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Delivering True Interop – The Difference Between Standards and Interoperability

In today’s business world IT professionals have to manage multiple collaboration applications in order to support an increasingly mobile workforce, flexible desktop solutions as well as collaboration and video rooms within their organizations. The collaboration environment is multi-endpoint and multi-vendor and reaches beyond enterprise boundaries -- both B2B and B2C.

Compounding this IT challenge is the maturity of the collaboration market.  To date, companies have typically made significant investments and want to protect these investments as they move forward.  In particular, companies want to protect the quality of experience as they move to integrate across department, company and consumer boundaries, and as they look to expand their deployments.  This challenge grows more acute as the market rapidly evolves towards innovations such as H.265 and WebRTC.

Companies are looking for true interoperability with a seamless user experience that:

-         Allows them to benefit from new innovations

-         Interoperates with existing and future investments

-         And, works across company boundaries and functions in a diverse environment

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Fibre Channel Standards, Speeds and Feeds, and Generation “X”

March 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm PST

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I’ve been somewhat amused by Brocade’s recent “Gen 5″ Fibre Channel campaign. After all, the idea that “we’re going to simply call 16G Fibre Channel something other than 16G Fibre Channel and pretend that people will not figure out that it’s really just 16G Fibre Channel” is, well, amusing!

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Who Cares About The Network When Collaborating?

You are probably thinking that the title of this blog seems a little bizarre given that I work at one of the largest networking companies in the world.  The truth is I felt compelled to write about the role of the network in today’s collaboration solutions because the importance of the network is not always apparent and well understood.

A good example of how network-enabled collaboration solutions can be used is that of a hospital or healthcare organization.  The hospital is only as good as its network of services, providers and the accompanying medical infrastructure that support the organization —  they all leverage each other in various different ways.  Physicians can take advantage of mind share and resources and have information at hand from different sources to make the right decisions.  This is what enables doctors and nurses to perform their best work and provide top quality care to the people they serve.

Collaboration technologies and solutions make that collaborative work environment a reality and aid in the diagnosis and care of patients — in some cases even being able to remotely provide medical care by a specialist that may be located half way around the world. The importance of the underlying network in this instance is critical to both physicians and patients alike.  How would the network have any effect on the use of interactive video in telemedicine? Well, let’s think of it from the experience point of view. What would the consequences be for a patient if the video stream they were using in a telemedicine consult was choppy or grainy and the doctor couldn’t get just the right view of the patient to make the right diagnosis?  Let’s just say I would not want to be the patient in this scenario.  A sub-par experience would be unacceptable because even minor details can have an enormous impact on a diagnosis or treatment plan. These collaborative exchanges are what ultimately give the patient the best experience and outcome possible for their individual treatment. A strong network foundation is critical to the delivery of the service and experience in this instance.

Collaboration technologies gaining significant traction in the enterprise today include streaming video, web conferencing and other forms of interactive and dynamic communications — known as rich media.  The reason for the uptick in their use is that they offer the most life like, “in-person” collaboration experiences possible today.  That is what people want and what ultimately drives them to be more engaged with one another.  As described above, the network is critical to the delivery of these types of media.   Not just any network architecture will suffice.  A network-based architecture optimized for rich media such as Cisco (medianet) provides the intelligent services needed in order to scale, optimize and enhance the performance of voice, video and data – all critical to the delivery of the collaboration experience.

What does this mean?  Read More »

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Cisco Gets a Gold Star for Tech-Policy and Standards Leadership

Innovation is often defined as novel technological invention. What is far less known about successful innovation efforts is that it takes a special breed of individual who possesses the rare combination of technical depth and sharp diplomatic skills. To be a successful innovator, one must be able to maneuver through political mine fields inherent with industry level leadership and standards bodies.

Cisco is fortunate to have such individuals who work in our Government Affairs, Compliance, SP Standards and Corporate Consulting Engineering teams and it makes the company a very formidable entity.

Our preparation for the ITU-T CTO meeting, the Global Standards Symposium and the World Telecommunications Standards Assembly, all held in Dubai this November, provide very recent and tangible examples of how Cisco is succeeding in this multi-dimensional world.

It is in such meetings that Read More »

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Deciding Upon a Collaboration Solution: Do Open Standards Still Matter?

While I was participating in a web conference from my home office, I started thinking about how much and how fast things have changed in the last decade around communications and how we use collaboration tools in the office, at home and on the road and most importantly the number of devices available to me so I CAN collaborate over distance.

One thing that stays constant in this industry is change, especially when it comes to devices. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see if you can remember any of these once “have to have” mobile devices. The Nokia 9000, The Motorola “Flip phone” and The “Razor”, Palm Pilot, dare I say the Blackberry and of course at the start of 2007 the IPhone came on to the market — and we all know how that is playing out — this being a rarity. More recently, Samsung is challenging Apple with the Galaxy and DROID OS is becoming more prevalent than IOS. Last I checked, there was an estimated 1.3 million Read More »

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