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Cisco and the NBA are ready for the Playoffs

Throughout the season, the NBA Replay Center has found itself at the center of some of the game’s most gripping plays. Time stands still as fans, players and coaches all wait with bated breath as the close calls are confirmed.

Such was the case on March 30th when the Sacramento Kings played the Memphis Grizzlies and Courtney Lee’s jaw-dropping buzzer beater turned an intense game of basketball on its head. As the ball went in the net, no one in the arena, or at home, knew whether the call would be upheld.

It is precisely these moments where Cisco and the NBA Replay Center come into play. Instantly, HD footage and IP data are sent from the arena to the NBA’s state of the art replay facility where it is reviewed, clipped and sent back to the refs at courtside. That footage now arrives in real-time, meaning more time for the game to flow, and less bitten nails on the fingers of the fans.

With the Replay Center, Cisco continues to help the NBA connect to millions of fans worldwide, and drive the league’s myriad communications and content delivery.

The NBA has a lasting legacy of implementing technological solutions that improve the way the game is played and how as an organization they can connect to a fan base that stretches from New York to New Guinea.  Together, we are evolving and improving the fan experience.

We live in a time of unprecedented disruption, a time when winners and losers are decided in a matter of seconds. Whether you work on a basketball court or in a boardroom, Cisco is there to ensure you’re ready to make all the big plays and call all the biggest shots. We’re ready. Are you?


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Six-Year-Old Role Models at the White House Science Fair

I had the opportunity to attend the White House Science Fair last week, and I was blown away by the creativity and curiosity of the young men and women who presented their inventions.

The team that really stole the show was a group of 6-year-old Girl Scouts called the ‘“Super Girls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team,’ who showed off a battery-powered robot made of Legos that can turn pages for people who are disabled.

What a truly amazing group of girls!  They’re a real inspiration and role model to girls around the country and the world who want to grow up to be the next great entrepreneur or inventor.

Blair--White HouseScience Fair


But all too often, these girls are the exception, when they should be the rule.  Today, simply put, not enough girls and young women are choosing to go into the fields that make up STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of computer science degrees awarded to women peaked at 37 percent between 1984 and 1985. Compare this to only 18 percent of the degrees awarded to women in the period between 2008 and 2011, and it is easy to see the dilemma STEM employers are facing today.

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Through the Internet of Everything, You May Never Have to Wait in a Long Checkout Line Again

We’ve all been there. A grocery store, a department store or even a coffee shop, standing in a long checkout line that hasn’t moved for what seems like an eternity. You ask yourself, ‘Is this purchase worth it?’ For one third of customers, the answer is no, if they have to wait more than five minutes. (Source: Brickstream)

But imagine if we could eliminate checkout lines? Well at Cisco – we have! In our latest conversation about the Internet of Everything, we’ve imagined more possibilities with our “Museum of Lasts” campaign – the last traffic jam, the last blackout, the last missed meeting – and yes, the last checkout line.

Increasingly, retailers understand the importance of having both a physical and digital presence – and how the power of the Internet of Everything will digitize those experiences. Thanks to technologies like predictive analytics that sense foot traffic and notify stores when more cashier lanes should open, as well as sensors on shelves that can identify inventory and automatically place orders when low, customers and retailers are becoming closer than ever before.

But will these technologies help retailers improve the customer experience? Will the Last Checkout Line ever become a reality? I believe the answer is yes. Last month, I shared results from a recent Cisco study that highlighted unique insights about shopping behaviors among U.S. and U.K. consumers. In this digital age, it’s absolutely critical for retailers to provide “hyper-relevant” experiences. Shoppers don’t want to be sent coupons for diapers if they don’t have children; retailers need to understand the reason and context behind each consumer’s shopping experience and react accordingly.

Some of the key findings from the study emphasized that shoppers do not want to wait in a long line. Seventy-seven percent said that they would use checkout optimization to receive estimated wait times, while 60% would scan product bar codes using their smartphone and then pay at a self-service kiosk. These are the types of digital experiences that shoppers are looking for – and will help eliminate the checkout line!

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Cisco Shows Oil and Gas Cost-Saving Technologies at Automation Fair

Cisco has been a prominent supporter of the Rockwell Automation Fair for a number of years. The relationship has grown over time to one where both Rockwell and Cisco collaborate on developing software, solutions and products for a wide range of both IT and OT (Operational Technologies) functions within industrial and other customers.

Recently Cisco showed off some of the technologies in the oil and gas space, and Ahmed Farrag, Business Development Director from Cisco, talks about Cisco’s presence at the show in the following video.

Ahmed talks about Oil and Gas as one of Cisco’s key focus industries. He mentions the huge demand increases we’ve seen over the past few years.

That’s all changing right now.

The price of oil has plummeted to half what it was only a few months ago. With China slowing, parts of Europe close to another downturn, and oil now gushing following the huge investments that have been made in fracking and tar sands in the US, some say we have too much oil right now. Some companies are going to be worried about margins and future investments. So what’s the future?

The show’s title gives us a clue. Just as automation has helped ‘onshore’ manufacturing back to the US in many cases, automation will reduce costs over the longer term. And many processes and practices in the oil and gas industries are ripe for Automation. Blair Christie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, showed a chart at a recent press review (The Internet of Everything Changes Everything – The Future of Work) that highlights that the oil and gas industry is, perhaps, the most likely industry to benefit from the Internet of Everything and automation (slide 12):

Nearly half manual processes could be automated.

Nearly half manual processes could be automated in most industries, with Oil and Gas the most.

That chart holds the key to the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

With the advances that have already been made (and those yet to come) in the field of automation, along with rapid progress in collaboration and communications  technologies between workers and companies, one of the keys to profits will be enabling lower costs and higher efficiencies. Cisco and it’s partners are leading the charge.

You can read more about Cisco in oil and gas here: Cisco Industry Solutions: Oil and Gas. there you’ll find: Read More »

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An Afternoon of Marketing Inspiration

Last week I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco.  It was great to spend the afternoon with hundreds of fellow marketers who were taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss how brands are innovatively delivering new, fresh ideas to their customers.

There were truly inspiring presentations by amazing brands such as Target, GoPro and Coca-Cola discussing how the marketing landscape is changing due to all the data we are can access and collect. Here are some of my reflections on the powerful marketing programs being deployed by some of my fellow CMO’s:

CMO Blair Christie

B2ME (Business to Me) Marketing is in, B2B or B2C Marketing is Out:

With the explosion of data, new target audiences, new media vehicles and new selling channels, understanding the individual behind who you are marketing to is extremely important. As Kraft Foods’ CMO Deanie Elsner pointed out in her presentation, there is a new era of “agile marketing” or marketing in a digital age, where we are moving from broad buying media to buying individuals – agnostic of medium – driven by fragmented media consumption on multiple devices. With all the rich, customer data available, brands need to provide the right message in the right medium at the right moment to stay relevant with customers to drive purchase decisions.

The Innovation Pipeline is Key to Growth and Differentiation with Brands

Target’s “Made to Matter” campaign is doing this well by cultivating a partnership of shared values. Target CMO Jeff Jones spoke on a panel with Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics and Eric Ryan of Method on how Target works with various leading organic, sustainable and natural brands like Plum Organics and Method, giving them a platform to launch their products and make them more accessible to the general public. In return, Target has been able to secure a pipeline of unique innovation to offer its customers. As a mom of three children and a frequent Target shopper, I personally love this campaign!

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