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“One Size Fits All” is for Hats – Not Video

Once upon a time, not so long ago, high-end videoconferencing was a luxury item available mostly to the C-suite. It required special equipment. It was expensive. It wasn’t all that intuitive to use.  That was then.

Today, video is part of day-to-day communications – not just for high-powered business interactions, but also for personal connections. In a world of distributed workforces where colleagues are separated by miles and organizations hire where the talent is located, video has become the standard form of collaboration and communication as a way to keep the pace of innovation and efficiency needed to stay competitive. Unlike before, the equipment now ranges from specialized rooms with high-end, high-def equipment to tablets and smartphones that provide the needed level of quality and fidelity required to be useful to the users. How are we getting from pricey and exclusive to completely pervasive? Technology catches up to what we want it to do. It’s the Moore’s Law theory applied to all technology that is valuable in business – performance increases while the economics and footprint decreases.

When Cisco dove into the waters of video collaboration, the demand was from the boardrooms of the business world. Business was becoming more global, yet organizations were trying to reduce travel costs –a communications conundrum. How could we improve the videoconferencing experience? Read More »

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‘Tis the Season to be Shopping. Will Video be the Tipping Point in Your Purchasing Decision?

“’Tis the season” as they say.  Soon you will hear the count- down of how many shopping days left until Christmas.  Like it or not, the biggest retail shopping day of the year takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving.  But, what I really get excited about is Cyber Monday.  I don’t know about you, but I plan to do the majority of my shopping online.  I am not new to online shopping of course.  I have been using it out of necessity as a working mother without an abundance of extra time and will continue to use it for a variety of reasons including…

I don’t have to beat the crowds for those BIG sales, I can compare prices instantly on a single site, I usually can finagle free shipping by using coupon codes or just taking advantage of holiday incentives, and I can get my shopping done in a matter of minutes versus the hours I would have spent had I actually gone to the store.

I will say that the shopping experiences I have had to date have been pretty good.  But, they could still improve.  For example, there have been several occasions where I have had questions about an electronics product (like a computer) and wanted to ask someone who really understood the features of the product.  I wanted to have that real-time experience where I could have a back and forth conversation with a “human.”  I don’t want to just look at the picture of the computer and guess by the description whether or not it was the right purchase to make.  Another time I was ordering a chair for my home office online and wanted to make sure I had the right style and color to match my room.  So I called the support line and had to describe my room, desk dimensions, and wall color etc. In the end, Read More »

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Imagine a World With True Any to Any Collaboration

True any to any collaboration means you can collaborate via rich media in real time no matter where you are and who you want to collaborate with.  You can use the device you want and collaborate the way you want with voice, video, messaging, or content sharing -- imagine never again hearing the phrase “I will take care of that when I get back into the office.”

Cisco is striving to make this vision a reality and has made significant progress.  For example, Cisco recently announced capabilities for:

  • Mobile and teleworkers:  Making voice, video, messaging and content available outside the corporate network to mobile Jabber users and teleworkers without needing a VPN.   Best of all, our customers can realize these benefits with no additional costs.*
  • Intercompany and consumer collaboration:  Enabling real-time voice, video, and data-sharing capabilities for businesses to collaborate with consumers and business partners using Jabber Guest.  Customers or partners simply click a URL, website link, or mobile application to start the interaction. Organizations can build these capabilities into their website or mobile application with the included SDKs.

These capabilities are made possible by the Cisco Collaboration Edge Architecture and an important component of this architecture, the newly released Cisco Expressway – they enable bridging of collaboration islands to enable any to any collaboration.

The diagram below shows the use cases that the architecture delivers. Read More »

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Fantastic New Experiences with Collaboration Systems Release 10

The collaboration market is on a transformational journey.  Workloads and use cases such as web conferencing, telephony, video, and file sharing that started as separate islands at first, are now rapidly converging.  With those islands come complexity of integration and interoperability, which means experiences can suffer.

Two key things Cisco is focused on is making collaboration simple to use, deploy, and buy; and pervasive by reducing cost and extending the value of existing investments.  This week we announced Collaboration Systems Release 10 (CSR 10), the first time Cisco is converging voice, video, and content sharing across our portfolio to provide the best possible user experience whether you choose an on-premise, cloud, or fused model.

I’m excited about the fantastic new experiences we are enabling.  Here are a few scenarios to help highlight what is now possible:

First Day on the Job

My first day at Cisco, I was told “everything is on the web,” Read More »

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Collaboration Summit 2013: Don’t Forget the Kids!

Ask Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s new SVP/GM of collaboration, what industry execs he identifies most with these days and he just might say “those running toy companies”. After all, toymakers can’t build just for buyers (aka parents) or for users (aka kids). These groups tend to define “fun” a little differently, so favor one over the other and your business is headed in the same direction as T-Rex.

The same holds true in Enterprise Collaboration; design solely for “the parents”—the business, IT—you stand a really good chance of totally losing “the kids”— not just Gen Y-ers, though they are a huge force in the business world today, but anyone who is getting work done with colleagues, partners and customers around the globe and around the clock. These are savvy users—even the least technologically inclined spend half the day on pocket-sized supercomputers (smartphones, tablets). They’ve become accustomed to personal tech that is beautiful to look at, simple to use and simply works—right out of the box.

Just like kids have a huge say in what toys parents buy, today’s users have a huge say in what collaboration tools get used to get the job done. With this in mind, Cisco is totally-completely-wholly committed to delivering collaboration tools that appeal to “kids” and “parents” alike. From now on we’ll delight end-users with beautiful, simple products while at the same time delivering the security, scalability and manageability the business and IT demand.

So what did we announce? You can read the full press release here; below is some additional color commentary on my favorite of the newly announced innovations:

No more “let me call you right back.” We’ve all done it: arrived in the office mid-smartphone-discussion and suddenly the desk phone with its oh-so-ergonomically correct speakerphone Read More »

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