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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 11, 2015

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Cisco Collaboration Summit: Spark Evolution

As soon as CEO Chuck Robbins stated that “you can’t build a digital business without a collaboration strategy,” we all knew Cisco Collaboration Summit 2015 was going to be big. And for our partners, the Cisco Spark keynote announcement was a game-changer. Cisco Spark now enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Gary Wolfson outlined the core components, opportunity and benefit for partners in his partner blog earlier this week, including the important point that Cisco Spark can only be sold by our registered partners.  I encourage you to take a quick moment and read his post to see how you can get started today.

Spark Partner Overview Presentation_Dec-2015_003

You can also catch the keynote replay here.

How to Automate and Digitize Customer Engagement

Steve Cox, from the Global Customer Success team, made his Cisco partner blog debut. He chose a wise topic to start with, considering how top-of-mind digitization and automation are to Cisco and the IT world.

He provides some tips and strategies for partners on how to automate and digitize customer engagement. Check out his post and welcome him to the partner blog by dropping him a comment.

Cisco Expands Nimble SmartStack Portfolio for Customers

On Wednesday, Jeremy Foster stopped by to elaborate on a recent portfolio expansion that will surely benefit your customers.

By expanding SmartStack, Nimble Storage now provides customers with a faster time to business value. But, enough from me on this, Jeremy is the real expert. Take his word for it and give his blog a read.

In the Channels News

Good Reads

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The Evolution of Cisco Spark: Complete Collaboration from the Cisco Cloud

Over the past few years we’ve shared our vision to deliver a single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication. We’ve talked about how we’ll achieve that vision by providing business collaboration solutions that are experience-centric, cloud connected, and that extend the value of our customers’ existing investments.

We took a foundational step toward achieving that vision when we launched Cisco Spark as a team collaboration app in March of 2015. It was built on a new, modern cloud platform and we promised that it was just the beginning of a journey. We’ve continued to leverage that modern cloud platform to rethink collaboration. Today we’re taking a big leap forward on the Cisco Collaboration journey with you.

Moments ago, on mainstage at Collaboration Summit 2015, we announced the evolution of Cisco Spark. It is now a complete business collaboration service from the Cisco cloud that enables customers to message, meet, or call anyone, anywhere and anytime. Cisco Spark is hosted by Cisco and sold by partners.

Visit the Cisco Spark Partner Launch Page 

The evolved Cisco Spark is designed for customers of any size, and delivers a mobile-first, single collaboration experience that spans all modes of communication.

Core Components of Cisco Spark

Today’s historic announcement reflects the evolution of Cisco Spark from a mobile app to a platform to an entire ecosystem, with the inclusion of Spark APIs, SDKs and a new Developer site. The emergence of a full collaboration service platform wouldn’t be complete if others couldn’t build on it! In addition to the existing messaging service, we‘ve added full calling and meeting capabilities to the cloud.  And to extend the value of our customers’ existing investments, we’ve announced a set of services that connect Cisco Powered Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS) and our on-premises call control solutions with Cisco Spark capabilities in the cloud.

It’s a major leap forward; our Collaboration Cloud has become the center of every experience we are delivering. It is the fabric that connects everything we have – phones, rooms, video, Spark, WebEx, and APIs.

Spark Partner Overview Presentation_Dec-2015_003

Partner Benefits

So it’s clear the way people work is fundamentally changing and today’s announcement puts partners at the center of this transformation.

I see three distinct categories for partners to take full advantage of this new Cisco Spark cloud based collaboration service:

Growth: The new cloud service opens up paths to reach new small and mid-market customers in ways not possible before.  With help from Cisco, you can sell Spark in a simple, volume-sales model. You can position a solution to a specific business department and leverage that relationship to move across the organization and expand your opportunity by delivering additional solutions.

With the new hybrid services capabilities, you can also grow by selling Cisco Spark to your existing Cisco customers. You can extend the value of their on-premise or managed solutions, including Unified Communications Manager (UCM), the Business Edition series or Hosted Collaboration Solutions (HCS).

By seamlessly connecting on-premises call control with the cloud based message and meeting capabilities of Spark, you can maximize the unique attributes and capabilities of each. You can create new opportunities with these existing customers, enabling them to work smarter and innovate faster, and helping them manage their transition to the cloud. This transformation will enable customers to change the way they work, and take a big leap forward on their own digital journey.

Profit: You can profit from selling the service and related endpoints, and by adding your own margin rich services. And you’ll continue to profit from new annuity-based recurring revenue streams.

Differentiate: This starts by offering a cloud collaboration service that is simple, secure and complete, compared to the many disparate cloud offers in the market that customers piece together today. But the biggest opportunity to differentiate is by offering customization. The Cisco Spark Developer Platform provides a way for you to differentiate by customizing the integration of Spark with various native customer applications for different industries, or by working with developer partners who can do this to help you deliver for your customer

The innovative cloud platform, app centric design, hybrid services and architecture of the Cisco Spark Service create, we believe, a very powerful and differentiated offering in this space.

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Employees Bring Cisco Tech to Late Night on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Cisco employees at Jimmy Kimmel Live

(L to R) Mike Thomma, Kevin Roarty a Jimmy Kimmel Live producer and Chris Ward pose in the green room before the show.

It’s Oscar’s night. Your technology is getting ready to debut in less than three minutes on Jimmy Kimmel Live (emphasis on the “live” part). You’re not sure if the celebrity interview you’ve planned at the Governor’s Ball is going to happen. Then, the show launches, Cisco’s Wall of America is a hit, you interview Kevin Hart and Eddie Murphy and you go back to your LA hotel to crash, satisfied with your technology.

