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Back to School: Transforming the Classroom with IoE

With students and teachers heading back to school, I’ve been thinking about when attended high school and college. For me, collaboration meant getting together with study groups, phone calls for homework help and office hours with teachers. For my two children – one a college junior and one college freshman – I have seen streaming video, text messages and online sessions with educators thousands of miles away turn our kitchen table into a classroom with a simple click of a button.Back to School

Beyond convenience and the overwhelming coolness factor of being able to connect virtually with teachers and classmates, I often wonder how technology will impact education and careers in the long run. Collaboration software is pervasive on many campuses, transforming the learning process, academic research and the relationship between students and instructors. With the advent of BYOD and mobile technology, collaboration is even becoming more accessible.  Will the integration of collaboration in their education translate into career skills?

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Third Step to Enterprise Mobility: The Division of Devices

This is the third post in a blog series featuring Vine-format videos focusing on the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility”. Be sure to read the first two blogs and watch the videos – First Step to Enterprise Mobility: Build the Mobile Structure and  Second Step to Enterprise Mobility: Go Virtual.

In this blog series, we’ve discussed two important steps enterprises can take unleash the power of enterprise mobility. We’ve covered how building a mobile structure can arm enterprises with the appropriate architecture to increase efficiency and revenue. In addition, we highlighted how enterprises can go virtual by implementing desktop virtualization.

Our third step – preparing for the division of devices – relies on both structure and a mobile workforce. How can enterprises enable and support the proliferation of employee-owned devices without burying their IT department and putting corporate data at risk? Here’s a quick checklist to help make it happen:

mobstep11. Use a unified network infrastructure that facilitates secure, virtual workspace delivery across wired, wireless, VPN, and cellular networks.

As wireless access becomes more pervasive, performance and reliability expectations are the same as what is expected from a wired network. Features such as reliable connectivity, application response times and voice, video and real-time collaboration solutions all depend on a seamless delivery for both wired and wireless devices. This fundamental shift demands that IT monitor and have a unified solution in place  (i.e. a single physical infrastructure) for both corporate wireless LAN (WLAN) and wired LAN. This converged infrastructure will enable the right quality of experience for users, independent of their devices.

A unified network infrastructure can also make sure that IT is able to identify each device connecting to the network and authenticate the person using it.

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SDN and Network Programmability: First Five Use Cases for Cisco IT

The Cisco IT network services team views network programmability—the broader category that includes SDN, or Software-Defined Networking—as one of our top priorities.

To clarify terms, SDN is a network architecture that decouples the control plane (that is, the building of a routing table) from the data plane, moving the control plane to a software-based centralized controller. In Cisco IT, we see the real value of SDN as enabling network programmability. Network programmability requires two capabilities: harvesting information from network devices, and automatically pushing out new configurations in response to dynamic network conditions or service-provisioning requests.

We’re in the early stages of weaving network programmability into Cisco IT programs. So far, we’ve identified five internal use cases. Read More »

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Ask the Futurist: “How Will the Internet of Everything Help Us Manage Our Own Health?”

In our last “Ask the Futurist” blog post, I discussed how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is working to connect doctors with their patients through electronic medical records. The subject of IoE’s role in the health care industry is a topic I am asked about often. After all, the Internet of Everything has the potential to change almost every aspect of how we live. And perhaps, how long we live.

Today’s question comes from Teren Bryson, director of IT at Zetec. Teren is a cancer survivor, and still in his 30s. He is interested in how technology is impacting health — specifically user-enabled health monitoring through portable biometric devices. Here’s his two-part question:

Question: “How will the Internet of Everything help us manage our own health? For example, when will a wearable device be able to monitor my blood glucose levels or other biometrics in a real-time way?

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Cisco Small Business Online Device Emulators

How do you get a feel for things? Perhaps a little research online, a review or two, maybe a referral from a friend or co-worker. But big purchases, such as a new car may require more; more information.  So you go to take a test drive. Well, we have something similar to a test drive.

As you may know, it is not often you get a chance to check out how an IT device’s graphical user interface (GUI) looks and feels. Sure you might see a couple of static screen capture and be able to point how the navigation menu is laid out. But beyond that, it is not until the device is purchased and in the installation process, that the real user experience is realized. It’s hard to get a grasp on on the level of complexity for set-up and deployment, let alone configure a VLAN or set-up a secure VPN.

EM page shot

Well, we have offered something better. Our team has delivered a set of device emulators, including switches, access points and routers. You can actually navigate through the actual menus, see how the wizards look and work, and truly get a sense of how easy the small business products are to configure, install, deploy and manage.

Here is what the emulators/GUI’s look like:
Emulator screenshot

wapmain

Small Business Online Device Emulators

You will notice that all of the small business product user interfaces share the same look and feel, as well as similar general navigation principles. With our Small Business product line, we truly take to heart the need for a great user experience and are always looking to make our products easier to use.

Please, leave us a comment or suggestion good, bad or otherwise to help us improve our products.

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