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Collaboration Summit 2013: Don’t Forget the Kids!

Ask Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s new SVP/GM of collaboration, what industry execs he identifies most with these days and he just might say “those running toy companies”. After all, toymakers can’t build just for buyers (aka parents) or for users (aka kids). These groups tend to define “fun” a little differently, so favor one over the other and your business is headed in the same direction as T-Rex.

The same holds true in Enterprise Collaboration; design solely for “the parents”—the business, IT—you stand a really good chance of totally losing “the kids”— not just Gen Y-ers, though they are a huge force in the business world today, but anyone who is getting work done with colleagues, partners and customers around the globe and around the clock. These are savvy users—even the least technologically inclined spend half the day on pocket-sized supercomputers (smartphones, tablets). They’ve become accustomed to personal tech that is beautiful to look at, simple to use and simply works—right out of the box.

Just like kids have a huge say in what toys parents buy, today’s users have a huge say in what collaboration tools get used to get the job done. With this in mind, Cisco is totally-completely-wholly committed to delivering collaboration tools that appeal to “kids” and “parents” alike. From now on we’ll delight end-users with beautiful, simple products while at the same time delivering the security, scalability and manageability the business and IT demand.

So what did we announce? You can read the full press release here; below is some additional color commentary on my favorite of the newly announced innovations:

No more “let me call you right back.” We’ve all done it: arrived in the office mid-smartphone-discussion and suddenly the desk phone with its oh-so-ergonomically correct speakerphone, superior audio and consistent experience (no standing by the window to get a signal) looks mighty appealing. Or, the alternative: we’re on the speakerphone, but it’s time a get the kids at soccer practice, or to pack up and head to a meeting across campus. So we interrupt the call with a “let me call you right back” promise.

I’ve found these sorts of interruptions increasingly frustrating over the past few years, since I got a Bluetooth-equipped car and my smart phone started playing rather nicely with the car’s audio system; if my smartphone and car’s system can transfer contacts and calls back and forth, why can’t we bring that same experience into the office, and marry the mobile device with the desk phone? Well, turns out that we can…and we did. Thanks to intelligent proximity on the Android-based Cisco DX650 Smart Desk Phone, my desk phone will be able to get all my contacts from my smart phone and I can also transfer a call in progress to take advantage of the desk phone’s superior audio. Then, if I am still on the call and need to leave the office again, I can transfer it back. Pretty cool, huh? You can see it in action here and stay tuned—more Cisco endpoints will be enabled with intelligent proximity features soon, so those supercomputers of yours will add even more value around the workplace.

How does Widget A connect to Widget B?” The holidays are coming—and with them will come all those super-cool gifts we elves must miraculously assemble between midnight and six am. If you’re like me, you’ve somnambulated through at least one holiday since (despite holding advanced degrees) you can’t seem to follow Most Coveted Gift of the Year’s “quick and easy assembly instructions”.

What if you could avoid that misery by not only talking to a customer service rep at midnight but being able to show him or her your problem by sharing video via the camera in your smartphone or tablet—so the person most likely to know how to connect Widget A to Widget B can solve your issue right then and there? Jabber Guest will allow you to do just that, and you can see it in action here.

“How do we scale all this stuff?” As an organization’s collaboration technology footprint grows in both size and importance, IT needs new ways to get and keep this stuff up and running. That’s where Cisco Prime Collaboration® comes in. It gives IT a single unified management console from which to manage the vast majority of Cisco collaboration products ‑ from it they can deploy servers, provision devices from the phones on users’ desks to the Jabber clients on their laptops, and provide general feature management and service assurance. It even allows IT to give users permission to easily add their own devices to the system – phones, tablets, etc  – which will ultimately help the user connect all his/her personal supercomputers faster.

This is an exciting time at Cisco Collaboration. Over the years, we have built a comprehensive portfolio of collaboration technologies that range from social collaboration and conferencing to telecommunications infrastructure that spans voice and video. We are huge in the cloud and used by over 95% of the Fortune 500. We are rather uniquely positioned to deliver precisely what both “parents” and “kids” need and want.

Whether you’re a “parent” or a “kid”, we hope you enjoy this concerted effort to delight and deliver. I am pleased to tell you: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! 

Register here to watch the Collaboration Summit keynote replay and learn more about our latest announcements!

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2 Comments.


  1. The Register Here link doesn’t launch a registration page.

       0 likes

  2. October 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Gerard. I’ve sent you a separate response via email.

    -Julie

       0 likes