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Delivering Winning Customer Experiences with SDN and NFV

Service Providers Poised to Disrupt the VPN Market

Clouds are rolling into our lives and our economy more and more each day giving us full control. My kids were streaming a movie to their iPad in the backseat of our minivan, as we drove from Atlanta to Disney World last week. Many of the resources I use daily in the office are actually in the cloud rather than a Cisco data center now. According to Cisco’s GCI (Global Cloud Index), by 2019, 55% (more than 2 billion users) of the consumer Internet population will use personal cloud storage up from 42% (1.1 billion users) in 2014. To facilitate this trend, standard bodies like ETSI have been hard at work defining the architecture for network function virtualization (NFV) that will enable service providers to seamlessly deliver communications and other IT services from their own clouds.


Combining NFV with software-defined networking (SDN) should make service providers more agile. They can react to market and customer needs more quickly. That may mean rapidly releasing an updated service with new options, or it may mean designing, testing, and introducing a new service. The services based on Read More »

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What You Can Do In Ten Minutes

The pace of change around us is no longer constant. It is continually accelerating. We all want to get and consume information, services, and just about anything instantly. My new coffeemaker brews me a fresh cup in just a couple of minutes, but it usually takes me ten minutes just to collect up the tools I need to prepare to start a home improvement project, and more than that to travel and get what I need from the local hardware store. And let’s not forget how long commute times are for most of us — much longer than just 10 minutes.

Family Vacation

So, just how fast can we get new networking services up and running and customize them for our businesses.   Imagine if we could easily and securely order the network services we want online in minutes. Imagine too if you could select them from an online marketplace and personalize them just like ordering your favourite late evening food cravings with just an emoji or on-line tweet. Imagine no more, with this video.

Cisco Virtual Managed Services is Read More »

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Get Yours Now! Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services Solution

Lots of excitement and energy continue to surround NFV (Network Function Virtualization), and it is getting even better. During the charged atmosphere at the inaugural NFV Congress in San Jose, we were delighted by more than just technology posturing, including the availability of SDN (Software Defined Networking)/NFV platforms like Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services Solution that enable Deutsches Telekom’s International CloudVPN, and Telstra’s Symphony initiative for Unified On-Demand services.


The focus of the discussions this year shifted from cost cutting towards how NFV Read More »

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Getting Value from Professional Organizations

As a Cisco team member, I’m convinced that the value of professional organizations cannot be understated. It’s understood that employees across various industries have a lot on their plate these days. Data centers, SDN’s or large solutions that help a manufacturing plant to become more “connected” are more than enough projects to keep us busy. However, employees often forget the value of professional organizations that are relevant within each industry. Whether an employee belongs to a professional organization or not, employees must realize the value that these organizations have: professional credibility, influence messaging on a ground level and increasing visibility for Cisco are some of the most important aspects that being involved with professional organizations can bring about.

Professional Credibility

Professional organizations are a place where I can network, learn and help deliver Cisco messaging as well as educate, engage and contact customers through community involvement.  When I first joined Cisco 15 years ago, I regularly attended and presented at monthly users group meetings, but over the years, Cisco’s participation at these meetings has waned and appears to be trending down. Often, I think we take for granted the value of professional organizations, but they provide a standard for professional credibility and give Cisco a broader visibility. As a member of an industry professional organization, specifically the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), I get tremendous value through education and networking.  I know my colleague Rick Geiger, who is on the Gridwise Alliance Board of Directors, would agree. At the local and state level, large impacts are possible as professional association members are able to drive professional credibility, influence agendas and position topics to society members who work or interact with our customer base.

For example, several months ago I received a monthly newsletter promoting a seminar on Software Defined Networking (SDN). One line stated “Software Defined Networking has got Cisco shaking in their boots because it just might completely transform what types of equipment are needed to build a network.  Do I have your attention now?”  Needless to say, I registered and attended – member discount to boot.

Education of members was the primary purpose of the seminar, meaning attendees expected the delivery of neutral, fair and technically accurate presentation on the future of software defined networks.  As I saw it, the presentation on SDN was focused on a Google approach to SDN architecture for data centers, and included a good amount of Cisco bashing. Nonetheless, the seminar provided an opportunity to influence the messaging at ground level and the topics discussed seemed to be informative and beneficial for all those in attendance.

Influence Messaging and Topics at Ground Level

Understanding the messaging and positioning of the local technical mavens presents a golden opportunity to counter and influence at street level. The bottom line, secure all forums to get Cisco’s messaging to our end users.  The IEEE meeting provided a good opportunity to secure a date and timeslot to present Cisco’s SDN and Application-Centric Infrastructure strategies as well as an opportunity to counter any negative perception the audience picked.  As Mike Robinson, Practice Architect states:

“As a member of UTC’s Smart Network Council, I get to collaborate with leading utilities in the United States who are dealing with the industry’s pressing issues. This is hugely valuable. It offers a direct path to decision makers, a seat at the table as they develop their strategies, and it builds trust as a colleague (as opposed to coming across just as a vendor). Also, through UTC I get the opportunity to speak at conventions, periodic forums, and regional meetings.”

Broader Visibility for Cisco

Cisco will also have an opportunity to drive thought leadership to influencers – Mavens and Sales specialists who will attend the upcoming session I secured. Account managers, engineers and other members of the sales team should make it a priority to get engaged with professional organizations, user groups and other community influencers.

Read More »

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The Rise of the “Supertasker”: Our Next-Generation Workforce

We are living in the age of the “supertasker.” At Cisco Live Cancun last week, I polled our audience and asked, “How many devices are you connected to at this moment?” The majority of the audience held three or four. However, some still had their hands up at five and six devices. Supertaskers are emerging as the next-generation workforce, integrating several new devices to increase their productivity—and they will not be the minority for long.

As the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to evolve, we see increased momentum towards connecting the unconnected. The Fitbit, for example, reminds us that we need to achieve our daily step goal while maintaining our work-life balance. As more organizations digitize their business, we expect 50 billion objects to be connected to the Internet by 2020—and more and more of these devices will integrate into our ever-changing work lives. Read More »

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