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Cisco Honored at 20th Annual XChange Conference

I’ve had a great few days here in Washington, D.C. at XChange 2015. You might have seen David Durham’s blog from Monday with the event details, but if not, take a look at his post to get up to speed on the XChange event and Peder Ulander’s keynote that kicked off the event for Cisco.

On Monday and Tuesday we continued with excellent keynotes, tech symposiums and breakout sessions. I was also able to participate in some fantastic meetings where I got great feedback from partners on Cisco’s security strategy. You can rest assured I will take that back with me and continue shaping our strategy.

Your input is invaluable and I love coming to events like XChange in order to get that information directly from you. You never hesitate to let us know how we’re doing and it is much appreciated. It’s how we continue to provide partner programs that work for you.

While we’re talking about your feedback, I also wanted to thank you for providing your insight to The Channel Company, sponsors of XChange. They hand out the Annual Report Card (ARC) awards each year and those awards are based strictly on feedback from our partners. Read More »

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Cisco Receives “Best of InfoComm” Awards from rAVe

Last week I wrote about how much we enjoyed talking with everyone who came to see us at Cisco Live as well as InfoComm, a conference with thousands of products from hundreds of exhibitors and more than 39,2015 attendees.  It was great to learn how our video solutions are adding value to your businesses. We’re very honored that rAVe awarded us Best of InfoComm awards in two categories.

Best New Videoconferencing Product: Cisco SX80 Codec

The SX80 codec is a powerful audio and video platform that enables integrators to incorporate high-definition video collaboration applications into large and purpose-built meeting rooms. In addition to its technical capabilities, the SX80 is also a standout on aesthetic merits having received the Red Dot design award last year.

More details about the SX80 here:

Read More »

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World, Meet Thor – a Project to Hammer Out a Royalty Free Video Codec

Video codecs remain an area of active research and development. The current generation video codec is H.264 – in widespread usage on the Internet. Cisco has actively worked towards making H.264 the foundation of real-time communications on the web. The next generation codecs are just beginning to emerge. There are two of note – Google’s proprietary VP9 codec, and the industry standard H.265 (HEVC) codec, which is the successor to H.264 (AVC).

Unfortunately, the patent licensing situation for H.265 has recently taken a turn for the worse. Two distinct patent licensing pools have formed so far, and many license holders are not represented in either. There is just one license pool for H.264. The total costs to license H.265 from these two pools is up to sixteen times more expensive than H.264, per unit. H.264 had an upper bound on yearly licensing costs, whereas H.265 has no such upper limit.

These licensing terms preclude usage of H.265 in any kind of open source or freely distributed software application, such as web browsers. They also preclude its usage in freemium products – like WebEx or Cisco Spark – which have versions that users can use for free. Thus, while H.265 is still a good fit for hardware products like our telepresence room systems, it is not something that can serve as a universal video codec across hardware and software. Thus, we believe the industry needs a high quality, next-generation codec that can be used everywhere. Read More »

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What Happens When You Put Cisco Spark on a Bus?

What happens when more than 100 entrepreneurs embark on a 72-hour bus journey to concept, design and pitch the next big tech thing?

With the right flow, pretty much anything they can imagine.

StartupBus is one of the most unusual startup competitions around. In a nutshell, the competition invites the best “Hackers” (programmers and coders), “Hustlers” (business and marketing minds) and “Hipsters” (designers and other creatives) to board a bus and form teams to conceptualize and design a tech-focused prototype or app with all of their hard work culminating in epic pitches to StartupBus judges and investors.

And they only have 72 hours to do it.

Earlier this summer, five buses in North America were a flurry of activity as “Buspreneurs” neglected sleep, overcame motion sickness, and tapped into strong competitive spirits to embrace the intense collaborative energy needed to perfect their pitches. The buses, originating from five regions (Mexico, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and West Coast) headed to Nashville for Accelerate, the ultimate “unconference” where the Buspreneurs would make their pitches.

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Fog Computing: Bringing Cloud Capabilities Down to Earth

When we think of “cloud” we think of a vast collection of compute, network, and storage capabilities that resides somewhere high above us—a massive repository of functionality that can be accessed from anywhere and any device with enough bandwidth to handle the data flow.

With practically unlimited power and scalability, cloud technology has been a key enabler of the Internet. But the Internet of Things (IoT) demands something more. IoT is a broad collection of sensors, cameras, smartphones, computers, and machines—all connected to and communicating with applications, websites, social media, and other devices. To maximize value, much of the data generated by these “things” must be processed and analyzed in real time. For example, sensors and cameras in and around a large retail store may continuously collect data about customer volume and traffic flow. The store can derive some value from all this data by sending it back to the cloud to analyze long-term trends. But the value is multiplied if the system can process the data locally, in real time, and then act on it immediately by sending more cashiers to the check-out line just before a surge in customer traffic.

This sort of real-time, high-bandwidth application requires a new distributed cloud model that brings cloud networking, compute, and storage capabilities down to earth—to the very edge of the network. My friend Flavio Bonomi has worked tirelessly with both academia and other industry partners to advance the concept of fog, inspired by the way the San Francisco fog extends the cloud to the ground. Fog computing creates a platform—what we call a fog node—that provides a layer of compute, storage, and networking services between end devices “on the ground” and cloud computing data centers. Fog is not a separate architecture; it merely extends the existing cloud architecture to the edge of the network—as close to the source of the data as possible—to enable real-time data processing and analytics. Read More »

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