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How are You Sprucing Up Your Digital Strategy for Spring?

It’s springtime…typically the time of year when you need to purge your house of all the clutter that’s accumulated during the winter. At the same time, spring always reminds me to do some extra sprucing up around the Cisco digital house — and start checking it from top to bottom with renewed vigor.

So I took stock recently and was pleased to see all the heavy-duty spring cleaning improvements we’ve made of late. Here’s a sampling, plus some tips on how to approach your digital spring cleaning regime:

Leverage data and insights.

We took a recent look at the traffic patterns on our Cisco.com menus. The majority of visitors to the “Products and Services” menu were gravitating to a subset of items. So we took the opportunity to do some clean-up and make that menu more readable by eliminating items with low traffic.

For more details on this change, see our blog: “A Simple Update to Our Cisco.com Menus”. Read More »

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10 Cool Mobile Apps from Cisco You Don’t Know But Should

April 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm PST

How many apps do you have on your mobile phone or tablet? Too many? Do you use all of them? If you do, you’re in the minority. 22% of people use an app only once after they have downloaded it, according to a study by Localytics.

iPhone Apps

My own iPhone is full of apps,  some of which I rarely use — but also some tremendously valuable apps that I use multiple times daily.

When apps first came out, we all rushed to download as many as we could, to see what they did. Alas, many of them were ‘duds’ from the start, or lost value over time, so we abandoned them rather quickly.

Companies did the same. They (we) built plenty of apps, perhaps to experiment or capture a new capability, or to address a new audience or market segment. Cisco built more than 120 customer-facing apps and more that 50 apps for employee self-service. [That's too many!] Some of those apps were light on features, some were initially great but were later superseded by better apps, and some stand out for the recurring value they create.

Nevertheless, everyone is fighting for space on your device with the latest app and features.

I try to update my apps on a regular basis and remove any that I haven’t used in a while just to eliminate the noise and clutter on my device so I’m not scrolling through unused apps.

Cisco has quite a few great apps – below are 10 cool apps that I think you should consider downloading:

App

Description

Platform

User Rating

WebEx App

Cisco WebEx Meetings is an online meeting app; you can join Cisco WebEx online meetings right from your mobile screen and stay connected to important meetings, wherever you are.

iOS | Android | Amazon

4+

#1 Most Popular Cisco App

3D Interactive

Cisco 3D Interactive Catalog allows you to interact with Cisco products in 3D -- rotate them around, explore features and learn about the key technologies that deliver Cisco’s competitive advantage.

iOS

4+

#10 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Prime

Cisco Prime allows you to monitor and troubleshoot network issues anywhere, anytime. It helps organizations simplify network management, deliver predictable services and lower the total cost of ownership.

iOS

4+

Cisco Proximity

Cisco Proximity allows automatic pairing of a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) with Cisco room-based video collaboration endpoints when they come within proximity. Content shared on video endpoints can be viewed on your mobile device.

iOS

4+

#3 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Jabber

Cisco Jabber is a collaboration application that provides presence, instant messaging (IM), voice, voice messaging, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing.

iOS | Android

4+

#2 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Binary Game

Cisco Binary Game app is a fun way to learn the binary number system. It has been played more than a million times all over the world.

“Great tool… This is a great and fun tool for developing proficiency in binary calculations.”
- DaMotif8er

iOS

4+

Cisco App

Cisco (Marketing) App allows you to connect and collaborate with Cisco to get the latest news and promotional offers, find events and Cisco partners in your area, search for content, play our latest videos or podcasts, receive current security alerts, advisories and responses or find support.

iOS | Android

4+

#6 Most Popular Cisco App

Cisco Well Magazine

Cisco Well Magazine is an interactive magazine that offers in-depth information highlighting technology advances in healthcare through reports, relevant case studies, video and more.

iOS

4+

Cisco VNI

Cisco VNI provides global, regional, and select country-level forecast projections and data based on Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecasts. Cisco VNI Forecast data is updated annually and covers a five-year forecast period (currently 2012 –2017) focused on mobile and fixed IP network traffic growth, trends, and service adoption.

Google

3.5

Cisco Technical Support

Technical Support app provides access to comprehensive Cisco technical support content, including support contract management information, leverage the communities for collaboration and share documents about configuring and troubleshooting Cisco products and solutions.

2012 Web Marketing Association Best Advocacy Mobile App award winner

2012 Forrester Groundswell B2B Mobile App award winner

iOS | Android

4+

I think: you can’t go wrong with these 10.  Try one or try them all.  Or, you can check out all of the Cisco apps available.

Let me know which apps you like from the Cisco catalog.

Also feel free to shine a spotlight on little-known business, tech, news, and productivity apps you find especially helpful, interesting, or just plain cool (bonus points if they’re not well-known!).

