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7 Ways to Add Adventure to Your Career

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When you’re living the Cisco life, having big goals and a life filled with adventure seem to go hand-in-hand.

Just ask Brian Dickinson, Cisco Systems Engineer. Already a fan of hiking and camping, when he moved to the Pacific Northwest of the US, the thought of taking up mountain climbing.

“Once I started climbing, I just wanted to keep going!” Brian laughs.

Keep going he did – as Brian accepted the Seven Summits challenge and climbed the world’s seven tallest peaks: Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, Vinson, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Denali, and Everest – the tallest mountain in the world.

It was Everest that would be his biggest challenge. After his Sherpa became ill a mere 1,000 feet from reaching the goal, Brian decided to continue on alone. He made the summit, took a few photos and radioed in, but then became snow blind. At 29,000 feet he was left without his vision and low on oxygen. Suddenly the journey down Everest became harder than the journey up.

Spoiler alert – Brian made it back safely. Since the experience he has also written a book, Blind Descent, and even become a motivational speaker — he credits Cisco in helping make happen.


“Cisco gave me a great platform to reach people just beyond climbing mountains,” Brian said. “They’ve allowed me to really share my experience and motivate others. You can be in the perfect setting and still choose to work yourself to death. If you have discipline for a strong work/life balance and values, then Cisco is the company to work for because they’re all in. They’ll support you in whatever you want to do in your career and personal life.”

Brian had some key points to help you add adventure to your career, based on his experiences.

  1. Set A Goal – What is it that you want to achieve? Do you want to advance in your career or write a book? Maybe you want to dive the Great Barrier Reef or become a motivational speaker yourself! Decide on your goal – go as far as saying it out loud, writing it down or telling a close friend/family member to help keep you accountable. Then get to working on it!
  2. Focus – To achieve your goals you’ll need a plan, some preparation, and perhaps even additional training. Once you know what steps you’ll want to take – get to work and focus on the plan you created. A lot of people use planning as a way to keep postponing the real work, yet still feel as if they’re accomplishing something. Don’t let this happen to you. As Brian made his way back down Everest without his vision (which would not return for another month and a half) he said his focus kept him going so he could safely return to his family. Sometimes you just need to put one foot in front of the other and inch along as best you can.
  3. Learn From Failure & Adjust Your Course – Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t pan out. Don’t let this discourage you! Know that even an attempt is a step forward, re-access what may not have worked, adjust your course and plan of action and use that to your advantage in your next attempt.
  4. Know that Success Does Not Happen Overnight – Climbing Everest is a two month process. Summiting these mountains comes with many dangers, unpredictable weather – that can delay or end your journey all together, and a vast array of unknowns. Success takes time. Wear your patience with pride. A lot of hard work goes into “overnight” successes.
  5. Find Your Balance – By infusing your life and career with adventure, it’s also a great way to involve your family and friends in those experiences! Brian says, “You get married and have kids – that’s not an excuse not to live life in an amazing way, just involve your kids, family and friends. People go through tough times, but it’s these adventures and the people around you that make life worth living.”
  6. Gain Perspective – Whether it is from one of the highest points on Earth, or from your workspace at sea level it’s imperative to have perspective. Know that living a life of adventure is contagious and you can impact a lot of people in a positive way by doing the very things you love and reaching for your goals. Know when to play it safe, and when to push a little further.
  7. Give Back – On many of Brian’s expeditions, he has taken Cisco technology with him to give back to the communities he’s experiencing, “Tech brings people together!” Typically, he will visit orphanages in the area and deliver toys to the kids, before Everest he also brought Cisco technology that enabled the children in different area orphanages to connect and communicate with one another. It was an all-new experience for them and they loved it! How can you give back?


“Cisco is not one dimensional,” Brian says. “There is so much opportunity here, with a simple left or right alignment you can achieve so much.” So how do you plan on adding a dose of adventure into your day? Let us know in the comments!

Think Cisco is the place for you? We do too! Join us.

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Cloudburst: iOS 8 Generates 50% Increase in Network Traffic

Many network engineers recall the iOS7 update on September 18, 2013 as one of the most historic download days of their network’s history. All the more reason for us in the wireless world who anxiously anticipated the September 17 release of iOS8.

We asked a few of our customers to monitor the effect of the software release on their networks and the results for the first two days are in. Those in the education and healthcare space in particular are filled with early adopters of WiFi technology and devices, and eager to get their hands on the latest updates.

Joe Rogers, Associate Network Director at the University of South Florida shared this picture with us from 1pm September 17th, showing 1 Gbps more traffic than he would normally see at this time of day:


Another customer, Greg Sawyer, Manager of Infrastructure Services, shared this picture of the iOS8 effect on his network at the UNSW Australia.


