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Video – It is a Buyer’s Market

Enterprise Connect Crowd at Collaboration BoothAs I walked the halls of Enterprise Connect last week for the 7th or 8th year in a row (who’s counting??), I noticed that video is still one of the key themes across many of the vendors.  A few years back, it was introduced as the “next killer app” and while some think the sizzle has gone down, I would argue it is just heating up. Look at initiatives like WebRTC, one of the hot topics at the show.  You couldn’t go to a panel or discussion without hearing or seeing how video will play a major role in the development of this space.

The reality is, our buyers are demanding more and more when it comes to video.  It is no longer about meeting or boardroom-based video endpoints, it is now about getting video on any device a user has access to, being able to integrate the video experience with more traditional conferencing experiences, delivering video-based content across an organization, and oh yeah, doing all of this without killing my network and for an affordable price.

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“Your call is important but we’re not in right now – leave a message…”

This is the fifth in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. The third  blog discussed how the two companies deliver voice and video. The fourth blog examined true cost to deploy. Today’s blog addresses enterprise class support.

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These days, workers at enterprise organizations depend on real-time collaboration solutions to get their jobs done.  The solutions need to work 24/7, and if something goes wrong, it’s imperative things get fixed fast. In a world where customers view 100% uptime as the only acceptable Service Level Agreement (SLA), solid customer support means everything. While we could all live without email for a day or two, few businesses could function without working telephones for that long, or would trust ‘crossed-fingers’ while the CEO meets with an important customer over a video link.

At Cisco, we feel that support for business critical solutions should not become a guessing game of “who you gonna call”.  In fact, we think the right way to handle support is to offer the option of ‘”one-stop” responsibility for the entire system — from the software to the endpoints, switches, gateways, security and compute hardware, and other technologies as required.

After all, given the vast array of offerings today from a multitude of vendors, the chances are slim that the wide range of components used in collaboration will all have the same management interfaces, diagnostic, and testing routines to determine where an issue lies when a problem arises. We also know that even if you are able to track down the root cause of the problem, some third parties may have very limited specialist support staff and escalating issues can be incredibly challenging. We prefer that our customers spend their time driving their business, versus spending countless hours trying to resolve problems where finger pointing is the name of the game.

As my colleague Rowan Trollope blogged recently, we feel Microsoft’s approach is very different. First off, a Microsoft Lync enterprise deployment requires Read More »

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Announcing Cisco Unified Access Webinar Series

The ever-increasing number of devices and applications coming into the workplace poses complex challenges for the enterprise. As a result, IT must adapt the ways in which they enable, manage, and secure end-user access.

  • How will the network handle increased demand for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and mobility?
  • How can IT maintain raised expectations for wired devices, while improving the end-user experience?

To solidify IT as a key contributor in driving better business processes, IT teams must shift from maintaining the network to delivering innovative, connected experiences. The key to success is to simplify the network, and Cisco Unified Access does just that.

Mark your calendars for our five-part webinar series to learn how to create an effective, unified access strategy. Find out how to transform IT to better address the demands of BYOD and next-generation technology.

  • Wednesday, April 3: Activate the IT Transformation <--Register NOW!
  • Wednesday April 17: One Network Part 1: Deploying Unified Access
  • Wednesday May 1: One Network Part 2: Simplifying the Network Infrastructure
  • Wednesday May 15: One Policy: Centralized Policy, Control and Enforcement
  • Wednesday June 5: One Management: Converged User Access Management

You will learn how to: Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – March 22, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2

Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important Cisco-related content you may have missed along the way. Let’s have it.

Off The Top

It was a big week for collaboration and unified communications discussion as Enterprise Connect took place in Orlando. Cisco as usual had a lot to talk about, including what Richard McLeod, senior director, worldwide collaboration sales, described as very important enhancements to the Cisco telepresence portfolio.

Specifically, Richard notes, Cisco Telepresence is now Webex-enabled, and partners are also getting their first look at the DX360, the latest addition to Cisco’s desktop conferencing line. Both announcements represent upsell opportunities for Cisco collaboration partners and their customers, as Richard and other executives noted to CRN, Channelnomics and other press.

“Revisit your customer base and start briefing them today on the new capabilities,” Richard urges partners. “Use video in every customer interaction to demonstrate the value and ease of adding video to meetings. Train your sales teams to identify the right video tool for each customer’s use case, which will increase customer satisfaction. And go the extra mile to ensure customer adoption by offering end-user training and creative best practice documentation.”

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Expanding Mobility with Community Wi-Fi: 40% of Consumers Regularly Connect to the Internet in a Friend’s Home

English poet John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” The same could be said for a man’s — or woman’s — home network, which today is no longer his or hers alone. Friends and family increasingly expect to be able to connect their growing number of mobile devices to the Internet when they are at someone else’s home. In response, service providers (SPs) are creating Wi-Fi communities to enable users to connect safely and seamlessly to SPs’ Wi-Fi networks from other customers’ locations. Not only do SPs understand that there is pent-up customer demand for this sort of “community Wi-Fi” — they also realize that this model makes good business sense. This sort of service will enable them to expand the size of their Wi-Fi network quickly, differentiate their broadband offerings, acquire new customers, and manage customer churn.

Many SPs are now trying to understand how they can create a community Wi-Fi network among their broadband customers and reap new business benefits. However, there has been very little information available on customer behaviors to help SPs design a winning program and build the business case for further investment. To learn more, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted a survey of 1,060 Canadian mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, their Read More »

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