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Where are you? Location and Media – How location awareness will affect rich media applications

February 14, 2011 at 7:53 am PST

Does it really matter where you are? Increasingly it might; even for the rich media applications that customers are starting to deploy on their networks. Location services are already emerging as a powerful transformative force in consumer electronics. Smartphone applications can already use your location to do anything from finding you the nearest Thai restaurant to locating the nearest available parking space. Increasingly essential tools for modern life in the big city. But location is also emerging as a subtle and yet important service when applied to rich media applications.

Modern network infrastructure is increasingly able to pass location information to connected endpoints enabling a new range of location based endpoint services. At the mundane level, these location services are useful in logistical management of rich media applications. For surveillance, the ability to locate and track the movements of IP surveillance cameras enables improvements to dynamic asset tracking and loss prevention. This doesn’t just apply to the increasing number of wireless IP surveillance cameras but also to wired cameras. Relying on a connectivity test may enable an administrator to check whether a camera is still active but that’s no guarantee that the camera is still located in the correct location and is monitoring the right “scene.” For digital signage applications prevalent in retail and entertainment venues, the most common method of determining which content should be streamed to a particular media endpoint is usually based on location. The media endpoint located in the lobby of a sports stadium is highly likely to be playing media content which differs from that sent to a player in an executive suite. By applying location services, dynamically learnt from the network, it’s possible to automate the provisioning of these media endpoints and even ensures that the correct content is played, even if the endpoint is moved from one location to another.

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On Mystery Shoppers, Money Mules and the Average Time Between Births of a Sucker

I’d just started looking at all the bills from the Australian summer holiday trips, when this amusing email landed in my inbox…

Ladies and gentlemen!

Do you want to combine business and pleasure? Let us pay your purchases you make for us and become a professional “mystery shopper.”

“Mystery shoppers” check clients’ branches in the region and evaluate the service they are offered in the stores. You will check the condition of purchased goods at home and then send your feedback via Internet. The information you provide will help companies to estimate the quality of their service and improve it.

The reason I found the email so funny was the timing. Just a few weeks ago, Cisco released its Annual Security Report for 2010, and one of the more interesting items is around “Money Mules” and their recruitment.

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Improve Application Performance via PfR

In the evolution of IP routing, Cisco performance routing (PfR) is a more advanced routing mechanism. Compared to traditional IP routing protocols like Static routing, RIP, OSPF, EIGRP or BGP that use static metrics to provide reachability information to the higher layers, PfR enhances traditional IP routing by selecting the best path based on live measurements and configured policies.

As we move from applications hitherto satisfied with simple reachability to applications whose performance is directly tied to network performance, traditional IP routing protocols fall short. They cannot guarantee complex application SLA requirements as these parameters are not included in the decision making process. This void can be filled by a routing mechanism that takes applications’ requirements while making routing decisions. PfR makes adaptive routing decisions based on criteria like latency, packet loss, jitter, traffic load and configured cost policies. This ability to configure flexibility into the routing decision process makes PfR closer to applications.

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Cisco at RSA 2011

The past year has been an interesting one in IT in general and security in particular. We have seen the continued growth of internet traffic, the dawn of the cloud, the consumerization of IT and the growth of social networks all making the challenge of delivering secure, reliable, seamless connectivity to increasingly distributed users on a proliferating forest of increasingly diverse devices. With new challenges like government backed cyberwar efforts such as Stuxnet, hacktivism and not so anonymous DDoS attacks, a big mobility push and an emphasis on telework, IT and security groups have their hands full.

Come join us at RSA 2011 in Moscone Center in San Francisco. The show is running 14-18 February and we are excited to be showing some of our latest and greatest security solutions and technologies at Booth 1717.

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Your Brain, Adaptation, and SBA

I’ve been in the wireless industry a long time. Like a really long time, ie., twenty years or so. Hard for me to believe, but there it is. It’s been a heck of a great ride for me and my family. One of the most memorable experiences I had was to spend half of a day discussing the relationship between string theory and wireless propagation with a small group of physicists.

That discussion has continued on in one form or another for some years now. Though I don’t engineer many wireless systems these days, I still enjoy a hearty discussion on RF theory about as much as I ever did. One of the current threads in that discussion pertains to complex adaptive systems (CAS). The ultimate complex adaptive system is the human brain. Definitely recommend you read an incredible book called, “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr which illuminates how our brains are affected by the time we spend online. Fascinating.

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