What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting have in Common?
If you read my previous blog then you’ll already know that the answer is Medianet. In Part 1 of this 2 Part blog series I discussed the new reverse Metadata capability, provided by a Cisco network, that allows an Enterprise to enable granular QoS marking for all the different media streams that make up a WebEx meeting. In this 2nd instalment, we’re going to take a look at how we can extend Medianet’s Mediatrace capability to Cisco’s 79XX, 89XX and 99XX IP Phone portfolio.
The other recent innovation for Medianet is Prime Collaboration’s ability to now invoke a Mediatrace for a number of IP Phones models that don’t support the MSI (Media Services Interface). As these devices cannot originate Metadata, it has been previously impossible start a Mediatrace through end point selection for telephones in Prime Collaboration. It is now possible, reactively and proactively, to troubleshoot voice quality issues on 79XX, 89XX and 99XX devices, using the same combination of Medianet and Prime Collaboration tools that have previously only been applicable to personal and room based video systems. Take a look at one of my previous blogs, “Medianet in Action”, for some additional background material on video troubleshooting. The demonstration below shows how to start a Mediatrace for a pair of phones.
The video collaboration world has reached another interesting inflection point. The market has shown that there is an experience threshold to deliver effective remote video collaboration – recall the rapid doubling of the video market between 2006 and 2008 when HD video became possible across a range of platforms. It is also clear that high quality experience delivers both dramatic productivity increases as well as significant business growth opportunities. So what is holding back the market currently?
The challenge has been to deliver the threshold experience at a price point that is accessible to everyone. The solutions that are being offered up until now have either been too expensive to roll out at scale or have compromised on quality, security, connectivity and interoperability to the point where the experience threshold is not achieved. The market has shown that “good enough” does not deliver the type of user experiences that businesses need.
We have been talking about quality attributes for some time, and arguably Cisco has been progressively improving this with both software and hardware developments. However, the latest endpoints announcements from Cisco at Enterprise Connect address perhaps the most fundamental requirement to drive the video collaboration market:
Delivering business video for everyone
Video collaboration has delivered many benefits to the organizations that are taking advantage of it today. By embracing this technology these organizations are seeing greater productivity among their employees, partners and vendors as well as reduction in travel costs by using video to be anywhere at any time. Read More »
In the quest for speed, how leaders are engaging employees differently
I recently had a Fortune 100 CEO tell me he wants to “flatten access” in his organization. It’s a familiar theme talking to customers around the world, as leaders seek out innovative ways to get their teams executing faster. More and more I’m hearing about leaders putting a modern twist on the classic “town hall” meeting format – sort of a New England-style public meeting and social media all mixed together – as a new way to mobilize their teams.
What’s at stake, of course, is the company’s ability to get to opportunities faster – faster than competitors. Shortening the time it takes to move from a decision in a conference room to galvanizing action on a team is the most often cited pain-point I hear when I ask customers about their collaboration challenges. Here’s the rub: most organizations aren’t great at engaging their employees, according to Gallup – only 30% of employees feel engaged.
When we think of innovation, we tend to associate it with technology. The innovation being demonstrated in the online, virtual town hall meetings comes in the form of employee engagement, shifting dramatically how you communicate to your team. At the heart of the innovation is the recognition that people need more than “goals” or “priorities” when being lead. My friend Peter Guber said recently that people have a need for “emotional understanding.”
The new town hall meeting is intrinsically designed to foster understanding – and in doing so, mobilize teams even faster for execution.
What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting have in Common?
The answer is Medianet, which in conjunction with a Cisco network can provide an innovative solution for two very different real life problems. In Part 1 of this 2 Part blog we’re going to discuss how customers can use Medianet Metadata to provide a robust QoS mechanism for the WebEx cloud service within their Enterprise Networks. Keep an eye out for Part 2 where we’re going to take a look at how we can extend Medianet’s Mediatrace capability to Cisco’s 79XX, 89XX and 99XX IP Phone portfolio. I’ll also point out the benefits for each of these completely different Medianet use cases.
WebEx is a SaaS Conferencing service providing web based data, audio and video conferencing for millions of users. As it’s a cloud service, it’s inherently secure and in a lot of use cases it will tunnel all its media streams within HTTPS. That’s great for secure transport, but it’s resultantly challenging to map the constituent parts of the WebEx application into a granular Enterprise QoS policy. Why would we want to do that anyway? Isn’t it good enough to mark all the WebEx traffic the same? As the saying goes, there is a method to our madness.The tunnelled WebEx traffic contains control packets, data-sharing traffic and possibly VoIP, which are relatively low bandwidth media streams. On the flip side any tunnelled video traffic will likely be bandwidth hungry by nature. The challenge we want to circumvent is how to ensure the WebEx video traffic does not “swamp” the other types of meeting traffic. Ultimately, we want to allow end users to enable the video service they have paid for, without the risk of video having a negative impact on the overall quality of the online conference. We do everything with the end user in mind to make sure you have the best possible experience.
For those of you that don’t know, a WebEx client can generate Medianet Metadata. In simple terms, Metadata is a way for a Cisco application to announce itself to a Cisco network. In the case of WebEx, different Metadata packets are transmitted onto the network, uniquely identifying all the component media streams (including video) that comprise a WebEx conference. This allows a Cisco network to useWebEx Metadata to differentiate between any WebEx traffic types, even when securely tunnelled over a HTTPS connection. The figure below provides an illustration of the different Metadata packets that will be generated for different types of WebEx traffic.
Figure 1 – Identifying Different Flows using Metadata
As I visit customers and partners around the world, I see that many of you are excited about the idea of “workplace transformation.” The reason is clear: workplace-related costs are usually among a company’s top three expense items. Optimizing these assets and ensuring that they support the needs of the business is – or should be – a top priority.
Where we work is becoming more mobile, more flexible, and more collaborative than ever. This has made the traditional cubicle-based workplace – with its overbooked meeting rooms and rows of assigned cubicles sitting empty—obsolete. According to CoreNet Global, around 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at one time because workers are either on the road or in meetings.1 Creating what we call an “activity-based workplace” will help you keep up with evolving work practices, improve employee engagement, and build for the workforce of the future. It will also help you use your physical space more efficiently.
An activity-based workplace unshackles your employees from their desks and gives them a variety of work spaces to use based on the activities they need perform at a given time. This could be a typical workstation, an individual quiet room, a small team huddle space, an audio privacy room, a Telepresence room, or an open project area. Whatever the choice, they’ll have seamless access to the tools they need to get their jobs done. Any desk phone becomes “their” phone, and pervasive and secure wireless enables access to the corporate internet, email, calendars, and collaboration solutions such as IM and presence, web, and video conferencing.