 

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A Simple Update To Our Cisco.com Menus

April 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm PST

MM-Mouseover Bar

Did you notice the recent change to the menus on Cisco.com?  We call them “megamenus” — those convenient lists that fly down when you mouse over the masthead bar on any page on Cisco.com. We recently updated the “Products & Services” megamenu on the site to make it more readable and simplify navigation.

Here’s the new improved Products megamenu:

MM-New-April2014

For comparison, the here’s previous version:

MM-previous-March2014

What We Did

Do you notice what’s changed?

  • We reduced the length of the list of product categories so that it’s more readable.
  • We updated the layout so there’s less back-and-forth scanning.
  • We made Solutions and Services a bit more visible.
  • We put Cisco Validated Designs in a more obvious place.
  • We reordered some other things here and there to help us understand traffic patterns.

We think this is a nice simplification for our site-wide mega menus. And, of course, you can still find the full list of all products via the “All Products” list.

Enjoy!

(And, as always, if you have feedback, please send us a note here or at the [+]Feedback link that’s at the bottom of every page.)

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Video: What will it cost?

Video: What will it cost?

“What will my video cost?” Is the number one question I’m asked. It’s also the toughest question to answer.  I could just answer: “How much do you have?” But I think I should be a bit more polite.  So here we go….

First, I set the stage that the cost of video production can vary greatly.10118_Finance_256

Let’s take an example of creating a video explaining how Cisco sees the future of the Internet of Everything. I could hire my son, pay him $20, tell him to hold my cell phone and record me explaining the concept for 60 seconds. Upload to YouTube and I’m done. Cost $20.

Now take that same video message and create a TV commercial with professional writers, actors, graphics, editing, audience testing, and well… you get the picture, expensive. Cost: $$$$$

Here’s the Cisco message that I’m sure will have different results than my $20 version would have:

Second, I bring out the analogy (us video people love analogies).

“What will a video cost?” It’s a bit like asking what does a car cost. Cars come in all types, ranging from a mini Smart car, to a basic Ford, a nice Honda, a luxury BMW, or a supercar Lamborghini. Now complicate the picture with size, from sports cars to sedans, SUVs, or pickup trucks. They will all get you to the airport but with different reliability, capacity, and speed -- of course all in much different style.

Now let’s get back to the video cost question at hand.

10323_video__256

Video production and visual content development can be compared to cars in exactly the same way. There are budget entry solutions that may well be just a single camera shoot, similar to the mini or basic car analogy, all the way up to a multi-camera, multi-crewed studio or location shoot that is the supercar of video production. In essence both use a vehicle to transfer the message (or people) in a dynamic engaging way, taking the viewer (or passengers) to the final conclusion (or destination).

Remember your image affects your audience and is just as important as your message.

Before price is even brought into the video production equation the most important point to consider is to take time to decide who your viewing audience is and what style will best suit them. And most importantly, best affect them! Will the mini video analogy work for you, staying true to the product, brand or message that you are promoting, or will you have to accept that the audience will need and may deserve the luxury or supercar video experience?

Seek professional help (and I don’t mean a psychiatrist).

10285_user_group_256

This final decision is always the tough part for anyone looking to commission a video product. You don’t want to make the decision of selecting a mini solution where a luxury or supercar should have been used, nor do you want to select a supercar when a mini would have been perfectly adequate. This is the point where I always say that engaging with experienced media professionals or video service teams can help guide you to make the correct choice for your budget, and most importantly, your audience.

The bottom line… your bottom line.

Unfortunately there is no magical number that relates to how much a video production will cost your bottom line. A budget production price will vary if you use a “bedroom business” to produce it or if you engage with the latest and greatest Hollywood studio. To me, video production all depends on who your audience is and how you take responsibility to produce the best content that stays true to your brand and gets across your message. Find a media professional or video service provider who understands what car analogy you need and can provide this for the audience.

So to summarize, if you ever need to commission a video think about the car analogy when evaluating how much money you’ll need. Every car gets you from A to B in varying degrees of comfort, speed and style so select the car that will best suit your audience. Then use this car analogy to explain your objectives to a professional video production provider whose knowledge and expertise can make it happen. Having a definitive idea of what type of video experience that you want to deliver can make the process much smoother and fulfilling for all everybody involved.

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Do I Really Have to Share?

April 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm PST

Sharing is a life skill that most of us learn as young children. It typically begins when siblings are introduced into the household, at play dates, or at school. You learn how to share your mother’s time, your toys, your books, and countless other things. It may have seemed painful at first, but it was something you had to learn in order to make friends and play cooperatively.

Fast forward to a few years later, you find that that sharing is easy. It’s a daily occurrence. For those who are active on social media, sharing is essential. Some share words of wisdom and information about their companies or the products they sell. Others share what they had for dinner, personal viewpoints, news and everything in between. They also share interesting content posted by their friends, colleagues, celebrities and bloggers. This type of sharing helps us build relationships online and keeps us connected. It also helps us learn from those around us.

One of the things I enjoy about working at Cisco is that I get to share what I’ve learned with others. It’s rewarding to Read More »

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