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The Evolution and Impact of Collaboration Technologies

As I sit here on an airplane en-route to San Jose with my MacBook Pro at hand, heading to an industry-leading networking event (albeit on my own time, yes – this is officially vacation), I’ve found myself reflecting on collaboration technologies and how I’ve seen them evolve in the short 15 years I’ve been working with them. After all, it has become one of those things that I spend the majority of my day doing these days, working as a partner engineer specializing in Collaboration.

One of my first experiences with collaboration technologies was back during my third IT job, sometime circa 2001, only a few short years after the Cisco acquisition of Selsius networks brought the Call Manager product to us, and I was working for a company supporting what we now call ‘telepresence’; back then we simply referred to it as  ‘video conferencing’. These immersive environments (calling them ‘life-size’, as we did back then, seems kind of silly now) were not all that different from what you see today; projectors, nice furniture, and an executive meeting room experience. Read More »

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Networking Goes Social

As you probably know, networking can bring your career to a new level. Who you meet can open a variety of doors – you’re able to meet new clients, gain referrals, meet future peers, find a mentor, or begin a new partnership. The possibilities are endless.

Gone are the days where you would print out a stack of business cards and keep them in your wallet to hand out wherever you go. Now, with the digital age, your business card is your social presence. Interacting with someone digitally is the new norm; connecting with a colleague on LinkedIn, tweeting at your favorite brand or company, sharing your favorite articles on Facebook – these are all ways to network from right behind the keyboard.

Networking Goes Social

So, what’s the benefit of getting active on social networks? Here are my top three benefits for taking your networking skills to the computer:

Reach Brands Directly. Many brands are active on social media and are curious about how their customers and partners are using their products. Use this to your advantage and start a conversation about their latest launch, an article they posted, or good customer service. They’ll likely respond back with a follow-up question or a kind note as a way to thank you for reaching out.

Save Time and Money. While you should continue to go to live events when possible, you can network through social channels whenever and wherever you go. You can reach out to brands on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn through your phone or desktop without the hefty price tag that comes with traveling.

Interact with Industry Leaders. If you refer to an article written by an industry leader, tag them by using @[their handle]. On Twitter, for example, many company executives and brands will favorite or retweet your post as a way of engaging back. It’s a way of interacting with people you might otherwise not get the chance to.

Have you started networking online? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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The Weather Channel Uses Fast IT to Harness Data

When you walk outside and notice dark clouds gathering, or a cheerfully bright sun, little may cross your mind except to grab an umbrella or your shades. But chances are, the team at The Weather Channel knew about these weather conditions days in advance thanks to Fast IT. And with this advance information, The Weather Channel offers what is relevant to you in the moment.

In our Internet of Everything (IoE) world, more consumers and employees are demanding more relevant content now. As such, organizations must keep pace. The Fast IT model built to transform and simplify IT operations is the way to evolve in today’s environment.

For many CIOs, including The Weather Company’s Bryson Koehler, a Fast IT model has resulted in more accurate, relevant and timely data with unprecedented and unlimited uses. Consider his insights in this video:

“When I look at network programmability, I see the same capability enablement that I see from all of the other things that have preceded it,” he said. “Which is how do we leverage technology to be more flexible, how do we free up engineers and developers to innovate quicker and how do we get the traditional shackles of rigid technology unlocked so we don’t have to be nailed down to a specific piece of infrastructure.”

Over the past year-and-a-half, The Weather Company, parent to The Weather Channel, has rebuilt their entire data platform, moving their forecasting over to the cloud, allowing them to ingest data through an extremely rich set of application programming interface (API). In doing this, the organization is able to improve the accuracy of their forecast, collecting data from across the globe and analyzing it at lightning fast speeds – essential when dealing with an unpredictable variable like the weather.

Read More »

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Purpose-built for the Intelligent WAN. The new ISR 4000 Series

Today, at Interop in New York, we are introducing to our customers and partners four new platforms that extend what we started with the award winning architecture of the Cisco ISR 4451 into a complete family of Cisco 4000 Series of Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) designed and priced for all branch offices sizes and needs. The full family represents the greatest advancement in branch routing technology in the past ten years and promises to help IT deliver an uncompromised application experience for any user over any connection, with reliability and security.

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With today’s announcement every branch of every size can benefit from the ISR 4000 Series architecture. We are excited to help IT deliver new services and improve application experience at the same time as streamlining branch infrastructure and reducing management and WAN costs. The five models that make up the family are the ISR 4451, 4431, 4351, 4331, and 4321. With this simplified portfolio (5 models vs 10 in ISR G2), we will cover WAN needs from 50Mbps all the way up to 2Gbps all with rich network services and a common management platform.

Over 1,200 customers have already adopted this new branch architecture to help meet next-generation demands like mobility and cloud. One of these customers is a large school district in the United States digitizing education with tools like eLearning, eBooks, and HD video. These initiatives could saturate bandwidth and potentially ruin the ability of students to download books while others watch live video or download OS updates. By deploying the ISR 4451 the school district was able to use our Akamai Connect capability to cache eBooks locally, off-loading enormous traffic from the WAN since the each eBook was now stored locally! Leveraging the ISR 4000 has helped the school district move forward with a truly digital learning experience. Read More »

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The ISR 4000 Series – One Platform to Rule Them All

This week Cisco announced an entirely new approach to delivering rich services to the Enterprise branch office with the introduction of the ISR 4000 Series. For those folks paying attention over the last year this really was no shock. In fact the ISR 4451 announced at Cisco Live 2013 is the first member of this new series teasing the concepts and technologies represented today in an entire portfolio of platforms.

The ISR 4000 Series consists of 5 platforms that spread the architecture and technology introduced with the 4451 across a portfolio designed to meet the needs of most branch offices. With performance-on-demand, these 5 platforms hit 10 different performance levels, from 50Mbps to 2Gbps with services, giving IT departments the capability to pay for only the capacity they need with the option to increase performance with a simple license. The multi-core control/data/services plane CPUs with included virtualization through Service Containers, server replacement capabilities with the UCS E-Series and flat performance-curve with services are truly revolutionary in the industry, so how did we get here? Read More »

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