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No Frills and Route if You Must

I was reading about the latest airline cutbacks due to the skyrocketing price of oil. Fewer routes, fewer perks. Charges for checked baggage, for pre-assigned seats-even for pretzels. There’s even some speculation about coin-operated toilets. And this was in the Washington Post, no less. Here on the ground, the price of oil is also running roughshod with our daily lives. People are wondering if they can afford to drive to work. Something has to give. And interestingly, according to Associated Press writer Michael Hill, the U.S. House of Representatives just approved legislation requiring the head of each federal agency to set policies allowing qualified workers to work from home or another convenient location. High gas prices was one factor cited. All this reminds me of the decade-old debate on routing versus switching. Read More »

Have you been shopping on your cell phone yet?

If you have…then you’ve found one of a small minority of retailers in the US and Europe that offers customers mobile shopping today. According to the third annual retail e-commerce study, published by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, only 15% of leading retailers are ready to allow the world’s three billion cell phone owners to experience “mobile commerce”. The Cisco study also revealed some surprising information about the uptake of SMS by retailers and some eye-brow-raising information about which demographic is most commonly using social networking sites to help them with their online shopping.I asked Director of Cisco Retail Internet Business Solutions, Lindsay Parker, (who co-authored the study), to share some of the highlights of her research. I also asked her to address concerns retailers might have about investing in Web 2.0 and mobile commerce technology during a period of depressed consumer confidence. You can learn more about the study from this white paper.

We-C: Innovative Program for At-Risk Youth in San Jose, CA

Rarely do homeless and at-risk youth have the opportunity and access to use different forms of art to express themselves. Cisco has partnered with the Bill Wilson Center, ZERO1 (01SJ) and artist Dorit Cypis to create an innovative program called “We-C” to illustrate the power of the Human Network to connect a part of the community that is often left behind. These adolescents and young adults – some of them homeless – will be invited to express themselves through art which will be captured on video and displayed throughout the 01SJ Digital Art Festival using Cisco DMS technology.01SJ is a biennial festival of “art on the edge” taking place in San Jose, CA this June 4-8 showcasing multimedia exhibits, films, live performances and new cinema from artists around the world.In this video, Cisco’s manager of corporate community relations, Sandra Wheatley Smerdon describes 01SJ, We-C and why Cisco is involved.

“It has been a very moving experience for me to watch these teenagers and young adults open up their hearts and minds to art. My hope is that they will continue their appreciation and enthusiasm for art throughout their lives,” Dorit Cypis (professional artist leading the We-C workshops).

“Most of the youth and young adults at Bill Wilson Center have never had the opportunity to participate in or be exposed to art and culture. The We-C program is not only an opportunity for them to find a way to express themselves through art, but also broaden their view of people and the world,” Sparky Harlan, Executive Director & CEO, Bill Wilson Center.

Rise of the Machines

I’ve been thinking about how machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will evolve, and what it will mean for the network. We seven billion humans think we’re the majority, with about one billion of us connected to the Internet and more than three billion chatting on cell phones. But there’s another population that overshadows us: Machines. By some counts, there are 10 times as many of them as of us -over 70 billion. Most of them are not yet connected, but this will change. Cars, irrigation systems, and weather sensors are just the beginning. Proprietary, legacy systems are converging on IP due to cost efficiencies and benefits of standardization. New technologies such as Zigbee promise to tie together disparate devices in a cost-effective mesh. We sometimes joke about having a constant caffeine connection, where you’re hit with another infusion just as your energy starts to dip. But there is something to be said about delivery trucks being able to plan based on a real-time view of inventory or to simply operate more safely thanks to an automated monitoring system that can detect issues with operation or maintenance. In fact, Computerworld’s Rob Mitchell just wrote a great article about this very topic. Read More »

Cisco #1 in Enterprise Voice AND #1 Enterprise Telephony Worldwide

Post by Steve Slattery, VP, Cisco Voice Technology GroupThe release of the Q1 2008 Enterprise Voice Market Share Report from Synergy Research Group, a leading research firm, marks a significant milestone for Cisco in Unified Communications. For the first time, Cisco took the number one market share position for Enterprise Telephony followed by Avaya, Nortel, Alcatel-Lucent and Siemens Enterprise. We are now selling more voice systems than all of the other vendors in less than ten years since we entered the market. (Note: Synergy defines Enterprise Telephony as Enterprise IP Telephony plus Traditional TDM Telephony, excluding VoIP gateways). Further, according to Synergy, Cisco remained the market leader in Enterprise Voice, IP Phone and Enterprise IP Telephony markets; and managed to post the only positive quarter among the large vendors with a growth rate of 0.9 percent sequentially. No matter how you count the revenues -be it IP or TDM -Cisco is now providing more customers with telephony solutions than any other vendor in the industry.