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Learn, Code, and Collaborate at Cisco Live Berlin!

Cisco Live Berlin! February 15-19, 2016

Calling all developers, architects, and solution providers—Cisco Live Berlin features the DevNet Zone designed to help you navigate today’s changing application and architecture landscape.

Of particular interest will be the focus on analytics and automation software. As organizations struggle with digital disruption, attention will be drawn to how developers can lead the transformation required by helping:

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  • Access and aggregate data from everywhere and analyze it anywhere to unlock new insights and enable timely informed decisions.
  • Interconnect widely distributed systems of apps, data , and devices to streamline and automate services and processes across your organization and growing partner and vendor ecosystems
  • Develop engaging applications that can be easily integrated with your existing apps using our SDKs, including mobile solutions that enable location-aware services and push-to-talk on-prem communications.

Join us for hands-on experience and face-to-face support from our developer teams in the DevNet Zone. We have many in-depth sessions about our vast Analytics and Automation software portfolio, including:

 

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2016 Prediction #1 – Production Application Development and Deployment Rapidly Transforming to Microservices Architecture

As I look back on 2015 and the great effort of the Mantl.io and CiscoShipped.io teams, I am reminded of the efforts I had in the initial cloud computing efforts 8 years ago. The buzz and market interest in cloud computing then was not accepted by traditional hosting and telecommunications companies. A retail company understood that their business needed agility and rapid delivery of software to accomplish the goals that the business vision had before them. This was one of the first examples of software disruption as this retail company 8 years later is larger than all the hosting, telecommunication, and cloud service providers combined. How did this happen? It’s quite simple, they paid attention to one simple rule: application architecture and programmability are critical to agility and enable the business applications and services to differentiate from the competition. The requirements to accomplish what the business applications need are defined in terms of agile software development, infrastructure as code (IaaS) and automated interfaces through Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs).

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We Hear You: Retail Security Should Be Simple and SAFE

Retailers are in the business to sell, not to be stolen from. And they don’t set up shop to buy security products from companies like Cisco. However, attackers who target retailers have discovered that it’s much more lucrative to shoplift virtually rather than physically. So even if you focus on security rather than selling, you face a daunting task.

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The challenge of retail security is that it gets more complex by the minute. The combination of mobile devices, distributed services, increased customer expectations, virtual systems, and changing business goals creates a huge attack surface for fraudsters. Add in a pantheon of security vendors offering specialized products that don’t always work well together as well as a dwindling supply of qualified security personnel, and feelings of frustration and futility are understandable.

Our industry desperately needs a resource that addresses the problem from end to end and makes security easier to understand. Enter Cisco SAFE, a comprehensive and credible solution portfolio. SAFE uses a model to organize retail networks into areas that can be more easily understood from a security perspective. It looks at the threats that exist and the best practices available to defend against them. It helps manage the design, build, and maintenance of today’s retail networks.

SAFE provides “how to” guides tested in Cisco’s laboratories for complex security challenges. It maps your threats to the security capabilities you need at this time, which can help you avoid overspending and overcomplicating the defenses you need to protect your business.

Come see me at the National Retail Federation show in New York. At a Big Idea session, I’ll be speaking about how Cisco SAFE helps simplify retail security. We’ll be in Room 4, Level 3 of the Expo Hall, on Monday, January 18, at 12:45 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Learn more.

I look forward to meeting you there!

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Transform the Digital Experience from Free Wi-Fi to Interactive Mobile Experiences

Having grown up in Denver, I’m a big fan of the Denver Broncos. Although I currently live in San Diego, I really enjoy the opportunity to see at game at Mile High Stadium any chance I get.  Sure, I could always upgrade my TV services to include a NFL package or subscribe to the Bronco’s fan club for updates, but nothing can replace the experience of attending a game in person.  Delivering a truly unique, unforgettable fan experience is a goal that is transforming the way stadiums and venues interact with fans today.

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Enhance the Fan Experience

In fact, most sports fans report that they want a more connected, personal experience. According to Gartner, in 2016, 89% of companies will compete on the basis of customer experience as compared to just 36% four years ago.  Companies will differentiate themselves, attract new customers and identify new sources of revenue using customer experiences as a driver.  To create truly personalized customer experiences, companies are turning to technology—a trend that is typically referred to as digital transformation.  In my last blog, I wrote about how new mobile engagements are improving the guest experiences in Hospitality. Sports and entertainment provide another example of how mobile experiences are enhancing the fan experience.

Build Loyalty with the Connected Stadium

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How to Create an Omnichannel Strategy that’s Worth Celebrating

This holiday season customers have more ways to shop than ever before. Retailers are making it easier to get the right presents by providing enhanced delivery options – from buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) to curbside pickup. While this freedom is empowering for customers, it creates a new level of complexity for retailers as seen by the hurdles experienced this holiday season. As this complexity becomes the new normal, the retailers that will thrive are those who deliver a consistent branded shopping experience across all channels.

No retailer has yet fully mastered the seamless omnichannel experience, but a few are well on their way:

Nordstrom gives customers access to advice from their favorite sales associate anytime through their TextStyle program. If a customer needs a personalized recommendation, a sales associate can scan an item, provide a photo and brief description, and send them a buying code via text. Once a customer types “buy,” the sale is charged to their preferred credit card and sent to the shipping address that’s on file.

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Kohl’s is seeing success with its mobile app which provides a consistent experience by allowing customers to access their virtual shopping bag, available loyalty points, and promotions while shopping in-store or online.

Coach does a fantastic job of integrating channels by allowing customers online to search in-store inventory in their area for the specific product they want. When a customer completes the purchase in store, the associate sends them a follow up email that includes personalized recommendations to encourage repeat purchases.

The shopping experience demanded in today’s competitive climate needs to be seamless. Retailers can be successful by creating one digital platform and pushing content and functionality across multiple channels, instead of trying to integrate a portfolio of different assets.

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One way retailers can start is to repurpose content from their online and mobile properties and bring it into the store using digital signage and tablets. This allows them to test which content increases conversions and apply changes instantly across multiple stores.

And content isn’t the only thing that can be duplicated across channels. Retailers can scale shopper engagement through digital experiences in the store. By using digital capabilities like remote expert, retailers can continuously offer high levels of service and expertise in a way that isn’t dependent on in-store staffing. Promotions can also be offered in real-time to improve conversion or maintain competitive pricing.

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Retailers should evaluate each step in the shopper journey and assess where digitization can improve the experience. They should also consider making use of the data that comes from digitizing those steps to make better decisions on what’s working and what isn’t.

While retailers have access to a mountain of data from online and mobile shopping journeys, they have a big opportunity to gather data from the in-store experience. Retailers will get a full picture of each customer’s journey when they combine data across all channels and build processes that allow them to deliver the right experience at the right time – whether shorter checkout, personalized assistance, or more relevant promotions. At Cisco we’re building the most advanced IOT solution in the industry by giving retailers access to information in the store that they can apply online and share across all channels.

What strategies do you think will be effective for creating seamless customer experiences? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more innovative retail strategies, see our Top 10 list of how you can create the ultimate shopping experience:

10 Ways Digital Technologies Can Create the Ultimate Shopping Experience from Cisco Business Insights

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