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Putting Your Tablet to Work with AT&T and the Cisco Cius

Cisco Cius2011 is shaping up to be the year of the tablet. As seen by overwhelming consumer demand, the trend that started in 2010 continues to rapidly gain momentum.  More and more people see value in the advanced video and collaboration capabilities combined with the mobility that tablets offer.

Within the enterprise, mobile tablets are positioned to be a critical part of a company’s suite of collaboration and communications tools.  Organizations can leverage the unified communications and collaboration capabilities of the tablet to enhance productivity for an increasingly mobile workforce.  Cisco saw the power of this tool and responded with the release of the first mobile tablet made specifically for businesses, the Cisco Cius™.

Today, May 11, AT&T announced plans to offer the Cisco Cius to its business customers, and Cisco expects the Cius to be available for AT&T’s HSPA+ network in the fall of 2011. The purpose-built Cius delivers virtual desktop integration with anywhere, anytime access to the full range of Cisco collaboration and communication applications, including full interoperability with Cisco TelePresence®. The Cius will move easily between wired connectivity to Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks, including AT&T’s HSPA+ network.

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The 3 C’s of Mobile Collaboration—And Why You Need Them

The latest smartphones and tablets are redefining what it means to take your office on the road, and they’re making collaboration a whole lot easier. Since more than a third of the global workforce will be mobile information workers by 2012, major advances are coming at the right time (and Cisco is a leading innovator).

In the video below, I discuss the 3 C’s of mobile collaboration:  communication, collaboration, and compute. Learn how Cisco is enabling collaboration on all the leading mobile platforms, while going further to equip the Cisco Cius with native integration capabilities that offer a seamless, hassle-free experience.

So why does mobile collaboration matter for your organization?

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Transforming Business Processes with Business Tablets like the Cisco Cius

When I meet with customers, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is what makes a tablet suitable for enterprise use. It’s a great question. I then share my thoughts – and they in turn provide theirs.

The timing’s right to consider this – at least when considering projections, such as from Deloitte, which are forecasting that 50% of computing devices in 2011 will NOT be PC’s – but will be tablets or smartphones. The landscape’s changing indeed.

So, for those of you considering a tablet solution to redefine how your employees go about their work, here are some key areas I’ll share that your colleagues are thinking about. That you may want to consider as you sort through the landscape of tablet options available to you to change your business processes:

  • How important is it that your tablet solution is fully integrated into your communications capabilities, such as voice and/or video interoperability, secure social messaging or offering full desktop computing?
  • Is corporate governance and compliance in your enterprise a factor? For example, are detailed call records, secure call recording with redundant backup systems key record keeping capabilities for your business, due to regulatory requirements?

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Choosing a Tablet for the Enterprise

Walking the floor of Enterprise Connect (formerly VoiceCon) today, one is immediately struck by the variety of tablets hitting the marketplace.  IT managers have a plethora of devices to choose from and it’s clear the tablet can become more than just another endpoint – it can become a tool for dramatically improving mobile productivity and employee engagement.

Based on what customers are telling us, here are a variety of points we feel are critical to consider as IT managers look to deploy tablets across the enterprise:

1.      Security, Security, Security: When deploying enterprise wide tablets, IT managers should consider how the device will provide business-grade security – including media encryption, device authentication, network security on both wired and wireless networks, and VPN connectivity.

2.      Extension of Collaboration Architecture: Users should be able to easily and seamlessly take advantage of a variety of existing collaboration capabilities such as business-grade voice communications, conferencing in all forms, Instant Messaging (IM), presence, email, and virtual teaming from a single mobile device.

Choosing a tablet that fits enterprise needs

3.      Enterprise Administration & Management: IT administrators are keen on simplifying the administration and management of tablets by retaining a common dialing plan, ensuring interoperability with other user devices, and bulk provisioning for scalable deployments. IT managers should also have the choice, by user, to grant (or deny) permissions to download applications from various marketplaces based on existing security and provisioning policies.

4.      Interoperable Video Communications: Our enterprise customers require a tablet solution that not only natively supports mobile video using a common dialing plan, but is also interoperable with existing multi-vendor video solutions and video standards such as H.264.

5.      Powerful Computing Capability: For business use, our customers think a tablet should have processing power that enables the consumption and sharing of data as well as the creation and editing of content – to deliver a full desktop experience.

6.      It’s In the Cloud: Desktop virtualization lets you flexibly and securely host software applications in the data center and use the network to deliver those applications as a service anytime and anywhere. Our customers are saying this virtualized environment should extend seamlessly to the device.

7.      Commitment to Open Source: Enterprise tablets that use open platforms, such as the Android OS, can tap into an expanding Android developer community for building business-class productivity applications and even allow customers to develop their own custom applications.

What would you add to this list and how do the needs of your enterprise compare? I look forward to seeing your suggestions in the comments below.

For more information about tablet choices and Cisco’s Cius, please visit here.

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Honeycomb: How Sweet It Is

February 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm PST

I have blogged before regarding tablets and their ability to enable rich virtual experiences. Of course a device is only as good as its’ operating system and software. I was talking tablets with a friend a while ago and asked their opinion on the Android operating system for tablets and got a frowny face response. Now this is someone I respect and believe knows a lot more about technology solutions than I, so I was a little surprised to say the least because I believe the Android operating system is going to revolutionize the tablet experience. Naturally I asked why and the response made a lot of sense, “Because Android wasn’t created with the tablet experience in mind and it shows.”

So needless to say I was abundantly pleased to see Google is addressing this head on, ala Android 3.0 or Honeycomb. At first read it does appear to be a ‘how sweet it is’ solution.

The first thing most people, who have had the ability to experience Honeycomb, note is that it is light years from the Android OS currently on smartphones. Some predict that Honeycomb may convert those folks who were turned off by Android previously and if you like Android all ready, Honeycomb should keep your sweet tooth engaged. According to JR Raphael a Computerworld blogger, “The potential for customization that Android power users love is still there. But for folks who are less technically-inclined — less geeky, if you will — things definitely feel less complicated.”

Personally I am excited by what Renderscript could mean for 3D and augmented reality break throughs…In a nutshell Renderscript is a new API that will enable high-performance 3D rendering as well as compute operations. Renderscript is device agnostic, meaning the scripts created via Renderscript are compiled to a machine code and are therefore made to be optimized based on the device the script is running on.

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