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New Cisco Jabber for Virtual Environments Provides Superior User Experience

As a technology guy, I’m always fascinated to see what new gadgets and technologies get announced at CES.  Some are pretty cool; some I think will only make it to the headlines.  In the end, which gadget will enjoy large-scale adoption and best empower the user?  The one that best meets the user needs with a superior user experience.

Similarly, Cisco’s announcement today  is all about providing a superior user experience to virtual desktop users and truly empowering them to reach new levels of productivity.  With the new software-enabled Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and integrated UC accessories Cisco is continuing to evolve the virtual desktop into a virtual workspace and pursuing a long-term software strategy for Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI).

According to Gartner, Read More »

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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Execute

January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm PST

This is the last of a four-part series. The previous posts introduced decision-driven collaborationengagement, and evaluation.

Evolving your organization’s ideas around collaboration is an important element of connecting people and empowering them to work together to make better, more-informed decisions. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines within it three core elements that build upon one another in decision making:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to EvaluateShape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Execution is more effective when the context, rationale, success factors, expectations, dependencies, and so forth are transparent to those affected. As the IBSG report outlines, this level of transparency requires that leaders: Read More »

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Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Evaluate

January 15, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

This is the third of a four-part series. Parts 1 and 2 introduced decision-driven collaboration and engagement. The final post will explore the execution element.

Good strategic decision-making rarely involves the flipping of coins or rolling of dice, although such techniques can come in handy when the outcome defines nothing more than your dinner menu. Business decisions of larger impact require a process that incorporates deeper consideration and more detailed information. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration,” and emphasizes the need to improve decision-making by improving collaboration, connecting people and empowering them to work together more effectively. This incorporates three core elements that build upon one another: Read More »

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Predictions for Customer Care in 2013 and Beyond

In the past year, we’ve seen how social, mobile and video have presented new opportunities to deepen the way companies and customers interact for more efficient and intelligent customer care. As we begin 2013, I wanted to offer up a few predictions on how technology innovations will continue to help organizations build strong relationships and better consumer experiences in 2013 and beyond.

This year, mobile and video will come together to simplify customer service interactions– As video is becoming commonplace, we’re seeing companies look for ways to bring in the right customer service expert instantly. Cisco is currently trialing technology to connect consumers with video experts via mobile devices both in-store or on the road. By pulling intuitive information based on location and what detail the customer has recently looked at on the web or mobile device, this technology will route customers to the right expert to help them get the additional detail they need in a simpler and more efficient manner. Imagine, accessing a paint or decorating expert with just one click in the paint aisle at your neighborhood hardware store or even while you’re outside painting your house.

In the next few years, marketing and customer service responsibilities will merge – Consumers are talking about brands all over the web in places like Twitter and Facebook, sites which have over 500 million and one billion active users respectively. Traditionally, social media has been owned by marketing but with people asking service questions in new social channels, companies will need to merge some of these responsibilities between the call center and marketing. Read More »

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Securing Cisco 7900 Series Phones (UPDATED)

Cisco has recently received questions about a vulnerability in some of our 7900 series IP office phones that is said to allow eavesdropping on nearby office conversations. This was discovered by IT security researchers at Columbia University, and we thank them for reporting it to us before presenting at various security conferences.

We are actively working on a permanent fix, and have released very detailed, step-by-step guides for customers on identifying and preventing the vulnerability from being used. We’re not aware of it being used against any of our customers – largely due the fact that it is very challenging to exploit.

Unlike other IT security issues that have received attention, this is not simply a matter of someone “hacking” into the software on one phone. As the Columbia research demonstrated, someone wishing to take advantage of the vulnerability faces several distinct challenges. They would need hardware and software skills specifically related to software at the core of IP phones, an IT network configured a very specific way, and physical access to the phone’s serial port to insert a tailor-made device pre-loaded with software.

That does not mean we take this vulnerability lightly. We first issued information to our customers at the end of last year and have recently released very detailed documents to help those responsible for protecting IP phone networks. You can see these documents here: Security Advisory and Applied Mitigation Document.

As well as offering customers the information needed to secure their phone network against this vulnerability, Cisco will issue a software update on January 21st that closes off access to the vulnerability.

UPDATE – this interim software update was released to customers ahead of schedule on January 17th.

We remain committed to making sure Cisco products maintain the highest levels of security. When we learn of vulnerabilities we will address them quickly and communicate transparently with our customers.

Rowan Trollope.

SVP and GM, Collaboration Technology

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