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Is Your WLAN Ready for Unified Communications & Collaboration?

January 31, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

As Wi-Fi continues to be the primary mode of access, enterprise Unified Communication(UC) applications usage is increasing with smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Customers are asking, is there anything I can do to prioritize Jabber or Lync traffic over others or even identify how much of the traffic is really collaboration traffic vs. other types of media. The recently introduced Wireless Release 7.6 enhances the ability to classify Microsoft Lync 2013 and Jabber with Cisco WLAN Infrastructure.

In the first blog about Application Visibility and Control over Cisco WLAN, I captured what is AVC and the capabilities included in the release 7.4. In a subsequent blog, I had captured a success story about a customer who benefited from the reliability by deprioritizing scavenger level applications as well as captured highlights of the enhancements in release 7.5. This blog captures how the release 7.6 allows popular collaboration applications to be accurately classified and prioritized as well as provides a teaser to some of the innovations that can be expected in the future.

What exact capabilities AireOS 7.6 provide ?

The protocol pack 6.3 introduced in AireOS 7.6 allows you to identify and prioritize not just Jabber but also sub-classify Cisco Jabber Audio, Cisco Jabber IM and Cisco Jabber Video. Customers may want to prioritize the Cisco Jabber Audio as the highest priority while the others may be lower priority. Similarly you can classify not just Microsoft Lync but also Microsoft Lync Audio, rtcp and Microsoft Lync Video and thereby prioritize them separately. Read More »

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Calling all Extroverts! Why You’re Wired to Collaborate

September 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm PST

I once had the amazing opportunity to interview Jack Welch at a Cisco event.  For 60 minutes we sat side-by-side on stage, within a few inches of each other, but there was no doubt he was the only person in the room in the eyes of the audience.   While his wisdom had the audience captivated, it was his extroverted personality that made the discussion truly fun and engaging.  As an extrovert, Welch fed off the audience’s rousing responses to his thoughts – and his occasional finger-wagging at the leaders in the audience about the future of competition.  The audience loved it.

Sometimes people mistake the behavior of extroverts as “showing off” or trying to command too much attention.  What Jack Welch taught me about extroverts is that their energy rises when they’re connecting with people; extroverts get excited when other people are excited to be with them.  As collaborators, extroverts can play a crucial role in group dynamics.  Action-oriented by nature, extroverts can compel a group forward – especially at key points of agreement or action.

My colleague Carl Wiese and I decided to devote an entire chapter of our book, The Collaboration Imperative (www.thecollaborationimperative.com), to the importance of personal communication styles and how to accelerate authentic conversations by collaborating in your natural style.  We even created a tool to help you improve your inter-personal communication profile: Read More »

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The Use and Impact of Social Media: A Blog Post

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In recent years, social media has become the staple of communication. I remember when I was only about 11 years old and I first discovered the wonder of Myspace. This tool (the first of its kind) led the way to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Social media opened up a whole new world of opportunity and how people communicate with each other and even businesses. However, the power of social media comes with a price if you do not know how to use it. That is why, when it comes to social media, a person must realize who their audience is and what they would like to portray. There are a few key points when deciding to use social media as a platform of communication:

  • Start with listening to your audience and observing their activity prior to engagement.
  • Create a strategic Social Media plan.
  •  It is also important to set goals that you want to achieve overall and pay attention to how social media plays into these goals that you have.
  • Set goals that map your overall objectives (personal/professional use).

When you’re using social media for personal use, you may have a different audience and a different reason for your posts than if you were using social media for professional use, where your views are projected onto the organization as a whole. In a professional setting, social media can be used as a tool for an organization to communicate with their customers. Customers may use this tool to express to the organization how much their products/services do for them, or possibly what they don’t do for them. There are also people who use social media purely to induce negativity, and they will be around no matter the platform. They are called “trolls” and it is best to avoid them and to pay them no attention.

Whether you choose to use your platform for business or personal use, it is always necessary to remember these tips:

  • Remember that whatever you post is most likely accessible to others as well.
  • What you post can end up on search engines and on other people’s news and activity feeds.

