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Whether it’s dog food or champagne, it still tastes good!

Post by David Hsieh, Director of Solutions Marketing for Cisco’s Emerging Technology Group.One of things I like best about Cisco is that we really use the stuff we sell. Some might call it”eating our own dog food” and the more effete might say”drinking our own Champagne” but either way, we do it and do it a lot. I thought it might be interesting to highlight a couple of examples:One month ago today, Cisco announced the Cisco I-Prize, a global competition that uses web collaboration and the power of the Human Network to find Cisco’s next Emerging Technology business. This competition is open to anyone with a good idea who is interested in teaming with like minded innovators to grow a huge business leveraging Cisco’s resources. Through 3 rounds of competition, contestants will use collaboration technologies like Wikis, WebEx and TelePresence to exchange ideas, form teams, refine their business plans and present to Cisco judges. The winners will join Cisco as founders of a new Emerging Technology business unit. And everything will take place virtually through the collaborative magic of Cyberspace. So, what’s happened so far? Read More »

Of Tricks and Telephony

Post by Nader Nanjiani, product and systems marketing manager in Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitAt a recent event, while lamenting how the phone on his desk did about the same it did years ago, a senior executive from an email company cried out: “Teach your old phone new tricks.” Well, it’s about time that the executive not only upgrade his desk telephone, but also update his knowledge about the unified communications industry before venturing in. The old phone has already learned a trick or two since the arrival of IP phones. For instance you can dial by clicking a name within a customer relationship management (CRM) application like and have the call originate over your desk phone or soft-phone. You can look up your daily calendar, stock quotes and weather on your desk phone -- much like you can on an iPhone -without the need to turn on your desktop PC. Some users are ordering food, making reservations, and even looking up Google maps on their IP phones. Others are conducting time and attendance applications or checking up inventory using IP phone screens. What’s more: Corridor cruisers now pick up calls directed to their IP phones anywhere on their cell phones and seamlessly switch it back in between to their IP phone upon arrival -- without ever tipping off that they have long cut the chains to their desktops. Read More »

The Promise of Collaboration in the Evolving Workspace

Post by Nader Nanjiani, product and systems marketing manager in Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitandDave Butt, Manager of operations for Cisco’s Unified Communications business unitSimply put, to collaborate is to tap into the expertise of others when performing work. An individual’s expertise on a topic may be limited, but being able to pull in the skills of others, who may be remote, preferably in real time, could improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of our work. Consider for a moment how we work. If we look at the functions we perform within our workspace on a daily basis, we may classify them into four distinct buckets: We devise, we transact, we produce and we interact -- in no particular order. Devising relates to all the”figuring things out” stuff that we do at work such as planning, assessing, searching, or strategizing. Transactions, on the other hand, relate to tasks around negotiation, buying, payment processing, ordering, pricing, selling or acquiring. Interaction refers to us talking, conferring or meeting other colleagues for advice, approval, input or guidance. And production refers to creation of content whether that might be documents, deliverables, widgets or services. Technology tools have always had a role, but so far have not permeated through those work buckets. Read More »

Welcoming Securent to the Cisco Family

Post by Joe Burton, Chief Technology Officer, Unified CommunicationsAs I read my colleague Alan Cohen’s excellent Halloween post the other day, I was reminded of the many conversations I’ve had with our best customers concerning  how  to manage who has access to what type of  information -- the notion of policy management across an organization. Virtually all our customers want the business acceleration of Unified Communications, collaboration, and web 2.0. In fact, we would all like to use these capabilities to give us what we want, how we want it, on any device, RIGHT NOW. Read More »

Kramer’s “Movie Phone”: Better than today’s Customer Self-Service?

Post by Sean O’Connell, Manager of Product Marketing for Cisco’s Customer Contact Business UnitRemember the great”Seinfeld” episode, in which Jerry’s neighbor Kramer attempts to imitate an automated voice self-service system for”Movie Phone,” and then after not being able to identify the dual-tone multifrequency selections (aka Touch-Tone),”upgrades” himself to support automated speech recognition? (The punch line being”why don’t you just tell me the movie you selected?”). Sadly, the reality is that Kramer’s hilarious imitation does a better job of than some (most?) of the speech recognition systems in operation today.In the area of customer service, which offers companies the potential for competitive (dis)advantage, many today offer their customers a variety of self-service options. Typically, one of those self-service options is the interactive voice response (IVR), or voice self-service, system. If you’re like me, perhaps you prefer to use self-service systems to avoid the potential hazards of live customer service, such as long wait times or being transferred from agent to agent. Read More »