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Cisco Helps Make Brand Loyalty a Slam Dunk for the NBA

In a world of digital distractions and shrinking attention spans, brand loyalty and customer engagement often wind up “out of bounds.” But forward-thinking organizations — including the National Basketball Association (NBA) — are using technology to create some exciting new scoring opportunities.

One of the keys to establishing brand loyalty lies in enabling an experience that sparks an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand. The NBA is a great example of an organization with an ardent fan base whose loyalty is based on an emotional bond. But to transform that passion into higher merchandise sales and social media buzz, the NBA has been adopting some unique concepts.

Some of this innovation will be on display at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, which will take place in New Orleans, February 13-16. There, the NBA is deploying Cisco’s Virtual Mirror done with partner C-InStore. The full-length mirror enables shoppers to see enhanced virtual images of themselves. And while Cisco’s Virtual Mirror might not make a customer look 7 feet tall (yet), it will render an image of him or her wearing the official All-Star jersey, shorts, and other licensed apparel. That digital snapshot can then be shared with friends and family, capitalizing on the excitement of being at the event. Those who engage with the mirror will also receive a 20-percent discount off event merchandise, redeemable through a coupon sent automatically to their phones.

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School Days 2.0: Connected, Borderless, and Highly Inclusive

Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You study’ em hard and hopin’ to pass

Chuck Berry’s old hit “School Days” sums up an educational model that has persisted since the 1800s — if not since Aristotle. Students and their classmates sit within the same walls and absorb rote knowledge from one teacher at a time. And woe to those who fail to show up for the morning bell or to follow the lesson plan!

But if you think your own school days are a model for the future, get ready for a whole new lesson plan. Just as the Internet of Everything (IoE) is disrupting so many other areas of our lives (not to mention business models), its ever-expanding wave of network connectivity promises to upend education as well.

After all, when people, process, data, and things are linked in startling new ways, radical transformation follows. Within the context of learning, the very definition of schools, students, teachers, and classrooms is being challenged. Now, your classroom is wherever you happen to be, and your lessons take place when you want them — all thanks to a convergence of IoE cornerstones such as mobility, media-rich collaboration tools, cloud, and analytics.

Cisco predicts that the IoE Value at Stake will be $4.6 trillion for the public sector worldwide over the next decade. Of that total, $258 billion in value will come from Connected Education.

 

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Cisco IOx: Making Fog Real for IoT

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Fog Computing supports emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications that demand real-time response and predictable latency such as industrial automation, transportation, networks of sensors, and actuators. Thanks to its wide geographical distribution, the Fog model is well positioned for real time big data and real time analytics. But how can we make Fog real for IoT? We believe Cisco IOx is the answer.

Cisco IOx is delivering an application enablement framework that brings the Fog concept to life by allowing the delivery of distributed computing capabilities and enabling the creation of an intermediate layer between the “things” and the cloud.

 IOx_trad  IOx_IoT

So what exactly is Cisco IOx? In simple terms, Cisco is combining the communication and computing resources that are required for IoT into a single platform for application enablement at the network edge.

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CiscoLive Milan Highlights: IoE, SDN and a lot of wine

Aside from an ill-timed Milanese taxi strike and a lot of rain and snow, the first CiscoLive of 2014 was a fascinating week. Cisco EVP Rob Lloyd announced our latest Cisco ONE capabilities with a new APIC Enterprise module and the new Inter Cloud capability for moving workload (virtual machines) between private and public clouds.  Both of these announcements underscore Cisco’s expansion into software-defined infrastructure. Now IT administrators can centrally apply policies across data center, WAN and access networks and transparently move workloads and apps across private and public clouds. Now, that’s agility. That’s lower operational costs.

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The Key to the Connected World? The Programmable World

Your house-cleaning robot connects to your lighting system, which connects to your garage door, which connects to your car. All of these devices in turn connect to your smartphone, which, among many other things, enables YOU to connect to a community of like-minded, creative souls looking for — you guessed it — better ways to connect and program things.

This is just a small glimpse into how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is transforming our lives. With its explosion in connectivity — from 10 billion “things” today to 50 billion in 2020 — IoE is changing the world in complex and challenging ways. But there are also exciting opportunities to manage the complexity, share ideas, and drive ever-higher levels of innovation and collaboration.

One name for this new paradigm is the Programmable World.

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