These have been the most important lessons that I have learned in my experience and utilization of social media. Listen, create a plan, set goals and be aware of your audience and the content that you are posting. These days where there seems to be a “no limits” attitude with sharing information, which has in turn caused people or businesses a lot of trouble. What important lessons have you learned about social media? Are there any mistakes that you’ve made on a social media platform that caused you problems? What advice would you like to give others on their usage of social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Discover Your Collaboration Persona: How do you “show up” in an increasingly visual, mobile, social and virtual world?

September 25, 2012 at 6:11 am PST

I was lucky enough to meet GE CEO Jeff Immelt at a Cisco event some years ago and interview him on the topic of leadership.  My biggest takeaway from listening to him:  leadership is about how you “show up.”  In other words, it’s how we act and behave in everyday situations that define our leadership persona.  I’m pretty sure he meant it literally, as in how we “show up” in the physical world.

But how do we “show up” as leaders in a world where work is increasingly done on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a video chat, web conference or Telepresence?  This is one of the great leadership challenges of this hyper-connected world: as a leader you will need to know what I like to call your “Collaboration Persona” – that way in which your leadership style shows up when you’re not in the physical world.

How should you approach building your Collaboration Persona?  Here are three steps:

1)      Know yourself:  Whether it is in the physical world or virtual, how we show up should authentically represent who we are.  Click here to take a quick online assessment to discover your authentic communication style (Click on the green “Take Survey” button). This confidential assessment is a bit like the Myers-Briggs test and provides you with a customized profile of your unique communication style; it reveals how you naturally process information, and how you prefer to deliver that information to others. Most importantly, the assessment provides a simple vocabulary to communicate your style to others. Are you conceptual or analytical?  An introvert or an extrovert?

My co-author Carl Wiese and I cover this topic extensively in the third chapter of our book, The Collaboration Imperative, entitled “Get Real about Communications. Click here to learn more about The Collaboration Imperative.

2)      Know where you excel as a “Virtual Star”: Just as you play to your strengths in the real world, play to your strengths in the virtual world.  Here are some examples:

  • If you are a conceptual thinker, you will excel when the team needs someone to explain the aspirations of a decision, such as a vision. These thinkers will be good on video presentations during virtual meetings. It’s not that conceptual people aren’t good in online discussion forums where the medium calls for more precise language; it’s more about playing to the strength of conceptual thinkers – they love talking about ideas and tapping into that passion on video is a great way to play to one’s strengths.
  • If you are an analytical thinker, you will excel at “making it real” when communicating a decision to your team.  These thinkers are outstanding in virtual mediums where precision communicates best – such as online question and answer sessions and discussion forums.  Again, it’s not that analytical thinkers aren’t outstanding on video, where the communication is sometimes more free-flow; it’s that online Q&A and discussions forums play to the strong logical nature of analytical thinkers – they love communicating the steps taken, the process used, and the supporting facts of a decision.

3)      Get out there and practice on your medium:  When you align your communication style to these new forms of communication, you’ll find it easy to participate in the increasingly virtual, mobile, social and visual work environment that your teams leverage to get better, more productive results every day. You can’t underestimate how your team will appreciate your unique efforts at participation in the world they live in.

Follow me on Twitter: @RonRicciCisco

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Cloud: The Next Truly Transformative Innovation

From the IT Executive Symposium at Cisco Live 2012

We all dream of inventing the next breakthrough product, or creating the next company that no one can live without. The truth, however, is that innovation rarely occurs that way. Innovation isn’t just about invention—it’s about creating value. And it isn’t just important—it’s critical to a company’s growth and success.

Every few decades, something truly innovative occurs—a transformative development with global impact. The human species has pulled away from the rest of the animal kingdom predominantly because of our ability to communicate and collaborate. Every time we make a major improvement in the communication/collaboration arena, innovation accelerates at an exponential rate, and humankind moves forward dramatically. The printing press moved us from spoken transmission taking months, to printed materials that could reach the masses in weeks. The telephone gave us instant communication over any distance. The Internet moved us from paper to electronic processes. And today, we are on the cusp of the next truly transformative innovation: the cloud. Read More »

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