It’s just another day in the life of a Technical Marketing Engineer (TME) at Cisco.

“Sometimes the role is stressful,” says Chris Ward, TME. “But hey, we’ve been backstage at Jimmy Kimmel. The perks of doing stuff like this are awesome. I’m not sure I’d be able to do this at another company.”

“Plus, we have access to the latest Cisco technology,” says Kevin Roarty. TME. “Being one of the first to get hands on and test is a cool opportunity. “

So what does a TME do?

“We work with our engineering teams to help test and validate new software and products,” says Mike Thomma, TME Manager. “But we’re also customer facing, and often present at trainings and trade shows to explain how Cisco tech works. It’s a great role, you can decide what you want to focus on.”

Chris and Mike started at Cisco in tech support. Kevin started in engineering. The team also has members with no tech background at all.

“The key is to be a product expert,” Kevin says. “Plus, a willingness to learn how our customers will want to use our products.”

So what’s it like to see your work displayed weekly on a HUGE late-night TV show?

“It’s really fun,” Kevin explains. “They orchestrate a show within a show. It’s a big important conference call within a live recorded late-night show. It’s really interesting to see them strike a balance between being spontaneous and scripted. ”

How’d they get to work on such a cool project? Jimmy Kimmel expressed an interest in using video technology to bring the home viewer into his show . The team started with some demos, and within 6 months, they were planning an Oscar-night launch.

“When we first went down to do a live demo, I was overwhelmed by how frantic it all was,” Mike says. “Seeing the chaos as they prepared for a new show every day made me realize I couldn’t last long under that much pressure. But we got to meet Jimmy Kimmel when we were doing a demo for the producers. He just walked in unexpected, shook our hands, said it looked cool, and thanked us.”

“Jimmy, himself wants to be entertained,” Chris added. “He didn’t want to talk to people on the Wall of America until it was live, so we’d use Cisco people on the rehearsal. The show has really embraced it beyond just the studio – they’ve built it into their regular day. Their producer sees forward. As we deployed Cisco tech, he’d ask if we could also do this or that. So we’ve added three new components since launch.”

“You can’t get exposure to most of this kind of tech at other companies,” Mike says. “My career advice for those who want to work in tech is to not stay in one place in a company. Expand your views. . Try new things that challenge you and always keep learning.”

Want to work with the best technology and teams around? Join our Cisco team.

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Public Safety Series: How the City of McAllen Transformed their Judicial Process with Video Solutions

In my last blog post in the Public Safety Series, I discussed how police forces could use video technologies to improve their training programs. In addition to training, there are numerous other ways that law enforcement agencies can utilize video solutions to both operate more efficiently as a department and improve officers’ ability to protect their community. Today, I want to share with you a real-life example of how one government agency is using video solutions to make tangible changes in how the judicial process in their city works.

The City of McAllen, located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, is increasingly turning to innovative technology solutions to improve the city’s operations. As a smaller city with limited personnel and resource, McAllen realized that technology can help them operate at a high level and continue to provide excellent service to its residents. Previously, the city had deployed Cisco Call Manager as a solution to its formerly fragmented phone system, which helped simplify and management of its phone system and save money.

Next, the city turned its sights to exploring more efficient ways to connect court activities with police departments and officers in the field. It had always been difficult to obtain warrants from off-duty judges, wasting time and adding unnecessary roadblocks in the judicial process. McAllen hoped that with video solutions, police officers could connect with the city’s judges and receive paperwork for a warrant immediately.

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Video Interpretation Solutions Help Ensure Equality in the Justice System

While I was thinking about the topic of my second post in the court series leading up to the CTC conference in September, I came across an interesting news article. The state of California just announced that it will now provide court interpreters for free in all court cases. In the past, the state – along with many others – has only provided interpretation services in criminal cases. However, ensuring that everyone understands what is going on in the courtroom, no matter the case, is critical to making sure justice is dispensed fairly, efficiently and accurately. This means that court interpretation services are a crucial part of the justice system.

While this move by California is great, it is a bit behind the times. Back in 2010, the Department of Justice issued guidance on the issue of interpreters within the judicial system, noting that a particular concern was, “limiting the types of proceedings for which qualified interpreter services are provided by the court.” The letter went on to state: “Some courts only provide competent interpreter assistance in limited categories of cases, such as in criminal, termination of parental rights, or domestic violence proceedings. DOJ, however, views access to all court proceedings as critical.” This means that all states have had five years to expand their court translation services to cover all types of cases, in accordance with the Department of Justice’s standards.

However, states have been slow to take on this expansion, largely due to the high costs. California, for example, has the nation’s largest court system, spread out across a huge state. They also have about seven million residents with limited English proficiency, who speak over 200 different languages. The cost to provide translators in those locations for these residents is huge; in 2010, California spent nearly $93 million on court interpretation services. So in order to reconcile the challenge of fixed budgets with the increased demand for interpreters, state and local governments need to rethink their manual processes for deploying these services and look toward technology instead.

One major way to reduce the cost of providing interpreters and ensure that all citizens participate in a fair and balanced judicial process is using video services. To address the rising demand for interpreters and to help streamline court procedures, Cisco has developed a Connected Justice™ Video Interpretation solution (CJVI). CJVI allows interpreters to virtually join court proceedings using the high-quality video and audio features of Cisco® Unified Communications Manager and Cisco TelePresence® end-points. Read More »

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