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When Is “Good Enough” Video…Well, Good Enough?

There’s no doubt that video is becoming more pervasive in business.  It’s no wonder: humans are visually oriented. We’ve been reading people’s faces since we were newborns, so it’s natural for us to use visual cues as we build stronger relationships and better organizations.

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As video makes deeper inroads in enterprises large and small, I keep hearing the concept of “good enough” video. So what does “good enough” really mean? Is there a specific number of pixels, or frame rates, or a certain standard that makes video “good enough”? How can you define “good enough” for your organization?

If you focus on the results your organization wants to achieve, your video collaboration strategy will fall into place.

Here are the most important things to help you define a video collaboration strategy that is “good enough” for your organization’s goals.

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” Good Enough” Switching is not Good Enough for Public Sector Customers

March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm PST

Public Sector customers continue to debate the trade-offs of prioritizing lowest price switching, point product solutions, over designing and deploying Cisco network architecture solutions which provide a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

On February 23, 2012, Deloitte Consulting presented the findings of an in-depth research study that examines the operational, financial, and risk factors associated with the use of single-vendor and multivendor approaches in different types of complex networks which may be viewed here along with the report itself.

They key findings are summarized in the following 7 items:

  1. Within the context of total IT spending, the use of single-vendor or multivendor architectures does not present material cost differences on a long-term basis. Initial cost savings realized in multivendor network implementations are mitigated by the incremental operating costs over the life of the equipment.
  2. Enterprise networks are considered critical production systems, key to business operations. Networks must be managed with an appropriate operational risk perspective.
  3. Customers prefer a single vendor to be responsible for all network components and services. The operational risk associated with network support, not the cost, is the primary factor when influencing the decisions to use single or multivendor architectures.
  4. Staffing costs are not significantly impacted by the use of multiple vendors; it is more influenced by the mix of functions supported and the types of network services provided.
  5. Using products from different vendors can bring down initial costs for certain products, but adds higher operating risk in service, support, and operational integration.
  6. The use of multiple networking vendors introduces additional operational risk based on the need for customers to assume increased risks for integration, interoperability and support.
  7. When using multiple vendors’ products, customers frequently do not recognize the interdependencies of functionality, long-term costs, and impact on operational risks

And be sure to watch Director of Public Sector Systems Engineering,  Dave West on youtube present his version of why low-cost, ” Good Enough” Switching is not Good Enough for Public Sector Customers looking for a reliable, secure, highly available, well supported and investment protected network.

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The Network Dating Game and the Acquisition Myth

June 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm PST

When your customers are shopping around for the right network, it’s a bit like being on “The Dating Game.” For those who aren’t familiar with the TV show, it first aired in the 1960s and featured an eligible bachelor or bachelorette hidden behind a wall. Said bachelor or bachelorette got to interview three candidates to find out which one would be most appropriate and worthy of a date. The candidates could not see each other so had to rely on the person’s answers to determine the best fit.

Customers looking for the right network may feel like the eligible bachelorette or bachelor on “The Networking Game.” Is contestant number one trustworthy and able to meet both current and future needs? Does contestant two offer security and flexibility? What about three: is that one stable? Can one network meet really meet all of those needs?

There are quite a few variables to consider when customers are shopping for a network, especially when 20% of a typical enterprise IT network budget is spent acquiring hardware while a whopping 80% goes toward operating costs.

Yet some industry pundits and vendors look only at acquisition and maintenance costs when calculating TCO, ignoring functionality that may improve productivity or business opportunities that are lost when the network goes down. That’s a bit like choosing a date based on a single factor, like a voice, rather than looking at the entire package.

We continue our coverage of the “Good Enough Network” myth series with myth #6: Acquisition Cost. Read More »

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How Mobile Devices Impact the Network

May 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm PST

dog facebookAre you among the one third of smartphone owners who use social media applications from bed?

I’ll admit I was surprised to hear so many people check their phones even before having a morning cup of coffee, mostly because I didn’t realize other people did that, too!

This phenomena probably won’t be as surprising in a few years when there will be one mobile device for every person on Earth, according to the Connected World Report, 2010.

While these stats may sound like drivel, they actually underscore the importance that a reliable network plays (and will play) for an increasingly mobile workforce — not just for those people checking Facebook under the covers.

Let’s face it: a network built on “good enough” equipment isn’t going to deliver the same experience as one using next-generation equipment designed for the loads of today’s demanding applications—including voice, video, and data.

Curious about the importance of the network as it relates to mobile? Head over to Silicon Angle where Mike Rau (Vice President, CTO for the Borderless Network Architecture at Cisco) blogged on myth number one --The Single-Purpose Network Myth.

In the post, Mike explains that a good enough network is not designed to handle the needs of an increasingly mobile population, but is built to serve the single purpose of connecting users to resources in silos of connectivity. As mobility demands on the enterprise increase, he indicates that it becomes critical that an end user is consistently managed as they access the network, whether over a wired, wireless, or VPN connection.

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The Seven Myths of the Good Enough Network

There is a debate raging in the IT industry about the role of the network.

In the same week that a gaming company’s network was hacked and the personal information of 60 million customers was leaked, there is a debate raging about whether the network matters.

In the same moment that the iPad is being adopted by 65% of the Fortune 100 — obliterating conventional wisdom about how corporate networks support consumer devices and mobility —there is a debate raging about whether the network matters.

On one side we have newcomers to the networking industry and some industry commentators who believe that the value of a network should be determined only by the cost of its components.  They argue that customers should focus squarely on acquisition cost, not the value of their network assets.  They argue that customers should focus on capital cost, not network capability and innovation. They believe the network has become a utility; that ‘good’ is good enough.

We all understand that negotiating the best price for goods and services always makes good business sense.  But this debate is about more than that.

The debate is about making a choice between a tactical network where getting the lowest possible price up front is paramount – and a strategic network investment that enables customers to adapt quickly to new business imperatives and to handle the increased demands on their business.

This debate has fueled numerous myths and misperceptions in our industry.  Here are the seven most misleading Myths of the Good Enough Network.

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