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Which Collaboration Applications Are Right for Me?

As a member of the Sales Engineer Organization,  I spend lots of my time staying close to midsized customers observing how teams that do great work are leveraging applications to collaborate.   The number of choices available can make choosing the right tools an interesting journey.

Is there one solution to meet all needs? Midmarket organizations face these questions.   As I talked to several midsized companies this past year, I heard how improving team productivity is top of mind.  Keeping employees connected across their various workplace resources and devices is increasingly important.  Making customers happy with proactive service and quick response times is paramount to an organization’s success.

In the world of collaboration, consider the parallels between how online meetings and physical meetings take place.  Don’t you find it to be more effective to have the right setting for the meetings you attend in person?  A large group in a small space never works right.

For example, with physical meetings:

  • Large groups require large spaces, structured seating, the ability to share media, and the ability for participants to interact with presenters.
  • Fast moving small teams need rooms that are available on-demand and the ability to do real-time content tracking.

One-to-one interactions require privacy and rich-media sharing with the ability to call in additional participants as needed.

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The Four Dimensions of Open

Last week, I posted about our Project Thor, our effort at creating a royalty-free next-generation video codec. This post generated lots of comments – which is great! But also illustrated that there is a lot of confusion about what it means for something to be open. I’d like to remedy that here and describe the four dimensions of open. Yup, four.

Dimension 1: “Open as in Open Source”

One dimension of open is whether the technology is available in open source form. Typically this means that the source code is available and that there is a license associated with it wherein the owner of the code makes it available for usage, distribution, and modification within other projects without charge. Cisco is typically favors the BSD license. It’s important to note that open source licenses are really about copyright: They tell you whether or not you can include this code in other projects and distribute it. Whether it really costs nothing overall — that’s the next dimension.

HAI68265Dimension 2: “Open as in Free”

The second dimension of open is whether the technology can be used in a form that does not require payment. Where things get interesting is when a piece of code implements something that is patented. In such a case, it may not actually be free to use the technology, because you need to pay a patent royalty fee to the patent owner. It’s totally possible for code to be open source (Dimension 1) but not free (Dimension 2). A great example of this is x264. This is an open source project – indeed available under the GPL license – but because H.264 utilizes patented technologies, any company that ships a commercial product using it has to pay patent license fees to the patent holders, in this case the MPEG-LA consortium. As a side note, the GPL license attached to x264 would also require a commercial product to open source its own code; but that’s a separate matter. Read More »

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What Future Do You See?

The future fascinates me. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut. And watching every sci-fi movie that came out. Robots, aliens, utopia, dystopia – I loved it all. Today, imagining what the future looks like is a big part of my job.

In June, I got to participate in a futurist session at Cisco Live where I had to make one prediction about what the year 2025 would be like. (See Ambient Computing below or watch the recording at 31:31.)

Now I have the chance to speak about the “Intelligent Future” at SXSW Interactive 2016 with my friend Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot (maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot). Our panel, “Robots Taking Over at Work: Why It’s a Good Thing,” is in the running for the event. If you’d like to hear why we think robotics and augmented reality are on their way to the workplace, take a minute to vote using the SXSW Panelpicker.

I believe the world of tomorrow will be dramatically different from today.  Here are some of the futurist concepts that have been knocking around in my head lately:  Read More »

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Cisco Products Receive Highest Scores in 3 of 4 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications

The evaluation is complete. And we think Cisco Unified Communications scored well. Very well, in fact. Just released, the 2015 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Unified Communications is a product-centric overview of UC vendors.

The report digs deeper into the vendors represented in the 2015 Magic Quadrant for UC. In Gartner’s words, it’s “intended to help organizations define their requirements and select specific products that match their needs as aligned with one of the use cases.”

In the report, Gartner evaluates the effectiveness of vendors in addressing user needs in four primary use cases. Cisco received the highest product score in three out of the four:

  • Full UCC with Strong Telephony Requirement
  • Full UCC with Strong CollaborationRequirement
  • Ability to Offer Hybrid Solutions

Not to worry, Cisco UC scored third highest in “Ability to Work with Complementary Vendors.”

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Cisco Named as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2015

Cisco Unified Communications Delivers a Full Experience

As I read the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications by Bern Elliot and Steve Blood, August 10, 2015, one word stood out: full.

full:  adjective – not lacking or omitting anything; complete

It’s a word that Gartner mentions when describing leaders.

“Leaders have a full UC offering and strong market presence, and demonstrate success in the field. They have a strong presence in related markets to expand their footprint in UC. These vendors and their channel partners have experience delivering UC to a broad range of enterprise types and into most geographic regions.”

We believe our position as a leader for unified communications in this year’s report reflects that fullness. This is especially evident in our position as furthest to the right for “Completeness of Vision.”

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