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MEAR is leading the way

Potential growth area

South Africa: Potential growth area

The balance of power is shifting to emerging economies. Compared to stagnant Western markets, business growth and investment in the Middle-East, Africa and Russia (MEAR) continues unabated.

It’s a shift that’s amplified by technological advances. In under a decade, these seismic changes have levelled the playing field, opened the door to a global market and made rapid business growth a reality:

 

 

  • The connected world where we can work, play and learn anytime, anywhere and with anyone.
  • Virtualization made it easier to manage multiple servers and reduce physical computing power.
  • Computing power has exponentially increased capacity and processing speeds so we can do much more for a lot less time and money.
  • The cloud offers all the applications and storage businesses need minus the server infrastructure.

You’ll probably point out many other factors, but I picked these because they are particularly relevant to MEAR countries and their IT spending patterns. Specifically, they are backed up by Forrester research in 2012. This showed that over half of MEAR-based companies plan to invest more in mobility, analytics, security and collaboration.

Unlike more mature companies, their spending isn’t being eroded by having to maintain and support legacy systems. This frees up budgets to completely replace or expand their IT in ways that improve their competitiveness. The top three areas that Forrester highlighted from 2011 to 2012 were mobile apps (spending increase of 47%), business intelligence (44%) and collaboration tools (41%).

Further research was carried out by Canalys in February 2012 of its online channel community – resellers, systems integrators, service providers and distributors. The results showed a positive outlook across MEAR despite ongoing economic uncertainty. Over half emphasized a move from capital expenditure to operating expenditure, with the highest demand for IT services expected from small to midsize companies (with 100-499 employees). As a respondent said, “Companies working their way out of the crisis by expanding.”

As more companies seek new technologies to secure future growth, our partner network across MEAR needs to be ready to help them become the technology leaders of tomorrow.

*Forrester, 2012, Forrsights: Cautious Optimism in 2012 IT Spending Plans – A BT Futures Report

*Canalys, 2012, Navigating through dramatic industry change

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Video Collaboration: As Easy As Voice

This blog is third and final in a series of blogs glimpsing into the future of video collaboration. The first blog was Video Collaboration: Better Than Being There.  The second blog was Video Collaboration: On Every Pane of GlassWe encourage you to read the series and let us know your thoughts.

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Let’s face it, there are times when many of us have had a challenging experience connecting everyone in a meeting with video. Delivering an improved experience is equally important for the end users as is for IT.

From the end user perspective, intuitive interactions, icon-driven interfaces, voice features in video phones, integrated help guides, and the availability of better applications that deliver consistent user video experiences across their many devices are all good things. This in turn makes the users less dependent on IT, and reduces the barriers for deployment. It is really simple — if a user likes what they use for these video experiences, then they will share it with other users and will help to onboard them. This leads to more people on the same platform, and as the video experience gets more broadly deployed, the benefits can be achieved by more people at more places. That is social networking 101. The BIG differences in the enterprise environment is that those new video experiences should be powered by an architecture and applications that deliver security, identity, quality, scale, reach and transparent integration with the rest of the IT applications the users require to work. But with the right architecture in place, the journey to a better video collaboration experience is well mapped and available from day 1.

From the IT perspective, these new video tools need to deliver business class, reliable, scalable, and highly integrated experiences. Video should be secure and video should be compliant. The software and hardware architecture should leverage the power of the network to make video as easy to turn up as voice. Having a single call control, conferencing, and management platform to administer all the services is key. Cisco is the only vendor in the market that can offer all these components (and the network layer integration). All these elements together help to make video a more effective business tool that drives video adoption and success.

We’re at a tipping point leading into the next wave of video innovation, delivering pervasive business benefits for users across the organization. Making video as easy as voice is a big step forward that spans the end to end user experience.

