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Will New Apple, Cisco Announcements Accelerate Digital Learning?

In the wake of the Apple iBooks announcement back in January, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quickly called on USA schools to fully deploy digital textbooks by 2017. To any observer of the glacial speed of digital conversion in our schools today, this goal seems aggressive.

What could help speed up the pace of these conversions? Well for one, large technology companies.

Owning diverse school curriculum and procurement customer relationships by the thousands, broad product lines, large-scale resources, partnerships, and professional services support, large technology companies could spark more BYOD and 1:1 conversions with more complete, more innovative, and more easy-to-use products and services. And they could help fix the massive challenges schools have when they look to plan and tackle these digital conversions.

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Mobilizing the New Collaboration Experience in the BYOD Era

Guest post from Hans Hwang, Vice President of Collaboration within Cisco Advanced Services.

At last month’s Enterprise Connect (EC), there was a lot of discussion around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and how IT departments are enabling this “new collaboration experience.” As OJ Winge, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, outlined in his EC keynote, collaboration is becoming more “mobile, social, visual and virtual.”  This is especially true as employees look to smartphones and tablets to enable them to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and get their jobs done whenever and wherever they are.  This increasing desire for untethered collaboration, without compromising on the collaboration experience, means IT departments must take a side.

The Proactive Enabler or the Passive Supporter

Whether IT embraces or ignores this trend, there are serious concerns for companies:  impact on network, security, governance and liability questions. IT has a choice: they can either choose to embrace the opportunities BYOD policies bring, and become known as strong enablers and leaders to employee productivity and flexible work styles. Or, IT can limit users’ device choices and act as a passive supporter for a company’s workforce.

A passive approach might be to approve only one or two specific devices, and to restrict access and limit applications. A enabling approach might be to allow a choice of mobile devices and applications, to support collaboration on these devices and to reduce security risk with technology, policy, governance and training.

Cisco Recognizes Mobility is an Integrated, Critical Element of a Collaboration Strategy
Mobility has quickly risen to the #2 technology priority for CIOs as opposed to three to four years ago when it was ranked number 12. (Gartner CIO Study)

To help IT plan and prepare for the impact to collaboration, Cisco Services has introduced a dedicated practice for Mobile Collaboration Services. This new Cisco practice is designed to help IT departments connect their organizations’ business imperatives to mobile collaboration business transformation opportunities.  Experts from this practice can also help organizations prepare their network and communications infrastructure to deliver a compelling collaboration experience.

Next Steps for IT Managers

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It’s Not Enough to Be Connected

I attended Enterprise Connect for the ninth time this year, but it was the first time I delivered a keynote address. With the advances in technology today I could have delivered my keynote via TelePresence from Oslo, my home town in Norway. But I chose to attend in person because in this case face-to-face was the best way to tell my story.

I spoke to how “It is not enough to be connected.” This may sound strange coming from me, especially since I represent “the” networking company, but Cisco has evolved, as technology, businesses, and customer needs have evolved. Just being connected is not enough to drive the next levels of productivity. So, we need to think beyond connectivity. Read More »

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The New Virtual Workspace lands in Singapore!

I just returned from presenting at the Cisco Asia Pac 2012 Collaboration Summit in Singapore and I must say the Merlion was an excellent host.   Not only was Singapore beautiful and their people welcoming but the event itself was incredible.  I had the opportunity to share our Next Generation Virtual Workspace strategy to over 110 customers and analysts from across the Asia Pacific region.

Presenting the New Virtual Workspace Solution

In Singapore, I shared the newest addition to the Virtualized Collaboration Endpoint portfolio: Cisco’s Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) 6215, that brings voice and video to virtual desktops through one thin client solution.   Rich media has been a challenge in virtual desktop environments, and Cisco’s new Virtual Workspace solution has the “secret sauce” to finally make this work.

