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Use SDN Strategically – and NOT as a “Band Aid”

December 17, 2013 at 10:55 am PST

hammer nut

The other week I attended the “Software Defined Networking 2013” conference in London.  This is a UK-based event for the discussion of SDN, OpenFlow and Network Virtualisation Solutions from a strategic perspective.  There were quite a few interesting perspective s I picked up at this conference.  In particular, the conference for me reinforced the potential of SDN – but if you apply it to the wrong problem, you may not get the return you hope for!

Top of mind for me, then, coming out of this conference was a demo of “What SDN Can Do For You” from one of our competitors.  At best, the phrase “using a sledge hammer to crack a nut” comes to mind.

The demo came from our friends in Palo Alto, who once (boldly but incorrectly!) predicted  that “Cisco UCS would be dead a year after launch”. They gave a SDN-focused demo that, when I “peeled back the onion”, didn’t demonstrate a compelling SDN use case.  Rather, it convinced me that if you have this particular problem as illustrated in their demo, you don’t need SDN: you need a new vendor!

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The Sidelines That Had a Big Win

As the Internet of Everything continues to progress and more people, process, data and things begin to connect to each other, it’s getting easier to see how the future will fit together. The pieces of the IoE puzzle will no longer be disparate things, but a single, connected unit with technology at the core.

A great way to demonstrate this connection is to think of everyday situations. A child’s big game is important to any parent, and the CFO of a Fortune 500 company is no exception. But when the CFO is double booked with a meeting and his son’s big soccer game, he might worry how to balance his life at home with his life at work. Thanks to IoE, he doesn’t have to choose.

The Internet of Everything connects the CFO’s phone and car, which communicate to keep him on a conference call with his sales team while he travels to the field. He knows that when home phones become work phones – thanks in part to technology like Cisco Connected Mobile Experience – work can fit in anywhere. At the field, his connected tablet provides updates on the real-time sales data of products sold nationwide. Instead of having to step aside from the game to check in with the office, the CFO can watch his company break the all-time sales record as it happens, virtually with his sales team via Cisco WebEx, while celebrating his son’s win, in person on the sidelines.

And that is just the beginning. Imagine that the soccer ball is instrumented to provide feedback to individual children, helping them to improve their game, while at the same time providing the coach with play-by-play replays on his tablet. Video feeds of the game can be sent to grandmothers in other states so they can watch their grandchildren play. And as the play clock ticks down, uniforms monitor the kids’ vitals to ensure no one gets dehydrated, sending alerts to the parent volunteers when a child needs an extra water break.

This is the kind of experience the Internet of Everything is making possible. Explore the interactive image above to learn more. No longer must people choose between things such as work and play. IoE is integrating the two, creating opportunities for flexibility, security and real-time success.

Tell me, how can you see IoE making a difference in your world? Leave a comment here or join the conversation on Twitter to add your thoughts.

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Anytime, Anywhere Efficiency

Cisco_Work-Anytime

As today’s workforce continues to become more mobile and adopt the “on-the-go” mentality both at home and at work, their needs are also evolving. Companies need to respond. Empowering employees to work anytime, anywhere will improve efficiencies and increase productivity. When the staff takes their work outside of office walls, an environment of knowledge, sharing and creativity across local, regional and global teams is created naturally. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a clear driver in this new collaborative environment as companies continue to connect more people, devices, processes and data.  This collaborative environment, in turn, also empowers a company as a whole through the insights and data exchanged.

In one of my previous posts, How Not Where Is What Matters Most in a Collaborative Work Environment, I noted that mobile and remote workers have higher performance ratings than traditional workers. Are these connections increasing the comfort level with utilizing remote resources on a consistent basis, such as remote mentoring or collaboration with global teams? Is it the extended connection to global colleagues and customers to obtain better insight and decisions? Or, is it the combination? Read More »

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WebEx and TelePresence – Better Together

At Enterprise Connect I was delighted to see the excitement generated by Cisco’s announcement that brings together our market leading Cisco WebEx and TelePresence  solutions.  Recently I discussed this initiative in more detail with a colleague, Richard Mullen, looking at how TelePresence and WebEx working together supports our vision of pervasive conferencing and enables users to meet with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

In particular, I highlight three key factors in a successful meeting Read More »

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A New Paradigm for Desktop Collaboration

Market trends are impacting how we collaborate. A key trend is the need for pervasive video delivered to every desktop, so that all users can benefit from rich interactions. A second important trend is towards cloud services, the ability to deploy and access services and applications from the cloud.

These trends are truly driving a new paradigm in desktop collaboration, and Cisco is leading this industry evolution with our recent announcement of the Cisco Desktop Collaboration Experience DX650. This new Android-based desktop endpoint – our next-generation IP phone – delivers Cisco’s entire suite of collaboration capabilities through an intuitive touch screen. It combines two things we all know and love Read More »

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