Cisco has been driving the waves of video innovation — helping businesses to empower, engage, and innovate — every step of the way:

  • From the first wave when we pioneered with the first architecture for voice, video and integrated data (AVVID) we helped to deliver video over the network as a communication tool.
  • Then Cisco drove the movement of video from a niche, optional communication vehicle for a few people, difficult to use, and IT support-intensive, to a one-touch, easy to use, IT automated, and fully integrated communications and collaboration tool that helped video to be the mainstream communication and collaboration tool we have today.
  • Right now we are working on driving the third wave of video innovation by making video fully integrated into business processes in order to leverage its power and reach as a business-critical application for all users — on every device and location. All powered by the intelligence of the network and the flexibility of our software. Our Medianet capabilities are paving the road for more pervasive video experiences for all devices and networks, based on open standards.

So if you believe — as I do — that video is here to stay, then dare to be bold and imagine what video can do for you and your business when video experiences can be better than being there, there is video on every pane of glass, and video can be as easy or easier than voice.

Learn about our video collaboration strategy and new recently announced pervasive video and conferencing solutions by watching our March 19 & 20 Collaboration Announcement Webcasts on demand now, including strategic overviews and demonstrations by Cisco leaders.  Then learn more technical details about the features and architecture that differentiate these new Cisco video, WebEx and unified communications solutions by attending our live April 16 Technical Briefing with Q&A.  I encourage you to learn more and register now now.

Roberto

 

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Staying Ahead of the Curve With Next Gen Skills

 While more than 99 percent of things in the physical world today are still not connected to the Internet, the phenomenon called “The Internet of Everything” will soon wake up everything imaginable. As the network evolves and changes, becoming more sophisticated, the job roles and education requirements of network engineers also continue to change.

Gartner Research forecasts that worldwide IT spending will reach $3.7 trillion in 2013. In order to maximize the ROI of IT solutions, education is imperative. Companies require properly trained IT professionals to deploy, support and troubleshoot new and emerging technologies.

To enable our global community of partners and customers to realize the benefits of new networking solutions, we are pleased to announce the redesign of the Cisco Associate-level career certification programs and the evolution of the CCNA certification to CCNA Routing and Switching certification. Check out the video below to learn more about the changes:

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Video – It is a Buyer’s Market

Enterprise Connect Crowd at Collaboration BoothAs I walked the halls of Enterprise Connect last week for the 7th or 8th year in a row (who’s counting??), I noticed that video is still one of the key themes across many of the vendors.  A few years back, it was introduced as the “next killer app” and while some think the sizzle has gone down, I would argue it is just heating up. Look at initiatives like WebRTC, one of the hot topics at the show.  You couldn’t go to a panel or discussion without hearing or seeing how video will play a major role in the development of this space.

The reality is, our buyers are demanding more and more when it comes to video.  It is no longer about meeting or boardroom-based video endpoints, it is now about getting video on any device a user has access to, being able to integrate the video experience with more traditional conferencing experiences, delivering video-based content across an organization, and oh yeah, doing all of this without killing my network and for an affordable price.

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Maximizing well-being through technology

While many wish to prevent illness and combat health issues, Healthways is proactively promoting well-being through their commitment to “making the world a healthier place—one individual at a time.” Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Healthways has been operating for over 30 years in delivering health expertise to organizations and reducing health-related costs.

Customers use a web-based technology platform from Healthways called Embrace to collaborate and manage personalized health support. Since beginning, the number of users accessing Embrace has increased significantly – which means that Healthways must keep up with the demand. Rather than attempt to continue supporting their legacy infrastructure, Healthways decided to use Cisco® Technology to reinforce their infrastructure and get four times the capacity – therefore allowing access and providing services for all 10 million users.

In addition, by implementing the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, to increase capacity and strengthen the data center’s architecture, Embrace has realized an 18-20 percent reduction in power and cooling costs and a 20 percent decrease in hardware and licensing costs.

To learn more about their newly-found IT advantages, read Healthways’ story from Unleashing IT.

 

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