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Analytics: A New Model for Creating Great, Personalized Customer Experiences

While certainly exciting, buying a new house, can also serve as a revealing exercise in understanding data science.

A couple of weeks ago I went to my bank to investigate my financial options for buying a new house. To my surprise, my account manager gave me a stack of paperwork to fill out—and I soon realized that my bank was already in possession of 90 percent of the information I was being asked to provide. So why was I having to take the time to fill in information the bank already had, or could easily acquire?  And more importantly, why couldn’t my account manager quickly access information about my client status and my personal preferences, and immediately provide a tailored offering, decreasing the chance that I would look elsewhere for this service?

Figure 1. Centralized, Decentralized, and Distributed Networks. A distributed, virtualized approach to database management enables quick combination and analysis of large volumes of data—where and when it is needed.

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Source: Paul Baran, Rand Corporation.

I wrote in one of my recent blogs about the issues and solutions related to quickly combining data that comes in large volumes by focusing on data virtualization and cloud. This can enable seamless customer interactions and decrease client churn, be it in financial services or in the telecom sector. But what is required at an organizational level so that people, process, data, and things come together to enable a superior customer experience and create entirely new revenue possibilities?

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The Key to Success in Tracking Mobile Devices: Symbiosis, Not Espionage

As a shopper enters a store, the retailer uses Wi-Fi to track her movements, interests, and shopping habits, providing a treasure trove of insight valuable to merchandising and product development alike.

And as advances in Wi-Fi promise increasing location precision and beacons promise pinpoint location based services, the future appears to be smooth sailing, right?

Well, not exactly.

Tracking the position of mobile devices accurately and correlating to personal data has been one of the most sought after Big Data objectives. And not just for retailers — the potential wealth of business value from data has drawn piqued interest across nearly all industries.

Yet in the real world, issues arise from both technology challenges and privacy concerns alike.

Technology challenges include:

  • Typical Wi-Fi accuracies in the 7-to-10 meter range (though Angle of Arrival and improved location analytics promise dramatic improvements)
  • Infrequent mobile device probing to conserve battery power
  • Interference from metal shelves & fixtures, water in products (and people!)

Privacy qualms speak to the heart of transformation in the Internet of Everything (IoE) age. IoE, after all, is the explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things — and promises to be one of the most impactful periods of change in our history. And the people element is in some ways the whole point — to make our lives better, healthier, more efficient, and so forth. But the people issues will be just as challenging as those that arise around technology. Read More »

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Latin America Insights: Keeping Your Organization Safe in a Mobile World

The power of mobility has transformed the IT landscape.

While mobility and other tech forces, such as cloud and big data, have enabled organizations to improve productivity and increase efficiency, the constant challenge of keeping data, assets and users secure continues to be a top concern for CIOs and CSOs.

And these concerns stretch across global borders. For example, Frost & Sullivan analysts predict a $1.1B investment towards IT security in Latin America by 2015.

Today, security is no longer an expense, but a necessity for moving forward. It’s an investment for the future longevity of any company. With this in mind, how can business and IT leaders keep their organizations safe in a mobile world? And what can we learn from the mobile security adoption we are seeing in Latin America?

Recently, I had a chance to participate in a new Future of Mobility podcast with Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Bruno Tasco, to discuss the answers to some of these questions and how organizational leaders can address security in a way to reap the benefits of true mobility. The podcast is available for download in Spanish and Portuguese and a summary in English can be found on iTunes.

Here are a couple of considerations for CIOs and CSOs as they evaluate their mobile security strategies and look to future-proof their business.

Prepare for Fast Changes

Talking about mobility or general mobility in our Latin America market is like talking about the past. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), Latin America is experiencing and will continue to see incredible mobile adoption. Read More »

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Launching Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence in Europe

I recently wrote about how we are extending Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR)  and our open innovation strategy beyond Silicon Valley through local incubation partners in Chicago, San Diego and Berkeley.  Our presence in these innovation hubs will enable us to discover, influence and learn from new ideas and talent at early-stage startups with potential to disrupt our industry.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of Cisco EIR Europe, extending our program to a non-U.S. innovation hub for the first time.  Cisco EIR will be located initially in Vienna, where we plan to launch a small cohort of early-stage European startups by January 2015 – to be supported & incubated by Cisco – drawn from across EMEAR.  As with Cisco EIR in Silicon Valley, we will look for game-changing entrepreneurs in IoE, security, Big Data/analytics, Smart Cities & other transformational opportunities that are in Cisco’s strategic line of sight.  Also as in our Silicon Valley program, the startups will be supported by Cisco engineering & product teams as well as our EMEAR partner ecosystem.  The Vienna-based program is intended to serve as the beachhead – our “Phase 1” – for a broader EU-wide footprint for Cisco EIR.

Key to our success is how we leverage the startup ecosystem that already exists in Europe.  To this end, starting in Vienna, we have partnered with Pioneers, a leading startup community organization in Europe.  More partnerships are in the works.

I know all of you will agree innovation knows no national boundaries.  Europe, with its deep entrepreneurial talent, large market and history of innovation, presents a unique opportunity for usEurope is also one of the key regions for our Smart Cities – as you saw from our recent announcement of a new Smart Cities initiative in Copenhagen, following similar projects in Barcelona, Amsterdam Chicago and Hamburg.

We are thrilled to forge relationships in the European startup community – and support entrepreneurs as partners in open innovation.

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The Converging IT Landscape

With networks getting faster and the whole world going mobile, the number of connections is growing at an unprecedented rate. By next year, the amount of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on the planet, and by 2020, will reach 50 billion. And those devices are getting smarter all the time.

While there is no doubt that mobility, cloud and big data are each enabling business transformation, imagine what they could do collectively. That’s the power of convergence, and it’s revolutionizing the IT and business landscape.

This convergence brings together applications, systems and processes to help meet current needs while preparing for future innovation. It’s at the heart of the Internet of Everything (IoE) in connecting people, process, data and things in new and innovative ways. And mobility is a driving force fuelling this evolving landscape, breaking down barriers and enabling the birth of entirely new kinds of business and economic models.

Mobility: A Cornerstone in the Converging IT LandscapeFuture of Mobility_v1-2

Mobile devices are already a pervasive part of our lives. As mobility continues to evolve, these devices will be primarily how a network connects to the user, helping shape and customize the end-user experience to deliver more personalized services and real-time engagement.

Imagine you are an online shopper who doesn’t want to wait overnight for your shipment. You want your product now. From your mobile device, you will not only be able to price-match with other retailers and see if the product is available in a store near you (a current capability), but also connect with real-time data in the cloud over an agile network to see if there are checkout lines in the store, reserve a parking spot, and tell the customer service rep you are on your way.

Gartner predicts that, through this year, mobile apps will drive “the next evolution in user experience” by “leverage[ing] intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior.” This is already happening through smart devices and wearables, for example, as people (myself included) use health and fitness apps to help make better, healthier choices.

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