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What the Supermarket taught me about Big Data

October 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm PST

Author’s Note:  I have no kids.  I have friends with kids, who used to be in diapers.  The kids were in diapers, not the friends.  I’ve changed a few in my day, but not nearly as many as my friends have. And yes this has some sort of relevance to this story…

 

In every trade show or conference there’s someone talking about Big Data.  They talk about algorithms, CPUs, memory, software stacks, cabling, racks, ROI, TCO, nodes, names, federation, centralization, organization until you get “the pitch.”  I’m not really interested in the pitch for why someone’s product is better than the other, I’m more interested in the “What is the Problem that you’re trying to solve?”  This to me gets to the root of Big Data,or  the consolidation of a set of diverse data sources with a multitude of data types for which you’re attempting to determine relationships and patterns amongst it. Phew. Got it?

Me neither, but I like to think in examples and this is where it dawned on me in the grocery store.

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Importance of Mobility to Consumers and Recommendation for Retailers

Recently I took a weekend trip to Sea Ranch, California, a coastal town 2.5 hours drive north of San Francisco.  What was interesting (besides the great view and interesting architecture) was for three days there I had no cellular coverage on my mobile phone, but I was able to get access to the internet using Wi Fi in various locations.  Being the classic connected and mobile consumer, my trip would have been much less enjoyable without some form of wireless connectivity :-)

Cisco IBSG Retail Director Edward Westenberg recently published a paper on the impact of consumer mobility and what retailers should do to respond to the trend.

Peggy Casey, Cisco retail industry manager sat down with Edward to discuss his latest research and four areas of mobility that retailers should address:

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Orchestration Services: Music to Retailers’ Ears

September 26, 2012 at 9:40 am PST

It’s more difficult than ever for retailers to stand out from their competition. The reason: Internet-based transparency, next-day supply chains, rapid product replication, and low barriers to market entry are rapidly increasing commoditization and driving down per-unit revenues across the retail industry.

As a result, margins tighten, private-label products proliferate, brand loyalty withers, and, inevitably, industry sectors go through a process of brand consolidation. And while consumer electronics (CE) retailers are currently in the “commoditization crosshairs,” almost all retail segments have gone through the process of brand consolidation.

To help retailers overcome these challenges, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted research to study the strategic options available to CE retailers.

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Physical Security Mirrors the Evolution of IP Telephony

Analysts estimate that by 2013, more than 50 percent of all video surveillance deployments will be managed by IT on the IP network in order to support the coming deluge of bandwidth-heavy video data.

Similar to the evolution of telephony, physical security is becoming an IP-based solution to optimize scalability and reduce complexity and costs.

To support this evolution, Cisco has announced Video Surveillance Manager 7.0, the industry’s first solution built from the ground-up and certified to run in virtualized computing environments, making it possible for customers in healthcare, public sector and retail to move beyond traditional basic safety and security surveillance deployments and use video to transform the way they run their businesses through hyper-scalability and ease of configuration.

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Appealing to the Omnichannel Generation – Catching mobile shoppers anytime, anywhere

Today’s consumers are technology enabled, capable of shopping any time, any location and geographically mobile.  Catching and keeping these shoppers are not easy tasks for brick and mortar or e-Commerce retailers today.

What are some innovative ways the retail industry is adjusting to the needs of shoppers today?

Online Commerce with Pop-Up Stores and Personalized Products

 

This was the scene in San Francisco this week where IndoChino, a menswear provider and tailor company, set up a one week temporary location on the busy Market Street.  Integrating made to measure tailoring, traveling locations and online storefront, this allows customers to get measured for custom suits on site and products delivered to home.

Future orders for personalized products can be placed online including shirts and accessories.  The result combines the scaling of mass production with personalized products, online customer service and only one on site visit in pop up store locations.

Retailing on Wheels -- Going to where the shoppers are

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