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Cisco Live Melbourne 2015

Exciting times! Cisco Live Melbourne 2015 started on the 17th with four packed days of technology updates and new solution launches. This year we are expecting a phenomenal crowd of more than 5700 attendees. Cloud, virtualization and SDN(Software Defined Networks)/NFV(Network Function Virtualization) are a big agenda for all our customers and you will find the latest here at Cisco Live with up to 16 concurrent sessions to choose throughout the day. Try your hands on one of many Self-paced Labs or show off your prowess at DevNet.

WOS_bicycles

And then, there is the World of Solutions @ Cisco Live. This year, the World of Solutions will have a wonderful village-like atmosphere complete with bus stands, trees and clouds amongst the Meet the Experts and CCIE corners. At Cisco, we believe that the future is about Connecting the Read More »

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When Clicks Meet Bricks: the Future of the Retail Store

Today’s retailers face a hard truth: their customers have embraced digital technologies faster than they have.

But I believe that retailers have an opportunity to elevate the shopping experience in exciting new ways. By integrating the digital and the physical — in effect, merging clicks with bricks — retailers can capture new revenue, along with loyal, satisfied customers.

First, retailers need to understand a changed landscape. In only the past five years, mobility, analytics, e-commerce, and other technologies have had a profound effect on the entire shopping experience, putting the customer in charge. Traditional retailers must respond with highly relevant experiences that drive greater efficiency, savings, and engagement.

Recently, I shared some thoughts on this topic with Cisco, both for a new global study on retail trends and also in a podcast titled The Last Checkout Line. The U.S. and U.K. findings of Cisco’s study were released early this year and showed some surprising results. As Cisco’s paper emphasized, customers demand a hyper-relevant shopping experience, in which past shopping histories, current contexts, and future plans drive real-time interactions with the retailer, in-store or out.

Some retailers are already excelling in these areas. Sephora, the French cosmetics franchise, is a good example of a retailer that is offering digital and mobile experiences in-store, enabling customers to interact and discover products in new ways while also bridging a seamless connection with the online experience. Other retailers have leveraged analytics to ensure stock availability for individual customers, integrating with other store locations to ship products to the customer’s home or a more convenient store location.

I believe that all retailers will need to assess their current capabilities. The mobile experience in the store is essential, both to interact with customers on a deeper level and to empower in-store associates with real-time contextual information. This requires enabling Wi-Fi and expanding bandwidth to accommodate new digital experiences.

Analytics, of course, is critical to understanding customers, in-store and out. Retailers will need accurate information at all stages of the shopping journey. That includes accurate data on inventory and customer browsing habits; there is no faster way to disappoint a customer than not having the item he or she expects, or to make the customer wait.

But retailers will also need to be sensitive to how much information customers are willing to share. There’s a fine line between an appropriate “opt-in” incentive and one that is perceived to be intrusive. If retailers get it right, customers will see the clear benefits and value in sharing their data.

As Cisco’s retail paper stressed, technology has accelerated changes in customer behavior, and traditional assumptions around age demographics are outmoded. Gen Y can enjoy the store experience, for example, while older customers may be highly connected and mobile. Retailers will need flexible, future-proof infrastructures that enable them to respond to ever-shifting customer demands.

I see the winners in retail succeeding on three key fronts:

  • They will provide breakout innovations that set market expectations for new kinds of customer interactions, new ways of sorting and tracking products, and new ways of fulfilling customer needs. These will be highly relevant and situationally aware; that is, aligned with customers’ current contexts.
  • They will have flexible systems and architectures in place to support these new kinds of interactions, and adapt to changes in customer behavior.
  • And they will ensure a consistent, seamless experience, whether the customer is engaging via email, call center, online, a mobile device, or with an in-store customer associate.

In the end, winning retailers will shift their focus from short-term profits to a customer-centric strategy. After all, the more relevant, streamlined, and seamless the customer experience, the more likely it is that those customers will return — again and again.

Future of IT Podcast: The Last Checkout Line- How the Internet of Everything Can Transform the Retail Experience from Cisco Business Insights

 

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2015

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. A record 93,000 plus people are estimated to have attended this year’s premier technology festival. Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2014. However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile? As such, the show offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of technology and the major social and business shifts that we can expect in the next few years.

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The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show Read More »

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Making Applications and Network Infrastructure Talk

Frederic TrateGuest blog by Frederic Trate, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

One may say this is a topic the telecom industry has been working on for many years and that’s somewhat true. Remember the time when routing protocols and QoS (Quality of Service) mechanisms were the only tools at Service Provider’s disposal to arbitrate between sensitive and non-sensitive traffic? That worked pretty well as long as Service Providers only had to support a few applications – mainly voice and data.

Over time however, as carriers began to converge networks assets into a single, unified IP infrastructure they were faced with the challenge of increasing control over their network infrastructure. Programmability was not yet an industry buzzword but Read More »

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Join the Revolution – Change Your Daily Routine

Today’s announcement of Cisco Spark is about much more than a new app for team collaboration. It is about the modernization of businesses from traditional organizations to next-generation or agile enterprises. Rowan compares this change in the way people work to the beginning of a revolution. I think it’s important for us to realize the magnitude of the opportunity ahead of us. Only collaboration technology can truly change the way people communicate and empower them to work better together. Cisco’s portfolio is stronger than ever – and we will continue to innovate and simplify with new products like Cisco Spark, the MX800 Dual, Context Service for contact centers, and our new video software. Combine that portfolio with the strength of the Cisco channel, and we have the ability to help our customers transform into the next-generation, agile enterprises they want—and need—to become.

This is some pretty big talk – galvanizing a revolution – to capture a $60 billion market. It’s certainly going to require change, but we can do it together if we start now.

I ran across this quote by leadership author John Maxwell the other day on Facebook, and I think it offers a good way for us to think about this big transformation: “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” I like this quote because it puts change into the perspective of the ordinary, of your “daily routine.” That seems more manageable than a revolution. Read More »

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