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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – May 17, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important Cisco-related content you may have missed along the way. Let’s have it.

Off The Top

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a little over two weeks away from Cisco Partner Summit. For anyone that has attended Cisco Partner Summit in the past, you know that you’re in store for a week jam-packed with information, networking, and fun.

So how do partners stay on top of all the information and activities that come out of Cisco Partner Summit? Well, we’ve got a blog post to help you get the most out of your Cisco Partner Summit Experience. You’ll find a list of top social media destinations and information on who to follow, where to find resources, and more.

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The Collaboration Evolution – A Strategy for Transforming Education

For today’s digital generation, collaborative learning is no longer a novelty – it’s an expectation.  Students are consuming information in new and different formats – video, Internet, virtual classrooms.  These are all tools that are changing the face of education.  To make this transformation a reality, students, faculty and administrators need to reliably connect with the people and resources they need whether they’re using their desktop or mobile device, at home or in the classroom.

As more schools offer a comprehensive and collaborative learning experience, they are seeing vast benefits. To transform the delivery of education Katy Independent School District deployed Cisco Unified Workspace, adding mobile capabilities and immersive video. The decision to invest in these collaborative solutions resulted in improved test scores, increased student, teacher engagement and ease of IT administration.

For schools looking to take the plunge like Katy ISD, what’s the best approach to take?

As I discussed in this recent blog post about collaboration strategies for government organizations, the best approach is looking at the problem with the big picture in mind.

With Cisco Unified Workspace, schools can build a scalable and secure network that will serve as a strong foundation for the future. Watch the video below to see how Cisco’s solution is designed with utility to unify voice, video, data and secure access on any device and at any location.

Equipped with Cisco’s smart collaboration strategy schools can combine voice, video and mobility to create a classroom that allows faculty and students to collaborate efficiently and securely.

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When It Comes To UC&C, One Size Does Not Fit All

This is the first post in a new series from Dimension Data and Cisco Channels looking at user adoption and integration of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. Findings stem from Dimension Data’s 2013 Global UC&C Survey, developed with ICT researcher Ovum and featuring responses from more than 2,700 participants in 18 countries across 20 vertical industries.

We’ve all heard that selling UC&C solutions has to be less about flashy technology, and more about a comfortable, productive user experience. In other words, are video sessions, presence and other UC&C functions as easy and convenient to use as a traditional voice call? But user adoption of UC&C isn’t by any means the last step in a UC&C implementation. It’s actually a lot closer to the first step, as Neill Hart puts it.

“We don’t have to worry about user adoption with most other areas of IT,” says Hart, converged communications director for Dimension Data Europe. “If you put in a firewall on a Sunday night, for example, it’s at work the next morning and the user probably isn’t even aware it’s there. With most technologies, the user doesn’t even worry about it. But with UC&C, it’s everything. If I’m not entirely comfortably with technology, then I can find a way of not using it.” Read More »

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Delivering a Better Meeting Experience, for Everyone

Virtual meetings have become an increasingly important part of the workday. Companies rely on technology such as video and web conferencing to help geographically distributed teams collaborate and be more productive.

The common denominator in all of these virtual meetings is the conference call. It’s a fact that the quality of the audio usually dictates the quality of the meeting. Think about how many times people complain about the audio breaking up, being too loud or too soft, or simply asking to repeat questions or points discussed because the voice quality is just not good enough?

New Cisco Unified IP Conference Phone 8831

New Cisco Unified IP Conference Phone 8831

The new Cisco Unified IP Conference Phone 8831 – a new phone purpose-built for the conference room – solves many of these audio challenges. Now, each user joining a meeting can expect the best possible meeting experience, with high quality audio that is akin to being in the room itself. The traditional definition of a meeting has changed, and with it, the tools needed to have a successful meeting experience must evolve as well.

As anyone who has led a meeting knows, the key to a successful meeting is engagement. But employees won’t speak up and engage if they’re frustrated by the meeting experience – if they can’t hear others or aren’t being heard if they speak up themselves. Large meetings can sometimes suffer from a lack of productivity and results because of this lack of participation.

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Deploying Extension Mobility Globally

Cisco employees are moving towards a mobile collaborative office environment – within the workplace. We sit where we like and log into the nearest phone, using extension mobility. But when we traveled to different Cisco offices around the world, we couldn’t log in to the Cisco IP phone:  extension mobility only worked at certain limited locations within our home region.

Now, employee phones can essentially follow them to any Cisco office worldwide because Cisco IT deployed the Extension Mobility Cross Cluster (EMCC) feature on Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM).

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