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Video WizardsTake just one look at the video pinball that is mtvU, MTV’s around-the-clock student network, and you understand why new media is getting so much attention from those trying to discern the future of broadband content and its delivery. Experience the multiple feeds, flashing colors, music videos and messages, and you know you’re in another world.So it’s no surprise that Cisco Systems is partnering with mtvU to fund “Digital Incubators,” ten student groups with $250,000 to help showcase their digital video projects on mtvU’s networks. These projects combine elements of short-form programming, gaming, social networking, blogging, instant and text messaging, podcasting and mobile phone-based interactivity. “The media business is in a disruptive era and consumers are being empowered to create and share their own content,” Dan Scheinman, senior VP of corporate development for Cisco, told CNET.”It’s important for (Cisco) to see where the trends are going so we can build capabilities into our products to enable it.” My favorite trailer from the incubator so far is “œHow Do I Say This?” billed as”an interactive peer-to-peer advise column and online community video project” from students at UCLA. Heard it on the Radio In his White House Radio Address April 22, President George Bush mentioned his visit to Cisco and cited the company’s Networking Academy Program.”I had the chance to visit Cisco Systems, a company that understands the importance of preparing the next generation for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow,” Bush said.”Through its Networking Academy Program, Cisco is helping to train high school students in math, science, and information technology skills. By ensuring that we have a skilled workforce for the future, companies like Cisco are helping America compete with confidence, and keeping our economy growing, and creating new jobs for our citizens.” To listen to Bush’s remarks during his visit to the company, check out the News@Cisco podcast.CRM for SMBsCisco is collaborating with Microsoft to integrate Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM 3.0 application with Cisco’s Unified Communications technology. The just-announced Cisco Unified CRM Connector 3.0 includes an IP phone service that pushes customer information to Cisco Unified IP phones from inbound calls. The solution will help SMBs who want CRM applications but don’t have the time or money to get too involved, Yankee Group analyst Helen Chan told InfoWorld. “To get this to work before, it required someone to sit down and write a custom application, and all that technology is proprietary,” Chan said. As a result, for updates or additions to the system, “you’re always going back to that same partner,” she said. Cisco also introduced its FastStart program for Cisco and Microsoft partners, providing resources to help them sell Cisco Unified Communications and Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions.

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