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Australian National Telework Week is Here

After a successful inaugural National Telework Week last year, we find ourselves at that time of year again. This week (November 18-22) is the second National Telework Week in Australia, where workers across Australia are implored to engage in flexible working wherever possible – be it from home, from a café, from a satellite office or from a client’s office. To mark the occasion, Cisco is teaming with Telstra, the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society (IBES), the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) to host the second annual Telework Congress in Melbourne today.

The Telework Congress promises to be an excellent event with a blockbuster program. Headlining the event is The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, who delivered the opening keynote earlier this morning via video. Other interesting speakers include: Cindy Auten, GM of the Mobile Work Exchange from Washington DC (via TelePresence) and Peter Wilson, Chairman, Australian Human Resources Institute and many more. Cisco’s Martin Stewart-Weeks will be leading a session on “Telework Leadership and Management”.

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How Collaboration is Increasing Revenue for Manufacturers

November 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm PST

In my last blog post, I discussed how mobile collaboration is bringing flexibility to the manufacturing industry, offering transformational benefits in a variety of functional areas including R&D, operations, customer service and sales. Today, I want to take a deeper dive into not just how collaboration can reduce cost, but how it offers manufacturers the potential for real revenue growth.

Mobility Makes Real-time Impact_Cisco Manufacturing

The Opportunity
Along with rapid acceleration of the bring your own device phenomenon and the forecast that there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita by 2017, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the manufacturing workforce is evolving and going mobile.  Yet, many manufacturers are still trying to substantively leverage collaboration and take full advantage of its benefits in a way that impacts the bottom line.

One key opportunity is to use collaboration to better connect product experts and customers. However, without effective collaboration tools, it can be difficult for sales to broker this communication. Mobility solutions enable sales teams and customers services reps efficient access to newly connected plant floor expertise, helping facilitate customer product questions in real time via phone call, text, e-mail or even videoconference. Not only is customer satisfaction improved, but also sales conversion rates increase when the salesperson or service rep secures answers to difficult customer questions before the competition can.

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No Consensus at IETF, But It’s Not Over Yet

Cisco recently announced that we would open source our H.264 implementation under favorable open source terms, and more importantly, provide a binary distribution of that implementation that could be downloaded and integrated into browsers and other applications. We said we’d cover the MPEG-LA licensing costs for this distribution as well. Mozilla responded by saying that, based on this, they would add H.264 to Firefox, using our technology.

Part of our motivation for making this announcement was to unstick the logjam that has occurred in the standards bodies. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is defining the standards for how real-time voice and video will work natively in the browser. Selection of a common video codec is part of that process. The group has been highly divided on this topic, with two camps – one (including Cisco), in favor of industry standard H.264, and others in favor of Google’s VP8 technology.

We hoped that our announcement, and Mozilla’s agreement to support H.264 as a common codec, would provide enough impetus to sway the standards to a concrete decision so that the industry could move forward. Alas, that was not the case. Despite what we felt was a fairly objective analysis on the reasons why H.264 was a better choice for the overall success of real-time communications on the web (click here for a recording), the IETF failed to reach consensus.

Obviously, we’re very disappointed by this. Read More »

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The Internet of Everything: Where Technology and Innovation Meet To Make the World a Better Place

What will the future be like? As depicted in today’s popular movies and books, the future is either one of bright promise—where the world’s greatest problems have been solved by technology and greater human enlightenment—or it’s a dystopian world where today’s problems have only gotten worse, technology has gone bad, and the very survival of humanity is at risk.

As Cisco’s chief futurist, it’s my job to think about what the world will look like in a few years, and how our actions today will impact that future. And while I’m not ready to put on my rose-colored glasses just yet, I do have an optimistic view of what the future may bring, enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Within 10 years, there will be 50 billion connected things in the world, with trillions of connections among them. These connections will change the world for the better in ways we can’t even imagine today. But here are just a few things I can imagine:

Better supply of food: Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.

Better supply of water: Similarly, about 30 percent of our water supply is lost due to leaks and waste. Just one faucet or leaky pipe dripping three times a minute will waste more than 100 gallons of water a year. “Smart” pipes can reduce this waste significantly by sensing and pinpointing the location of leaks that would otherwise go undetected for months or years.

Better access to education: Affordable access to education is one of the most important ways to lift people out of poverty. Soon, time and distance will no longer limit access to an engaging, affordable, high-quality education. With connection speeds going up, and equipment costs going down, distance learning is going beyond traditional online classes to create widely accessible immersive, interactive, real-time learning experiences.

Better access to healthcare: Urbanization and population growth are putting a strain on healthcare resources—especially in rural areas. After the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, Cisco was a strategic partner in creating a networked medical delivery system, including four telehealth networks that allow doctors to meet with and examine patients remotely. But those capabilities are just the beginning of what IoE will make possible. Soon, women with high-risk pregnancies will be able to wear a tiny, always-on fetal monitoring electronic “tattoo,” which will communicate to the cloud whenever the woman is within range of a wireless network. The analytics capabilities in the cloud will alert doctors at the first sign of trouble, and even tell the mother-to-be when she needs to drink more water, or get more rest.

While sensors and machine-to-machine communication are important parts of these solutions, it’s not just the “Internet of Things” that is making all of this possible—it’s the Internet of Everything—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. And Big Data analytics is what brings the intelligence to all of these connections, enabling new kinds of processes, and helping us make smarter decisions.

I’ve highlighted just four areas where IoE will change the world for the better. But there is not a single part of life that will not be impacted in some way—whether that means improving your drive to work, speeding you through the checkout line at the grocery store, saving energy through smart lighting, or minimizing your wait at a traffic light. The Internet of Everything is not a silver bullet that can solve all the world’s woes, but with the spark of human innovation, IoE can be the engine for a better future.

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Videoscape Helps Customers in India, Mexico, Brazil and Germany Deliver New Connected Video Experiences

In Sao Paulo, GVT TV needed a way to protect its satellite-delivered video content.

In New Delhi, direct broadcast satellite provider Tata Sky needed a way to outfit its customers to stream video to IP-connected screens.

In Mexico, Megacable — the first in the country to launch broadband Internet over cable, needed to build the back-end video acquisition and distribution for an IP-based on-demand service to tablets and connected devices.

And in Germany, Deutsche Telekom needed a better view into its CDN (content delivery network), and a way to bridge into its “Entertain To Go” package of TV Everywhere content.

In all four cases, core components of Cisco’s Videoscape portfolio rose to the challenge: GTV TV selected our Videoscape VideoGuard® Smart Cards. GVT’s service footprint spans 146 cities in Brazil, and expanding.

Tata Sky deployed our Videoscape Video Everywhere technology — a Read More »

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