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Seamless Solutions for a World of Many Clouds

Considering all the hype around the cloud, it’s easy to forget that we live in a world of many clouds. Organizations can’t simply tap into a single all-powerful entity located everywhere and nowhere, all at once. In reality, they must dip in and out of a complex and often challenging array of public, private, and hybrid clouds.

But what is the future of cloud? The Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving an unprecedented explosion in connectivity — and transformation — and cloud is the key delivery system that makes it all possible. In the enterprise, cloud has already upended traditional IT consumption models, transitioning IT departments into brokers of services that are increasingly available through third-party vendors — and accessed through a variety of clouds. Facing an increasingly cloudy future, service providers are focused on moving beyond their traditional roles as telecom providers, while new players continue to enter the core markets of traditional service providers.

But how will enterprises and service providers meet the security and operational challenges of an ever-expanding and increasingly complicated cloud universe? Part of the answer lies in the industry’s evolution toward an ecosystem of cloud providers. Incorporating a cloud “brokerage” and a cloud “federation,” this ecosystem will give customers a choice of cloud solutions that meet their specific needs.

I’m happy to report that Cisco, along with some of our key partners, is helping to smooth the cloud transformation journey both on the demand (enterprise) and supply (service provider) sides.

This week we announced at Cisco Live Milan  a breakthrough hybrid-cloud solution called Cisco InterCloud, which paves the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private, and hybrid clouds.

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Collaboration—It’s More than You Might Expect

Collaboration in the era of the Internet of Everything (IoE) is not just about people connecting with people. Yet when you ask most people how they picture “collaboration,” they probably think of person-to-person collaboration first: perhaps a web-based conference call where people are sharing content such as a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. Or they might envision an immersive teleconference experience with people from different continents, across multiple time zones. Or they might think of a more traditional approach—a group of people having a lively discussion around a conference table, with someone taking notes on a whiteboard.

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The IoE-Ready Retailer: Connecting Sellers and Shoppers Like Never Before

We live in a time of tremendous and challenging technological disruptions. Yet it is also a time when the opportunities for business transformation are equally vast and impactful. This is particularly true for the retail industry.

The wave of change, which Cisco calls the Internet of Everything (IoE), is fast-moving, and retailers will need to adapt quickly or be left behind. After all, this explosion in connectivity — from 10 billion things today to 50 billion in 2020 — will demand a new paradigm: the IoE-Ready Retailer. And it will enable vast improvements in customer experience, employee productivity, and supply-chain efficiency, while allowing retailers to know their customers like never before.

Cisco’s research into this new dimension in connectivity among people, process, data, and things — and the overall Value at Stake over the next 10 years —presents some mind-boggling numbers: $14.4 trillion for the private sector overall and another $4.6 trillion for public sector organizations.

As per Cisco’s estimate, the retail industry will account for 11 percent of the total IoE private sector Value at Stake over the next 10 years — second only to the manufacturing industry. Cisco believes that success for retailers will hinge particularly on their ability to apply technology to improve the “people” and “process” aspects of their businesses, and to be able to offer unique, new connected experiences to the average shopper.

Cisco’s new research, which explores how the average consumer is thinking and adopting these connected experiences, uncovers some startling facts. Consumers now research, compare, and purchase products with one-click ease. The population of ever-connected, digital natives is increasing at unprecedented rates (60%+ year over year). This affords sellers with a wealth of real-time data insights that can help them stock the right products and present them in novel ways.

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At CES, Glitzy Wearables, Snazzy Smart Cars, and, Yes, Trash Cans

Walking the miles of aisles at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it’s easy to see how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is revolutionizing our lives. Super-smart homes, cars, drones, and all manner of entertainment are on display seemingly everywhere, along with a mind-boggling array of wearable, connected technologies.

But CES — and IoE — are not just about how we interact with cool gadgets. They are also about new ways to connect with the public-sector environment. And there are extremely exciting possibilities coming to life in our towns, cities, and communities.

Ultimately, these public-sector breakthroughs could have a profound impact. Just think about how much of your quality of life is affected on a daily basis — directly or indirectly — by parking, waste management, crime, public utilities, and government services.

