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Working Remotely Just got Better With OfficeExtend 600 Series AP’s

It’s always been important to remote workers to have a solution that provides both secure connectivity to their corporate network and simple user experience.With the recent Summer Blockbuster release of the Cisco Wireless Release 8.0, using the OfficeExtend 600 Series Access Points (OEAP-600) just got better.  Here are a few of the enhancements that come to OEAP-600 with Release 8.0:

  • Firewall for personal networking -- Provides port/application protection for personal network traffic that can be controlled by the end user. While the corporate firewall is protecting your corporate data traffic, you now have the capability to make your personal network traffic more secure also with this feature.
  • Split-tunnel for Internet traffic -- Enables corporate clients to reach the Internet directly through the WAN instead of tunneling the data traffic through the corporate network. Provides the IT administrator the flexibility to configure the level of split-tunnel capability needed for their network. Together with the existing Split-tunnel for Printer feature the OEAP-600 provides maximum flexibility for printing and managing data traffic between the remote & corporate office.
  • QOS Enhancements for Voice traffic – Assigns high priority for voice packets for remote workers using the OEAP-600 and a VOIP solution in their home or remote office to enhance the remote workers voice call experience. Read More »

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802.11ac: That’s the Answer. What’s the question?

Everybody’s talking about 802.11ac, but we’ve sensed some confusion for next steps as far as how CIO’s and IT organizations should be approaching the new standard.

3700internal2Should I move to 802.11ac?

You’re probably thinking: Chris, you’re a leader at Cisco, of course you want me to migrate to 802.11ac. That, my friends, is where you are wrong. There is no simple answer to the question of whether you should move your network to 802.11ac. Here’s my simple rule of thumb:

There is no premium for 802.11ac from Cisco. If you are deploying new Access Points’s today, you should be buying 802.11ac. If you’re not buying, you are probably satisfied with your network and how it will handle the growth of more and more clients associating with your network and the bandwidth demands that come with that client demand. If you feel you have a plan to handle this demand, then you are one of the few that can pass on 802.11ac.

That said, there is a strong ramp up for Cisco 802.11ac products in the market, the AP3700 is the fastest ramping access point in our history and we have yet to see if the AP2700 will claim that crown in the coming months. ABI Research estimates that currently 50% of new device introductions are 802.11ac enabled, a statistic expected to increase to 75% by the end of 2015.  This is enough proof of the overwhelming interest in adding the benefits of 11ac to networks. Let’s take a step back and consider the basics of why people are moving to the new standard.

Why .11ac?

Today, everything is about getting what we want, when we want it. Instant gratification. It’s not just the millennials—we’ve all been conditioned to expect things within seconds. Could you imagine the days pre-Internet if you had the capability for on-demand movies? Read More »

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Increasing Demand for Higher Location Data Resolution

Cisco has been playing a critical part for retail, healthcare, hospitality and transportation organizations to gain an understanding of how end-users move throughout an organization’s physical location. This is done through our Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution.

With all the valuable information CMX provides, the demand for even more accurate data has been growing. Location accuracy has been a hot developing field and, as I mentioned in announcing our Best of Interop Finalist status in the wireless category last week, Cisco’s taken the lead in redefining how this location-based data is acquired.

In the past many solutions have relied on the probing performed by the mobile device to acquire location-based data.  In recent months this approach has shown diminishing returns. The underlying issue is that this data is reliant on how frequently the mobile device probes an access point. A couple issues that arise include:

-       Mobile device manufacturers are reducing the frequency of device probing to conserve battery. This reduces the number of data points collected and impacts the accuracy of the data

-       Different manufacturers probe the access point with varying frequency so some devices deliver more accurate information than others skewing the location analytics data.

At Cisco’s annual Partner Summit event we are revealing some key areas of focus for the upcoming Cisco v8.0 release. Although the list is not inclusive of all new functionality, I would like to highlight some steps we are taking to bring CMX to meet the ever-evolving demand for location-based data.

Step 1: Increasing Data Resolution Read More »

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‘If You Build It, They Will Come’ – NOT!

baseball blog image_Frances_if you build it_2_28_14There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.
- Tommy Lasorda

Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams” hears the voice “If you build it, they will come” which drives him to convert his cornfield to a ball field, attracting legendary players to fulfill his ultimate fantasy baseball game.

When companies build video collaboration spaces, will employees rush to the field, eagerly start using these solutions, find immediate value and fulfill the dreams that justified this investment?  Not necessarily.

In our experience, companies need to drive video adoption by communicating the answers to the two most important questions that drive human behavior --  “Who says so?” and “Why should I?”

