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Appealing to the Omnichannel Generation – Catching mobile shoppers anytime, anywhere

Today’s consumers are technology enabled, capable of shopping any time, any location and geographically mobile.  Catching and keeping these shoppers are not easy tasks for brick and mortar or e-Commerce retailers today.

What are some innovative ways the retail industry is adjusting to the needs of shoppers today?

Online Commerce with Pop-Up Stores and Personalized Products

 

This was the scene in San Francisco this week where IndoChino, a menswear provider and tailor company, set up a one week temporary location on the busy Market Street.  Integrating made to measure tailoring, traveling locations and online storefront, this allows customers to get measured for custom suits on site and products delivered to home.

Future orders for personalized products can be placed online including shirts and accessories.  The result combines the scaling of mass production with personalized products, online customer service and only one on site visit in pop up store locations.

Retailing on Wheels -- Going to where the shoppers are

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The Age of Hypervisors

The science behind Virtual Machine Monitors, or VMM, aka Hypervisors, was demystified almost half a century ago, in a famous ACM publication, “Formal Requirements for Virtualizable Third Generation Architectures”.

In my life, I had the honor of working on some of the most bleeding edge virtualization technologies of their day.  My first was IBM’s VM, VSAM and a host of other v-words.  My last was at XenSource (now Citrix) and Cisco, on what I still think is the most complete hypervisor of our age, true to its theoretical foundation in the Math paper I just mentioned.

Though Xen is arguably the most widely used hypervisor in the Cloud or sum of all servers in the world today, I actually think its most interesting accomplishment lies in what its founders just announced this week.  Therefore, I want to extend my congratulations to my good friends Simon Crosby and Ian Pratt for the admirable work at Bromium with vSentry.

I think it is remarkable for two reasons.  It addresses the missing part of what hypervisors are useful, which is security; for those of you that actually read Popek & Goldberg’s paper, you would note that VMM’s are very good at intercepting not just privileged but also sensitive instructions, and very few people out there, until now have focused on the latter, the security piece.  But there is one more reason, in fact the key point of this paper, the necessary and sufficient conditions for a system to be able to have a VMM or hypervisor, and I am hoping the Xen guys who have done so well articulating that for real (not fictional or hyped) hypervisors, can also help sort our the hype from fiction in what is ambiguously called nowadays a “network hypervisor”.

Could this approach be what is actually missing, to sort out truth from hype in what we call SDN today?  Is this the new age of hypervisors?  Or is this just another useful application of an un-hyped hypervisor?

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Getting Spicy in Spain, Paella? No, NPS!

Programmability, application aware environments, and software defined networks are popular topics in the industry right now. Network operators see the revenue opportunities to deliver services which can dynamically utilize network infrastructure while meeting application specific requirements. This thought process dominated at this year’s Carrier Ethernet World Congress in Barcelona, and Cisco was helping lead the way.

It was a pleasure to watch some of our thought leaders share their unique and innovative ideas and direction with the larger service provider, vendor and analyst community – starting with Software Defined Networking (SDN).  SDN wasn’t the only topic, we shared ideas around mobile trends such as 4G/LTE and small cells and the resulting network impact, the increasing need to marry the IP layer with the underlying transport layers, and strategies around moving legacy TDM services onto a packet infrastructure.  I love watching the cross-industry creativity flow as we collectively solve today’s challenges posed by the growth of new user trends.

All that said, Read More »

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Are Your Customers (and Prospects) Talking About You? (Part 2)

September 21, 2012 at 10:23 am PST

Yesterday, I shared information on how to get started with social media listening, what to listen for, and the types of information you can gain from listening. Now that you have an idea of what your customers and prospects are saying, what are you going to do with all of that information?

Well, that’s when the good stuff happens! The insights you’ll get from social listening will help you:

  • Build your social media marketing strategy – you’ll have more insights about your audience, who exactly is participating in social media, in which social channels the conversations are happening, how frequently and actively are they posting, and what they are talking about.
  • Have a dialogue with customers and prospects –  you want to do this carefully, thoughtfully, person-to-person, and with a customer-service mentality, but participating in social media conversations gives you the chance to thank fans, find prospects, help those with problems or questions, discover problem areas you might otherwise have missed, and build better relationships with your community.
  • Share what you learn with the rest of your organization – product feedback will be useful to your support and development teams, lead opportunities will get sales excited, your executives will want to hear about emerging trends and what kinds of business problems customers are looking for technology to solve, and marketing can see the traction that offers and marketing campaigns are getting.

As an example, here’s a situation where we were getting feedback via social listening from customers about challenges with firmware downloads. We responded to this disgruntled person (who clearly was appreciative of our efforts), but it also led us to put a temporary fix in place to make the experience easier while we worked on the longer-term solution.

Here at Cisco, we have a central Social Media Listening Center where we are continually tracking mentions of the company, key technology areas and events. It functions as a command center to route questions, issues or even potential leads to various teams across Cisco (many of whom are also doing their own ‘deep-live’ listening work for their specific area of expertise). We also can launch listening centers for special events, including our recent listening center in London for the 2012 Olympics.

We’re also eager to share some of our social listening highlights with you, our partners! Read More »

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Consumer Spending Priorities: Translating Consumers’ Broadband Addiction into Mobile Data Spending

By Gaetano Pellegrino, Senior Manager, IBSG Service Provider (Western Europe)

According to new research from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), fixed broadband Internet access is the highest priority service in consumers’ entertainment and communication portfolio. Despite the advent of smartphones, they view mobile data as more expendable.

Cisco IBSG regularly tracks such issues in its Connected Life Market Watch research platform. In the fall 2011 edition, it surveyed some 3,900 broadband consumers in North America (including Canada) and France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Consumers Love Their Smartphones—but Rely on Fixed Access

According to Read More »

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