He noted that his experience handling the release this year felt smoother than last year, despite the new peak internet download of 4.65 Gbps and 21Tb downloaded for the day! Not too surprising when considering that there were 27,000 concurrent connections on the wireless network and approximately 60% of those being Apple devices.

How should organizations be considering and handling these network spikes? I sat down with Cisco technical leaders Matt MacPherson and Chris Spain (@Spain_Chris) to get some insight on the effect of big updates like iOS8 on the wireless network. Here are some of the highlights of what we discussed:

The World We Live In

The truth is, more and more services are being moved to the cloud—a cloud that will push updates to millions & in the future billions of users and devices on our networks. Read More »

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Congratulations to 2013 IEEE-SA International Award Recipient Andrew Myles

ieeeEarlier this week, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced the winners of the 2013 IEEE-SA Awards to honor standards development contributions. We are pleased to announce that Andrew Myles, Engineering Technical Lead at Cisco has been awarded the IEEE 802 SA International award for his extraordinary contribution to establishing IEEE-SA as a world-class leader in standardization.  Andrew has long been involved in IEEE-SA and led a long term initiative (2005-2013) in IEEE 802 to defend and promote IEEE 802 standards globally.

We want to congratulate Andrew on this tremendous recognition. The work of Andrew and others  contributors develop and promote high quality, efficient and effective IEEE standards.  This enables the Internet and the supporting network components to be the premiere platforms for innovation and borderless commerce they are today. These standards in turn are reflected in our products and solutions for our customers.  As we develop technological innovation for our customers, in parallel, we continue to drive global standards deployment. The results are the best innovative solutions that can solve and better our customers’ network environments. Read More »

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Deep Dive: Mobility Services APIs (with Sample Code!)

Last week, my colleague Rajiv walked you through an overview of how our Mobility Services API now supports REST based APIs. As a developer for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) team, I am very excited about this update because it means that it will be easier for developers to create apps using the MS-API, which hopefully means that more and more organizations will be able to take advantage of the location-based services and functionalities of the MSE. I’m going use this blog to walk you through some of the more technical aspects of the change.

The Basics

The REST API is now widely used in the field of API based web applications. The REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architecture that is based on set of six rules, and APIs that support REST follow all those rules, making them RESTful.

Compared to SOAP, REST has better performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. For secured REST API transactions, HTTPS is recommended.

RESTful Mobility Services API

7.5 applications, including features from the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution such as Browser Engage and CMX Analytics, are now supporting REST APIs in addition to the existing SOAP APIs previous releases (backward compatibility).

CMX utilizes the basic authentication scheme to authenticate each REST API request. It utilizes the Authorization header in the HTTP packet. The Authorization header is composed as follows:

– Username and password are combined into a string “username:password”.
– The resulting string literal is then encoded using Base64.
– The authorization method, a space and the string “Basic” is then put before the encoded string.

The API credentials can be accessed from Prime Infrastructure (PI), which manages CMX (page is located under Mobility Services > Specific MSE > System > Users).

As Rajiv mentioned last week, the Mobility Services REST APIs can be grouped in the following way:

–          MAP APIs

–          Real time location APIs

–          Location history APIs

–          Notification APIs

Let’s break them down with use cases to get a better picture of when you’d use which. Read More »

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Engineers, Researchers and Designers: The Geeks Behind Cisco’s Collaboration Technology

It’s a great time to be at Cisco. Earlier this week, Susie Wee, chief technology and experience officer (CTEO) for the Collaboration Technology Group, unveiled the “collaboration geeks”: the engineers, researchers and designers behind the technology, to a handful of press and analysts. We were excited (and a bit nervous!) to share how Cisco is approaching user experience (UE) and design. These changes aren’t just happening from the product side, but are also evolving our internal thinking about being more user-centric across the organization.

Have you ever heard of a CTEO? Probably not, because it is a new role that we created to address the importance of coupling user experience and technology. As CTEO, Susie is responsible for driving innovation and experience design in Cisco’s collaboration products and software services. The first step involved in making a cultural change is how we approach product design. But what does this mean for her team? Below is a short excerpt from our User Experience Day event.

At Cisco, we’re dedicated to changing the way we work, live, play and learn. We’re always looking to break down barriers among staff; one example is how we’re approaching user experience design. Our team is looking into principles, guidelines, and archetypes that represent an organizational-wide approach to user experience design. The design team really lays the foundation for growing the influence and scope of all the UE specialists into strategic conversations where user experience can impact what we design and how we design. We coined the term “XQ” as the eXperience Quotient of the organization. XQ is a tool and metric that we developed to measure our customer’s experience with our products and our user experience-centric development process.

Another example is how our engineers are thinking about their products from the user perspective and pulling in the user experience designers and my team (user experience researchers) as well. To showcase this at the event, engineers brought in a number of XQ demos to show this thinking firsthand: Read More »

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