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Collaboration System Release 11.0: Experience, Simplicity, Ubiquity

When we talk to customers about collaboration and communication, we ask how they work today. Then we ask how they’d like to work in the future – and what tools and capabilities they want. Sometimes the things they want are simple, sometimes they’re more complex. But we take them all seriously – and we take them to our development teams to build into our product roadmap.

That’s what we did with Collaboration System Release 11. Customers consistently bring up three key needs, so that’s where you’ll find many of the benefits of the new release.

  • Experience: Provide a delightful user experience that makes collaboration a natural and integral part of any workday, helping people be more productive.
  • Simplicity: Reduce the time to first call or meeting with a complete solution that is simple to buy, deploy, manage, and use.
  • Ubiquity: Extend the collaborative environment beyond organizational boundaries to include customers, partners, and mobile workers.

These aren’t new themes for us – because they’re not new themes for you.

With Release 11.0, we’re continuing to deliver more capabilities and value around these themes, starting with the user experience.

Experience

Conferencing: Multi-streaming is a new feature that allows certain Cisco endpoints to generate and/or receive concurrent video streams of differing resolutions and frame rates. Cisco TelePresence Server’s ability to intelligently switch and transcode streams provides a flexible, high-quality user experience regardless of endpoint or software client.

In the latest version of Cisco Jabber, a single mouse click lets you move a multiparty IM conversation into a videoconference hosted on TelePresence Server, WebEx, or CMR Cloud.

CMR Cloud now includes “mobile proximity join,” which automatically tells the endpoint to dial into a meeting, driving faster meeting starts. Read More »

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Local Government and Law Enforcement Share Unique Insights

Cisco recently held a public safety panel to discuss how public sector agencies are addressing reduced workforces and constrained budgets. Central to the topic of discussion were cost-effective solutions to keep citizens and public spaces safe. Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and Jeff Teer, a telecom analyst for the city of McAllen, Texas, were among the panelists who led the conversation. These leaders discussed integrating the right technology to enhance public safety and support the justice system.

Challenges for Today’s Sheriffs

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are evaluating how technology can reduce costs. Agencies are now working with technology to leverage the right resources, data and location information to support organizational needs and improve efficiency.

During the panel, Thompson explained the scale and scope of environmental challenges facing sheriffs. Due to current federal policies, sheriffs have taken a primary role in securing and protecting the U.S. border. Thompson noted that technology is a key component to helping sheriffs operate successfully. While U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offers a very robust and viable set of solutions for their personnel, deputies will sometimes have to cover more than 25 square miles alone in remote areas. These deputies need the technology in place to fulfill their roles and communicate with not only each other but other entities (like CBP) to provide support as-needed.

Sheriffs are being asked to do more with less, and be more efficient with less. This type of pressure paired with their unique civic obligations lead to a high-stress environment. Given these circumstances, sheriffs are generally slow to adopt intricate technologies, so they require solutions that are simple and easy to use.

How are public safety agencies improving efficiencies?

Teer explained how McAllen brought Cisco TelePresence into its warrant process to accelerate investigations that require easy and immediate access to a judge. This new deployment has minimized wasted time and maximized its value and efficiency for law enforcement and the judges. The city has plans to use video adjudication to support virtual arraignments. This force multiplier will be cost-effective and improve efficiencies. By using technology to collaborate across jurisdictions, stakeholders from different agencies federal, state and local can connect to improve law enforcement. This kind of connected justice is one of Cisco’s major public safety initiatives.

Law enforcement agencies rely heavily on planning, especially when it comes to planning and evaluating pipelines. Forecasting where an agency plans to be in the next few years is very important. These projections and input from every department can help agencies to improve overall connectivity and proficiencies.

Cisco is committed to providing public safety organizations with the technologies they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. Visit Cisco’s safety and security website for more information about how government agencies are using Cisco technologies and solutions to improve the lives of law enforcement officers as well as citizens.

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Key Components of the Cisco Collaboration Core Infrastructure

So, you’ve decided to introduce a collaboration solution to your organization. You’ve thought about the benefits you want it deliver: flexibility, expandability, and interoperability. And you want the user experience to be easy enough for everyone to use — not just the engineers or executives.

Great. You are on the right path. But what next? Now it’s time to become familiar with the components that make it all work.

Cisco has created a collaboration core infrastructure that provides the intelligence behind the experience. It powers the industry’s leading collaboration portfolio, which includes flexible cloud services and endpoints to fit any need or budget.

The Cisco Collaboration core infrastructure has four key components:

  • Call control and session management
  • Conferencing
  • Collaboration gateways
  • Unified management

Read More »

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Mastering Design, One Red Dot at a Time

One of my favorite designers, John Maeda, believes that the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.

When John’s somewhat bold prediction is put in the context of this quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – it’s easy to see that John is right.

So if the future successful tech companies will really be design companies, what does that mean for all the “non design companies” of today (read: most tech companies and especially most IT tech companies)? This is an opportunity for all tech companies to understand the real value of design.  I believe that change has to start at the top, so for Silicon Valley, it means business leaders have to come to grips with this transformation. Not just hiring more UX people, or opening a “design center,” but embracing design as a way to lead your entire company.

It should come as no surprise that I place such high importance on the Red Dot awards.  They are a validation of amazing design quality from beyond the technology industry.  Our products in the Collaboration portfolio have won six Red Dot awards in the last 18 months – that’s as many as Cisco has won in all its 30 years.

Last week, I found out we won two more. Our newest video endpoint and the flagship of the Collaboration portfolio – the IX5000 – just won a “Red Dot Best of the Best” 2015 award, the highest distinction in Red Dot’s product design category. In 2015, only 1.6% of the nearly 5,000 submissions received this top prize.

The Cisco TelePresence IX500

The Cisco TelePresence IX5000

Read More »

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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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