Cisco predicts that $4.6 trillion of value will be “at stake” in the public sector over the next decade ($19 trillion for the public and private sectors combined), driven by “connecting the unconnected” through the Internet of Everything. We also estimate that 99.4 percent of physical objects that may one day be part
of the Internet of Everything are still unconnected.IoE - Joseph Bradley blog image - 01 15 14

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Straight From NRF: Want Your Share of $100 Billion? Build Customer Trust

As I’m sure most of you know, Jon Stine presented this morning at NRF on the results of his fourth “Catch ‘Em and Keep ‘Em” survey, which is a highly respected study done each year to identify how shoppers are responding to retail technologies. As a followup to his NRF Big Ideas session, I’d like to reproduce here Jon’s blog on his findings and thoughts. Thank you, Jon!

Want Your Share of $100 Billion? Build Customer Trust
By Jon Stine

jostineTrust. It’s a powerful human emotion that often drives our behavior. The level of trust, or lack thereof, between a retailer and its customers can literally make or break the business. Given the importance of trust, many retailers are asking: How much do customers trust retailers? What are the benefits of increasing trust? How do retailers gather the information needed to provide the  personalized experiences many customers want, while maintaining and even building trusted relationships?

These questions are especially important given the critical juncture at which we find ourselves—the convergence of people, process, data, and things called the Internet of Everything (IoE).

To help retailers build customer trust in an increasingly digitally connected world, Cisco Consulting Services surveyed 1,174 consumers in its fourth annual Digital Shopping Behavior survey.* From a behavior perspective, shoppers are becoming more digital. In fact, eighty percent of respondents are what we call Digital Mass shoppers—people who research, browse, and purchase digitally. Within this group, Über Digitals, who almost always use a smartphone to shop, increased from 11 percent last year to 18 percent this year. Clearly, your customers are digital.

Before we discuss “how,” it is important to understand “why.” Our research showed $100 billion of IoE value was available for retailers in the United States to capture in 2013 by offering more personalized shopping experiences. If you missed your share, don’t worry. This number is expected to increase slightly in 2014. Realizing this value, however, isn’t easy.

When it comes to trust, retailers are starting from a low base. When asked, “How much would you trust these companies/institutions to protect your personal data and use it to provide something you value?” respondents ranked retailers second to last, at 31 percent—behind government agencies (37 percent), and ahead of Internet companies (18 percent).

Even so, shoppers want personalized experiences. When asked, “Which personalized experiences do you prefer?” respondents ranked promotions via touch-screen or smartphone first (Digital Mass: 46 percent; Über Digitals: 53 percent). This was followed by personalized products, personalized shopping lists, and personalized service.

So, how do we solve this dilemma between a lack of trust and the desire for personalized shopping experiences, which require the collection of personal information? For answers, let’s look at a few of the research findings.

  • Shoppers want personalized offers that are easy to use – Most people want to receive personalized offers via email at home. This suggests that shoppers — even Über Digitals — start the shopping process while they are in their home environment. The vision of in-store offers may simply not be in sync with the reality of shopper decision making and in-store behavior.
  • Shoppers are willing to share information – Both Digital Mass and Über Digital shoppers are willing to share past purchase history and basic personal information (name, age, etc.) with retailers to receive a more personalized shopping experience. Topping the list of acceptable information for retailers to use are time spent in the store, location in the store, and products you try but don’t buy.
  • Shoppers want something in return – To give personal information, however, shoppers must get something in return. By far, the top two factors that would lead shoppers to share more personal information are guaranteed percentage savings on their next purchase and specific dollar savings on their next purchase. Interestingly, a world-class privacy policy ranked third, 21 percent below the second choice for the Digital Mass, and 14 percent below the second response for Über Digitals.

Based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading retailers, there are three key takeaways and actions when it comes to building trust:

  1. Shopper trust must be earned. Retailers can do this by delivering a clear data policy and making the benefits of providing personal information transparent and easy to understand.
  2. IoE is already here. To capture your share of the $100 billion value at stake, develop a strategic plan that takes into account the information above.
  3. Über Digitals are too important to ignore. Selling to these shoppers requires an architecture and infrastructure that can support their increasing expectations for connected, digital shopping experiences.

To gain even more insights into developing trust in an IoE world, take a look at:

*  This year’s Cisco Consulting Digital Shopping Behavior survey includes responses from 1,174 consumers who are representative of the United States broadband population by age, income, and region. It is the fourth in a series of popular “Catch ‘Em and Keep ‘Em” studies by Cisco Consulting Services.

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