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‘Tis the Season to be Shopping. Will Video be the Tipping Point in Your Purchasing Decision?

“’Tis the season” as they say.  Soon you will hear the count- down of how many shopping days left until Christmas.  Like it or not, the biggest retail shopping day of the year takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving.  But, what I really get excited about is Cyber Monday.  I don’t know about you, but I plan to do the majority of my shopping online.  I am not new to online shopping of course.  I have been using it out of necessity as a working mother without an abundance of extra time and will continue to use it for a variety of reasons including…

I don’t have to beat the crowds for those BIG sales, I can compare prices instantly on a single site, I usually can finagle free shipping by using coupon codes or just taking advantage of holiday incentives, and I can get my shopping done in a matter of minutes versus the hours I would have spent had I actually gone to the store.

I will say that the shopping experiences I have had to date have been pretty good.  But, they could still improve.  For example, there have been several occasions where I have had questions about an electronics product (like a computer) and wanted to ask someone who really understood the features of the product.  I wanted to have that real-time experience where I could have a back and forth conversation with a “human.”  I don’t want to just look at the picture of the computer and guess by the description whether or not it was the right purchase to make.  Another time I was ordering a chair for my home office online and wanted to make sure I had the right style and color to match my room.  So I called the support line and had to describe my room, desk dimensions, and wall color etc. In the end, Read More »

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Why the “Social Employee” is Inevitable

November 25, 2013 at 8:30 am PST

I’m always astounded by two facts:  first, how few employees feel engaged with their organizations; and second, the number one reason people leave a job is their manager.   Ok, I’m astounded by one more fact:  75% of the companies on the Fortune 500 from 25 years ago aren’t on the list any more.

Said another way, a smaller percentage of managers are inspiring their employees to achieve greatness than those who aren’t – by a long shot.  It’s the tough reality.   That’s what makes The Social Employee by Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess such an interesting book to read.  (In open disclosure, my colleague Jeremy Hartman and I were asked to contribute a chapter on Cisco to the book.)

When I read how companies like Southwest Airlines, IBM and DOMO invest in social media to drive their employees to the priorities of the business, a light bulb when off in my head:  there is a galactic difference between alignment and engagement,

  • Alignment is driven by “what” you need to do;
  • Engagement is based more on understanding “why” something is important to do.

Unless you satisfy the “why” you won’t get to the “what” as fast or as effectively.  This is a mindset for Read More »

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No Consensus at IETF, But It’s Not Over Yet

Cisco recently announced that we would open source our H.264 implementation under favorable open source terms, and more importantly, provide a binary distribution of that implementation that could be downloaded and integrated into browsers and other applications. We said we’d cover the MPEG-LA licensing costs for this distribution as well. Mozilla responded by saying that, based on this, they would add H.264 to Firefox, using our technology.

Part of our motivation for making this announcement was to unstick the logjam that has occurred in the standards bodies. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is defining the standards for how real-time voice and video will work natively in the browser. Selection of a common video codec is part of that process. The group has been highly divided on this topic, with two camps – one (including Cisco), in favor of industry standard H.264, and others in favor of Google’s VP8 technology.

We hoped that our announcement, and Mozilla’s agreement to support H.264 as a common codec, would provide enough impetus to sway the standards to a concrete decision so that the industry could move forward. Alas, that was not the case. Despite what we felt was a fairly objective analysis on the reasons why H.264 was a better choice for the overall success of real-time communications on the web (click here for a recording), the IETF failed to reach consensus.

Obviously, we’re very disappointed by this. Read More »

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Imagine a World With True Any to Any Collaboration

True any to any collaboration means you can collaborate via rich media in real time no matter where you are and who you want to collaborate with.  You can use the device you want and collaborate the way you want with voice, video, messaging, or content sharing -- imagine never again hearing the phrase “I will take care of that when I get back into the office.”

Cisco is striving to make this vision a reality and has made significant progress.  For example, Cisco recently announced capabilities for:

  • Mobile and teleworkers:  Making voice, video, messaging and content available outside the corporate network to mobile Jabber users and teleworkers without needing a VPN.   Best of all, our customers can realize these benefits with no additional costs.*
  • Intercompany and consumer collaboration:  Enabling real-time voice, video, and data-sharing capabilities for businesses to collaborate with consumers and business partners using Jabber Guest.  Customers or partners simply click a URL, website link, or mobile application to start the interaction. Organizations can build these capabilities into their website or mobile application with the included SDKs.

These capabilities are made possible by the Cisco Collaboration Edge Architecture and an important component of this architecture, the newly released Cisco Expressway – they enable bridging of collaboration islands to enable any to any collaboration.

The diagram below shows the use cases that the architecture delivers. Read More »

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The Future of Any-to-Any Collaboration Depends on Satisfying Today’s Mobile User Demands

When we think of the term “collaboration” we can often get trapped in the cycle of thinking that it only applies to IT departments and the bottom line. However, it’s important to consider how the role of the enterprise is shifting thanks to the consumerization of IT. For example, how can IT leaders satisfy new user demands while unleashing the power of a sound mobile strategy?

With today’s technology-driven global economy, enterprise mobility and collaboration tools need to be about connecting communities, not just companies. Never has there been a time when more business processes extend beyond headquarters. Organizations need to enable all types of connections: From the mobile worker to the teleworker, from other businesses to target consumers, from traditional branch offices to the cloud. This any-to-any type of collaboration is no longer keeping the enterprise at the center. Instead, the future is driven by all types of users.

It’s clear that users expect to collaborate anywhere, on any device, with any workload. They want to collaborate like they’re in the office regardless of their location. IT leaders must keep user demands top-of-mind when working to deploy a BYOD policy. This can create challenges and opportunities in five key areas:

Brett Belding - Collaboration

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