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Making interoperability work in unified communications and collaboration

As we kick off this year’s Enterprise Connect conference, one subject I am discussing a lot with customers is interoperability. This topic is always evolving, but our customers’ need for interoperability has remained the same. So what are the customers telling us about their interoperability requirements and concerns within unified communications and collaboration, and what is Cisco’s approach to addressing those?

What customers want:

At its heart, interoperability is about enabling the free flow of communication across boundaries – whether those boundaries are geographical, across firewalls between businesses and their ecosystems or customers. Customers want to be able to share information quickly and easily across different systems from multiple vendors.

Customers also stress the need for protecting their investments in existing systems and extending their capabilities to new types of work scenarios. These systems include infrastructure (such as Active Directory or Exchange or Notes), voice and video systems (such as Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and TelePresence and competitive products from other vendors), and desktop or enterprise productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus, SAP, Salesforce.com and others). They must work within heterogeneous environments and accommodate new solutions as they come to market.

But that two systems work together is not enough. They must come together as seamlessly as possible to ensure an uncompromised user experience

Finally, this all needs to happen across platforms and devices, particularly as we move toward a post-PC era of many different devices - from smartphones and tablets in the field to desktop computers and immersive room-based systems. These devices need to be blended into customers’ existing collaboration environments while providing a consistent and compelling user experience.

This is what customers want.

What the industry needs to do:

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Enterprise Connect 2012 Here We Come

March 25, 2012 at 11:46 am PST

We’re on the move again and this time we’re headed to Enterprise Connect 2012!

The show is taking place March 26-29th at The Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL.

If you’re attending Enterprise Connect, visit the Cisco booth #1001 where you can see firsthand all of the exciting new solutions being announced by the Cisco TelePresence, Collaboration and Enterprise Video teams.

In addition to our booth activities, Cisco is participating in a number of speaking sessions and our very own OJ Winge, SVP and General Manager, Collaboration Endpoints, will deliver the keynote on Tuesday, March 27th at 10 am EDT. Follow these links for the full list of Cisco booth activities and speaking sessions. To sign up for mobile alerts on Cisco activities during the show, simply text “CISCO” to 66937.

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Consumer Devices Changing the Public Sector Workspace

March 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm PST

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is taking hold in workplaces around the world, but some of my recent reading has led me to explore more deeply the impact of this trend on communication and security in the public sector.

An article in Forbes summed it up well: people rely more and more on smaller, mobile gadgets, and they’re using these devices to support telepresence and other collaboration tools to conduct work-related business. Though this embrace of BYOD (also called consumerization) means more flexibility to work from anywhere, more accessibility to coworkers and supervisors, and more opportunities for collaboration, it raises security concerns.

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Video and Telepresence Integral to Supporting a Mobile Workforce

March 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm PST

Whether you work for a government agency, a hospital, or a school (or you attend school as a student) the verdict is in--you needn’t spend all day in your office, classroom, or examination room to productively do your job or complete your assignments.

Consider these examples: In San Antonio, Texas, detectives obtain search warrants via in-vehicle laptop telepresence connections to judges; doctors in a California hospital use tablets to videoconference with their colleagues; and, thanks to a telepresence-equipped mobile robot, Lyndon Baty, a 16-year old with kidney disease who cannot attend regular high school, interacts from home with his teachers and peers and participates in lessons as if he were sitting in the classroom.

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Keep Videoconferencing Conversations Confidential

Follow these tips to secure critical company information from prying eyes

Videoconferencing—conducting meetings with anyone, at anytime, from anywhere—seems like a win-win solution. Videoconferencing both saves time and cuts down on travel costs. And it can help employees collaborate more efficiently and stay better connected.

What can go wrong? As it turns out, videoconferencing can open a giant security hole in your business. Like a tap on your CEO's phone or a bug hidden under your conference table, videoconferencing can allow eavesdroppers access to your company's confidential conversations.

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