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“Clear and Differentiated” Video Wins the Day    

MQ for group video systemsSometimes when the essence of something is so eloquently captured, there’s no need to say it any differently. That’s how I felt when I read Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems report. In it, we feel Gartner confirms Cisco’s position as an established leader in the group video systems market who offers “a clear and differentiated set of devices, with form factors now available for virtually any meeting space.”

I have a theory on how we achieved a “clear and differentiated” product set – by finding the sweet spot between feature innovation, beautiful design, ease of use and deployment, and cost effectiveness. Concurrently, we’ve enhanced our infrastructure to make multiparty conferencing easier and more affordable. And we’re continuing our work to enable video interoperability in the cloud, especially with Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms. These are the hallmarks of our current portfolio and instrumental in our ability to gain market traction in large-scale deployments.

But beyond strengthening our own competitive position, I believe our strategy – bringing to market video solutions at the right quality and value – helped to encourage video adoption and growth for the industry overall. As we reported last quarter (FYQ3), we saw a 60 percent year-over-year unit growth. This is in share gained and also market expansion. That’s great news for Cisco, but it also serves as a good bellwether for the video market as a whole. The appetite for visual communications is clearly growing, and that’s good news for everyone.

What we’re seeing in Gartner’s most recent report has also been validated to me over the past 18 months since we’ve refreshed our entire video endpoint portfolio. Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the design, capabilities and direction of our product portfolio. So, between these two points of validation, it feels really good to know we’re delivering products that are having a positive impact on the market.

Let me know how our video products have positively impacted your work life – especially in clear and differentiated ways.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Bringing Our “A” Game: Cisco Again Recognized as a UC&C Industry Leader by IDC

I’ve noticed that many business clichés have been invading my language. I’ve been trying to be proactive in curbing the habit. Needless to say, it’s not working. So instead of trying to cut back, at the end of the day I’ve decided to push the envelope and give 110% to using as many as possible in this post. My hope is that this moves the needle in creating my own behavioral paradigm shift. 

Has it become cliché to be the “industry leader”? As an industry, we (marketing professionals) overuse the term “industry leading” to the point where it has probably become a rubber stamp. But I think it’s acceptable when credible independent sources do in fact recognize you as an industry leader.

To that end, IDC recently did just that. IDC named Cisco as a leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Unified Communications and Collaboration 2015 Vendor Assessment — for the second time in as many iterations of that report.

It’s important to understand that this kind of analysis is a moving target based on a constantly evolving view of the market. It requires us to open the Read More »

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In Search of a Good Popsicle Story

FullSizeRender copyMy grandmother, now eight years passed, used to tell the best stories about Vietnam. I remember one about my grandfather who wooed her with a popsicle on one of his early visits. In the incessant heat of a mid-1940s Hanoi summer, this was a feat of magnificent proportions.

But it would be rude to eat it in front of him, she thought. So she set the popsicle aside on a plate to save until after he leaves. When later she went to retrieve it, she would only find a small puddle and stick where her popsicle once was. Through tears, she chastised her siblings for coveting the gift from her beloved. Then someone explained the power of refrigeration to her, and that sealed the deal. She decided my grandfather was a man of the world and would make a suitable husband.

Ah, in the middle of Silicon Valley, there’s no greater love story than one aided by technology. So, I racked my brain to extract a good one for the amusement of my future grandchildren. Could the power of video collaboration be as heart wrenching as the power of refrigeration? Read More »

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Kick-off: A Blog Series about Public Safety and Security for Government Agencies

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is changing the game for public safety. Through connected smart technologies, public safety agencies can continue to drive the needle forward as they serve their growing populations even as budgets remain constrained. Today’s deputies and officers are accustomed to a mobile world and expect these technologies to be commonplace on the job to improve situational awareness for law enforcement and first responders.

First responders pioneered robust and reliable communications. Police and fire radio systems remain workhorses of the professions. But IoE promises new levels of connectivity for personnel in the field, synthesizing real-time data for swift situational awareness. Through the variety of Cisco collaboration and wireless solutions, public safety agencies can provide first responders with real-time information to improve their situational awareness and on-location effectiveness.

