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When Sensors Act Like Teenagers

A common cornerstone of both the Internet of Things and Internet of Everything concepts is the idea of a future with billions, if not trillions, of connections to the Internet. As the Internet of Everything connects objects, data, people and processes, the future of connected things will not be traditional computers or smartphones. Rather, it may be your refrigerator, or a traffic light, or even a litter box. Basically, anything that can have a status change that will interest someone has the potential to be connected to the Internet in order to alert you to that change.

The idea of being alerted to important information automatically is appealing. After all, if your refrigerator is having a cooling issue and it can send you a text alert, you can save money by taking corrective action before your milk and other products go bad. However, not all of the data generated by the Internet of Everything will be of high value. In fact, most of it will be of little value at all.

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As Cloud Empowers Lines of Business, Challenges for IT

As the key delivery model for the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, cloud is helping to drive sweeping changes across nearly all aspects of our lives. But while the growth trajectory of cloud has been carefully charted, there has been comparatively little insight into its impact on IT organizations. To gain a better understanding, Cisco® Consulting Services, in partnership with Intel®, undertook an extensive global survey of 4,226 IT leaders respondents in April-March 2013 to investigate cloud-driven IT change.

The Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models” study explored the dramatic changes affecting IT at all key consumption lifecycle stages — how businesses plan for, procure, deploy, operate, and govern IT. This is part two in a four-part blog series that will explore some of the findings of this study and discuss how today’s IT leaders can prepare for the new model for IT.

One of the clearest expressions of this cloud-driven change is the emergence of lines of business (LOBs) — human resources, sales, R&D, and other areas that are end users of IT — both as direct consumers of third-party cloud-based services, and as ever more prominent influencers of companies’ IT agendas. This represents a major paradigm shift from decades of IT tradition, when IT itself set the agenda and made all planning and procurement decisions.

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Get Your Network Ready For iOS7

In their highly anticipated announcement this week, Apple introduced two new phones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and confirmed that iOS 7 would be released on September 18th. Techies like myself took note that iOS 7 will include quite a number of new features. We at Cisco want to help you understand what iOS 7 means for your network, so here’s a quick blog to sum it up:

How does iOS 7 impact your wireless networks?

Soon your employees and guests will be upgrading to IOS 7. Did you know up to 20% of traffic to mobile devices is software upgrades, application updates and synchronizing your devices via the cloud? Cisco’s Application Visibility and Control technology can help you identify and tame these applications and is available on the routers, Wireless LAN and visible via Prime Infrastructure. In addition, Cisco’s ISR can cache these updates to reserve valuable and expensive WAN bandwidth. More details about protecting the WAN is available in another blog.

If you leverage a Captive Portal, you will experience a change in behavior. Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) functionality iOS 7 making it more robust. Cisco has proactively developed and tested a new version of wireless LAN controller code to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while ensuring a seamless experience for all other clients.

Finally iOS 7 also has significant security and manageability enhancements to improve productivity for the enterprise.

What do you need to do in order to optimize for iOS 7? Read More »

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Enhancing the MSE User Experience: Backup & Restore, Menu-based Device Setup

Following the last MSE blog on CleanAir, today I wish to explain how we prioritize the Mobility Service Engine’s user experience.

Listening to customers and implementing changes/features based on customer feedback has been a great strength of Cisco products. We from the Mobility Services Engine team strongly believe in this principle and make sure that we reach out to each and every customer who has provided a feedback on Cisco MSE and take their experience with MSE into consideration when designing future features and enhancements.

After analyzing the feedback we received during the MSE 7.4 release, I am pleased to announce that we have decided to implement the following two features as part of series of enhancements that we believe will improve the customer’s user experience with MSE.

Convenient Backup and Restore

Until the 7.4 release, MSE users had limited options in backing up their MSE data. The only supported option was to use the NCS FTP server as the destination for MSE data backups. Due to the limited disk capacity on NCS, as well as sharing of the disk space with other network elements, disk space limitations prevented MSE users from regularly backing up their data. If you are one of those users who always wished you could regularly backup MSE data without running into NCS disk space limitation, or if you wish you could back up your MSE data to non-NCS devices, we have some good news for you.

In the latest MSE 7.5 release, we have added the option to backup and restore your MSE data on remote FTP servers, provided there is connectivity between the MSE and the FTP server.  Similar to NCS Backups, MSE data can be backed up to configured repositories (internal or external FTP servers).  Love the command shell? We will also be coming up with CLI to backup MSE data. You can now start MSE backup using just a single command.

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It’s About Retail, Not Technology

Hello, and welcome to my inaugural blog! I am happy to be here sharing my thoughts and experiences with you, because I have to tell you: I have the coolest job in the world.

I’ve spent my entire life in retail, starting as a part-time worker while in school and moving up through merchandising and operations to regional vice president at Shopko Stores, Inc., overseeing the work of 12,000 employees. Over more than 20 years, I fell in love with the whole process of retail. When I was invited to work in the retail technology sector, it seemed a natural extension of the work I was already doing. Relatively few tech companies build their solutions around store needs – too often, they tend to focus on technology for technology’s sake. In fact, sometimes retailers do the same thing! I saw an opportunity to impact how vendors – and retailers – think about technologies that truly add value to the business.

Today’s trend toward mobility, or BYOD, is a great example. I’m sorry if this shocks you, but mobility without a strategy has no value at all for the retailer! I have seen stores invest in Wi-Fi networks while continuing to build cell-based apps – this despite Wi-Fi’s higher speeds, more flexible capabilities, and ability to improve the shopping and selling experience. They don’t want employees surfing the Internet, so they block employee access to the network and information that could help improve sales. They understand that shoppers are “showrooming” – sharing opinions and comparison shopping online from the store – but do not leverage the same behavior to promote products and analyze customer trends.

Mobility is a vehicle for improving the business, an extension of overall strategy. (You might like to check out this Lippis Report on “Monetizing Public Wi-Fi in Business to Consumer Relationships.”) I work with companies to help determine how to use such vehicles to define the customer experience, collect and manage large masses of data, and make store operations more efficient. I also help design the Cisco solutions that solve these retail business problems.

Join me on a journey to learn how stores are approaching, managing, and dealing with today’s innovations and how they are meeting customer needs. We’ll talk about how stores are using today’s systems, the most recent trends, the latest research, and how retailers are dealing with this very rapidly changing industry. Please get back to me with your own stories and questions in the comments section.

One more word: I love retail trivia! Comment if you know the answer to this question: What retailer in the country has the highest amount of sales per square foot of its stores?

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