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Diving In: A How To Guide to Twitter

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Have you been thinking about becoming more active on Twitter and haven’t gotten around to it yet? Often, it can be difficult to dive in.  I’ve seen this often through planning a department wide social media plan, and I’ve gotten the same questions from both new hires and executives.

Common concerns I’ve heard are:

What do I talk about? Who do I follow? Will I get fired if I tweet the wrong thing?

These questions cause many to push social to the backburner again and again. But don’t quit just yet! The best way to answer these questions is observe and experiment.

These are my personal tips for establishing your profile:

Find social role models.

Look in your organization or industry for someone’s social style that appeals to you. Follow them and see how they set up their tweets. Once you look at a few, you’ll see a simple combination that you can use to model yours after.

Example:

karentweet2

Read More »

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Omni-Tech for Omnichannel Selling

My last blog talked about the challenges of becoming an omnichannel retailer, and how stores are still learning how to make changes that cut across their entire business. We discussed how, appearances to the contrary, omnichannel selling is still about meeting a basic business requirement – finding the best outcome for you and your customer. However, finding these outcomes is a more complex proposition than it used to be.

Logically, to achieve consistent outcomes you need to achieve consistent consumer outreach, input, and sales approaches. But stores are also facing the demand to create a more personalized sales experience. How do you meet these seemingly contrary requirements? The key here is to find new ways to reach out to shoppers as part of the whole shopping experience, no matter what the channel.

For example, Cisco’s Remote Expert solution is a way to offer unique, personalized, yet centralized retail experiences for customers. It connects each shopper with a product expert wherever they are located, in real time, via mobile, immersive, or on-site channels. You save by leveraging your experts across single or multiple locations and devices using a pool of experts who may or may not be co-located, instead of providing expertise at every site or asking them to travel extensively. Retailers can also use the same solution to host training and corporate meetings, or to enable store feedback on products and merchandising. The result is a personalized shopping experience at a lower cost for the store.

Pretty sweet, don’t you think? To learn more, take the time to attend the webcast “Just Ask the Expert: Connect Your Shoppers to Virtual Experts, Anywhere, Any Time,” being held on Nov. 7. You can register here.

Truly omnichannel technologies are designed to support cost savings and efficiency, providing a more seamless interface for service that is customized for the shopper. As I said in my last blog, these approaches focus first and foremost on customer needs, making it easier to do business with your company.  A customer-centric strategy cuts across the business and all its channels, creating a different kind of relationship between you and your shoppers. See what Retail Systems Research has to say in their latest report about omnichannel strategies.

I love retail trivia! Comment below if you know the answer to this question: What is the second-most visited retail business in America? (Wal-Mart is first.)

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Extending Video to the Web through Open Source H.264

Cisco has been a champion of video communications for a very long time. We are committed to seeing video communications from board room to cubicle, and from CEO to intern. To achieve this vision, we’ve been investing in video solutions from top-end immersive telepresence to video capable soft clients like Jabber. Unfortunately, the one place we haven’t been able to fully go is the web. Video communications is not possible natively in the browser – yet. Work has been progressing on addressing this through an extension to HTML5 called WebRTC. However, this activity has hit a speed bump due to disagreements on choosing a video codec for the browser. Cisco and many others support H.264, which is the foundation of our products and those of most of our competitors.

Today, Cisco has taken a bold step to bringing video to the web. We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC. Furthermore, Mozilla has announced it will enable Firefox to utilize this module, Read More »

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Open-Sourced H.264 Removes Barriers to WebRTC

When it comes to making collaboration technology such as high-definition video open and broadly available, it’s clear that the web browser plays an important role. The question is, how do you enable real-time video natively on the Web? It’s a question that folks are anxious to have answered.

WebRTC–a set of enhancements to HTML5–will address the issue head on. But, there is an important hurdle that must first be cleared, and that’s standardizing on a common video codec for real-time communications on the web – something the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will decide next week.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard–H.264–requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

I’m also pleased that Mozilla has announced it will enable Firefox to utilize this module, bringing real-time H.264 support to their browser.

“It hasn’t been easy, but Mozilla has helped to lead the industry toward interoperable video on the Web,” said Brendan Eich, Mozilla Chief Technology Officer. “Cisco’s announcement helps us support H.264 in Firefox on most operating systems, and in downstream and other open source distributions using the Cisco H.264 binary module. We are excited to work with Cisco on advancing the state of interoperable Web video.”

