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The Myth of Greenfield Technology Environments

This is part of a series on the evolution of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, exploring the technical and design principles behind its unique architecture.

In the last post in this series, Jens Meggers talked about the huge importance of user experience, and how essential it is to simplify, connect, and delight. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is increasingly essential to delivering those three ingredients.

A true SaaS platform can provide continuous delivery, enabling rapid updates of software to make constant improvements on those ingredients. It also enables A/B testing and metrics-driven software development, which can ensure that the product is in fact delivering a great user experience.

The problem is that all of that works fine and well for companies that can get a complete collaboration solution from the cloud. But – the reality is – these types of greenfield environments are not all that common. Most companies have a huge amount of on-premises software. In fact, most of them have a huge amount of on-premises software that provides collaboration functionality. IP PBXs (like our own Unified Communications Manager), email servers, corporate directories – these all exist en-masse on-prem. And for many companies, these products work and work well, with quite a bit of life left in them. Consequently, even for a company that is excited about the user experience that SaaS can deliver, it’s not clear how to get there because they aren’t greenfield. Read More »

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Make Video Meetings Simple

Wainhouse Research polled a group of video conferencing users to gauge their feelings about video conferencing. What they found is great news for Cisco-CMR-Gifographicthose who want to integrate video into their collaboration strategies.

Comparing their experience to 2 years ago:

  • 95% agreed that video is more reliable
  • 97% agreed that they use video conferencing more
  • 92% agreed video conferencing is easier to use

Even so, the myth persists that successful video conferencing requires a complicated deployment strategy and a good bit of magic under the hood.

Now it’s time to put that rumor to rest.  Meeting from any video device can be simple.

Cisco® Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMR) Cloud lets you meet over video with others, no matter what system they’re using. CMR Cloud simplifies meetings using a cloud-based video bridge. Meet with peers, customers, or partners. Get the same consistent WebEx experience across a desktop, browser, mobile device, or room system. If you ask me, it’s like magic!

To me, one of the greatest aspects about video conferencing – other than how simple it can be – is that almost anyone can use it to move initiatives, projects, and services forward.

For example, when it comes to finding top-tier talent for your staffing needs, prime candidates are not always local. Conducting interviews and screenings over the phone can give you a glimpse into a person. But nothing Read More »

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The User Experience

This is part of a series on the evolution of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, exploring the technical and design principles behind its unique architecture.

In the last post in this series, Rowan wrote about revolutionizing enterprise communications through the cloud to deliver amazing experiences. I am glad that Rowan mentioned experience, because that happens to be a passion of mine.

For me, experience manifests itself in several ways. It means:

  • Our technology is integrated and works easily across our platform;
  • Our technology is intuitive and easy to use by anyone at any level in the organization; and
  • Most importantly, it means users are delighted in every interaction.

But to deliver amazing experiences, we have to understand how people will use our technology and what they need to accomplish FIRST, before we build anything. When we understand the experience people want, we can tie that to the experience we deliver. Then, and only then, can we build a platform with products that are valuable and desirable.

We do this by leveraging three key design principles across Collaboration. Embedded in everything we do, they put users at the center of our platform and products. These principles are: simplify, connect, and delight.

Simplify: this is all about the experience. You’ve told us you need to connect with your teams quickly, no matter where they are Read More »

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Video in 2016: Saving Holiday Plans, Bettering Business

This is the time of year for crystal-ball gazing when everyone starts talking about what the new year might bring.

It’s no secret that I’m passionate about video. I can pinpoint when this passion was sparked: November 2012. It was my first month at Cisco. Excited to dig in and meet my far-flung new team, I started booking flights… and contemplating spending November, December, and a good chunk of January on the road. But then video gear showed up on my desktop. Suddenly I didn’t need to take a 10-hour flight to be with the team in Oslo; I could be there with the touch of a “join” button.

To say this rocked my world is an understatement. It also saved my family’s holiday plans.

It’s also no secret that others share my passion for video. Our customers are buying video gear at an amazing rate: We’ve had double-digit revenue growth in video endpoints for four quarters in a row.

We still have a long way to go.

In fact, we estimate that fewer than 10% of the conference rooms in the world are connected via video today. I see a future where 100% of conference rooms have video. People will be communicating via video on their phones and other devices all day long, and naturally they’ll want it in all the rooms they work in too. We won’t get to 100% in the next 12 months but we will take some pretty huge steps forward. In fact, I predict that by the end of 2016 one in every four rooms will have video.

What steps will get us there? Here are my predictions: Read More »

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A Brief History of Cloud Collaboration

This is part of a blog series on the evolution of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, which explores the technical and design principles behind its unique architecture.

I came to Cisco with the idea that, in many ways, enterprise communications technology had fallen behind consumer technology. And that we could apply to enterprise communications much of what the industry had learned in the mobile cloud revolution.

So it’s no surprise that I believed the next generation of business communications technology would be powered by the cloud, delivered on mobile devices and browsers, and used in larger settings (like conference rooms) through group systems.

The first thing we did as a team was define the “ultimate experience.” We assembled a small group of really smart people from around the world who had invented many of the collaboration technologies we all rely on today. We asked them to dream and dream big! From that dreaming, we created a vision of the future experience we could aim towards.

Assembling the Pieces
The missing piece of the puzzle was a cloud platform to power this next-generation experience. Just one minor catch: The cloud platform we needed simply didn’t exist, though many companies had built pieces and parts. WebEx had web conferencing to which it later added video. A handful of startups had video calling and bridges in the cloud. Some companies had cloud-based telephony systems. And others had even built closed networks to deliver 1:1 and small group video conferencing in the cloud.

To complicate things further, no one had a solid idea of how to build the platform we needed. Read More »

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