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Essential Skills for Today’s Unified Communications Operations Staff

Just a decade ago, supporting enterprise voice services was simpler, our voice operations support scope was smaller, and one person could be proficient in everything you needed to know for voice operations. But as IP telephony capabilities grew into Unified Communications, the skills our engineers had to be proficient in grew exponentially.

Today, we support UC systems and collaboration platforms, both on traditional hardware and now on virtualized server platforms (Cisco UCS). We still support phones and softphones, but now we also support mobility services, video phones and mobile devices like the Cisco Cius, voice and video conferencing, menus of phone-based services, and ever-more sophisticated customer support tools in our contact centers. There are now so many things within the scope of the UC systems that we manage that it would be extremely difficult in an enterprise the size of Cisco to be an expert in everything. So, individuals on our voice operations team need to specialize.

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Höganäs North America chooses Cisco over Motorola, Nortel, Avaya, and others – Part 1

November 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm PST

Don’t you just hate it when you drop your phone and it just stops working? My last phone fell out of my top pocket when I leaned over our pool and even though I got it out in less than 10 seconds and tried to dry it out, it was toast. Well, soggy toast I suppose.

There are times when you need something more. If you’re a manufacturer and you need some ruggedization then you might find it advantageous to look at the Cisco offerings. There are rugged versions of several products: switches, wireless access points and IP phone handsets to name just three. In the video I talk about one of them, the 7925G-EX handset that has been available for a short while now, and is being increasingly adopted by customers.  Read More »

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China Study Reveals Web Meetings Top Choice for Improving Communications

Our Cisco WebEx colleagues in China engaged a study with Bite Communications aimed at learning more about China’s mobile workforce. “The Science of Company Productivity Survey” was launched on one of China’s leading portals for two weeks in June.

Among the findings, they learned in China, collaboration technologies can play an integral role in improving organizational effectiveness while helping employees achieve a more flexible, balanced and efficient work life. Given a range of choices, respondents chose web meetings as their preferred method of working with others.

A Quick Look at the Findings

In China, one day of the work week doesn’t seem to be any more crazy than the other. When asked when people feel most overloaded at work, the answer spanned the week!

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Pruning Your Community Garden: an Approach to Community Lifecycle Management (Part 1)

All enterprise social collaboration platforms include gathering points whereby people can unite with others around a common goal; for example, a program or project, social interest, organization, market segment, product, corporate initiative, technology, etc. Within Quad – Cisco’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform and product – these gathering points are referred to as communities. The longevity of any given community will vary based on several factors, which include temporal needs, relevancy, and usefulness. Some communities will be required for a long time while others may only be needed for a short time. Without clear mechanisms to identify the usefulness of each community and manage those that reach end of life, a social collaboration platform can become difficult to manage from a community governance vantage point. The performance of the platform can be negatively impacted by excessive community clutter resulting from orphaned or unused communities.

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John Deere avoids cost with Cisco Wireless Architecture

September 29, 2011 at 11:40 am PST

Maybe you’ve seen the recent article in RFID Journal: John Deere Planter Factory Gains Efficiency.

John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.

John Deere MaxEmergeXP

Here’s the story: John Deere’s  Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system.  It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s  row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range -  that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.

The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live.  It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.  It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:

“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.

  • John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
  • On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
  • Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.

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