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When Free Conferencing Services Aren’t Really Free

I’m sitting across a table from a guy we’ll call Mike.* He’s trying to join an 8:00 a.m. conference call from one of those free services. It’s not working.

First, the hold music is awful. I can hear it from here. I’m pretty convinced that it must be worth a few bucks a month to avoid just that aspect of the experience.

The call drops about 20 seconds after the chirpy voice announces “you are the only participant on this call.” When Mike calls back in, he gets the horrid music again before the system promptly launches him into a seemingly endless loop of two different recorded voices competing for his attention: “Please enter your conference code” and “Please enter your PIN.” (It’s not clear which voice is more authoritative, so he tries both codes. Neither work.)

He dials in a third time and lands in the same loop of arguing voices. The third time it not a charm after all.

He gives up and dials Luke, who originally set up the call, directly. Luke was also having trouble, so he agrees to set up another call through a different service.

All this for an audio-only bridge? Why is it so difficult?  Read More »

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Cisco Collaboration Summit: Notes from Day 2

#csummit screenIt was a busy day in San Francisco. OK, it’s probably always a busy day in San Francisco. But the second day of Cisco Collaboration Summit was definitely a busy one. Consultants and analysts toured centers of innovation, partners dug deeper into the announcements from Tuesday, and customers grilled executives. All in all, there was plenty of activity.

Sessions started as early as 8 a.m. and carried through the day. The day’s events closed out for the evening with a reception in the Collaboration Experience Showcase, where attendees could get their hands on the products from Cisco and some of our collaboration partners. (Oh, and there was food. There’s always plenty of food at these things.)

Customer Forum
Where yesterday’s discussions in Customer Forum focused on some of the more lofty concepts around leadership and employee engagement, today’s topics got more into the technology. Discussions dug into the business challenges they’re hoping to solve and how they’re using collaboration technology now. There were sessions on connecting with remote employees, developing strategy with end customers, and securing the collaboration environment. Read More »

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SX10 and Spark: A Connection in the Cloud

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a Wainhouse review that evaluated the ease of use and deployment, and cost efficiency of the Cisco SX10 Quick Set for small group video meetings. I wouldn’t have thought when we introduced the SX10 a few years back that we would be able to do even more to reduce cost and simplify deployment, but we have. And we’ve done it with a connection in the cloud.

At our annual Collaboration Summit this week, we announced the new Cisco Spark Service, which will deliver messaging, meetings and call capabilities hosted in the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. As part of this development, the SX10 will be the first endpoint to be cloud-registered. It will also debut new intelligent software – the Spark Room OS software platform – to make the SX10 and other video endpoints even easier to install, use and maintain. Spark Room OS will be the operating system software for all video endpoints that connect to the Cisco Spark service in the cloud.

The SX10, together with Spark Service, will allow us to make another leap in bringing business class video to growing businesses by significantly lowering the threshold and cost of video adoption as well as improving the user experience. If you didn’t get a chance to see Rowan’s keynote at Collaboration Summit, I invite you to view it for an impressive demo of the SX10 registered to Spark.

Lowering threshold and cost of video adoption. Today, less than 7% of conference rooms are video enabled. This is because Read More »

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Cisco Collaboration Summit: Notes from Day 1

It’s always nice to have your CEO stop by your event’s opening keynote. So it’s safe to say that Cisco’s Rowan Trollope had a pretty good day after CEO Chuck Robbins joined him on stage to say, “I fundamentally believe that you can’t build a digital business without collaboration.” And it’s a good way to kick things into high gear for this year’s Cisco Collaboration Summit.

And apparently the right shoes help, as Rowan pointed out: “I’m not wearing Converse, I’m wearing actual shoes — so something big must be happening today.” The something big is all about Cisco Spark.

2015-1208 spark announce

Spark Services Announcement
The new Cisco Spark Services deliver all the capabilities of the Cisco collaboration portfolio directly from the cloud, bringing together messaging, meetings, and calling – and connecting with our phones and video conferencing systems. Read More »

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What Is Rowan Trollope Announcing at Collaboration Summit?

What will Rowan announce at Collaboration Summit? It’s a popular question leading up to Tuesday’s keynote.

If you want to know, then I may be able to share a few things…

The first thing to share is that Cisco Collaboration is hot.  In Cisco’s last quarterly announcement, Collaboration has continued to grow and saw a 17% Y/Y increase. It’s great news for Cisco and great news for the organizations that look to Cisco for the best offerings in collaboration technology.

It’s the tenet of putting forth the “best offering” that, in my opinion, is responsible for our success. And will be responsible for our continued success in collaboration. Rowan has a philosophy of creating products that are delightful to use in all aspects. There is no compromise on quality.

The product designs are simple, clean, and it’s a pleasure to use them. This is evident through the red dot design awards we’ve received. Design is not just how a product looks, but also how it functions. As a frequent user of many Cisco collaboration products, I can tell you the experience is awesome and continues to be more awesome with each iteration.

At the Cisco Collaboration Summit:

  • Will Rowan announce new products?
  • Will Rowan announce new and better experiences?
  • Will Rowan talk about the Apple partnership?

I can only give you a definite maybe on those particular topics. However, you’ll hear announcements of some very cool and exciting things. If you’d like to know what they are, register to watch the live broadcast of the keynote sessions. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear it live and hear it first.

You will hear from:

Register Here
Live Keynote Broadcast
December 8

at 9am Pacific / 12 pm Eastern

Let us know what you think of the news afterward.  There will also be plenty of tweeting going on using the #csummit hashtag.  Watch for it and contribute.  We’d love to hear from you.

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