At the Cisco Collaboration Summit 2011 in Miami today, Cisco unveiled new solutions to help people collaborate more effectively in the post-PC era. This era moves past the limitations of “PC centric” communication and instead evokes a “people centric” approach where people can collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device or application. The advancements Cisco is introducing today --from Cisco WebEx to Cisco Jabber — can change how people meet utilizing expanded cloud-based services, and can give workers an easy way to collaborate directly from Web applications they use every day, driving new levels of business productivity and competitiveness.
I sat down with Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager of the Cisco Collaboration Software Group, at Collaboration Summit to learn more about these new announcements and how they fit into Cisco strategy.
How many meetings have you spent being distracted by characters such as the heavy breather, the distracted driver or the hold music culprit? Web meetings can be a really productive way to stay in touch and work together with your colleagues and clients but there are many considerations to keep in mind to make sure you’re not a meeting offender. We pulled together a short video with some pointers to remind us all of the standard WebEx etiquette.
5 WebEx Etiquette Tips
1. Look your best: WebEx is the ideal place to hone what we like to call your “business mullet”: business up top, party below the camera. If you keep things professional (read: no bathrobes or Hawaiian shirts), you can feel free to wear your sweats and slippers when not in view. Just remember to turn your camera off before you stand up or else be ready for the onslaught of office hazing. (see this in the video at :32)
2. Know when to share video: Many computers and mobile devices now offer built-in cameras, which are a great way to connect with the people you meet with… but not every situation is the same. Use common sense – keep your camera off while you’re driving or in a chaotic environment such as the airport that will be distracting for others involved. Put it on when you want to have a more natural conversation or show product details and examples. (see this tip in the video at :54)
3. Keep your microphone muted: You can’t always control when your doorbell will ring, when the car behind you honks or when your neighbor’s dog will go after the mailman. When in doubt, keep your line muted (either on your phone or by manually muting yourself on WebEx). If you’re the meeting host, you also have the power to mute people manually so you don’t waste precious time asking the heavy breather to tone it down. Read More »
Laura Spencer writes an interesting blog today, 10 of the Most Surprising Things about Freelancing. I think at some point, everyone has the fantasy of breaking free of the corporate hamster wheel and going out on their own. Especially if you have a skill set that can be easily transferred to different situations.
Freelancing is 100% risk. You are responsible for selling your skills and building a client base. You almost never turn down work because you never know when the next assignment will come along. It’s risky and it’s true what Laura says, you really don’t get “personal days” unless you do some careful planning.
But what if you aren’t ready to jump into freelancing 100% of the time?
There are ways you can put your foot in the water and see if you have Read More »
John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.
John Deere MaxEmergeXP
Here’s the story: John Deere’s Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system. It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range - that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.
The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live. It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas. It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:
“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.
John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.