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Spark a Revolution

Today’s companies must evolve or face extinction. If they stand still, they’ll die. Pretty dramatic, I know, but that’s the reality. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies will no longer be around in 10 years[1].

Companies in every industry know they need to move faster and innovate quickly to survive. But transforming traditional businesses into flexible, responsive, flat organizations built for speed is not easy. In fact, it’s massively challenging. But it’s this movement that will take us into the future.

Not everyone in the business world has adopted the concept of an “agile business,” but I am a believer. The move to agile has already begun. Even if some don’t get it, the people on the frontlines have already switched gears – the concept of agile was started by software developers, the people building the products and doing the work. Fourteen years later, agile may be the key to survival for businesses desperate to modernize their organizations in a digital era.

Look at the collaboration tools most people are using at work. They were built for businesses operating in a predictable world – a world of the past. Email, phones literally tied to your desk, and audio-only conferences worked well for yesterday’s business. But now, email is overloaded, the mobile is just as important as the desk phone, and audio-only conferences deliver a frustrating experience for everybody. Clearly we need something new. There isa whole host of tools that have entered the market to meet this growing demand for better collaboration experiences.

Today I am announcing how Cisco Spark, our team collaboration service launched as Project Squared in November, is changing the way companies get their work done. Read More »

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We’re Happy to Oblige

My biggest take-away from today’s set of announcements? Customers just cannot get enough of Cisco video collaboration products.

Our new Cisco TelePresence MX800 Dual, for example, was not a planned product. But after experiencing the vast, single 70-inch screen of the original MX800 (now called MX800 Single), customers told us they wanted more of that great experience. They wanted a dual-screen version. And enough of them said it that we had to oblige; hence, the MX800 Dual with two expansive 70-inch screens to show video and content equally and brilliantly.

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And not just dual screens, but dual cameras. What was once an option is now standard. The MX800 Dual is only available with the dual-camera, speaker-tracking system, because here again customers spoke. For the type of large rooms where the MX800 Dual is useful, dual cameras are required for the best visual experience. A single camera would only capture the full view of the room and participants would appear relatively small within it. Dual cameras bring the active speaker(s) full screen, basically giving everyone a front row seat and giving the meeting greater focus.

The MX800 Dual also comes to market with a few other notable enhancements that are enabled by the new Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 platform for Cisco room-based video systems. We are transitioning to this new software platform from what you may recall as the TC platform with TC 7.3 as the last release. The TC platform served us well for a long time, but the hardware that supported it was running out of processing power. We were forced to move to a new platform in order to continue to bring you the innovative features that you’ve come to expect from Cisco.

And innovate we did. Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 introduces these key new features: Read More »

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An Impromptu Meeting With A TechWomen Delegation

Not to long ago I was at the Cisco Executive Briefing Center (EBC) presenting to a customer with a co-worker of mine named Bob. It’s not uncommon for us to present together and I enjoy the dual role of going back and forth as I think it makes for a much better experience with customers combining the story of collaboration with real world examples of video. This EBC presentation was the last of the day and on our way out we came across a group of women by the fishbowl. The fishbowl (so aptly named) is a large, round room with glass walls that houses the demonstrations.

We stopped to chat and came to learn that this was a delegation of women working in IT as part of the TechWomen (http://www.techwomen.org) program. TechWomen is a professional mentorship and exchange program developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. We spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about the program, where everybody was from, and what their interests were in the area of technology.
10742711_309583925916595_1369717274_o Read More »

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Use Video to Make Internal Communications Count

blog image Patty Post 12_15_14As I am sitting in heavy traffic on the way home from work, my finger tips tapping impatiently on the steering wheel, my mind wandering… I suddenly think of the Chinese program that I am so glad to have recorded on TV. Without this convenience, I would have missed it.

I can’t help but reflect on how big the opportunity is for companies to deliver information via pre-recorded, on-demand, interactive video.

Just recently, I was talking to my colleagues about how different time zones often make it difficult to attend conferences live. Thankfully, we can access the recordings. These can save so much time and let us catch up with the topics that matter most to us.

One of my colleagues also pointed out how valuable the leadership briefings are to keep employees informed. Although we’re based in the UK and Cisco headquarters are in California, we do like to get regular updates and feel involved. She said that she watches the meetings on demand from her laptop or on her iPad while travelling.

If only more companies made more of their communications available in this way… Read More »

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Expressway: The Invisibility Cloak for Mobile & Remote Users

Improving workforce productivity is about more than telling employees to work harder, do more, and think faster. It’s about giving them the right resources and removing barriers so that they can do more.  One way Cisco is helping organizations improve productivity is by making our technology invisible to users.  We’re designing our products to be so intuitive that the complexity of the technology fades away and simply lets the end-users do what they need to do.  No training, no extra buttons to push, no fancy set ups, and no need to involve IT.   It’s a journey, but we are making progress.  A great example of this progress is Cisco Expressway, our advanced collaboration gateway.  It is the “invisibility cloak” for a variety of use cases including for mobile and remote workers.

Unknown to remote and mobile Cisco Jabber users, Cisco Expressway is behind the scenes doing the work to make their experiences secure and easy.  Employees simply log into Jabber and begin collaborating on their device of choice no matter where they are.  It’s Expressway’s firewall traversal technology working in the background that hides (eliminates) the need for the user to fire up a VPN. And with Expressway x8.5’s new single sign-on capabilities, employees do not need their user name and password every time they want to access a different application on Jabber.  It just works.

Similarly, Expressway is helping teleworkers by enabling VPN-less access for Cisco endpoints including Read More »

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