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Technology + Art = 21st Century Education

Education has long been a passion of Cisco. Our CEO often says there are two great equalizers in life: “the Internet and education.” Early Cisco employees started out jumping the fence of a neighboring school to volunteer there (see; Costano School in East Palo Alto, CA). A Cisco engineer created an online networking class to help fill the skills gap of networking (see; Cisco Networking Academy Program.) And, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated many parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Cisco wanted to do something to help the schools rebuild…better, stronger and for the 21st Century. We created a program called “21S,” which is short for “21st Century Schools.” We have now committed $80 million to this effort. Part of that funding is to help teachers learn about how they can use technology in the classroom. Read what our partners at the Smithsonian American Art Museum wrote about this program. We are proud to contribute in any way we can to helping rebuild this region and help share best-practices in this web 2.0 world.

The Office of the Future

I met with a new colleague today for lunch and took her on a little tour of one of our “Cisco Connected Workplaces” – which is kind of our version of an office of the future. It very much resembles a newsroom in a newspaper. There is collaborative space, some quiet rooms, and individual workstations that are very close to one another. We didn’t see any individual offices. It maximizes space and colleague interaction and takes advantage of wireless and IP technology to make each and every employee more collaborative and productive (or, at least that is the pitch). It hasn’t yet been implemented on my team, but it is coming soon. My initial reaction is that I HATE IT!!After I got over my gut reaction for this coming change (actually, I’m still working on getting over it), I stepped back and thought about it a bit. I don’t like it because it is different from what I know. I like what I know, so, therefore, how can I like what I don’t know, right? The truth is that I didn’t like being in a cube when I first moved from my office in DC either. I got over it. Now that they want to move to this workspace I don’t like that either, but, I’m sure I’ll get over that too. The space that we toured today was clean…looked efficient…and while many people were there, it was respectfully quiet. True, not a lot of people were on the phone, but there were conference calls taking place in quiet rooms, so it reminded me a bit of the ol’ stacks in a library where people would study right next to each other and, gasp, fully function. I’ll write an update when we move to our new workspace, but I would be interested to hear how other workplace experiments are going.

Cisco Green: The Movie

Speaking of Cisco Connected Workplaces, hop on over to’s “The Green Enterprise” page to view a great video on Cisco’s “Green” strategy including a tour of Cisco Connected Workplaces, an overview of Cisco TelePresence and some other stuff that we’re doing on the green front…the video includes a good interview with my former boss and Cisco eco-board co-chair, SVP Global Policy and Government Affairs Laura Ipsen, talking about Cisco’s overall green vision. See the full piece here.

Integration of Linksys by Cisco Small Business

We have been focused on the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market for some time now and I wanted to point your attention to an announcement we made today around our SMB go-to-market strategy. In order to better meet the needs of small business customers and the channels partners that serve them, we are very pleased to share that Cisco is integrating the Linksys Partner Connection program into the Cisco Channel Partner Program. This includes bringing the Linksys by Cisco Business Series products into the Cisco small and medium-sized business (SMB) portfolio and giving our channel partners access to one of the largest SMB portfolios on the market today. The SMB market represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Cisco and its channel partners and we are committed to providing our customers and channel partners with a wide variety of technology options. SMB customers are nothing if not diverse and a broad portfolio helps partners win more customers. Read More »

Universal Broadband: If You Build it, Will they Come?

Since the early days of DSL, we’ve heard of the concept of universal broadband. And we’ve also heard that, in the US, pricing and penetration have caused us to lag behind other first-world nations in broadband connectivity. Enter new kid on the block, It was founded to promote the cause, looking to the government for a mandate. Pointing to California as a poster child, it asserts that only 50 percent have broadband at home; that the financial digital divide is very real. It would appear that universal broadband does not mean universal demand. But I’m not so sure we’re seeing the whole picture. In fact, some studies actually put California at the head of the Internet ‘savvy’ frontier across home and business. While we may not have 100 Mbps to everyone’s front door, we know what to do with what we have. And, although some of us may not have broadband at home, we’re more than eager to take advantage of the connection from work. So, is it really a question of haves and have-nots? Is it connectivity, or is it something deeper? Read More »