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New Ways of Working on the Horizon

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 »

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Companion Screens Transforming the TV Experience

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Pop quiz: How many screens does it take to watch television programming? For a growing number of people, the answer is two — a TV, plus a media tablet or mobile smartphone. That may seem counterintuitive, but for many of us (present company included) a mobile “companion” device has become an essential part of the living room TV experience.

According to a Nielsen survey of 12,000 connected device owners, 70 percent of tablet owners and 68 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV. Tablet owners in particular seem unable to put down the iPad while flipping channels, with respondents saying that nearly a third of the time they spend using their device is in front of the TV.

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Silicon Valley Innovation is Built Around Employee Mobility

In my last blog, I wrote about HP’s disturbing pattern of suing non-California employees under ‘non compete’ clauses, often imposed  years after employment began.  Apparently it’s relatively recently that HP decided to abandon its Silicon Valley roots and tie up its  non-California employees in legal knots.  HP is in fact the only large Silicon Valley-based company to have two classes of employees and try to impose mobility restrictions on those who live outside California.  HP’s efforts have gone so far as to sue an employee who took a buyout after having his salary cut, and one who didn’t even work in an area related to HP’s products that compete with Cisco’s.

Two recent actions since that blog posting are stunning.   First, HP renewed legal action in Texas, where one of the employees used to live, trying to get a judge there to schedule a court date on a day’s notice and to apply Texas law even though the California judge in the case is going to hold a hearing, as is certainly appropriate, to verify that the employee has in fact moved to California. (Yes, he came to work for Cisco after he arrived in California, rented an apartment, got a drivers license, etc.) Once again the Texas court refused to intervene, and in fact effectively “stayed” HP’s legal actions indefinitely. HP also tried in Texas to raise another bar to employee freedom, claiming that the employee would ‘inevitably’ use HP’s trade secrets to do his job at Cisco, and therefore should be barred from continuing his new job. Just as California law bars enforcement of non-compete clauses, California courts won’t recognize this doctrine either, seeing it for what it is — an effort to impose de facto non competition clauses.

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Welcome Paul Mankiewich to Cisco Service Provider Mobility CTO

Mobility is, and continues to remain a top business priority for service providers around the globe and one of Cisco’s five company priorities.  There is an insatiable desire in the market for connectivity anytime, anywhere and on all the latest devices.

At Cisco, we are uniquely positioned with an architecture that spans from the client -- to the network -- to the cloud to meet these demands.  We are constantly innovating to further define mobility technology and solutions across all of these areas to address service provider challenges of network reach and network intelligence.   This unique position makes us attractive to both customers and prospective employees.
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A Case for Social Media at Work

Execs — Pay Attention to This!

A large percentage of companies still block social media access on the corporate network. Companies are concerned that access will have an impact on employee productivity.      – Cisco Connected World Technology Report

The latest chapter of the Cisco Connected World Report went out last week, with its focus on what it calls ‘the new workplace currency’ and highlights new rules for attracting young talent into the workplace.  A key finding comes as no surprise:  young professionals want to work in an open environment that accommodates social media, device freedom, and remote working to accommodate their lifestyle and inspire innovation.  The clincher is that they would take a lower salary to have this freedom if necessary.

Understanding how these young professionals feel about work and what’s important to them are key in recruiting them.  Those companies that don’t embrace, allow and leverage social media in the workplace will be at a major disadvantage in competing for this new workforce.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about this future workforce:

1.  Social media is not a fad.  It’s one of the most powerful tools that mankind has ever seen.

2.  Most senior executives have never used social media and believe it’s something their kids use.  How would your business school professors feel about you making strategic decisions on topics that you may not fully understand?  This is a dangerous situation.

3.  Most companies put out policies on what the employees can’t do versus showing them what they should be doing. Encourage the use through tutorials and best practices.

4.  Most companies don’t take mobile phones away from employees when they enter the company premise.  Facebook and Twitter apps run on almost all phones and I can guarantee your employees are on Twitter and Facebook whether you allow it or not.  Don’t you think it might be better to provide guidance?

5. Use this generation to “reverse mentor” senior executives on social media.  We have done this at Cisco in multiple groups and the results have been great for both the Gen Yer and the executive.  It’s a win/win scenario.

6.  What does it say about your culture if you block social media?  Does it show trust?  Recruitment will be difficult in the future.

7.  This is the most important thing to note.  The 50+ generation has always served as the voice of wisdom for the younger generations.  But we are at a point in time where things are moving so fast that the older generation with the wisdom is not using the technology.  How will the younger generation learn how to use these extremely powerful tools for good, and not bad?  How will they learn about the importance of sources, ethics in blogging, importance of privacy, expectations in the workplace and using social media for making the world a better place?  If we -- the current senior leaders of the world -- don’t use and understand these powerful instruments, how will our children learn?

Here are some other resources I encourage you to read:

I’ll close by reminding everyone to be their own “tech nowist” by learning, experimenting and leveraging what technology and tools are out there …now.

Have fun!
Carlos

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