Recent articles indicate that manufacturing activity in the U.S. continues to expand and global industrial production is positive in spite of softness in a few geographies. This is a great rebound from the trough of 2009. Productivity gains have fueled much of the recent rebound and leading companies are looking for more. Several years ago a leading manufacturing company, GE, asked Cisco to develop a new collaborative environment for distributed teams.
Leaders have implemented new working environments, such as the Cisco Active Collaboration Room. Now there is a movement to bring forward the next environment for team productivity, rapid decision making, and distributed collaboration. The development of new working environments will accelerate, driven by a need to enable distributed teams for innovation, business management, and optimization. As mobility and the benefits of rapid analysis and decision making increase, the work environments will change dramatically as described in the Fortune magazine article, “What will the future workplace look like?” Read More »
It is with great pleasure I introduce Kevin Sullivan as our latest Manufaturing Industry Thought Leader. Kevin has a distinguished career at Cisco and is currently a director in the Industrial & Diversified Manufacturing Practice of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).
In this role, Kevin helps leading manufacturers become more competitive by transforming their businesses through leading processes and innovative technology enablement. His areas of expertise include business strategies for customer management, product innovation, supply chain, and financial management.
Kevin has led transformation initiatives for numerous Fortune 500 manufacturing and retail companies, and has coached CXOs on adapting new technology to achieve strategic business goals. Read More »
As a global director of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s Urban Innovation team, I’ve seen how broadband connectivity can radically transform urban life, while forcing us to rethink our entire approach to designing and managing cities. I recently had the opportunity to share some of my ideas on the subject at the 2011 World Council of UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) in Florence, Italy.
The Council represents nearly half the world’s population, from 36 countries and more than 1,000 cities—everywhere from Istanbul and Dakar to Helsinki and New York. In Florence, more than 400 mayors, along with municipal ministers, directors, innovators and other experts, met to discuss the daunting challenges facing today’s cities, while offering solutions in a creative and interactive forum. Topics ranged from transportation, utilities, and infrastructure to tourism and environmental sustainability.
Mayor Matteo Renzi of Florence, the host of the event, has worked with Cisco on innovation initiatives in his city. In addition to helping him plan the conference, I was granted the opportunity to moderate some sessions on urban innovation. Read More »
Using stores as showrooms for online purchases is the “new normal” for today’s tech- and Internet-savvy shoppers. So how do retailers “catch” these channel-hopping customers and “keep” them buying within their own brand?
The Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes retailers can increase sales both in stores and online by creating “mashops” that combine immersive online content with engaging in-store experiences. This idea is backed up by Cisco IBSG’s latest research, which revealed that digital content has reached a new level of influence.
Surprisingly, shoppers now prefer online sources to people when making buying decisions. Read More »
One of the key questions I get from retailers is “How can I use technology to create experiences that inspire my customers to buy more, both in the store and online?” In the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s (IBSG) work with leading worldwide retailers, we uncovered what we believe is the answer—the “inspire” trigger. Specifically, inspire triggers are emotionally charged shopping experiences that make customers exclaim, “I never thought of that, let’s buy it,” or, “Wow, I want to by that now.”
From this work, Cisco IBSG developed Cisco StyleMeTM—a virtual fashion mirror that combines augmented reality with the latest mobile and networking technologies to create a fun, new, interactive way to try on clothing and accessories virtually. Cisco StyleMe lets customers visually browse a wide range of products; build outfits; receive expert recommendations; capture images of what they look like to share with friends and family; create a digital wardrobe of items in which they’re interested; and buy their selections in the store or online.
Customer testing shows that Cisco StyleMe is a hit with all types of consumers, but especially with a group that surprised us—shoppers over 50 years of age. The older generation clearly sees the benefits of easily trying on new outfits and getting expert advice, which far outweighs any apprehensions they might have about using the technology.
For retailers, Cisco StyleMe has the potential to 1) grow cross-channel sales by giving customers access to an extended range of inventory and enabling them to buy in-store and online; 2) strengthen customer loyalty by creating differentiated in-store experiences and enabling follow-up with customers after their store visit; and (3) increase conversion rates by allowing customers to receive relevant recommendations and interact with friends and family who influence their buying decisions.
Given the success of Cisco StyleMe, we believe creating rich, digital, cross-channel experiences in the store represents a powerful new way to inspire customers to buy. To get started, ensure your technology infrastructure is up to the task of supporting interactive rich-media experiences. By starting now to ensure your technology infrastructure is up to date, you’ll be in a strong position to capture more sales from customers both online and in your stores.