Regrettably, sometimes IT leadership takes the “Build It and They Will Come” approach, driving the design and deployment of an extensive video architecture without the right partnership with the lines of business.  Decisions about where to put video solutions -- such as immersive TelePresence, multipurpose rooms and other endpoints – are often based on assumptions about Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0

I’m excited to announce the recent release of our next-generation service catalog software, Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0.

prime-service-catalog-demo-home-partial

(Click here for a larger image.)

As previously introduced in my colleague Song’s blog post, Cisco Prime Service Catalog is an industry-leading IT service catalog solution for any managing any type of service request – from desktop to mobility to data center. If you aren’t familiar with our product already, make sure to watch this video:

In most organizations, there is no single system or “app store” that end-users can use to request all the IT tools and services they need to do their job.  There are typically different siloed processes for ordering, fulfilling and tracking each of those IT resources (e.g. mobile devices, laptops, applications, infrastructure, access to systems). And with the continued proliferation of new technologies and applications, this has become increasingly frustrating for end-users – and more challenging for IT service delivery teams. Cisco Prime Service Catalog provides a modern and unified approach to solve these problems, with a simple and user-friendly service catalog that eliminates the complexity of ordering services across these different IT silos.

The results? Increased productivity for end-users.  Faster and more efficient IT service delivery. Higher IT customer satisfaction scores and greater IT-business alignment.

So what’s new in the latest version of Cisco Prime Service Catalog? Version 10 is packed with several new features and enhancements, including:

  •  A next-generation HTML5 user interface with new capabilities. The user experience for our IT service catalog was inspired by consumer internet sites and app store concepts, and developed in collaboration with Cisco’s own IT organization.  In this modern new user interface, end-users can easily search and filter for different apps and tools to find specific services, select and configure the options they want, and place them in their shopping cart.

Depending on who they are in the organization, end-users will have a different view of the catalog – based on role-based access controls.  So your employees can search and browse through the catalog to find and download different mobile and desktop apps:

application-category-view

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And your developers can sort and filter for standard application stacks that they need for testing and development:

Service Catalog | Cisco Prime Service Catalog

(Click here for a larger image.)

  • Flexible policy frameworks to enable greater control of available IT services. For example, we’ve added new quota functionality for managing IT resource requests.  Quotas are especially useful when automating the delivery of finite resources like storage or compute capacity, or managing against departmental budgets or grants.  Another examples is our new policy alerts and enforcement for lease expirations, to notify users before auto-expiring their access to particular resources. Providing your users with the option to automatically extend or cancel their lease can improve resource utilization and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Finance and demand management enhancements for showback and a “bill of IT”. All IT service providers charge for their services, but the concept of pricing and costing is still new for many enterprise IT organizations.  Showback is a typically starting point, and we’ve added new capabilities to differentiate pricing for different classes of service (e.g. gold, silver, bronze) for different departments or tenants. Chargeback is often challenging for many IT departments to implement organizationally, but showback can provide a “bill of IT” with the details of who is using how much of what – without actually implementing cross-department charging. In other words, it shines a light on actual IT consumption and costs. In this new release, we’ve also made it easier to integrate with 3rd party billing systems and tools (e.g. Cloud Cruiser) to help automate financial cross-charges between departments

You may have heard the buzz about the internal Cisco IT deployment of Cisco Prime Service Catalog, dubbed the “eStore”.  It’s been featured in a number of articles in the media as the internal enterprise app store that powers Cisco’s BYOD and mobile apps program – and provides Cisco employees with a one-stop shop for all IT services (from desktop to data center).  If you’re attending Cisco Live in Milan later this month, you can learn more about the case study in this “Inside Cisco IT” session here.

Another service catalog case study that we’re featuring at Cisco Live Milan is Steria.  Steria is a great example of one of our service provider customers in Europe; they’ve used Cisco Prime Service Catalog to enable on-demand, self-service delivery for a broad range of IT workplace services, including desktop and mobile applications. You can read more in my earlier blog post – or if you’ll be in Milan, check out the session here.

During the week of Cisco Live Milan, you will also hear more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog version 10.0 in the context of our soon-to-be-announced new release of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC). Cisco Prime Service Catalog is one of the bundled components within this cloud management software solution, so the enhancements in version 10 are also reflected in the upcoming new release of Cisco IAC.  You can join one or more of the Cisco Live Milan sessions listed here to learn more about Cisco IAC.

In the meantime, check out http://cisco.com/go/service-catalog to learn more about Cisco Prime Service Catalog.

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