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See How Organizations Use Cisco ISE to Centralize Policy and Secure Access

Activate the IT Transformation with Unified Access: Part 4 --  Centralized Policy, Control, and Enforcement 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013  10am-11am PDT     |       Register Now

With more users and devices being added to your network every day, unified access and central policy control have become critical needs. Your organization isn’t alone.

Attend our next live workshop  on May 15th to hear how organizations in education and healthcare rely on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) to provide the identity enforcement and secure access control that allow employees, contractors, students, faculty, and guests (choose the user) to use their own devices on the network. Read More »

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Cbeyond: Taking Our SMB Cloud Offering to the Next Level

May 9, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

By Chris Ortbals, Senior Vice President, Product Management , Cbeyond Inc.ChrisOrtbals

 

At the company’s inception in 1999, Cbeyond saw the potential in using IP technology to deliver enterprise-class productivity enhancing communications services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Today, as a cloud and communications services provider, Cbeyond continues to live up to its brand promise as the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses,

As Cbeyond witnessed the business value large enterprises were achieving from cloud computing, we sought to devise a new strategy and products that would  offer our SMB customers the same benefits in a secure, reliable and affordable way. Our competitors typically offer SMBs a commodity-grade or exclusively self-service type of cloud offering. However, we wanted to go further and provide a cloud service that would not only support end-to-end enterprise-grade production applications but also deliver a much superior experience for SMBs.

Our initial expansion into the cloud came with the 2010 acquisitions of MaximumASP, a hosting provider, and Aretta, a network-hosted VoIP provider.  We integrated and enhanced the technologies we acquired into TotalCloud, our flexible and highly customizable cloud services platform.

We’ve had a successful relationship with Cisco since 1999, when we launched the first Cisco-powered 100% IP network delivering services to SMBs. So naturally we considered partnering with Cisco as we made the move into the cloud services market.

In the search for the right partner, we did our due diligence and evaluated three vendors.  However, we found that only Cisco could help us deploy, provision, test and implement a cloud platform that not only met our requirements but that could also be launched within our aggressive timeframe.

Our TotalCloud Data Center, a service platform for public and private cloud solutions, is powered by Cisco technology, with Cisco Unified Computing System™, Cisco UCS Blade servers, and Cisco Nexus switches. This solution provides us with a repeatable, scalable architecture that can be used in our current and future data centers.

We collaborated with Cisco Services, for Data Center Optimization and Network Optimization Services since network performance is critical to running production applications in the cloud.

Other vendors would have pieced a cloud offering together from multiple sources so going with Cisco as a single vendor offered a clear advantage over using multiple vendors to accomplish the same task. Also,  many cloud platforms are built like an island with limited integration into other products used by a service provider, however the Cisco offering is the complete opposite. Cisco has architected its technology in partnership with us so that their technology not only supports how we want our business to operate but how we deliver services and value to our entire customer base.

And partnering with Cisco paid off. With the help of Cisco Services, Cbeyond’s time-to-market for our cloud offering was reduced by two months, and we were able to secure new revenue opportunities earlier than expected.

Read more in this new case study:  Services Provider Builds New Cloud Infrastructure for SMBs

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Preparing for an Uncertain Media Future: Even Challenging Scenarios Offer Ways To Grow

In the midst of tremendous disruption, it is impossible to tell where the global media industry is ultimately heading. But a recent analysis from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) explores four possible future scenarios for the media industry. While they do not “predict” the future, the scenarios help build our understanding of possible outcomes — and how various industry players could be affected.

The Shape of Things To Come: Four Scenarios

We explored the ways certain industry developments could swing future outcomes. Combining these drivers into logical groupings (consumer behavior, regulatory requirements, technology, and macroeconomic conditions), we were able to define the following four scenarios, as shown in Figure 1. These scenarios are differentiated by consumer demand, industry structure, and content supply:

  • Dark Ages — low demand, consolidated industry, and relatively low content supply
  • Survival of the Fittest — low demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply
  • Golden Age of Content — high demand, consolidated industry, and controlled content supply
  • Wonderland — high demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply

Obviously, each of the scenarios will have different winners and losers. The financial impact and the implications for players across the industry value chain will substantially change by scenario. And in each scenario, distributors and infrastructure providers will need to consider different types of investments. Consequently, each type of player will need to adapt its competitive responses to the future scenario taking shape.

Figure 1.   Four Future Scenarios Are Based on Various Groupings of Industry Drivers.

 cisco-ibsg-four-future-scenarios-based-on-industry-driversSource: Cisco IBSG, 2013

Following are examples of how two future scenarios could play out: Read More »

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Next Phase of Transforming the Mobile Experience

Like a lot of us in IT, I’m into electronics. I enjoy visiting stores to get the actual hands-on experience of the product – but I admit I rarely buy on the spot. Why? I want to make sure I know what I’m buying, and frankly, that I’m getting the best deal. I either have to do research beforehand – read reviews, check prices, and clip coupons -- or search on my mobile device while I’m in the store. Depending on the results, I could either be heading to another store or heading home to make the purchase online.

This week, Cisco introduced a new way to transform that in-venue experience through Connected Mobile Experiences Web engagement. This enables organizations to communicate with opt-in mobile users – shoppers, guests, visitors -- through their mobile browser, right there in the venue.

Location-aware menus, banners, and icons as well as content-aware search enable organizations to provide venue-specific information – such as nearby dining or amenities -- as well as any information the user may find valuable based on their context: where they are, how long they are there, whether they are a new or repeat visitor, or even what sites they are visiting. This customized communication can dynamically change when the user’s context changes.

Imagine merging the online with the brick and mortar shopping experience – if I’m standing in a particular area looking at a product, the location-aware menu can provide me a link to user reviews of that particular product. And if I’m searching online for the best price, imagine the store issuing a web notification for a price match minus 5% -- I’m sold! Read More »

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MGM Resorts International Bets on Cisco; Double Downs on Wi-Fi Connectivity

Planning your summer travel and vacation destinations? Where are you headed and what kind of resort experience will you consider ideal? At this year’s Interop Conference in Las Vegas, the Cisco Enterprise Networking Group unveiled its new marquee customer – MGM Resorts International – who has upped the wireless ante to ensure its visitors have access to the information they need, literally at their fingertips.

At MGM Resorts, they continue to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for their guests. John Bollen, MGM Resort’s Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, is always looking for ways to take what they do and make it even better. Read More »

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