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Witches, Ghosts and Ghouls…Oh My! Cisco Celebrates Halloween with Legendary Costume Contest

It’s the day after Halloween and people across the country are hanging up their costumes, sorting through their candy and recovering from sugar highs. At Cisco, we’ve once again been reminded of the power of telepresence—especially during the holidays.

In some cultures Halloween is seen as a time where the door between the physical world and the metaphysical is opened, creating a connection between the two. For me, Cisco TelePresence opened up doors to communication I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced.

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Manufacturing Robotics: Automation with Emotion

I enjoy Halloween.  I particularly enjoy passing out candy and treats to the children and being amused by their costumes.  Some are very creative, and cute.   A young girl no older than 3 years was dressed as a duck and instead of saying, “Trick or Treat” she just quacked. It was Hilarious!! So what does my Halloween experience this year have to do with manufacturing.  Well, a young man came to my home dressed in a very elaborate and cleverly designed C-3PO costume.  You know the clever robot in the Star Wars series that translated for R2D2.

I began to think about how robots in manufacturing are evolving and becoming more intuitive and cerebral, but an interesting phenomenon is also starting to evolve in the world of robotics.  They’re becoming more emotional.

Say Hello to Mr. Baxter.  Rethink Robotics has designed a friendly and compassionate robot with ‘common sense’.  Baxter is a worker robot with a touchscreen face that’s as much about communicating its intent as giving humans something more to experience.  It’s safe to work around, courteous and follows instructions very well.  The ideal teenage son. Baxter also cost about $22,000. Less than a 1/3 of some college tuitions.

Can you envision yourself treating your fellow robot much like you treat your trusted Golden Retriever, Fido?  Do you remember Rosie from the Jetsons and B9, the robot from the late 1960′s sitcom, Lost In Space (Boy am I dating myself)?  These robots expressed emotions like love and fear, were treated like family and were trusted to help make critical decisions that effected the safety and well being of their owners.

Baxter is being touted as the catalyst to help restore US and European manufacturing prowess.  Do you think Baxter robots will achieve this objective?  I’m not sure, but I would like to know how President Obama and Mr. Romney plan to tax Mr. Baxter.  I would hate for Baxter to become emotionally upset and stage a strike.

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Collaborating with the New Generation

October 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm PST

I had a troubling thought. If I can no longer be considered part of the new generation, am I now the old generation? Generation X used to sound so modern, but we’re no longer the cool kids. After all, I’m driving a Prius and doing fourth-grade homework with my kid after dinner instead of chasing Skrillex. Now we have the Millennials who, according to Wikipedia, are Gen Y. (But, really, what generation wants to be saddled with a name based on the one that came before it?)

We recently invited a small group of MBA students from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business to meet some of our customers for a grilling panel on what companies can expect from the new generation entering the workforce.

They provided first-hand perspective about what it’s like to be new on the block and work with, well, er, an older generation. Compared to our learned comfort with technology, theirs is nearly ingrained based on its presence in their lives since childhood. This difference comes through in their expectations, habits, and predictions for the wonderful world of technology in front of us. Read More »

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ACE Network: Cisco IT Supports a Network for Introducing New Services

IT departments are often caught between the requests of users who want the latest and greatest technology right now­—even if it’s not perfect—and users who value reliable and consistent IT services above all else.

How can you serve both types of users without wasting time, energy, budget, and everyone’s patience? In Cisco IT, we’ve done it by creating the Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) network. Operating ACE separately from our production network, we use it to introduce new IT services and products to a group of technology specialists before we deploy those services company-wide. These services include new releases of Cisco unified communications, collaboration, video, and mobility technology products that our employees use to work the way they want, across different devices and locations, which drives gains in user productivity. Read More »

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Model “A Day in the Life …” for Better Collaboration

There’s a lot of collaboration technology out there and deciding which technology to invest in can be daunting.  How often have you heard of a company making a major investment in technology for it to become “shelfware” and never see deployment?  How often have you heard of a company that’s deployed a technology, yet nobody in the company is willing to use it?  How often have you heard of a company that has several products from different vendors that do exactly the same thing?

It doesn’t take much to realize that each of these situations has a negative impact and the cause of each situation stem from different reasons, but usually with the best intentions.  Shelfware occurs because of undeployed licenses in ELA’s or quantity purchases for better per seat pricing.  Unfortunately, the business doesn’t grow and the company is obligated to pay for unused licenses.  Other times, a company deploys a product with great features that is too complex or doesn’t integrate well with workflows and remains unused.  Lastly, individual departments may make purchase decisions based on their needs without consulting IT or other departments resulting in redundant solutions that compete internally with each other.

In considering collaboration strategy, it is key to consider Read More »

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