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Nominations Open: Be a Champion for Collaboration

October 16, 2014 at 6:18 am PST

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Particular songs often come to mind when I’m thinking about certain words. It’s usually a 1:1 relationship of song to word, but the mental jukebox for champions seems to vary between Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and “Gonna Fly Now,” also known as the theme from “Rocky.”

When I join a Cisco Champion Radio episode or read a blog post from a Cisco Champion, one of those songs often serves as the soundtrack only I can hear.

Who are the Cisco Champions? Perhaps you should be one. Now is the time to nominate yourself or a colleague for consideration for 2015!  Let’s start with the biggest questions:

  • Are you passionate about collaboration technology?
  • Do you love expanding and sharing your knowledge?

Yes? OK, let’s move on to the next round. Read More »

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Cisco’s OpenH264 Now Part of Firefox

Voice and video communications over IP have become ubiquitous over the last decade, pervasive across desktop apps, mobile apps, IP phones, video conferencing endpoints, and more.  One big barrier remains: users can’t collaborate directly from their web browser without downloading cumbersome plugins for different applications.  WebRTC – a set of extensions to HTML5 – can change that and enable collaboration from any browser. However, one of the major stumbling blocks in adoption of this technology is a common codec for real-time video.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have been working jointly to standardize on the right video codec for WebRTC. Cisco and many others have been strong proponents of the H.264 industry standard codec. In support of this, almost a year ago Cisco announced that we would be open sourcing our H.264 codec and providing the source code, as well as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Perhaps most importantly, we announced that we would not pass on our MPEG-LA licensing costs for this binary module, making it effectively free for applications to download the module and communicate with the millions of other H.264 devices. At that time, Mozilla announced its plans to add H.264 support to Firefox using OpenH264.

Since then, we’ve made enormous progress in delivering on that promise. We open sourced the code, set up a community and website to maintain it, delivered improvements and fixes, published the binary module, and have made it available to all. This code has attracted a community of developers that helped improve Read More »

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Reinventing Conferencing

What kind of a world will you live in three years from now? How about five? Will your personal robot pour you a drink after your self-driving car delivers you home? That’s where we’re headed, and it’s a pretty quick trip: self-driving cars are already on public roads and you’ll soon be able to buy that humanoid robot.

Cisco’s Collaboration team thinks a lot about the future—not just about how we’ll get around and get our drinks, but about how we’ll connect and collaborate. We’re passionate about the future of collaboration, about giving the world collaboration tools that are every bit as smart as those self-driving cars and whiskey-pouring robots.

Where we’re at: today’s challenges
Before we talk more about the future, let’s talk about where the industry is right now. Over the years, various vendors have given us audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing. Each of these technologies were introduced at different times, and have matured at different paces—with audio being the tried-and-true veteran, video conferencing the relative newcomer and web being the thing that came somewhere in-between.

Herein lies the problem: Read More »

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Where’s Waldo? Getting Past “Go” with Mobile Workers

Organizations today face many challenges when it comes to providing an optimum work environment. How can you turn your office space into a next-generation workplace? The answer is collaboration technology. Collaboration technology enables you to create workspaces that meet the changing needs and preferences of your employees. You can connect the unconnected, improve employee engagement, and address the realities of an increasingly virtual work environment.

In my experience, keeping pace with rapidly changing employee preferences and aligning technology requires organizations to update network infrastructure design. They need to expand employee capability and flexibility while strengthening overall network security. As more devices come online through the Internet of Everything (IoE), the workplace must evolve. And evolve in a way that meets employee needs and encourages collaboration, especially across global teams.

Business Challenges

Our organizations face many challenges when it comes to providing optimal work environments, including:

  • Enhancing employee collaboration within geographically dispersed teams
  • Encouraging more efficient work
  • Minimizing the cost and disruption of deploying new IT hardware and applications
  • Retaining the best employees

As I covered in a previous post, I think it’s important for Read More »

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Journey to the Cloud: a Smooth Transition

I speak with many business leaders about “the cloud” and how best to use it to improve collaboration. Quite often, discussions end up getting into specific services and technologies but I always try to ensure that some basic considerations are a primary focus – namely People, Processes and Culture. This video is a great overview and insight into how important it is to get the foundations right, and what questions you should ask before you start looking for a specific solution or ‘technology’.

The Three Considerations

People

People

People are your company’s greatest asset and you need to enable them fully and effectively. Increasingly, they “vote with their feet.” They use their own solutions or those provided directly by their departments instead of official IT options (shadow IT). For many reasons public cloud services are a big hit, but you can’t afford for the virtualized environment you have painstakingly created to be used only for functional or legacy workloads.  Nobody can afford a discrete, separate underutilized platform -- unappreciated and with hidden value. Read More »

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