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Networking: Moving From Open to Closed (Part 1 of 2)

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  -- William Faulkner

Networking which is built on open standards is steadily moving to closed and proprietary protocols and going back to the past of mainframes with closed architectures and technologies. With Massively Scalable Data Centers (MSDC) the compute and storage resource are increasingly being connected in proprietary ways. The networks and protocols in these MSDCs is becoming proprietary and potentially moving away from the open TCP/IP standards. And that is a very worrisome trend, not speaking as a vendor but as a networking technologist, who has been in this industry for over 20 years. Let me explain why.

The rise of MSDCs and the growing IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google is well understood. This IaaS trend is causing more and more enterprises to move their infrastructure into these clouds, instead of buying and maintaining them. Obviously this is affecting networking infrastructure vendors, like Cisco, Juniper et al, and also managed service providers. The effect on infrastructure vendors is simple: their TAM is shrinking, and rapidly so. For managed service providers, the need for rich networking services, when enterprises maintained their own infrastructure, is dwindling rapidly as well. With IaaS, enterprises just need a simple connection to get to the Amazon, Microsoft and Google clouds and do not heavily depend on managed service providers. Usually the service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast are also managed service providers and are increasingly becoming cloud service providers as well to mitigate this effect and still be relevant to these enterprise customers. But, how is this making networking closed off?

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How to Make Free Phone Calls at Work – 5 Tips from Cisco IT

Every company gets phone bills. Whether you use hardware phones or laptop software phones or mobile phones, video phones or audio phones, your calls have to get carried over the some service provider’s network, and that costs money. Read More »

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One Address to Reach them All?

January 11, 2013 at 8:59 am PST

I once attended a customer meeting quite a few years ago where someone in the room stated that, “regardless of the collaboration channel employed, unified communications should provide everyone with a single identity to make it really easy for customers to reach the company’s employees”. I remember agreeing that although a worthwhile goal, providing users with a solitary identifier was not going to be technically feasible due to the fact we didn’t address emails with a phone number and we unfortunately had (and still do have) the “PSTN” (Public Switched Telephone Network) to deal with.

Has anything changed? I’d really like to know if anyone in the industry is predicting that we’ll ever be able have a unique global communications address, or like me, you have the opinion that the current multi-identity status quo will continue for the foreseeable future. In our current electronic communications world most of us have a minimum of two to three identities. I’m globally reachable via a couple of Cisco E.164 telephone numbers, one for my desk phone and the other for my mobile. I also have a corporate URI (Universal Resource Identifier), which most people would recognize as my email address, but nowadays also represents me as an instant messaging entity as well as associating me with three personal video endpoints. I think people naturally know when it is appropriate to use asynchronous (email or IM) communications or synchronous (telephony or video) communications, which is why we’ve all just accepted the evolution of different identities for different types of dialogue. What’s recently blurred the situation is the wide scale adoption of video URI dialing within enterprises and across the Internet resulting in a more complex addressing environment for our real time interactions. Do I call someone on their telephone number or their video URI, or should I send them an instant message to ask them?

For Cisco the answer has been Read More »

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Contact Center SIP Trunks Part 2 — Reducing Costs and Improving Call Control for Outsourced Contact Centers – Future Directions

In my  first blog I described how Cisco IT is interconnecting our outsourced Contact Centers using SIP trunks, replacing the more costly (and less effective) PSTN trunks.  In our first round of SIP trunk deployments we expect to save almost 25% of our current contact center calling costs (or $2M per year).  But there were other, less tangible benefits as well.
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Contact Center SIP Trunks Part 1 — Reducing Costs and Improving Call Control for Outsourced Contact Centers Today

Cisco has partnered with several outsourced vendors over the years for initial handling of many front-line calls and general information inquiries.  Connecting these vendor environments into a single Cisco customer contact environment is critical for good customer care, but costly and not always easy.  However, early this year we made a change:  we’re using SIP trunking and Cisco Unified Border Element to bring us much closer together, and save money into the bargain.

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