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Save with UCS E-Series | Inside the Branch

For me, Halloween, October 31st, marks the start of the joyful holiday season.  Continuing onto Thanksgiving and Christmas, this time of year is full of family, friends and relaxation.

For retailers on the other hand, today (technically tomorrow) is the start of a very busy season.  According to NRF (National Retail Federation), it is when retailers get as much as 20-40%* of their sales of the year.  Retailers are measured by multiple factors including sales per square feet.  That means, real estate in a store is very valuable.  Every foot, no, inch counts.

This is where Hugo comes in to discuss this very topic with John Flood, another UCS E-Series expert.  How does UCS E-Series help save space and money for retailers?  Help save time for banks?

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IoT World Forum Day 1 by the Numbers

This week I’m at the inaugural Internet of Things World Forum, hosted by Cisco.  To give you a sense of what was discussed in just one day, I thought I’d capture some of the more interesting tweets and stats.  Below the tweets is a fun short video where I interviewed SAP’s Benjamin Wesson and with Cisco’s Monique Morrow!

One – New IoT Division at Cisco!

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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

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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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