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Collaboration Summit 2013: Don’t Forget the Kids!

Ask Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s new SVP/GM of collaboration, what industry execs he identifies most with these days and he just might say “those running toy companies”. After all, toymakers can’t build just for buyers (aka parents) or for users (aka kids). These groups tend to define “fun” a little differently, so favor one over the other and your business is headed in the same direction as T-Rex.

The same holds true in Enterprise Collaboration; design solely for “the parents”—the business, IT—you stand a really good chance of totally losing “the kids”— not just Gen Y-ers, though they are a huge force in the business world today, but anyone who is getting work done with colleagues, partners and customers around the globe and around the clock. These are savvy users—even the least technologically inclined spend half the day on pocket-sized supercomputers (smartphones, tablets). They’ve become accustomed to personal tech that is beautiful to look at, simple to use and simply works—right out of the box.

Just like kids have a huge say in what toys parents buy, today’s users have a huge say in what collaboration tools get used to get the job done. With this in mind, Cisco is totally-completely-wholly committed to delivering collaboration tools that appeal to “kids” and “parents” alike. From now on we’ll delight end-users with beautiful, simple products while at the same time delivering the security, scalability and manageability the business and IT demand.

So what did we announce? You can read the full press release here; below is some additional color commentary on my favorite of the newly announced innovations:

No more “let me call you right back.” We’ve all done it: arrived in the office mid-smartphone-discussion and suddenly the desk phone with its oh-so-ergonomically correct speakerphone Read More »

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It’s Time for an Intelligent Approach to Video Collaboration

As we’ve been preparing for next week’s Collaboration Summit, I’ve been reflecting on the past 10 years in the video and communications industry. In today’s hyper-connected world, the bar has been raised and user expectations are higher than ever before, especially as it relates to video and its impact on efficiency and productivity.  Users want to be connected all the time while having more control of when or how they are reached.  They want to have access to an array of video collaboration experiences with the ability to choose how they want to interact based on what’s going on during the day.  And they want it to be easy to use, easy to connect to others, easy to integrate with business applications and content, and of course easy to manage.

The list of user requirements is exciting for the industry.  It proves the immense value inherent in video communications and is inspiring everyone to think harder about what users want not only now, but also years into the future.  Yet keeping up with these demands is no easy feat for any technology vendor and can be even more challenging for IT teams supporting all of these new user scenarios in a business environment.  Simply put, video communications needs to be reimagined so that the promise of pervasive adoption can happen, and can happen in a way that delivers unsurpassable value.

It’s time for a more intelligent approach. Read More »

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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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Telepresence in the World of Many Clouds

As my colleague Roberto De La Mora recently wrote, the cloud is the place to collaborate in today’s business world. Whether your organization needs private, public or hybrid cloud environments, Cisco and our broad network of partners can provide solutions that best suit your business needs.

And what if your collaboration needs include telepresence? Where does telepresence fit into the cloud?

With Cisco, telepresence fits into your cloud infrastructure wherever and however you need it. According to Forrester, “videoconferencing innovation today is geared toward extending connectivity…through cloud-based services or new lower-cost on-premises deployment models.”

Read More »

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Extraordinary Summit on Collaboration

Empower, Engage, InnovateLos Angeles is an extraordinary city with extraordinary people. And this week, it was even more extraordinary to be in my hometown of LA where we hosted this year’s Cisco Collaboration Summit.  LA is where we built the world’s biggest airplane, the world’s biggest freeway system, and epic movies with the world’s biggest stars. And of course, the Happiest Place on Earth.

This is a town of big dreamers with big ideas, making it a perfect place to bring together customers, partners, analysts, and consultants to talk about big ideas in collaboration.

And now is the time for big ideas. We all know companies can only do so much with cost cutting. It’s important, but in our global economy, the only true way to differentiate and compete is through innovation

How do you get to that innovation? Read More »

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