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Hybrid – The Next Wave of Cloud Innovation

Today more than ever, CIOs are tasked with creating technology strategies that fuel the business and help their organizations achieve positive business outcomes. At the same time, they must be mindful that the new technologies or services they use to achieve those outcomes minimize security risks and maximize choice and control. This careful due diligence can create an inaccurate impression that IT is slow to respond, often says “no,” or is out of touch with the fast pace of business. To avoid the strict regulations imposed by IT, many line-of-business leaders use cheap IT and cloud services available on public clouds without the CIO’s knowledge thus creating a situation known as ‘shadow cloud.’ The quick and easy use of public cloud services hosted on cheap infrastructure is an attractive and inexpensive option at first. However, the workloads put on public cloud services are not always secure or encrypted. Also, as that cloud usage increases exponentially over time, so does the cost which can easily drive up a company’s operating expenses.

The inexpensive, commodity infrastructure services driven by the public cloud players is the first wave of cloud innovation, and this is a very popular option for many companies today. However, the proprietary cloud model of larger public vendors like Amazon and Google operates on the belief that companies will only need one vendor for their cloud services.

We believe the next wave of cloud innovation will come in the form of open, secure connectivity that drives a globally connected network of clouds—a model which we call the Intercloud. The Intercloud is a hybrid cloud model based on a mix of private, public and partner clouds that offers flexibility, security and policy management to CIOs. Our definition of hybrid cloud doesn’t just mean connecting public clouds to private clouds. It also includes connecting to partner clouds as well. Since this model is open it also allows CIOs to move workloads between all these different clouds, versus locking them into using one single cloud environment as many public cloud companies do. With hybrid cloud models such as Cisco’s Intercloud, organizations can enjoy both the level of control offered by on-premise private cloud solutions and the freedom to choose public clouds for other workloads.

As CIOs begin to assess their own hybrid cloud strategy, they should factor in two key attributes: securing control, and maintaining flexibility and choice.

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Reflections on Mobile World Congress 2015: Transformation Through Innovation

As I reflected on a very memorable Mobile World Congress 2015 during the plane ride home from Barcelona a few days ago, it became clear that the transformation Cisco has been seeing in the telecommunications service provider industry is now a global movement.

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It’s not just happening in Europe, or Latin America, or Asia. It’s quite literally everywhere.

“Transformation through Innovation” was Cisco’s theme for this year’s Mobile World Congress, and at heart of our service provider strategy. It’s quite clear we’re onto something.

In countless conversations last week with leaders of forward-thinking global service providers in Barcelona, I heard two familiar themes over and over again –“Transformation and Innovation.” They’re all seeking to transform their architectures and businesses – and ultimately their customers’ experiences – to capture new opportunities in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era. In fact, the IoE – the networked connection of people, processes, data and things – is expected to create a $1.7 trillion market opportunity for service providers over the next decade.

With large networks that deliver mobile, video, collaboration, and other offerings to individual subscribers and businesses of all sizes, service providers are in an enviable position, sitting at the center of the IoE. They alone have the unique opportunity to take advantage of all kinds of new IoE connection types, and integrating them to deliver rich new applications, services and experiences.

What a truly exciting time to be in this industry!

That said, existing operational complexity can stifle service providers’ abilities to reduce costs and become more agile in bringing new capabilities to market. The reality is, today most new applications and services take months to roll out. If this pace does not rapidly accelerate, the entire industry will be left behind.

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Cisco Joins North Carolina Governor in Helping Our Military Heroes Find Jobs

According to North Carolina Governor McCrory, 27,000 military service members in his state will leave the armed forces in 2015 alone, representing a massive pool of highly-skilled talent. Military veterans have a strong work ethic, are accustomed to working under pressure, can make decisions smartly but swiftly, and are well organized.

But often the greatest challenge they have is translating those skills into something that we, in the civilian workforce, can understand and relate to our job requirements.

Cisco is working with the state of North Carolina to address this problem. Today, we joined Governor McCrory to announce the launch of the NC Military Pipeline, a sophisticated online platform that maps military occupation codes to civilian career paths and job openings. The Pipeline was developed by Durham, North Carolina-based Futures, Inc. with more than $2 million seed funding from Cisco.

