huffington Post ImpactX about women who are excelling in the technology field and serving as mentors for other young women.

Dr. Akila Sarirete leads a networking technology program for woman at Effat University in Saudi Arabia as a lecturer and IT supervisor in 2002. Her goal is to expand employment options for women and help advance their careers.

Dr. Akila Sarirete leads a networking technology program for woman at Effat University in Saudi Arabia. Her goal is to expand employment options for women and help advance their careers.



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SON-The Predictable Black Art


By Paul Mankiewich, CTO of SP Mobility

Paul Mankiewich, CTO of Service Provider Mobility, charts the history of SON to it’s current state of the art, and concludes that there is no point in deploying a small cell network without SON Technology.

The market over the next 5-10 years is obviously going to be transitioning very rapidly to absorb this massive increase in applications and devices. When we think of the world in 5 years, it is really becoming much more covered from a wireless point of view. If we go out even further, say to 10 years, there will be a complete inversion. Currently, we have a world of macro cells that are big with tall towers. It is going to be a world of ubiquitous RF coverage from any type of appliance, with small cells helping provide coverage. You can actually imagine as you get further out, appliances will be sharing content between them, and not going back through the network, so the network will be saving and caching content in the devices and sharing between them. It will become a complete web of interactive and interconnected devices over a 10 year period.

When looking ahead at Read More »