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Happy New Year to the Manufacturing Industry from Cisco, 2013

January 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm PST

The numbers coming out month after month show that we seem to be tracking a slow but steady recovery. As I’ve said before, I’m cautiously optimistic about the manufacturing sector – especially in the USA.

On Thursday (3rd January, 2013), ADP1 said construction added 39,000 positions in December, second only to trade and transportation utilities, which grew 53,000. Medium- and larger-sized businesses led the way with 102,000 and 87,000 new jobs respectively

Overall, Employers added 1.84 million jobs in 20112, the most in five years. In the first 11 months of 2012, employers added 1.67 million. Job gains would have to top 170,000 in December to push 2012 ahead of the previous year. Some economists do expect gains at that level or higher.

Robot_factory_smallEven in Asia things are looking up. In the New Year we learned about China’s services growth3, as China’s official purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector rose to 56.1 in December from 55.6 in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Other PMIs on the manufacturing sector suggest China’s growth is starting to pick up based on late 2012 data. Not the heady double-digit growth of earlier years, but increases none-the-less. Construction was also up, though all of this growth is partly owing to government investment. The Friday (4th January 2013) HSBC PMI report shows slower growth as it mainly focuses on the private sector. The HSBC report4 showed a softening from 52.1 to 51.7. As you know above 50 is still good. India’s looking good too re PMI for last month! Read More »

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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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