Smart technologies are a force multiplier for public safety agencies and unlock the power of collaboration to improve the safety of communities. Improved practices can knock down barriers in agencies and prevent wasted funds and man-hours. For example, Cisco Connected Justice allows courts, correctional leaders and other key decision makers to perform their duties regardless of location to improve the speed and safety of the courts process. Also, consider the transport of inmates from jails to courtrooms. With every hearing, there is a lengthy and expensive checklist of costs to get the inmate to and from the hearing safely and efficiently. Using on-site TelePresence, courtroom proceedings can be conducted on-site directly with inmates – vastly reducing flight risk and enhancing safety.

Today kicks off a series of blogs that will lead up to this year’s IACP Annual Conference in October where attendees will explore the powerful advantages smart technologies provide law enforcement agencies. Over the next few months, my colleagues and I will share stories about how agencies are improving the safety of communities, saving time, reallocating resources and cutting costs by using Cisco technologies. The next blog will feature the city of McAllen, TX where law enforcement is using Cisco TelePresence in its warrant process to accelerate the investigation process within the department and provide immediate access to judges with video adjudication moving forward.

Last month, I participated in a Public Safety panel to discuss how local government and law enforcement are using Cisco technologies to address the scope of environmental challenges sheriffs face. Explore insights from the panel here. You can also go to our website to learn more about Cisco’s solutions for public safety agencies. To learn more about Connected Justice from the users’ perspective, keep an eye out for Judge Patterson’s upcoming blog series this month that will explore technology in the courtroom. There is a lot happening around public safety and security. I look forward to continuing to share insights and agency success stories as we continue to adopt and evolve with new technologies.

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Overcoming Cancer in a Connected World

My Story: Beth Carter from LCPS-TV on Vimeo.

Growing up, we all had a favorite teacher. It may have been an impassioned English teacher keen on Shakespeare and Tolkien or perhaps a Science teacher with an over-the-top flair for dramatic experiments. As teachers, they inspired and challenged us. As memories, they continue to travel with us throughout life, still often influencing our behavior. For me that memory is Mr. Meredith, of AP English. His passion for teaching helped shape my own approach as an English teacher years later and continues to live on, transferred to my former students who now teach others.

Beth Carter, of Seneca Ridge Middle School in Loudoun County, Virginia, is that kind of teacher. Diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2014, Beth faced the real fear of infection from others and had to reduce contact with the outside world. But keeping a dedicated teacher from teaching is like keeping the sun out of the sky, an impossible task. Driven by her passion for teaching, and with a little help from Cisco, she soon found a way to keep doing what she does best – empowering others.

Beth’s husband, Gregg, is one of our Systems Engineers at Cisco. He decided to reach out to co-workers for help. Their diagnosis was to provide connectivity to enable Beth to teach her students from the comfort of her home. Cisco gladly provided a TelePresence EX90 system for use in her house, and a TelePresence SX20 Quick Set (hooked to a Promethean Board) for her classroom. The system streamlines her desktop at home so she can move fluidly from individual work, to video calls, to problem solving over shared documents. This lets Beth talk to her students face-to-face in real-time to solve math problems. Best of all, Beth’s students are learning much more from her than just math. They are learning how to face their challenges head-on. “I am able to teach lessons to my students as if I was actually in the classroom,” she said. “You have no idea how important that is to me as a teacher to know that during my battle with breast cancer I can stay connected to my kids.”

While distance learning technologies excel at bringing us together, they can also have psychological benefits. As Beth’s situation shows, real-time video enabled learning can let homebound students and teachers be a productive part of any class; enjoying social interaction and increasing their sense of belonging to a community. I would have benefited greatly from that as a teenager when homebound, post appendicitis. During that time another teacher, Mr. Ridgely, traveled to visit me. That’s something I’ll never forget. But imagine if I could have joined his class for those two lonely weeks instead, learning from home using TelePresence? I might be a best-selling author today. For those who face long-term illness, video can be the lifeline that keeps them focused and buoys their spirits until they can physically return to school. Students in the classroom can also benefit by developing a greater sense of compassion and understanding for others and the life changing situations they face.

Thanks to Cisco’s TelePresence technologies, Beth is continuing to inspire adults around her while helping build a positive future for the youth of Loudoun County, Virginia. You can listen to Beth’s story in her own words at https://vimeo.com/129800501 and learn more about connectivity at Cisco Connected Learning.

To see how TelePresence can benefit your students and staff, check out:

TelePresence for K-12 Education

TelePresence for Higher Education

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