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Experience What Collaboration Is Doing for Cisco

Cisco IT Collaboration Experience

This week, Cisco on Cisco launched a new interactive environment that brings you inside Cisco to see firsthand the tangible business value of collaboration, unified communications, and video in a real-world enterprise.

The Cisco IT Collaboration Experience includes more than 30 embedded Flash videos. In a visually rich, easy-to-navigate environment, you can see how global Cisco Manufacturing, Sales, Engineering, and Human Resources teams are using new collaboration and unified communications tools to work faster, easier, and more productively.

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Capacity Planning at Cisco

 Capacity planning depends on accurate measurement; but what you do with the measurements depends on the service, the region, and where your business is going.  Here’s how we do it, and what we expect to be facing in the future.

 Measuring WAN circuit capacity depends on the circuit design at each branch office.   Standard Cisco architecture for any WAN connection is a primary and a secondary WAN circuit.  For most sites, where available and cost effective, the two circuits are the same size and we load balance across the two.  Sometimes however, to reduce costs we provide a smaller backup circuit, and assume that some of the traffic will not be served during the short time of a primary WAN link outage (video conferencing may stop, voice may go out the voice gateway, etc.).  Capacity planning gets done on the primary circuit.

 There are not many tools available for doing capacity planning, and not much automation that has grown up around that process.   Mostly, we use 3 different homegrown reports for this.  The first of these reports remain the same from our earlier capacity-planning days; the second helps us deal with transient peak traffic; and the third helps us look at service levels.

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The Rise of Social Video at Cisco

 Video takes enterprise and social networking to a whole new level. Video is at the heart of our collaboration strategy at Cisco. If an executive wants everyone to congratulate a team on a great job or explain the reasons for a new policy, email can be a little pale. The message is clearer and more powerful when we can hear the person’s voice and see their facial expressions.

 To make it very easy to use video for internal communications and collaboration, Cisco IT introduced Cisco Show and Share, in February 2010. Show and Share is a social video system, like a YouTube for the enterprise. Cisco employees go to our Show and Share portal to easily create, edit, and publish their own videos and video communities, right from their desktop. This is a powerful tool that also optimizes global enterprise video collaboration using the intelligence in the network.


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Once the Digital Signage Displays are In, Then What?

In my 13 years with Cisco IT, the Cisco Digital Signs project was the first where content, not technology, was the biggest challenge. We decided to introduce digital signage primarily for employee communications, such as events, announcements like benefit enrollment periods, news, and volunteer opportunities.

 The actual physical implementation requires very little effort from Cisco IT.  Our Workplace Resources organization simply connects a Cisco Professional Series LCD Display and Cisco Digital Media Player in each location, and they’re up and running within an hour. We locate most signs in employee areas, such as break rooms. Just two Cisco Digital Media Manager systems, in the U.S. and India, support all digital signs in 96 offices in 8 countries.

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Capacity Planning Challenges at Cisco

 Capacity planning is facing some significant problems with two new services in the future:  high definition desktop/laptop video, and home Telepresence.  Video has a significant impact on bandwidth use, and these two services threaten to place new demands on the network.

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