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Machine Intelligence In The Workplace: The Next Big Thing

It isn’t every day that I publicly disagree with a man who won the Turing Award and was on a first-name basis with Albert Einstein.

But today I respectfully will.

On January 24, an incredible man named Marvin Minsky died. He was one of the fathers of computer science in general and artificial intelligence in particular. I never met Mr. Minsky, but I share his passion for AI. The concept of superintelligence fascinates me. Yes, we’ve got a lot to figure out. There are so many HAL-like dangers we need to dodge. The work is really fascinating and if you want to read some really interesting work by Minsky take a look at his Society of Mind.

In eulogizing Minsky, the BBC linked to one of the last interviews this pioneer granted—a piece in the MIT Technology Review. Be sure to watch the video; I guarantee it will be four minutes and five seconds you will not regret.

The nit I’d like to pick with Mr. Minsky comes at the halfway point. Read More »

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Using E-Rate to lead a Digital Transformation in Education

For many businesses, technology has become an integral part of operations, transforming the way people learn, think, and do their jobs. With the right tools, K-12 school districts can experience these same transformational benefits. Digital transformation in education means using technology to create better access to educational experiences for students. That can be using mobile solutions to allow students to access anytime, anywhere learning in a secure way. Or it could be using collaboration tools to create a shared learning environment, or data analytics to help teachers fill in gaps in students’ skills and knowledge.

While the benefits of digital transformation for students are vast, one of the biggest hurdles schools face in their quest for transformation is funding. It requires a significant investment to ensure network infrastructure is adequate, to purchase technology tools for students and teachers, and to train educators on how to best use the new technologies in the classroom.

Schools facing this hurdle should consider leveraging the E-rate Program. USAC just announced that the window for filing E-rate applications for Funding Year 2016 will open on February 3, 2016. The window will close 87 days later on April 29. If your school meets the criteria for the program, you can save anywhere from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. These discounts can ease the financial burden of upgrading network infrastructure and put schools on the path to a successful digital transformation. To learn more about digital transformation in education and how the E-rate Program can help, check out this special report from Cisco and eSchool News.

On Tuesday, February 9, Cisco will host a webcast on E-rate and the digital transformation. The webcast will feature Scott Smith, the CTO of Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, and John Harrington, CEO, Funds for Learning. Scott will discuss how their all-digital curriculum has led to more personalized, student-centric, and data-driven approaches. John will provide a briefing on current status of the E-Rate program—including procurement best practices and current filing deadlines. To register for the webcast, click here.

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Cisco Live Berlin 2016 Pre-Event Perspective

This year’s Cisco Live event in Berlin (Feb 15th – 19th) is the first time visiting the historical city to host our eagerly anticipated customer and partner event. It also happens to be the first time I have traveled to Germany. With the event fast approaching the excitement around the office is suitably building as are my personal nerves for such an important event.

I am fortunate enough to attend Berlin as my second Cisco Live event after attending Milan in 2013 as a Millennial in the IT Management track. I was amazed at the content shared from Cisco and partners as well as the on-going participation from within the room. This year I will be joining a strong Cisco IT team on our booth within the World of Solutions, with an excellent opportunity to engage directly with our customers. These interactions will share how we are leveraging our own technology to support Cisco’s growing business. The floor is very atmospheric with thousands of technology enthusiasts and I cannot wait.

Intelligent Proximity on Collaboration Devices, Connected Lighting, Smart Spaces, Internet of Things, Security and Application Centric Infrastructure are just some of the experiences awaiting for you on the IT booth. These insights supply a handful of the information available at the entire event.

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Acano Joins Cisco: It’s Official

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when I could write that headline and post this news: We have completed the acquisition of Acano. Today, two winning teams with a common vision for the future of work become one.

Here are the top three things we’ll be delivering together:

#1 Users Will Get More Choice
The iPhone wouldn’t be very popular if it couldn’t call a Samsung Galaxy or a Motorola Moto G, would it? People just wouldn’t buy a phone that couldn’t connect to any other phone. And yet, in the office, we’ve had to tolerate such inoperability. That’s about to change.

Separately, Cisco and Acano have been laser-focused on bringing interoperability to the enterprise. Together, we’ll solve some of the tough problems that have made collaborating at work too hard for too long. This is absolutely critical to the future of collaboration at work, and no one is tackling it better than this new team. Read More »

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Immersive Telepresence Still Enthralls on Tenth Anniversary

This October will mark the 10th anniversary of the immersive telepresence segment – one that we pioneered with the Cisco TelePresence System 3000 Series.

And as if by kismet, on the eve of this tenth year, demand for immersive systems soared as never before. Just last month, we shipped the 1,000th IX5000 system, our latest-generation immersive telepresence product. This is the fastest ramp in the history of the immersive segment, happening within the first year of the IX5000’s introduction. That’s no small feat for a product with a $300K list price (a price that’s unchanged since the 2006 introduction, despite significant innovations.)

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What makes this milestone even more interesting is that some predicted the demise of the immersive segment just a couple of years ago. But we persisted despite the naysayers. Why? We were driven by the same vision we had 10 years ago:  To take a meeting table, cut it in half, and add 5,000 miles in between. And yet, it still feels like everyone is in the same room – life-sized, effortlessly, and almost magically.

As it was ten years ago, users today are awestruck the first time they experience immersive telepresence. For globally dispersed businesses, the benefits very quickly become real. Organizations become enthralled with how it can transform their business. Travel avoidance is an obvious benefit, but the immediacy of decision-making, the relationship- and trust-building, and the power to collaborate over thousands of miles are the true assets. This is why more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies have purchased our immersive systems. Read More »

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