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Mastering Design, One Red Dot at a Time

One of my favorite designers, John Maeda, believes that the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.

When John’s somewhat bold prediction is put in the context of this quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – it’s easy to see that John is right.

So if the future successful tech companies will really be design companies, what does that mean for all the “non design companies” of today (read: most tech companies and especially most IT tech companies)? This is an opportunity for all tech companies to understand the real value of design.  I believe that change has to start at the top, so for Silicon Valley, it means business leaders have to come to grips with this transformation. Not just hiring more UX people, or opening a “design center,” but embracing design as a way to lead your entire company.

It should come as no surprise that I place such high importance on the Red Dot awards.  They are a validation of amazing design quality from beyond the technology industry.  Our products in the Collaboration portfolio have won six Red Dot awards in the last 18 months – that’s as many as Cisco has won in all its 30 years.

Last week, I found out we won two more. Our newest video endpoint and the flagship of the Collaboration portfolio – the IX5000 – just won a “Red Dot Best of the Best” 2015 award, the highest distinction in Red Dot’s product design category. In 2015, only 1.6% of the nearly 5,000 submissions received this top prize.

The Cisco TelePresence IX500

The Cisco TelePresence IX5000

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Partner Voices: Identity, Security and the Internet of Everything

As I often do with our Cisco Partner Voices blogs, this week’s entry is really more about me getting out of the way and letting the partner tell the story. I mean, after all, that’s what this whole series is about, right?

This week, I had the opportunity to hear from Geoff Webb (@GeoffvWebb), Senior Director, Solution Strategy for NetIQ. Geoff had some thoughts on the Internet of Everything (IoE) that are definitely worth sharing with the Cisco Partner Ecosystem.

In Geoff’s words, the Internet of Everything holds incredible promise – the opportunity to completely redefine how we interact with technology, the way we use information, even the way we perceive the very world around us.  We’re going to be surrounded, 24/7, by smart devices that do everything from help us drive our cars more safely and monitor crop yields across the world to double checking that we turned the oven off before we left home, even run an airliner’s engines at peak efficiency as it flies around the world.

These smart tools – whether it’s wearable, drivable, sitting in our homes and/or in our bodies – are going to change absolutely every aspect of the way we think about, and use, information and technology.  Yet at the same time, this is going to make new demands on the way we plan for security and privacy.  And, the key to building the new, safe and secure IoE is going to be a deep understanding of a very old concept: that of “identity.” Read More »

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The Connected Life: The Art of the Possible in Insurance

Gathering and Harvesting New Data through “The Connected Life”

The Connected Life, the digital life is steadily emerging. Today’s insurance consumers are increasingly tech savvy and want services on demand and expect them to be readily accessible anywhere, anytime. Because of this, the insurance industry and more specifically, the personal property and casualty insurance sector, is experiencing a significant period of change and opportunity. The primary change agent in this disruption is the significant amount of specific data that an insurance organization can gain for individual policyholders or prospective policyholders in this era of the Internet of Everything.

An industry steeped in tradition, legacy systems, conservative business practices and risk avoidance is now faced with the need for significant, rapid adoption of new technology accompanied by new data analytics models. This change is in-progress and data from the connected car, connected home and connected person is being gathered. The challenge facing the Insurance organization is not the data gathering, but the management, mining and “harvesting” of this expansive data. In fact, Cisco acknowledges five pillars in this space: Connect, Collect, Analyze, Decide and Apply. Focusing only on the first two areas of Connect and Collect will not provide an advantage over competitors. The key focus areas that will bring true value to insurers are Analyze, Decide, and Apply.

Put simply, a competitive advantage can be achieved by those organizations who effectively “harvest” newly gathered data from connected life solutions. Virtually all property and casualty insurance organizations with a top 100 ranking are investigating, testing, piloting or commercially deploying “Big Data” initiatives. These data gathering initiatives include connected vehicle/telematics, connected home and connected health of the individual, and further include value-added offerings for the consumer, while providing the opportunity for insurers to learn a lot about the policyholder or a prospective policyholder. Read More »

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Internet of Everything and Machine Intelligence

Let’s start on a light note. For a brief period of time, the Internet of Things became associated with the fridge that orders milk by itself. This retro-futurist icon is a great example of a common tendency for extremely disruptive technological waves to first enter the public realm in the form of low impact nice-to-have use cases (personal computers and robotics suffered the same fate at first). Besides being amusing, these are also instructive. The small-mindedness of a fridge that has a direct line to the supermarket is a great way to make a really important point: the value of the Internet of Everything (IoE), ultimately, is about the network, not the individual connections. Read More »

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Click to Deploy Virtual HetNet Cuts Small Cell Deployment Time from Months to Minutes

There was significant Small Cells buzz during last months Mobile World Congress, where Cisco announced a range of innovative products and solutions that can be used to accelerate the market adoption of small cells. In particular, I spoke at the Small Cell Forum’s Small Cell Zone were I described how Cisco is accelerating enterprise small cell deployments, through a combination of:

  • driving an E2E enterprise architecture that is able to span single 50 sq.m teleworker installations through to 50,000 sq.m campus deployments
  • cloud based Mobility IQ providing Wi-Fi and Small Cell network, user and business intelligence with dashboards that enable integration into enterprise managed service offers
  • channel enabled commercial models that leverage Cisco’s installed base intelligence and vertical sector segmentation to prioritize, qualify, design and install enterprise small cells
  • and, the topic that I want to drill into today, virtualizing small cell core networks and management systems that can be deployed in minutes instead of months, and consumed on a pay-as-you-grow basis

Small Cells have always been easy to deploy with integrated self configuration capabilities and Cisco has now deployed over Read More »

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