The NC Military Pipeline will help veterans, transitioning service members, military spouses, reservists, and National Guardsmen find jobs through:

  • Job postings
  • Training and certification programs
  • Career assessment tools
  • Career path exploration
  • Communities of people with similar interests

Cisco will lead a coalition of IT companies — initially including CompTIA, NetApp, Citrix, LPI, NDG and Oracle – that will post their training programs and certification programs on the NC Military Pipeline.

We expect the Cisco Networking Academy program will play a major role in this initiative, offering training on Cisco equipment and preparation for Cisco certifications. Networking Academy courses are offered at 82 institutions across North Carolina, which have taught more than 53,000 students since 1997. One of them is Clint Abrams, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who now works as a Cisco technical support engineer:

Thanks to Larry Carter, former Cisco CFO and a current trustee of the Cisco Foundation board, for representing Cisco at the event today. We are all proud to support North Carolina and Governor McCrory in making North Carolina the showcase state for veterans’ employment. And we hope today is just the first step in creating a blueprint for all states with a major military presence to follow.

Learn more about how Cisco supports military veterans on our Corporate Social Responsibility website.

 

 

The Evolution of the #ConnectedFan

I love sports—playing, watching, you name it. But the sports experience has changed so much over the past few years, in new and exciting ways, which makes being a fan or being a player more dynamic – and way more fun.

Growing up playing basketball, we’d play the game, feed off our fans’ energy and cheers, celebrate when we won, and then challenge the next team!

But today, fans are tweeting messages to their favorite players and players are wearing sensors to track their performance—it’s a whole new ballgame. With the transitions we’ve seen in mobile, cloud and the Internet of Everything (IoE), so much has changed—and will continue to change—how we engage with our favorite teams.

I’d even venture to say that the fan-player relationship is now personal. You used to be able to only enjoy a game at the stadium where it was being played, or by listening to the radio or watching TV. You certainly couldn’t share your thoughts on the game with the players playing, except by screaming at them – or the TV.

Innovations in streaming video, live broadcasting and social media, have made today’s experience radically different. Wi-Fi-enabled sports arenas, combined with the huge expansion in mobile capabilities, mean that fans can watch the game live, watch on TV, or via an app on their smart device. Anyone out there like watching the hoop cam during a game?

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Through the Internet of Everything, You May Never Have to Wait in a Long Checkout Line Again

We’ve all been there. A grocery store, a department store or even a coffee shop, standing in a long checkout line that hasn’t moved for what seems like an eternity. You ask yourself, ‘Is this purchase worth it?’ For one third of customers, the answer is no, if they have to wait more than five minutes. (Source: Brickstream)

But imagine if we could eliminate checkout lines? Well at Cisco – we have! In our latest conversation about the Internet of Everything, we’ve imagined more possibilities with our “Museum of Lasts” campaign – the last traffic jam, the last blackout, the last missed meeting – and yes, the last checkout line.

Increasingly, retailers understand the importance of having both a physical and digital presence – and how the power of the Internet of Everything will digitize those experiences. Thanks to technologies like predictive analytics that sense foot traffic and notify stores when more cashier lanes should open, as well as sensors on shelves that can identify inventory and automatically place orders when low, customers and retailers are becoming closer than ever before.

But will these technologies help retailers improve the customer experience? Will the Last Checkout Line ever become a reality? I believe the answer is yes. Last month, I shared results from a recent Cisco study that highlighted unique insights about shopping behaviors among U.S. and U.K. consumers. In this digital age, it’s absolutely critical for retailers to provide “hyper-relevant” experiences. Shoppers don’t want to be sent coupons for diapers if they don’t have children; retailers need to understand the reason and context behind each consumer’s shopping experience and react accordingly.

Some of the key findings from the study emphasized that shoppers do not want to wait in a long line. Seventy-seven percent said that they would use checkout optimization to receive estimated wait times, while 60% would scan product bar codes using their smartphone and then pay at a self-service kiosk. These are the types of digital experiences that shoppers are looking for – and will help eliminate the checkout line!

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