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Broadband Down Under: Isolation Breeds Innovation

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the plum assignments of my journalism career was co-authoring a report for CIO about IT in Australia. Ten days in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne (with a weekend jaunt to Tasmania) brought out one key aspect of the Australian attitude toward technology: being isolated from most of the world, they have to be twice as creative.

At that time, in the late 90s, Australia had already deregulated its telecommunications industry (just a year after the U.S.) and developed a state-of-the-art $3 billion national fiber-optic network.

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Meet Jennifer Halim: The Story of a Cisco Social Media Ambassador

December 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm PST

At Cisco, we are focused upon internally and externally sharing social media best practices and lessons learned from individuals who have successfully integrated social media into their day job.  We recently sat down with one such social practitioner, Jennifer Halim, a subject matter expert (SME) on the Customer Support Team, to learn more about how she incorporates social media into her job at Cisco.

Jennifer joined the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in 2007 and focuses on security products in Australia. In 2010, she became a Technical Account Manager with ScanSafe, Cisco’s cloud-based web security service. Even after the move, she managed to keep up to date with the technology that she used in her previous role by actively participating on the Cisco Support Community. With over 322,000 registered users and 11 years of history, the Cisco Support Community is a platform on which technical experts and Cisco customers can interact with each other by asking and answering questions in the discussion forums, commenting on blogs, rating videos, and more. While spending an average of one to three hours per day contributing to the discussion forums regarding Cisco Security products, she participates completely out of her own will during after business hours. Through her engagements on this website, Jennifer states that she is constantly learning from other contributors to the community, and she enjoys the satisfaction of being able to help customers by answering their questions and resolving their issues.

Community participants like Jennifer who have responded to customers have contributed to Cisco’s $80 million in annual cost savings that is attributed to the Cisco Support Community and is a conservative estimate based on TAC case deflection. Based on the number of customer cases resolved, Jennifer has been one of the top contributors since she joined the community in 2010.

How does she manage to integrate her Support Community activities into her day job?

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Cisco VXI Tour: APAC Update

Many of us here on the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) team are excited about upcoming news around Cisco’s virtualization solutions. And the Cisco VXI message gets amplified further at VMworld Copenhagen (Oct 18) and Citrix Synergy Barcelona (Oct 25).

VXI logo

Here is a quick video summary that my wife, Beth Dooley, helped me record a few hours after returning home (Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, California) from my VXI Experience Tour in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. The video was shot from our backyard deck. The original was 10 mins in length but we cut it down to just the first 3 mins:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ6Ih_WNGVg

During this VXI tour in APAC,  I delivered our message to 10 sessions, 3 countries (Singapore, Japan, Korea) with hundreds of customers, partners, and internal Cisco teams. Siva Mandalam (Director, Cisco Enterprise Architecture & Systems) delivered our message in India the week before. PJ Barber (Director, Cisco Desktop Virtualization) delivers our message in Australia this week.

Prior to this trip, the Cisco team was expecting the vast majority of its near-term revenue, partner activity and customer interest for VXI to be concentrated in North America and Europe. After this APAC tour, it’s obvious there are some big things happening in Asia.  Many could argue that the most mature countries in the APAC region for desktop virtualization adoption would be Australia and India.  However, we’re seeing early signs of positive growth in Korea, Japan, and parts of China and SouthEast Asia as well.

In Japan, the attendance and interest exceeded everyone’s expectation with sessions in the hundreds leaving standing room only.  In Korea, the teams were not only enthusiastic but they could see beyond just hosted virtual desktops and how this architecture applied to their overall “cloud” initiatives. In recent years, Korea has taken an innovation leadership role in areas such as automobiles, home appliances, consumer electronics, Internet broadband delivery, mobile handsets, and a variety of Post-PC devices from companies like Samsung and LG. Also, Korea’s modern culture is a strikingly unique blend of old tradition and new innovation. You can see this blending of old and new not only in their technology landscape but it extends into their music, fashion, and films. Cisco VXI is in many ways a blending of old (Windows PCs and legacy applications) and new (virtual workspaces using collaborative networking and cloud-based computing).

In my opinion, Korea is a country to watch for the next 12-18 months in this area. I could see at least one or two of Korea’s leading industries emerge as a guiding light for how businesses can move into the Post-PC area, deliver unique collaboration services, and embrace cloud computing in a way that we have not seen before.

Overall: the APAC region leveraging Cisco VXI has all the ingredients to be a significant portion of “first-mover” Enterprises and Service Providers in the Post-PC era. The proliferation of next generation devices are well suited for VXI when combined with rich collaboration services using high-performance networks and clouds. We just need to help convert this beaming enthusiasm into action. Amazing new developments are sure to come out of Asia, yet again.

Doug Dooley

Cisco Systems — Director, Desktop Virtualization

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Telepresence enhances performance whether market booms or busts

July 11, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

According to a recent article in ARN, economic resurgence following the recent global financial crisis has opened wide the Australian telepresence market. Already a telepresence pioneer in terms of education, the Australian telepresence market is now also taking off in government, banking and financial services, utilities and mining, health care, and professional services, the article said.

The story focused on a study by Frost & Sullivan analysts who looked at trends in the videoconferencing market, which includes telepresence. They found revenues increased by 33 percent in 2010 and predicted the Aussie videoconferencing market would more than triple by 2017.

While we are excited about the increasing economic confidence and concurrent eagerness to adopt telepresence, it’s worth noting that telepresence technology can also act as an austerity measure. Take the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently began installing telepresence in 15 sites around the country. GSA wants to increase telepresence use as a cost-cutting measure, in response to budget cuts, according to Fierce Government IT. The telepresence centers will enable more teleworking and lessen the need for expensive business travel.

The fact that governments, businesses, manufacturers, schools, and health care networks all seek to adopt telepresence technology—some as an upgrade, others as a money-saver—demonstrates the versatility of the technology. Telepresence crosses economic lines, meets multiple needs, and makes communication more efficient and convenient. It’s exciting to be part of the revolution! Do you agree?

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Telepresence Launches Australian Students into Space

May 18, 2011 at 9:03 am PST

You heard it here first: a new space race has begun. Alright, maybe it’s more accurate to say it very well could begin, thanks to Australia’s new Pathways to Space program.

Hosted by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, the initiative aims to enhance Australia’s engineering and science education. Pathways to Space gives secondary school students the chance to develop space robotics and search for life on Mars. And, with telepresence, even students living deep in the outback can participate.

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