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Right-sizing Unified Communications for Mid-Size Business

Cisco has long been known for providing industry-leading unified communications solutions to large companies.  In early 2011, Cisco right-sized that unified communications enterprise offering for small and mid-sized businesses.  Watch this video interview with Mark Bissell, Director of IP Communications Product Management, to understand Cisco’s strategy and how mid-sized businesses benefit.

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Identifying a Caller’s Location for Emergency Response

If someone in your corporate building makes an emergency call, will responders know where to go? Years ago a phone was always in one location, and the phone number was as good as an address for identifying where you were. With IP telephony features for mobility, and with software phones that travel with your laptop, it can be hard to identify the physical location where a call is coming from.

At Cisco, we use several approaches to providing the right location information for emergency response. And we’ve learned how a simple portion of our dial plan can have a dramatic and painful impact on our Emergency Response system. You may find these ideas helpful for configuring emergency calling and response capabilities at your own sites.

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How Cisco Keeps Quality High For Voice Calls, Part 2: Metrics

In Part 1 of this post, I described how Cisco IT addresses the first key question—about reporting on voice service availability. In this Part 2, we’ll cover the second question: How does the call sound to all of the connected parties?

Cisco IT Metrics for Measuring Call Quality

Although it seems counter-intuitive, the best source of information about voice quality may not be the people who were on the call. Of course, user trouble tickets about problems such as static and echo can be important indicators of bigger issues in a voice system. But we often find that users don’t report voice quality issues, so additional tools are needed.

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Miss a Call? It May Mean Missed Business.

Today’s small to medium -size businesses (SMBs) rely on advanced communication technologies to keep them one step ahead of their competition and expand customer communication. As time is money in an SMB environment, small business owners need an easy-to-use voice system that can help keep them connected at all times regardless of location, while reducing costs and boosting employee collaboration.

Today, Cisco extended the global availability of its popular Unified Communications 300 (UC300) Series, Model UC320W, to Australia, Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, and a “country pack” available in Switzerland. Crafted specifically for SMBs, the UC320W is an affordable business-class voice collaboration system designed to help drive productivity and profitability, while minimizing operational costs. Through the use of IP telephony, SMBs can be accessible to customers from any location, ensuring operations run seamlessly so they never miss that prospective client call.

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John Deere avoids cost with Cisco Wireless Architecture

September 29, 2011 at 11:40 am PST

Maybe you’ve seen the recent article in RFID Journal: John Deere Planter Factory Gains Efficiency.

John Deere, working with integration and technology partners Prime Technologies (now Kubica) and AeroScout, used the existing Cisco Wi-Fi networking nodes that it had already installed throughout the facility to avoid the expense of installing RFID readers for a new manufacturing solution.

John Deere MaxEmergeXP

Here’s the story: John Deere’s  Seeding Group factory in Moline, Ill. was seeking an automated solution to improve on its manual work in process manufacturing system.  It wanted to increase efficiency in the way it replenished welding material as well as improve the way it carried out processes at its assembly stations at the plant. The factory in question assembles John Deere’s  row-crop planter machines -- the MaxEmerge XP range -  that are used by farmers to deposit a variety of seed in soils and seedbeds.

The new system uses a wireless back-haul to a Cisco infrastructure that enables the SAP, reporting and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems to communicate live.  It’s intended to improve material replenishment and reduce delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.  It allows the equipment manufacturer’s kitting staff to boost material replenishment speed, and allows assembly workers to prepare for specific equipment as it approaches their assembly stations. The RFID Journal Story goes into excellent detail on the wip process and the process improvement, but I did want to reiterate some of the key business metrics:

“Our goal was to improve Takt time *,” says Shay O’Neal, John Deere Seeding Group’s project manager, who expects the reduction to increase from what he estimates may be about 5 percent improvement in Takt time thus far. He reckons there has been a 40 percent reduction in cycle time because of the improvement in replenishment. He has also seen a decrease in overtime work undertaken by kitting staff at the welding station. “I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the system met our needs,” O’Neal said in the RFID Journal article.

  • John Deere has seen a 40 percent increase in efficiency in welding due to improvements in material replenishment and fewer delays caused by waiting for materials in its welding areas.
  • On the assembly line, the system provides a view into the work in process (WIP), which thus far has reduced the cycle time (Takt) it takes to assemble a single product by about 5 percent.
  • Since existing Cisco Wi-Fi nodes read the RFID tag of each seeder as it passes from one assembly station to another, indicating where it has been and what its next assembly location will be, John Deere avoided the expense of installing RFID readers.

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