In the past, voice (and particularly video) worked in virtual desktops in a “good enough” manner. However, this isn’t good enough for wide scale enterprise deployments.  Leveraging years of experience and expertise in Unified Communications and Data Center, Cisco uses the Cisco Unified Communications architecture to separate the virtual desktop traffic from rich media in a way that provides a greater user experience at the virtual desktop.   High quality voice and video are now possible with our VXC endpoints and UC Infrastructure working in conjunction with our technology partners Citrix and VMware.

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A better understanding of BYOD without Compromise

As anyone who attended Cisco’s recent “BYOD without Compromise” Webinar noticed, the BYOD phenomenon is changing company priorities, and is bringing up a lot of questions about the solutions available to scale, secure and operate a successful  network. Replay the Webinar

Join us for our upcoming #ciscowifi TweetChat during which you’ll be able to engage in a real time BYOD discussion on Twitter with Cisco Technical Experts. What is a TweetChat?

April 17, 10-11am PST: TweetChat Topic: BYOD and Cisco ISE – use #ciscowifi.

First, I’ve put together just a few details based on the most popular questions posed during the recent webinar about Cisco’s approach to BYOD. And at the end of this post, I’ve also listed upcoming events for even more in depth technical discussions on a variety of BYOD topics.

Enhanced Identity Services Engine (ISE):

Cisco ISE is a context-aware, identity-based platform that gathers real-time information from the network, users, and devices. This enables IT to offer mobile business freedom with policy for when, where and how users may access the network..

ISE integrates with Prime Network Control System and supports BYOD with any 11n Wireless Access Point (even if you’re running your network in FlexConnect -- aka HREAP- mode)

In addition to managing on-boarding, Cisco ISE has full guest lifecycle management.  It also allows IT to deny access to devices for a variety of reasons; such as who you are, what device it is, if you are running the latest OS or anti-malware or how you are accessing  the network..

Posture -- Posture is the component of ISE platform responsible for enforcement of corporate security policies governing access to its enterprise network.  For example, for non-corp owned devices, you can decide what is the minimal requirements based on the device type/OS etc. Setting this up ahead of time will avoid security issues with non-supported devices

ISE also provides real-time endpoint scans based on policy to gain more relevant insight. These automated features result in a better user experience and more secure devices.  Cisco ISE uniquely leverages the network. It is essentially the brains for secure access and provides the policy to the network infrastructure (it is woven into the switches, routers, etc.)

New Prime Infrastructure:

Prime is a single package that provides complete infrastructure – wired and wireless, and mobility lifecycle management– configuration, monitoring, troubleshooting, remediation, and reporting.  This solution includes:  Prime Network Control System (NCS) for converged wired/wireless monitoring and troubleshooting, plus wireless lifecycle management, with new branch network management functionality; and Prime LAN Management Solution, for wired lifecycle management and Borderless Network services management.

Mobile Device Management (MDM):

To protect data on mobile devices and ensure compliance, Cisco is integrating with multiple Mobile Device Management vendors.  This gives IT greater visibility into the endpoint as well control over endpoint access based on the compliance of these devices to company policy (such as requiring pin lock or disallowing jailbroken devices), and the ability to do remote data wipes on lost or stolen mobile devices. If you don’t have a supported vendor, we will not be able to get as rich detail about the status of that device, however, you still get the full wired/wireless policy.

Current MDM third party vendors: Zenprise, Good, Airwatch, MobileIron

Device Operating Systems:

Wondering about which OS is preferred on your mobile device?

Cisco offers broad mobile device OS support in Cisco AnyConnect VPN software, including IOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.

Virtualization:

When it comes to virtualization, Cisco has created the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), an end-to-end systems approach that delivers the next generation virtual workspace by unifying virtual desktops, voice, and video. Check out the link for more information on VXI, VXI with Citrix, VXI with VMware, Virtualization Services and validated Design Guides http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/trends/virtualization/index.html

This is just a drop in the bucket. To get even more information on taking your organization beyond BYOD, don’t miss our upcoming technical deep dive webinars and in person events that speak directly to managing your growing network while you’re doing your best with limited resources.  You can also check out Cisco’s BYOD solution, Prime and ISE:

Upcoming Events

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