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Where Do Your Teams Work?

Lately we’re hearing a lot about the end of traditional workplace hierarchies. Organizations expect employees to do more within smaller teams, and to do it faster. People want the freedom to rapidly move between projects and to collaborate with others inside and outside their organizations with fewer restrictions or privacy concerns. And they want to work from everywhere.

According to the 2014 ZK Research Unified Communications Purchasing Survey, 48% employees now spend at least 30% of their time away from their primary workspace and 71% of organizations regularly collaborate with individuals outside their company.

Today’s collaborators – what I call “agile workers” – are transforming the enterprise.  They are creating and sharing ideas and content rapidly, and interacting with colleagues inside and outside their organization from anywhere.  They work at their own pace and they want to use the devices of their choice.  Gone are the days of being in an office on a 9 to 5 schedule.  So even while organizations invest in collaboration tools to improve how people work at work; employees bring their own devices and apps to the workplace to be more productive, individually.  What we’re missing is a way to improve productivity for both the individual and the team, using the same, simple solution.

Think about your day. Despite all the new technologies available, do you default to the familiarity of e-mail and audio conferences? Do you feel that you work better with your teams inside your company or with others outside your organization? Do you feel more productive at the coffee shop or at your office?  Read More »

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Industry First: h.264 Video endpoint calls Firefox via Webrtc-enabled Project Squared

Yesterday on stage at Cisco Collaboration Summit, I demonstrated an industry first – the first non-transcoded video call between a webRTC application and an existing video endpoint.

Why is this significant? WebRTC is an exciting new technology, enabling real-time voice and video calling natively in the browser. Up until now WebRTC-enabled applications have not been able to connect to existing video collaboration gear that companies may own, from room systems to desktop video endpoints.

Today, Cisco has broken the barriers that previously prevented browser-based collaboration from connecting with existing video hardware. Companies that have invested in video collaboration can now extend that collaboration to the browser, enabling their users to collaborate from anywhere, at any time.

Yesterday, Andreas Gal, the CTO of Mozilla, joined me on stage. He called a simple SIP URI on a Cisco video endpoint, which instantly rang my Project Squared client running in Firefox. By leveraging WebRTC and Cisco’s OpenH264 binary module integrated into Firefox, we had a great voice and video call, without  plugins, complex and cumbersome browser downloads, or expensive transcoding gear in the cloud. Check out a demo of what we did onstage here:

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What Is the Cisco Collaboration Cloud?

Today at Collaboration Summit, we announced a bunch of really exciting stuff: the IX5000, the Project Squared client, and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. This third announcement is a big one for me personally. Since my arrival at Cisco, I have invested a lot of my time and energy working on the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.

So, what exactly is it? Simply put, Cisco Collaboration Cloud is the server-side software that powers the Project Squared client. But, it’s also a whole lot more than that. We see the market going through a substantial transition around cloud and mobile. We knew this required us to place a big bet on the technology platform that would help us leapfrog through this market change. Cisco Collaboration Cloud, or C3 for short, is one of those big bets.

Iteration

The first thing we needed was a software platform in the cloud that would deliver a fantastic user experience. More important, we needed to build a platform from which we could continuously evolve and improve the user experience. The reality is that it’s incredibly hard to just sit in a room, think about how the product should look, ship it to customers, and be completely right – on the first try. Unless you are Steve Jobs, you need to iterate based on feedback.

The best client experiences in the market today are powered by cloud platforms that iterate incredibly quickly, with new software pushes in the cloud on a daily basis. Doing that is hard. It requires software that is capable of hitless upgrades (meaning, no downtime when doing an upgrade). And it requires tons of automation for everything from testing to deployment.

So, we built all of that. Iteration is a key tenet of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. But frankly, iteration is almost table-stakes in modern cloud software design.

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The Most Sophisticated Collaboration Experience on the Planet

When we said that we strive to deliver “no-compromise” collaboration experiences, nowhere did we mean it more than with our latest endpoint product. Today culminates 24 months of refreshing our endpoint portfolio as we unveil our flagship triple-screen immersive system, the Cisco TelePresence IX5000 Series. We tweaked all the levers to deliver a visually stunning, technically powerful, and feature-rich experience. And we made it more affordable so that you can deploy it far beyond the traditional boardroom. The IX5000 is a beauty — powerful and dynamic with all the bells and whistles, plus an incredible experience. Sound like a finely crafted sports car? In a sense, it is.

Imagine: A sleekly sculpted system finished in Oslo white with three 4K ultra high-definition cameras clustered discreetly above three 70-inch LCD screens. The cameras provide crisp, high-definition video. Theater-quality sound emanates from 18 custom speakers and one powerful sub-woofer.

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We achieved this with a single H.265 codec that delivers more horsepower than anything before it. The purpose-built codec: Read More »

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Clearly Communicate, Closely Collaborate to Innovate

November 11, 2014 at 11:37 am PST

Innovation matters.
And innovation requires collaboration.
And collaboration requires clear communication.

Without clear communications, you open the door for all sorts of innovation-hindering situations: Miscommunications, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations. Errors, delays, and disagreements. 

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Most of these issues are avoidable. And it doesn’t take magic. It’s actually pretty simple: Integrate video into your normal collaboration. There’s no longer a long list of reasons to limit video to the boardroom, executives, and special occasions. We’ve reached the intersection of low cost and high-quality.

The range of video options available now reaches from the pocket to the laptop to meeting rooms and all the way into immersive boardroom environments. Keep your fine tableware for holidays and special occasions if you’d like, but video no is no longer a special-occasion technology.

When it comes to technology, today’s reality brings video into reach across the org chart: high-quality video-conferencing equipment, simple applications, and powerful bandwidth. And on the (more important) human side of the equation, people are becoming more comfortable with video in their personal communications through consumer devices: smartphones, tablets. Read More »

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