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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

As I’ve mentioned in more than one post, I enjoy touring Data Centers.  One detail I pay attention to during these visits is signage.

Are patch panels and structured cabling labeled, so it’s easy to trace connections between devices? Is electrical circuit information provided at each cabinet location, so power feeds can be quickly identified? Do alarms (fire and otherwise) have instructions nearby, telling visitors what their various audio tones and light patterns mean? 

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Why Your In-Store Web, Mobile, and Video Experiences Matter

The lines between offline and online experiences are blurring. Customers no longer go online, they are online 24/7, and that includes inside your stores. In fact according to recent Google research, 89% of smartphone users leverage their smartphones while shopping in stores. And close to 70% of those used it to look at the retailer’s site and 21% look at apps.

Furthermore, according to Laura Wade-Gery, executive director of Multi-channel eCommerce for Marks & Spencer, “Shoppers who shop on our website as well as in our stores spend four times as much; throw smartphones into the mix and they spend eight times as much.” Enabling web, mobile, and video experiences in the store represents a huge opportunity – whether it is interactive, connected digital signage; Wi-Fi; employee-focused endless aisle apps; and so on.

Yet the majority of our customers face the reality that digital innovation is overwhelming their enterprise network. Everything from web apps, HD video, software updates, mobile apps, and even digital signage are traversing the network eating up valuable bandwidth. In addition, most retailers subscribe to doing more with less – particularly when it comes to IT – so upgrading enterprise network bandwidth across every store every few years is often just not viable, both from a budget and agility perspective. That is not to mention that a lot of Cisco customers can’t upgrade their bandwidth due to store location even if they wanted to.


But bandwidth constrained enterprise networks are only one side of the story. Latency is the other, whether caused by distance or amplified by enterprise network architectures such as backhauling Internet traffic over the WAN through the datacenter and out to the Internet. Currently, the vast majority of retailers use this network topology for store Internet access.


And as we all know, high latency is particularly detrimental to web application performance.


Just look at the difference in latency and bandwidth between in-store and residential Wi-Fi. In fact, latency for in-store Wi-Fi is higher than latency for LTE.


The bottom line is that congested, high-latency, low bandwidth enterprise networks result in slow HTTP applications, video, and software updates.


And we all know that video or apps that are slow or not working properly are bad for business. There has been plenty of research highlighting the fact that as web apps get slower, conversion rates decrease, abandonment rates increase, and employee productivity plummets.


In other words, slow apps – whether inside or outside the store – equals unhappy customers and unproductive employees. The answer to this problem? Retailers need to focus on accelerating HTTP/S applications, video and software updates while maximizing enterprise network bandwidth to ensure fast, high-quality experiences to all of your end users.

To learn more, be sure to register to join us on June 16 for a free one-hour webcast.

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Join us in London for Screenmedia Expo 2012!

Screenmedia Expo is your chance to find out how to create compelling new signage experiences that drive business value.

Come visit us at Gallery Level – Room 1 to learn more about Cisco Digital Signage, a complete platform for interactive experiences in place. See first-hand the latest innovations and hear examples of how other organizations around the world are deploying video to revolutionize their business processes and communications.

Join us for breakfast and lunch on May 16th and 17th and hear Cisco executives discuss trends in the market.

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Not Your Mother’s Signage! DSE 2012 Recap

Digital Signage Expo (DSE) was full of energy this year and the continued expansion of the digital signage market was clearly evident. I’ve watched the digital signage industry evolve over the past five years from static content on traditional screens to customized, rich media content on a multitude of connected devices. At this year’s DSE the continued innovation and excitement was undeniable. The exhibit hall floor was packed with attendees who were eager to learn about the advancements in the technology and the industry as well as how to get the most out of their digital signage deployments. Throughout the EXPO floor, speaking sessions, and events the buzz was around interactive and engaging signage.

Cisco announced new digital signage innovations, delivered through the Cisco® Interactive Services solution set, that provide enhanced interactive capabilities through video, Web applications and touchscreen digital signs. Cisco also announced new customers that showcase the continued expansion of the digital signage market, including the Canadian city of Edmonton and parx casino® in Pennsylvania. In addition, Cisco received four Apex Awards, handed out by the Digital Signage Federation recognizing innovation and excellence in the digital signage industry. For more insight from the show floor, check out this video of Erica Schroeder, Director of Marketing for Enterprise Video at Cisco.

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Cisco Digital Signage at DSE 2012: The Power of Engagement

We are just days away from the world’s largest international trade show dedicated to digital signage, interactive technology, and Out-of-Home networks. The Digital Signage Expo (DSE) show is being held in Las Vegas from March 6th – 9th and with the rapid evolution of the digital signage market, I am very excited to attend this year’s show.

Come visit Cisco in booth 1011 and see first-hand the latest innovations from Cisco and its ecosystem partners. From video walls, to live streaming on a digital sign, to engaging interactivity see how Cisco Digital Signage Solutions bring new and innovative experiences to life. While you are at the booth, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win an iPhone 4S! Read More »

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