Why is Cisco Doing This? Read More »

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OpenStack@Cisco – Havana release and IceHouse Summit

Earlier in this month the OpenStack community came out with the biannual OpenStack release – Havana. According to the OpenStack Foundation, not only did Havana add close to 400 new features across Compute (Nova), Storage (Swift), Networking (Neutron) and other core services, it also provided users with more application-driven capabilities and more enterprise features.  Two new projects – Heat (orchestration) and Ceilometer (metering) were integrated into OpenStack during the Havana release as well.

One area of focus in Havana for Cisco was on the Neutron project.  This included contributions to enhance the Neutron Cisco plugin framework, feature additions to the Nexus plugin for physical Cisco Nexus switches, introduction of the new Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch plugin and actively leading and participating in the design of the Neutron Modular Layer 2 plugin framework. This datasheet captures more information on the new features of the Cisco Nexus Neutron plugin (for physical switches) for OpenStack Havana. Cisco’s contribution in these and other areas, such as Layer 3, Firewall and VPN network services are reflected in this Stackalytics  report of Neutron contributions for the Havana release.

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We are now just a few days away from the OpenStack IceHouse Summit taking place in Hong Kong. Cisco is premier sponsor for the Summit and is also participating in several sessions and panels to make the Summit a success. To secure a slot in the General Session track at the Summit, interested candidates including Cisco’s OpenStack team submitted speaking proposals in August that went through an OpenStack community voting process. The details of the proposals can be found in this blog. Based on these results, Cisco’s team is now leading or participating in 10 session and panel discussions. The following table (sorted by session timings) captures details of the accepted sessions –

Track Session Details
General Session Panel: The CTOs of Cloud November 5 2:50pm – 3:30pm
AsiaWorld-Summit-Hall 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Apps on OpenStack OpenStack for Enterprise Developers: Should they care? November 5 3:40pm – 4:20pm
SkyCity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriot Hotel)
Related OSS Projects Panel: OpenDaylight: An Open Source SDN for your OpenStack Cloud November 6 11:15am – 11:55am
Skycity Grand Ballroom A&B (SkyCity Marriott Hotel)
Strategy OpenStack, IaaS and the Future of Application Aware Infrastructure November 6 12:05pm – 12:45pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: The Future of Networking in the Cloud November 6 2:00pm – 2:40pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Product & Services Deploying OpenStack with Cisco Networking, Compute and Storage November 6 3:40pm – 4:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Panel: Agile Networking with OpenStack November 6 4:40pm – 5:20pm
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Operations Deploying federated Openstack deployments on ipv6 backbones Experiences, Directions and Architecture November 7 9:00am – 9:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Community Building Panel: Ideas, tools and examples for OpenStack Groups November 8 9:50am – 10:30am
Expo Breakout Room 1 (AsiaWorld-Expo)
Technical Deep Dive OpenStack Neutron Modular Layer 2 Plugin Deep Dive November 8 11:00am – 11:40am
Expo Breakout Room 2 (AsiaWorld-Expo)

In addition to the above General Session tracks, the Cisco OpenStack team is also leading the design sessions in the Neutron project on Connectivity Group extensions for applications, Modular Layer 2 plugin, Network Function Virtualization with Service VM’s and Services Framework.  An enhanced constraint based solver scheduler will also be discussed with the community within the Nova project. The schedule for the general sessions is here and for the design sessions here. If you are interested in attending any of the general or design sessions be sure to mark your calendar.

Finally, we are showcasing in the demo theater “Scaling OpenStack with Cisco UCS and Nexus” on Wednesday, November 6th 12:40pm-12:55pm and will be present at the Cisco booth (booth B6 in the exhibit hall) with the following demos  –

Demos

Quad Hours

  • OpenStack UCS demo
  • N1KV demo on OpenStack
  • Seamless-Cloud on OpenStack demo
  • Constraint-based Smarter Scheduler for OpenStack demo (short demo here)
  • Tuesday, November 5th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 6th from 10:45am to 6:00pm
  • Thursday, November 7th from 8:00am to 4:00pm

We are excited to be there at the OpenStack Hong Kong Summit and we hope to see you there as well ! For latest information, visit us here.

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