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Expressway: The Invisibility Cloak for Mobile & Remote Users

Improving workforce productivity is about more than telling employees to work harder, do more, and think faster. It’s about giving them the right resources and removing barriers so that they can do more.  One way Cisco is helping organizations improve productivity is by making our technology invisible to users.  We’re designing our products to be so intuitive that the complexity of the technology fades away and simply lets the end-users do what they need to do.  No training, no extra buttons to push, no fancy set ups, and no need to involve IT.   It’s a journey, but we are making progress.  A great example of this progress is Cisco Expressway, our advanced collaboration gateway.  It is the “invisibility cloak” for a variety of use cases including for mobile and remote workers.

Unknown to remote and mobile Cisco Jabber users, Cisco Expressway is behind the scenes doing the work to make their experiences secure and easy.  Employees simply log into Jabber and begin collaborating on their device of choice no matter where they are.  It’s Expressway’s firewall traversal technology working in the background that hides (eliminates) the need for the user to fire up a VPN. And with Expressway x8.5’s new single sign-on capabilities, employees do not need their user name and password every time they want to access a different application on Jabber.  It just works.

Similarly, Expressway is helping teleworkers by enabling VPN-less access for Cisco endpoints including Read More »

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Working Remotely Just got Better With OfficeExtend 600 Series AP’s

It’s always been important to remote workers to have a solution that provides both secure connectivity to their corporate network and simple user experience.With the recent Summer Blockbuster release of the Cisco Wireless Release 8.0, using the OfficeExtend 600 Series Access Points (OEAP-600) just got better.  Here are a few of the enhancements that come to OEAP-600 with Release 8.0:

  • Firewall for personal networking -- Provides port/application protection for personal network traffic that can be controlled by the end user. While the corporate firewall is protecting your corporate data traffic, you now have the capability to make your personal network traffic more secure also with this feature.
  • Split-tunnel for Internet traffic -- Enables corporate clients to reach the Internet directly through the WAN instead of tunneling the data traffic through the corporate network. Provides the IT administrator the flexibility to configure the level of split-tunnel capability needed for their network. Together with the existing Split-tunnel for Printer feature the OEAP-600 provides maximum flexibility for printing and managing data traffic between the remote & corporate office.
  • QOS Enhancements for Voice traffic – Assigns high priority for voice packets for remote workers using the OEAP-600 and a VOIP solution in their home or remote office to enhance the remote workers voice call experience. Read More »

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Collaboration Solutions: Choose the Right Ones for Productive, Effective Teleworking

In one of my recent blog posts I discussed the value of video for teleworking.

blog pic teleworker hi res EspenFrom this blog I received a lot of feedback from folks wanting examples of the type of technology to use for teleworking.  Many asked, “How do you know what the right technology is to use to support remote and traveling workers without giving up on a quality experience?”  Cisco supports all aspects of telework and remote scenarios with technology that is flexible, interoperable without comprising quality or providing just a “good enough” video experience. Cisco TelePresence personal solutions and video desk phones consistently offer high definition video on every call.  Companies do not want to compromise quality when deploying technology for remote and teleworkers. Cisco solutions offer both high quality and flexibility to support productive, effective teleworking.

Cisco has just released a new white paper that gives an in-depth explanation of the benefits of teleworking based on business class collaboration solutions. These solutions provide organizations the key building blocks in developing and designing a strong foundation for supporting remote workers worldwide.

The closer you get to an in-person experience in meetings with remote employees and teleworkers the more productive you will be.  Today working from a remote location does not mean that you are removed from what is going on back at the office. Cisco delivers flexible high quality solutions for teleworking that bring people together whether they are across town or across the world.

How are you deploying teleworking capabilities to your workforce?

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Technology Makes Way for Change in Children’s Healthcare

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

As a parent, we all understand that the health of our child takes precedence over economic concerns, geographic distance, and just about any barrier you can name. Many parents know the stress of finding the right doctor to treat a child’s illness, and the difficulties involved in traveling to see that one specific doctor. For critically ill children, the long wait to see a pediatric specialist can be devastating.

About 1 million children in California have ongoing physical, behavioral, mental, or emotional conditions that can affect their ability to function and participate in activities important to their development and, in some cases, can shorten their lives. According to a recent report published by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, these children with special healthcare needs use more healthcare services than other children and account for more than 40 percent of all healthcare cost among children nationwide, despite making up only 16 percent of the U.S. child population. Though advances in medical care have extended and improved the lives of millions of children, more than four in five of children with special healthcare needs still fail to receive one or more basic aspects of quality healthcare, statewide and nationally.

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Extraordinary Teamwork When Teammates are Remote

I enjoy being part of a team. It’s great for generating ideas, getting support for my ideas, feeling like I am not alone and knowing I can get help if I get stuck. And then there’s the celebrating when we pull off a big project and get to share in the glory and excitement.

But these days, at least half my team members are somewhere else.

While I can walk down the hall to talk to some of my co-workers, I find I am on email or WebEx for others. Keeping everyone on track is my main goal. In this article on the Seven Habits of Extraordinary Teams, they confirm communication is an important ingredient:

Depending upon the goals and time frame, teams should meet at least once a week, and more often if necessary. More importantly, team communications must be tooled (or retooled if necessary) so that each team member understands what’s going on–and, perhaps more importantly, what is expected of him or her before the next meeting.

But it also cites the complimentary requirement that goes with good communication, sharing resources.

For a team to be successful, members must be willing to share whatever resources they control that are required for the team to achieve its goal.  These include physical resources (money, materials, office space, computers, etc.) as well as mental or emotional resources (like ideas, suggestions, encouragement, or enthusiasm). When team members hoard, teams are weakened–often to the point of total failure.

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