There comes a time in the evolution of building a technology platform that you have to pause and look back where you’ve come from, before continuing on with the journey. As I think back to the formation of the Cisco Eos platform, it was a time of hard work and rapid growth.
The Cisco Media Solutions Group went from being a business unit with an idea, to truly taking form in 2007 when Cisco made three software acquisitions—Five Across, the assets of Tribe.net and the assets of Click.tv. From that day forward, we were charged with developing an innovative platform that could get media companies online in a simple, manageable way. That long journey started with the single though difficult step of uniting three independent companies and countless independent perspectives into a single team executing against a single vision.
As with any consolidation effort, tough decisions had to be made. One of the most important we faced was what development platform we were going to leverage. Our three teams had experience in just as many languages: Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Java – not to mention Adobe Flex and even a bit of C. After much debate, we chose to use Java for the back end, which includes the core Cisco Eos data and content components like blogs, discussions, and member profiles. And we chose PHP for the front end, the dynamic page-rendering environment that our users can customize for presentation to end consumers. Read More »
Recently at the Consumer Electronics Show I had a enlightening conversation with the head of a major movie studio. He told me that they spend close to $1 billion annually to “acquire the same customer over and over--people that go to movies.” That’s because the natural goal with each movie is to maximize box office revenue. Since web properties deliver little incremental revenue today, all their effort is placed on the traditional revenue streams.
They create web properties and social engagement platforms primarily for promotional purposes that live for about four to six weeks after the in-theater window. Then, they are abandoned and they start over on the next film. With the cost of the average Hollywood movie promotional website running about $1-3 million, the studios lose an opportunity to understand, engage and monetize that audience.
The lack of recognition on digital opportunities goes even deeper. At the Digital Media Wire/Variety Future of Film Conference, a tech startup that does social widgets for film sites said they loved coming to Hollywood because it was “like printing money--every film studio wants to ‘do social.’” They said they were surprised at the end of each engagement because they’d try to transfer the audience data they collected via the widget back to the studio, and they’d be told to keep it; that the use of that data wasn’t the studio’s “job” and that they wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. The startup said it was fascinating to watch studio CFOs scrutinize the ROI on every campaign as measured by impressions, click through rates, etc, but then walk away from the most valuable assets--the data and the relationship with the consumer--that the social app was generating.
Movie studios perhaps are optimizing around revenue today (box office) but not yet optimizing around the revenue and asset of tomorrow. That asset is data. By having a source of data about their audience that can do useful things, studios can both decrease marketing costs and develop new revenue sources around that audience and film property.
While Cisco Eos can help studios accomplish short term promotional goals via a socially enabled entertainment experience, the real added value is over the long term. That value is realized in three ways: Read More »
Networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile IP networking trends are being driven largely by a combination of video, social networking and advanced online collaboration applications — when described together, it’s called “visual networking.”
The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the company’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. Earlier this month, we announced the latest report, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, 2010-2015. The following is a thought-provoking summary of the key findings — see how we visualize the future of the Mobile Internet.
VoIP offers plenty of benefits to small businesses; unfortunately, it also presents many opportunities for hackers to cause harm to your voice network. IP-based voice networks are vulnerable to the same risks as data networks. But you can use many of the same security techniques and technologies for your VoIP network that you may already be using on your data network.
The Information Systems Control Journal of ISACA, an independent association that provides education on information systems assurance and security, has a useful article about security within VoIP networks.
Following are six tips for securing your VoIP network and voice data:
Lock up your servers: As with your servers and other central IT equipment, make sure your VoIP servers are under lock and key.
Encrypt voice traffic: To avoid unauthorized access to calls and unauthorized changes to voice messages and other VoIP content, encrypt your voice traffic. All good VoIP systems should have built-in encryption capabilities to protect against such threats as man-in-the-middle attacks and unauthorized snooping of voice data.
Install firewalls: Since VoIP traffic and data traffic all travel on the same physical network, protecting your data network helps protect your VoIP network. For example, the Cisco SA500 Series Security Appliances and Unified Communications 500 Series have security features to protect the entire network, both voice and data traffic, and use VLANs to virtually separate the two traffic flows from each other on the same physical network.
Separate voice and data traffic: The ISACA Journal article recommends using separate servers for your voice and data traffic. This way, you can minimize the risk of voice and data loss in the event that your business is the target of a distributed-denial-of-service attack.
Filter unauthorized traffic: Configure your switches, routers and firewalls to monitor and filter your network for unusual voice and data activities. For example, voice traffic should not be allowed on your data network and vice versa.
Setup dial plans and user profiles: You can use VoIP system features to identify users, the type of calls being made and restrict unwanted traffic, such as outbound international calls. Traffic limits can also be set to ensure call quality and maximum voice and data network performance. These features can also be set to log caller activities and events.
In addition to these measures, you should also put strong passwords in place for your VoIP servers. You should also make sure you to sign up for updates to your VoIP server operating system from the manufacturer. These updates often fix security vulnerabilities that may have been found in the software and should be installed as soon as you receive the alerts.
Following these steps should protect your voice data and ensure that your VoIP network runs smoothly. What measures have you employed to secure your VoIP network?