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Continuing the Evolution of Video

Enterprises have made major investments in video endpoints and continue to do so—with good reason. Would you personally want to attend a two-day strategy meeting via iPhone or Skype? I doubt it. There is a place and a time for room-based systems, and our customers not only understand and appreciate that—they invest accordingly.

At the same time, it is important to note that hardware costs have come down, and new pricing models and financing are available too. Bottom line: our customers can video-enable their organizations or their home offices for remote workers, with a desktop system that delivers a high-quality video experience for as little as $25/month.  Customers can also deploy larger integrated systems for a more immersive experience for as low as $350/month. These price points bring boardroom video capabilities to a user spectrum across the company.

With all the talk of clouds and services, we see an even bigger opportunity for customers to get more out of their hardware investments.  We are modifying our endpoints to work seamlessly with the collaboration devices people choose to use on their personal time. Case in point: Read More »

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Collaboration Without Borders: Saving Money, Helping Patients

The next wave of the Internet is driving the most disruptive change in history. Powered by mobile devices and apps—collaboration technologies that seamlessly allow people to work across multiple video and mobile devices—people are using technology to share ideas and opinions, and to reach the people and resources they need at any given moment. For the young Millennials who have grown up with the Internet, life flows seamlessly between the physical and virtual worlds. For professionals and executives, the Rolodex file of old has transformed into an online network for real-time, multi-person, topic-focused collaboration, not just as individuals but also in their enterprises.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is accelerating this trend, creating real business value through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. Earlier this year, Cisco® research identified $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for the private sector that will be created or migrated among companies in the IoE economy over the next decade. Collaboration, video, and mobility will contribute 55 percent of this value—or $7.9 trillion in private sector Value at Stake by 2022.

Large global organizations are using collaboration, video, and mobility technologies to reach across time zones and organizational borders to spur innovation, solve complex problems, accelerate business processes, and reduce travel costs. These companies are investing in collaboration solutions because they can see direct benefits to their business—both in growing their top-line revenues and reducing costs to improve profitability.

In a recent survey by Forbes, more than 90 percent of respondents at companies that lead in collaboration technology adoption said that pervasive and extensive collaboration generates profound or disruptive innovation and enables efficient business processes. More than three-quarters of respondents agreed that collaboration accelerates business results and creates a competitive advantage.

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Santa’s Special Connections

Since they graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the illustrations of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker have created many of the Christmas holiday season’s de facto images. For many families, the reality of their Christmas celebration doesn’t match the picture-perfect, however. That’s especially true when the family member with the strongest belief in Santa has pressing questions like “how will Santa find me if the hospital has no chimney?”

The good news is that as he readies for Christmas, Santa is taking extra time to visit with children who are hospitalized this season. Instead of just making a quick stop on his whirlwind worldwide delivery route, he’s checking in with some of these very special children from his communications headquarters at the North Pole. Not content to have one of his shopping mall stand-ins do the work, he has personal face-to-face videoconferences with kids who can’t leave the hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, posted a great video of Santa’s visit from earlier this week.

Connected Santa is a collaboration in which volunteer elves visit hospitals to help make the connection between children and Santa. Using Cisco TelePresence and Jabber technology, the elves conference a child with Santa so they can have the ever-important conversation about good, bad, and wish lists.

Just the other day I Read More »

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Digital Disruptors and the Future of Consulting

In my role as leader of the Analytics Practice for Cisco® Consulting Services, I often meet with clients who remind me of how the nature of consulting is changing. Traditionally, a consultant’s value and relevance to the customer has been derived from his or her business background and knowledge of specific industries or areas of expertise. The consultant comes in and takes a look at the client’s critical business issues, then makes top-down recommendations based on his or her specialized business experience.

This traditional model is being challenged by what I call “digital disruptors”—consultants whose credibility comes not just from their past experience, but from their ability to extract value and insight based on data that is gathered at the operational base of the organization: the network. This bottom-up approach is turning the consulting industry on its head—driven by data gathered on the network and turned into business insights by analytics.

Consider, for example, a major enterprise that has made a large investment in infrastructure for video collaboration. The company’s leaders want to see what kind of value they are getting back from their investment in order to evaluate further investment in collaboration. Cisco Consulting can help this customer not only because of our industry expertise, or even because of our knowledge of video collaboration technology—but because we can take an analytics-based, digital-disruption approach to the customer’s challenges. The key is our ability to tap into the video infrastructure itself, combine network and other types of data, and give the client a view of how the infrastructure is being utilized.

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“One Size Fits All” is for Hats – Not Video

Once upon a time, not so long ago, high-end videoconferencing was a luxury item available mostly to the C-suite. It required special equipment. It was expensive. It wasn’t all that intuitive to use.  That was then.

Today, video is part of day-to-day communications – not just for high-powered business interactions, but also for personal connections. In a world of distributed workforces where colleagues are separated by miles and organizations hire where the talent is located, video has become the standard form of collaboration and communication as a way to keep the pace of innovation and efficiency needed to stay competitive. Unlike before, the equipment now ranges from specialized rooms with high-end, high-def equipment to tablets and smartphones that provide the needed level of quality and fidelity required to be useful to the users. How are we getting from pricey and exclusive to completely pervasive? Technology catches up to what we want it to do. It’s the Moore’s Law theory applied to all technology that is valuable in business – performance increases while the economics and footprint decreases.

When Cisco dove into the waters of video collaboration, the demand was from the boardrooms of the business world. Business was becoming more global, yet organizations were trying to reduce travel costs –a communications conundrum. How could we improve the videoconferencing experience? Read More »

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