Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Collaboration

The Myth of Greenfield Technology Environments

This is part of a series on the evolution of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, exploring the technical and design principles behind its unique architecture.

In the last post in this series, Jens Meggers talked about the huge importance of user experience, and how essential it is to simplify, connect, and delight. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is increasingly essential to delivering those three ingredients.

A true SaaS platform can provide continuous delivery, enabling rapid updates of software to make constant improvements on those ingredients. It also enables A/B testing and metrics-driven software development, which can ensure that the product is in fact delivering a great user experience.

The problem is that all of that works fine and well for companies that can get a complete collaboration solution from the cloud. But – the reality is – these types of greenfield environments are not all that common. Most companies have a huge amount of on-premises software. In fact, most of them have a huge amount of on-premises software that provides collaboration functionality. IP PBXs (like our own Unified Communications Manager), email servers, corporate directories – these all exist en-masse on-prem. And for many companies, these products work and work well, with quite a bit of life left in them. Consequently, even for a company that is excited about the user experience that SaaS can deliver, it’s not clear how to get there because they aren’t greenfield. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Acano

We are at an inflection point in video adoption. In the enterprise alone, less than 10 percent of the conference rooms in the world are connected via video and only 1 percent of users have video systems on their desktop today. The market is poised for dramatic growth, with IP video expected to represent 80 percent of all global Internet traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014.

Cisco believes that we can capture this massive market opportunity by delivering the best collaboration experience across every endpoint, every screen, every workspace, and to every user. Our vision is to dramatically increase the number of video-enabled conference rooms – moving from every one in 10 conference rooms connected with video, to every one in four within the next ten years. And we want people to be able to connect to those rooms easily from any device or system they have today. That’s why today we are announcing Cisco’s intent to acquire privately-held Acano Limited, a leading provider of collaboration infrastructure and conferencing software.

Acano’s portfolio includes video and audio bridging technology and gateways to enable customers to connect different collaboration solutions from disparate vendors across cloud and hybrid environments. Together, Acano will help Cisco expand the interoperability and scalability of our collaboration portfolio – allowing customers to connect from anywhere, from a browser on a mobile device to the corporate boardroom, and now scaling to easily connect thousands of users across an organization.

Over the last two years, Cisco’s collaboration business has provided a standout example of the strength of our build, buy, partner, invest and co-develop approach to innovation. Internally, Cisco’s collaboration team has achieved several significant milestones, refreshing the entire endpoint portfolio in the past 12 months and simplifying our offerings from 65 endpoints down to 17, and driving double-digit endpoint growth each quarter for the past year. We’ve introduced a new cloud collaboration platform and Cisco Spark, a new team collaboration service. Acquisitions also played a key role; over the past two years we’ve acquired three companies to help accelerate our development in cloud, Collaborate, Assemblage and Tropo. And we’ve introduced key partnerships such as one with Apple earlier this fall to integrate iPhones with Cisco environments and provide unique collaboration capabilities on iPhones and iPads.

Today’s acquisition builds upon this strategy. By combining Acano’s expertise with a Cisco team that has driven incredible growth of our collaboration business, we believe we can accelerate our collaboration momentum and bring new capabilities to market faster. The Cisco and Acano teams together will help make video dramatically more pervasive to the desktop and to conference rooms of all sizes.

*UPDATE: January 29, 2016: We are pleased to welcome the Acano team on board!  Watch the video.

Tags: , , ,

Make Video Meetings Simple

Wainhouse Research polled a group of video conferencing users to gauge their feelings about video conferencing. What they found is great news for Cisco-CMR-Gifographicthose who want to integrate video into their collaboration strategies.

Comparing their experience to 2 years ago:

  • 95% agreed that video is more reliable
  • 97% agreed that they use video conferencing more
  • 92% agreed video conferencing is easier to use

Even so, the myth persists that successful video conferencing requires a complicated deployment strategy and a good bit of magic under the hood.

Now it’s time to put that rumor to rest.  Meeting from any video device can be simple.

Cisco® Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMR) Cloud lets you meet over video with others, no matter what system they’re using. CMR Cloud simplifies meetings using a cloud-based video bridge. Meet with peers, customers, or partners. Get the same consistent WebEx experience across a desktop, browser, mobile device, or room system. If you ask me, it’s like magic!

To me, one of the greatest aspects about video conferencing – other than how simple it can be – is that almost anyone can use it to move initiatives, projects, and services forward.

For example, when it comes to finding top-tier talent for your staffing needs, prime candidates are not always local. Conducting interviews and screenings over the phone can give you a glimpse into a person. But nothing Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

The User Experience

This is part of a series on the evolution of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform, exploring the technical and design principles behind its unique architecture.

In the last post in this series, Rowan wrote about revolutionizing enterprise communications through the cloud to deliver amazing experiences. I am glad that Rowan mentioned experience, because that happens to be a passion of mine.

For me, experience manifests itself in several ways. It means:

  • Our technology is integrated and works easily across our platform;
  • Our technology is intuitive and easy to use by anyone at any level in the organization; and
  • Most importantly, it means users are delighted in every interaction.

But to deliver amazing experiences, we have to understand how people will use our technology and what they need to accomplish FIRST, before we build anything. When we understand the experience people want, we can tie that to the experience we deliver. Then, and only then, can we build a platform with products that are valuable and desirable.

We do this by leveraging three key design principles across Collaboration. Embedded in everything we do, they put users at the center of our platform and products. These principles are: simplify, connect, and delight.

Simplify: this is all about the experience. You’ve told us you need to connect with your teams quickly, no matter where they are Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Catalysts for 10x Innovation (Part 1)

“Why does a computer need a fan? I want my computer to be quiet and small!” Steve Jobs actually provoked that question when he started the journey that led to the creation of Apple II nearly four decades ago.  And, of course, the journey made history and continues on into new frontiers of technology.

Asking an unsettling question that breaks the status quo – in any era – is one of the key catalysts to ignite innovation exponentially. This is especially true today because of the unprecedented levels of innovation made possible by the digitization of society through the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, processes, data and things.Cisco Leadership Forum_Biren presenting

A provocative question that turns things upside down gets the innovation journey under way.  However, it’s just one of many key catalysts we have identified from extensive research and experience that accelerate innovation 10 times or more.

My colleague, Hagit Oron, and I recently had the honor of conducting a highly engaging workshop – Innovation Catalyst – at Cisco’s bi-annual Leadership Forum, an event series tailored for people leaders.  Igniting innovation is one of our company’s highest priorities as we transform from a hardware product company into an end-to-end solution provider delivering business outcomes to customers in vertical markets.

Encourage Inclusive, Diverse Culture. First, we emphasized that leaders must foster a climate of innovation with their full teams – not just by hiring a few outliers – but as a collective team to solve problems and develop new products and services. That means assembling teams with a full spectrum of diverse backgrounds, skills, perspectives and approaches, enabling them with the right tools and resources as well as empowering them to innovate collaboratively. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,