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The Video Game Changer in Communications and Collaboration

In my recent blog entry Cisco’s Collaboration Imperative, I reflected on why collaboration was a natural adjacency for Cisco. Over the past 8 years, as documented recently in Fast Company, we have evolved our operating model to be the sine qua non of collaboration in terms of operational excellence, innovation, and culture. In this post, I want to highlight the key underpinning of our collaboration leadership beachhead: our architectural approach. This architectural approach is evident across all of Cisco’s technologies that support collaboration as well as business video.In communications and collaboration, video, combined with voice and data, is a game changer; clearly HP and Microsoft both have recently concluded to be successful in this area that the network matters. A collaboration solution that lacks the ability to link the rich services of the network to its applications is the equivalent of one hand clapping.Visual NetworkingAs noted in Paul Lester’s seminal study, we now understand that tone, inflection and facial expressions account for 93 percent of the message in communications. Lester cites NYU educational psychologist Jerome Bruner in showing that people remember 30 percent of what they read, but about 80 percent of what they see.As globalization increases the desire for more personal contact across distance and cultural boundaries, video is becoming a mainstream capability for consumers and businesses alike. Thus, getting our business video strategy right has yielded a huge lead in the TelePresence systems market, a key part of our collaboration solution. This can be measured both by the number of TelePresence customers and unit installations and the actual utilization of the system, which dwarfs the low usages rate of legacy video conferencing. Cisco and the other companies that have implemented TelePresence have found a 10X+ multiple in utilization versus other forms of video communications. TelePresence is an architectural play that was built on top of our market leading solution in Unified Communications, another market leader. Other Cisco business video offerings such as our Digital Media Systems leverage Cisco TelePresence in a host of ways, including being part of the content and display system offering for our Cisco TelePresence Recording Solution. But why read about it here, when there is a “video data sheet” you can watch. Two Hands Clapping: The Network and Applications CollaborateOf course, this may sound like a slew of cool rich media applications. However, the key architectural play is when the network and the applications come together, supporting each other, much like how we experience the iPod and iTunes working together. The power of the network is not simply manifested through minimal compliance with the IEEE and IETF standards — which is the norm for other networking vendors. Our architecture for the support of business video and collaboration in the network is called medianet and represents the evolution of converged IP networks. Medianet, is an intelligent network optimized for rich media. In this architecture the services are in the network, and also are added to existing and new classes of devices. Medianet has built-in intelligence that optimizes rich media by providing adaptability, predictability, and guaranteed experiences to deliver visual networking transparently to any device. Specific capabilities supporting video and collaboration include: • Quality of experience• Content virtualization • Mobility • Session control • Security • Management A winning collaboration architecture requires a holistic approach. To successfully implement the full swath of collaboration capabilities, the devices, applications, content, and network must conform together securely and adaptively across boundaries. Cisco leadership transcends our technology offerings. We have learned, from the CEO down, process, culture and technology must be aligned to maximize the benefit of collaboration. We do not believe that companies built on pure hierarchies can lead their customers through the collaboration journey. Indeed, as Morton Hansen notes, in his brilliant new book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results:, “To unite a company, the top team needs to be united, too. Top executives need to practice the value of teamwork that they preach.”

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7 Comments.


  1. AlanIf for some reason you want to use Latin, it is probably best to use it correctly. he sine qua non of collaboration”" does not make any sense. why not just speak english/american?”

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  2. Even with the best and most skilled managers, organizations must be able to tap into the varied skills and wider perspectives of other employees. So it is essential that leaders know how to collaborate and develop effective partnerships with others. It is one of the elements that makes a manager a true leader.abhishek

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  3. Video Conferencing and teleconferencing are playing a very important part in today’s collaboration and development activities round the globe…

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  4. The point is how to keep up to date and still give priority to customer satisfaction. Good luck to your company :D

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  5. AlanIf for some reason you want to use Latin, it is probably best to use it correctly. “the sine qua non of collaboration” does not make sense. why not just speak english/american?

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  6. what are the ramifications if 3d gaming takes hold?

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  7. PaulActually Alan uses the term sine qua non correctly. The phrase refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.Bill Herndon

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