Most of us have the ability to work in different places these days. I am personally very mobile. I love all my little tools -- I carry my Air, iPad and iPhone plus a few other bits whereever I go. Now, just because I can work anywhere does not mean that I always like to. Depends on what I need to get done. My home office space is my ideal working environment. This is the one spot I have invested the most time in making comfortable for me and as such, this is where I do my best work. For you, it may be your office at work.
I had never given much thought to why I like this space the most..it seems obvious…but one item that makes this spot ideal: my desk phone.
My desk phone is large, reliable and comfortable. It has an easy interface, great speakerphone and a good headset always attached. This communication device, sitting right next to my iMac, makes communication rich and easy. When I sit here -- I can get anything done. Anything.
So as silly as it seemed when I first heard it, the idea that Cisco was investing in the deskphone, now makes sense. Mobile phones, tablets..these are all obvious, well worn markets with lots of people fighting for a toe-hold. The desk phone? How delightfully contrarian. Cisco is really good in the business space..selling to consumers…not so much. But the enteprise…at all levels…have very unique needs.
Cisco’s move with the DX650 is brave, and based on what I have seen…really smart.
When you start pulling back the covers and realize how much is going on behind the scenes…It is both amazing and scary. Its a connected world. No doubt about that. Whether you are connecting through apps or a browser..or you don’t know, don’t care…there is a lot happening on our behalf.
I first struggled to understand exactly what problem we were solving here. At the risk of oversimplifying, the number one benefit to this communication standard: No More Plug-Ins. Those pesky little programs we have to update and run, just to get what is increasinlgy normal things done, when online. These plugins can be useful but they vary widely and are each proprietary to the vendor who developed them.
WebRTC, as part of HTML 5 is very close to getting us past this (and many other) hurdles. In development for years now, but making its presence known in 2013. Its worth understanding.
This is a standard that, instead of coming from the video codec and resolution world, is coming from the web world. The definition is being drafted by the World Wide Web Consortium and the IETF…two big and important standards bodies that have a lot to get right here, together. Its not a standard yet -- but this has not stopped it from being implemented already in several browsers.
WebRTC: Cullen Jennings talks with TechWiseTV
WebRTC: Demo from Paul O’Dwyer
WebRTC: Jimmy Ray Whiteboards the Meat and Taters
Watch this Space
This is a foundational change with big, positive disruption that will re-shape a lot of interactions we have today. WebRTC is a way of turning every browser, every app, into a HD quality video endpoint. This may first be evident in the browser, but don’t limit your thinking. Most of the quick app development we have seen these days is due to web-based back ends that are simply hidden from our view.
If you want to dive deeper. Here are some of the resources I found most useful when prepping for these shows we did.
Cullen Jennings explains WebRTC in a long but fantastically good and complete manner. I wish the audio were a bit cleaner here (Happy to help re-record for you in our studio Cullen!) but the value of the content over-rides these issues.
El Reg does a nice job laying out a high level explanation of WebRTC and explaining why this will be a market disruptor.
I like how Alan Quayle has broken this down in no jitter as it gives us a view from the communications perspective. There are respectiable hurdles here and this will round out your understanding.
A couple of other sites had great detail and may be good for some ongoing coverage if interested. Check out
From anExperts in Residence: Podcast from the early days I interviewed Cullen Jennings on the subject of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). We actually could not get the timing to work…so we had the team record him…then I went back and laid in my questions…so it sounds very stiff (on my part) as I listen back to it.
Hope you enjoyed and learned a few things. I know I have.
Nothing should be sacrified at the altar of virtualization
Embedded communications that embrace more than just voice are a great start. But as you can see, add in the creature comforts we expect such as normal sized handsets, keypads or caller ID notification….this all helps us forget that amazing technology going on the backside…lets us focus on the communication.
Behind the Storylines
Our spotlight series continues to morph a bit and try to find its sea legs. We are still going to change a few of story-telling methods in this series going forward…but a couple of fun things we did here that I hope are appreciated. The show is embedded at the bottom of this post so you can watch it..but first, a few notes on what we did here.
We started to make fun of ‘scenarios.’ One of the hardest things about cost-effective corporate video is finding unique visuals. Even the little we did in this episode took an extra day…and that is nothing when it comes to most productions. What we did a little different here, was to create the ‘office scenario’ to help get our point across..but instead of using actors and falling prey to the easy cheese that usually develops here..we tried just doing it ourselves and then ‘breaking the 4th wall’ every so often to explain a point to the audience. Our hope is that we remain educational and a little bit fun. We should never be taken too seriously…but you won’t mistake us for actors anytime soon.
We used a real whiteboard. Most video pro’s (including our own Producer Steve Ewertz) hate whiteboards. I agree with them from a TV perspective. They are really hard to light without getting hot spots/glares, everyone looks washed out in front of them…and the contrast when people write is just not that great. But as a Cisco guy, I love whiteboards. I love how much better every engineer can communicate when they have a pen in their hand. So Steve agreed to let us do this one with Jimmy Ray explaining the ‘tech behind the tech’ and I think with the two cameras and two lights we used…this scene came out great. Plus, I think it feels natural.
My two favorite days for a Vegas conference: arriving and leaving. Everything in between is a foot numbing, sleepless blur. But we had a great time! It was cool to be on stage hanging with our Cisco friends and getting to re-unite with old competitors, many of which are former peers.
We did not have as many videos as usual for a trip like this since we were doing the ‘stand and deliver’ thing. The topics were good however.
Jacob Rapp on Unified Access trends in the Data Center
Mark Royle catching us up on Unified Call Control
Bill and Ziad: Global Security Intelligence
This was a two-fer that Jimmy Ray and I tag teamed…I feel the urge to call it ‘Unified’ something just to complete my corporate marketing bingo card….but I did giggle a bit knowing that we stood in front of the ‘MOC SOC’ (Mock Security Operations Center). I am not even sure why I find that funny.
Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.
Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.
It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.
Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.
All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.
Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless
Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:
Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.
Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt purposeful..as in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.
Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.
If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.