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2012 Cisco Live!: Increasing Interconnectivity and Innovation

Last week, Cisco Live in San Diego served as the perfect backdrop for showcasing the pace of innovation. We’ve come quite a long way from the Cisco Live of the ‘90s--those ancestral brick cell phones and clunky PC workstations! This year, people were using their phones to record videos, share pictures, check email, and send out quick tweets as they walked around. Proof positive that mobile internet connectivity has allowed us to better integrate the different roles we play in our everyday lives and to be more productive. No matter where I was, Cisco Jabber kept me connected to my colleagues and team who couldn’t be there.  But just because they weren’t there with me, doesn’t mean they couldn’t experience Cisco Live. In fact, they could remotely access all of the goings-on from any device with internet connectivity.

We are in a decade where flexibility seems to be the mantra and innovation the expectation.  Elastic mobile architectures, as enabled by the recently released ASR 5500 mobile internet platform, showcase flexibility being built from the ground up.  And flexibility is most obvious in our choice of consumer devices and the ability to work our way as enabled by the Cisco Unified Workspace. Ultimately, great minds generate growth and innovation.  Cisco helps by providing better networking and collaborative tools that free those minds to do their magic. It all adds up to a continuous innovation life cycle.

 

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The Consumerization of Popcorn… and IT

May 21, 2012 at 6:58 am PST

Technology continues to change not only the tools we use, but the language we use to describe it. Wikipedia describes consumerization as:

…an increasingly accepted term used to describe the growing tendency for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business and government organizations.

Consumerization absolutely affects technology, but confining the definition to information technology too narrowly defines it. The etymology pins the emergence of the term itself as early as 2001, which is a long time in dog years and at least a half century in technology. But the concept goes back far before Y2K. I could delve into Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, but I’ll stick to less distant history.

Before we get to IT, consider the impact of consumerization on time and choice.

Consumerization & Time
In some ways, our experiences with consumer technology have changed the very speed at which we live our lives. We don’t make time for things the way we used to. We want them now.

It’s the popcorn. OK, it’s the microwave oven. Food is both a human necessity and great motivator. The microwave changed our concept of time and convenience. We haven’t abandoned traditional cooking, but how often do you compare the conventional-oven directions to those for the microwave and think, “I want this to take 45 minutes, 3 minutes just isn’t long enough to wait”?

Popcorn showcases the evolution of our concept of time. Once upon a time, popcorn preparation was at least a 12.4-minute process, start to finish, including the ceremonial melting of butter and cleanup. Plus it required mastering the technique of keeping the pan in constant movement, carefully timing removal to optimize the number of kernels popped.

The mid-1970s arrival specialized popcorn appliances and Jiffy Pop brought popcorn faster and required less clean-up time, while largely eliminating the need for technique. Satisfaction came more quickly and with reduced effort.

And then came the microwave oven and magical little flat packages that fluffed up with aromatic salty goodness in three minutes. Clean up consisted of wiping the buttery stuff off your hands and tossing the bag in the trash. Instant gratification. Near zero effort. Our concept of time? Changed forever.

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Mobilizing the New Collaboration Experience in the BYOD Era

Guest post from Hans Hwang, Vice President of Collaboration within Cisco Advanced Services.

At last month’s Enterprise Connect (EC), there was a lot of discussion around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and how IT departments are enabling this “new collaboration experience.” As OJ Winge, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, outlined in his EC keynote, collaboration is becoming more “mobile, social, visual and virtual.”  This is especially true as employees look to smartphones and tablets to enable them to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and get their jobs done whenever and wherever they are.  This increasing desire for untethered collaboration, without compromising on the collaboration experience, means IT departments must take a side.

The Proactive Enabler or the Passive Supporter

Whether IT embraces or ignores this trend, there are serious concerns for companies:  impact on network, security, governance and liability questions. IT has a choice: they can either choose to embrace the opportunities BYOD policies bring, and become known as strong enablers and leaders to employee productivity and flexible work styles. Or, IT can limit users’ device choices and act as a passive supporter for a company’s workforce.

A passive approach might be to approve only one or two specific devices, and to restrict access and limit applications. A enabling approach might be to allow a choice of mobile devices and applications, to support collaboration on these devices and to reduce security risk with technology, policy, governance and training.

Cisco Recognizes Mobility is an Integrated, Critical Element of a Collaboration Strategy
Mobility has quickly risen to the #2 technology priority for CIOs as opposed to three to four years ago when it was ranked number 12. (Gartner CIO Study)

To help IT plan and prepare for the impact to collaboration, Cisco Services has introduced a dedicated practice for Mobile Collaboration Services. This new Cisco practice is designed to help IT departments connect their organizations’ business imperatives to mobile collaboration business transformation opportunities.  Experts from this practice can also help organizations prepare their network and communications infrastructure to deliver a compelling collaboration experience.

Next Steps for IT Managers

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50 million Cisco IP phones, and Jabber Instant Messaging (IM) for everyone

In this post PC era, Cisco is taking another important step in advancing the collaborative workspace and making collaboration even more pervasive for customers around the world – regardless of device, application or operating system. Today we’re announcing that we are making presence and instant messaging (IM) capabilities and Cisco Jabber clients available to our Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) customers globally at no additional cost. Cisco believes that together presence, IM, voice and video call control provide the foundation for real-time communications.

For customers, with this development, Cisco is now providing a way to simply and cost effectively make presence and IM available to all users across a plethora of devices — including Windows, Mac, iPad, Cisco Cius, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android (later in 2012) — while also ensuring they’re deploying a unified communications client  that is BYOD-ready.  And let me emphasize, this isn’t just for those customers who happen to have a Cisco IP phone.  It’s for every employee in an organization.

For partners, this helps simplify and accelerate the deployment of presence, IM and mobile collaboration as part of a holistic, best-in-class, collaboration solution. Hence, presence and IM can easily become ubiquitous in the enterprise!

We feel presence and IM are the starting points of collaboration, not the final destination.

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Do Tablets Signal Extinction for Desk Phones?

April 12, 2012 at 10:47 am PST

I read an interesting post on No Jitter yesterday that poses the question, “The End of the Desk Phone?” The author suggests that the era of the desk phone is coming to a close. The gist is that tablets are essentially going to take over the known universe and send desk phones the way of the Studebaker.

Like a lot of people, the author is particularly fond of Apple iPads and positions them as the ideal phone eliminator. Once upon a time a lot of people said the same thing about microwave ovens vs. regular stoves. Didn’t happen. Sure, I can make popcorn with a lot less fuss and muss, but convenient though it may be, it’s not the tool for baking a chicken – or better yet, chocolate chip cookies. Read More »

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