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Collaborating to Improve Decision Making

January 7, 2013 at 9:02 am PST

Decisions have consequences. It’s a simple fact that not even my fourth grader will dispute. But if it’s so simple, why do organizations often have so much trouble making good decisions? Or, knowing the potential consequences, why do they pay little attention to how they go about the whole decision-making process?

It’s easy to find outside factors at which to point fingers when things go wrong – economy, competitors, politics, weather, Mercury in retrograde – but honesty requires that we acknowledge that internal factors and poorly made decisions are at the root of most major organizational failures. But it seems that most leaders aren’t ready for that level of self-reflection. Just ask them.

Cisco IBSG asked more than 1,000 executives to rate the ability of their companies to make successful decisions on critical issues — such as corporate strategy, acquisitions, product launches, and entering new markets — 71% chose Read More »

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Facing the World: TelePresence in Education

January 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm PST

CSUMB_TP_PaperVideo collaboration and telepresence technologies will play an increasingly important role in transforming the delivery of education.

“Telepresence expands the learning environment by offering students a virtual window on the real world, by reducing administration costs so more can be spent on teaching, and offering increased equity of access to learning for all.”
Antoniette Guglielmo, Ph.D.
Distance Learning Educator
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

We are pleased to introduce an important new paper from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) entitled, “Facing the World: Telepresence in Education” that provides practical guidance for educators to effectively plan, implement and realize the benefits of video collaboration in K-20 classrooms.

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A Look Back at 2012: Evolution of Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI)

As 2012 came to a close, I found myself looking back not only on the events of world at large but also on just how much progress we have made here at Cisco with the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. I took a moment to reflect on the incredible value VXI delivered to our customers last year.

Since its inception in 2010, the Cisco VXI Smart Solution has been at the center of successful virtual desktop initiatives. VXI brings together compute and collaboration in a complete solution and lets people seamlessly experience their desktops anywhere--on any device. I am very pleased to say that we have more than 1,000 VXI customers and that number is growing. With every new release, VXI has evolved with innovations that maximize performance, scalability, security and user experience while minimizing complexity and risk.

In 2012, we delivered major enhancements across the solution. We introduced optimization that reduces storage costs--often one of the biggest investments in a desktop virtualization program. We have enhanced data center performance and scalability with the remarkably successful Cisco UCS, or Cisco Unified Computing System. Now customers can easily scale from 500 to 29,000 virtual desktops on a single system by simply adding blades. The advantage of these performance enhancements becomes very obvious when large user groups are logging on at the same time—just imagine a call center at 8 am on a Monday.

Security is always at the top of the list for any organization thinking about virtualization. In 2012, Cisco VXI enhanced security for end users with support for Cisco AnyConnect VPN and single sign-on with Citrix Receiver. Security policy was also improved with integration of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) into the solution. ISE gives customers greater control with policy-based security services for both corporate and employee devices, protecting organizations from data loss, compliance issues, loss of revenue and brand damage.

The VXI Smart Solution has always been a leader in user experience for desktop virtualization. We pioneered a new collaboration architecture for voice and video by eliminating the primary cause of poor quality in virtual desktop environments--namely the hairpin effect. We went even further this year by integrating Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Software, which reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to deliver workspace traffic over the WAN by up to 70%. Now, people are able to collaborate with voice and video calling on their virtual desktops – or as we like to call it– the Unified Workspace.

Complementing the VXI technologies are comprehensive design guides, services, support and our technology partner ecosystem. The Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for VMware and for Citrix give our customers an end-to-end blueprint for implementation and they are updated with every release to facilitate success. To further assure a premium experience and exceptional flexibility, we have expanded our ecosystem of technology partners to include smartcards, endpoints and accessories.

While it gives me much satisfaction to reflect on the past 12 months I am even more enthusiastic about what’s in store for VXI in 2013. Right off the bat, you’ll hear about the next chapter in the evolution of the VXI Smart Solution with our upcoming announcement. Join us on January 17 to learn what’s new.

Phil

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Six Predictions for Cloud Collaboration in 2013

As we move into 2013 and attempt a glance further into the future, we see shifts in the conversation around cloud collaboration. I’ve outlined a few thoughts on what we can expect soon, over the course of the next few years, and in the future.

In 2013, we’ll see the cloud conversation shift to flexibility and agility as primary drivers of adoption.

“Businesses will have to provide an environment in which their employees are connected in ways they have never been connected before.”

As more companies understand the problems that arise in the collection of big data and the number of employees who work outside the office increases, cloud adoption will grow exponentially. Gartner data shows 71 percent of businesses adopted Software as a Service (SaaS) within the past three years, with three quarters of businesses planning on increasing SaaS spending. However, the reason companies increasingly invest in SaaS will shift. As a recent Forrester survey shows, a decreasing number of businesses are prioritizing lower costs as a reason to adopt SaaS, while an increasing number of businesses are focusing on “business agility” as a reason to deploy a SaaS solution.

In order to compete effectively in the future, businesses will have to provide an environment in which their employees are connected in ways they have never been connected before – connecting employees to customers, partners, and suppliers real time, anytime, anywhere, and providing context to these collaborative sessions.  This can only be accomplished through leveraging an increasing set of collaborative technology, and exposing the most relevant data across the traditional mediums of voice, video, and chat. Cloud accelerates the roll-out of this technology consistently across entire companies and their business partners, so they can improve the efficiency of their decision-making and the quality of their customers’ experience. As the cloud and macroeconomic factors increase the speed of business and collaboration, businesses will look to the cloud to as a means to deploy the growing set of integrated collaborative tools and gain a competitive edge.

As cloud collaboration moves beyond early adopters in 2013, hybrid models will proliferate and customers will increasingly demand a seamless, uncompromising user experience between the cloud and the customer premises.

“More than 50 percent of enterprises began cloud migrations in 2011.”

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Celebrating the Gift – Cisco TelePresence connects, engages Los Angeles students

Choir_Compressed_BetterThis holiday season, the Urban Entertainment Institute, Cisco and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have joined forces to address the achievement gap in education, the dropout rate and the need to keep performing arts in schools by integrating academics, arts and technology to bridge the cultural gap in education throughout the world.

Unprecedented budget pressures are forcing K-12 schools across the nation to think differently about how to deliver learning to their students. As such, we’re seeing a growing acceptance of collaboration technologies in schools to increase quality learning and engage students, and to relieve some financial pressures.

One such school district implementing Cisco TelePresence video systems is the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Serving some 700,000 students, LAUSD has deployed TelePresence to avoid cutting its arts programs, instead scaling the program across the large geographical area of Los Angeles and beyond with video.

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