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Productivity: An Inconvenient Truth

I said in the first post of this series that I’ll start to share more about my productivity lessons-learned. But first, let’s get one thing out of the way — I believe that online collaboration tools really don’t matter. In contrast, how you apply them for purposeful engagement matters a lot, regarding the anticipated productivity gains.

Moreover, the most substantial gains in online productivity will likely come from fully understanding all the people, process and technology issues that define the environment you’re working within. So, situational context is important.

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New Cisco WebEx Meetings Beta + Free Trial for Partners = More Effective Collaboration from Anywhere

January 13, 2012 at 10:05 am PST

The beach. An airport. The car. What do these places have in common? They’re all places you can hold a meeting.

As workforces become increasingly mobile, WebEx is the tool that more and more customers (and partners) use to ensure that productivity doesn’t decrease just because you’re not at the office.

And now, with a new beta version of Cisco WebEx Meetings and a free trial for partners, the possibilities are endless. By integrating all of the collaboration tools and tasks you need for your meetings, you can now host your team meetings from your car, attend a sales forecast presentation from the airport, or share slides from the beach. Having the flexibility to work with your colleagues, even when you can’t be at work, allows you to maintain productivity and collaborate more effectively.

Watch this video to see how Cisco WebEx Meetings can help you collaborate more effectively.

Learn more about how you can use Cisco WebEx Meetings to share, extend, and engage.

A convenient tool like this must come with a hefty price tag, right? Wrong! For a limited time only, Cisco WebEx Meetings beta is being offered to partners free of charge until the product becomes generally available.

Keep reading to find out how you can get Cisco WebEx Meetings beta for free and check out the great ways you can share ideas and materials before, during, and after your meeting. Read More »

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My Connected Life in the Cloud

Over the last decade I’ve studied the practical applications of ethnographic research.  I’ve performed detailed use-case analysis of requirements, and I frequently volunteer as a participant in the development of prototypes for applications that are hosted in the cloud.

Why did I choose to invest my own time in alpha tests and beta trials?  To gain the first-hand knowledge of what it really means to create a user experience that is remarkable.

While I’m not a user experience designer, I’ve developed a keen sense of the personal productivity gains that can be achieved by software UI ease-of-use improvements.

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Tracking Assets: RFID Meets Industrial Wi-Fi – Industrial Ethernet Book Part 1

October 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm PST

I had the pleasure of meeting up with both Leo Ploner, Publishing Director, Industrial Ethernet Book (IEB) and Tom McNulty from the Chicago, US office recently here in Silicon Valley recently. I was pleased to see that Cisco had contributed to an article in the 65 / 35 Issue of the Industrial Ethernet Book around the topic of RFID and industrial WiFi – a topic close to my own heart in terms of previous blogs of mine (Intro to RFID, Continental Tire, Boeing, and John Deere).

The first Industrial Ethernet Book was published in 1999.  Since then it become an excellent  information source for industrial networking and communication technology, and aims to provide unbiased editorial views focused on both process and discrete manufacturing industries. The editorial content is aimed at end users, system integrators and vendors within factory automation and process automation.

The article starts with the recognition that “Increasingly ‘smart’ devices, which include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and sensors that have advanced diagnostics, are contributing to the billions of devices now connected to IP networks. This proliferation of smart devices is referred to by some as the ‘Internet of Things’, and it is projected to grow to trillions of devices that will be connected using the emerging IPv6 protocol (ref1). For manufacturers, a growing number of connected smart devices promises to revolutionise portability, mobility, context-aware condition and use of critical assets.” Read More »

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Collaboration: The Cure for a Rollercoaster Economy

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Rick Hutley, a vice president in Cisco’s global strategic consulting arm, IBSG. Rick advises business leaders in every industry about how technology—and more often than not, Intelligent Network technology—can help businesses achieve their goals.

As we embark on yet another economic rollercoaster, the goal of dramatically reducing costs while simultaneously growing revenues and market share seems impossible to attain. Yet, this is what businesses must do to survive.

In my opinion, the answer to this dichotomy is “collaboration”—enabling your workforce to be more effective at significantly lower costs. Collaboration can deliver significant benefits. Cisco®, for example, realized $1.4 billion in collaboration benefits in FY2010, up from $1.1 billion in FY2009. This was achieved across 27 initiatives at an annual cost of only $128 million.

These findings are detailed in a report titled “Economics of Collaboration at Cisco” by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), with analysis from its Research & Economics Practice. While every company is different, the following Cisco examples from this report offer a compelling business case for adopting similar initiatives where you work.

  • Business travel optimization to enable greater collaboration across regions while containing travel costs resulted in expense savings of $519 million per year and time savings of $140 million per year.
  • Telecommuting initiatives to increase productivity, tap global talent, and improve sustainability resulted in time savings of $320 million per year for Cisco and commute cost savings of $49 million per year for employees.
  • Connected Workplace, Cisco’s solution for optimizing knowledge worker productivity in the office, generated a 43 percent reduction in space per worker, real estate savings of $33 million per year, and energy savings of $2 million per year.
  • Next-generation Unified Communications resulted in salesforce time savings of $27 million per year and improved customer service.
  • Faster time-to-market capabilities with improved remote collaboration accelerated the introduction of Cisco’s ASR 9000, increasing margins by $90 million, reducing time to market from 4 to 3 years, and lowering R&D costs by $70 million.

To achieve these results, Cisco employed much of its own technology. Cisco TelePresence®, for example, powers a new way of working that allows us to be more productive through face-to-face, two-way video collaboration. Cisco WebEx® enables us to hold highly effective team meetings by sharing information whether we are using a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone. Cisco Unified Communications links our phone, email, and other communications systems so we never have to miss a call or wait until a colleague gets back to his or her desk to respond to a critical email. And finally, Cisco QuadTM provides a single, integrated experience where individuals, teams, and communities connect, share, learn, and collaborate.

In today’s volatile economy, it’s clear we must learn how to collaborate better. Fortunately, technologies like those employed by Cisco can give your company an edge by improving competitiveness, innovation, and, most important, business results.

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