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Naughty or Nice: Cisco Wireless Rewards Release 7.6 Innovations to All

Deloitte’s 2013 Annual Holiday survey came out with some staggering statistics:

  • Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers will use their smartphones and tablets to shop this holiday season.
  • Nearly half of all shoppers will use social media to assist in shopping.
  • 73% of shoppers will be influenced by coupons and promotional offers.

Retailers both online and in-store can no longer ignore the power of mobile technology and social media influence with shoppers. Shoppers using mobile devices inside stores are actually more likely to make a purchase when being presented with the right information. In fact, this isn’t only true for retailers, but across all industries. Whether it’s guests, visitors, patients or passengers, there’s a real opportunity for businesses to make an impression via the mobile device.

Today I am happy to announce our latest Cisco Wireless Software Release 7.6. As you may recall from Sujai Hajela’s State of Cisco WLAN blog earlier this week, Cisco’s Wireless group has been ahead of the competition with our dedication to delivering cutting edge, high performing technology to our customers.

Many features in Release 7.6 were designed specifically to enable our customers to take advantage of the latest mobile trends. Here are some of the highlights:

Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX)

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi is a joint Cisco — Facebook solution for guest Wi-Fi. Read More »

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New University Dedicated to STEM, Real-world Relevance

The success of our industry and even our nation’s well-being are dependent on engaging students and developing the experts of the future in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I am personally committed to STEM education initiatives, and want to share an exciting university that’s breaking new ground to lead the way and ensure students have a clear path to STEM careers. As the newest member of the State University System of Florida, Florida Polytechnic University is dedicated exclusively to STEM.

Within their College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology, Florida Poly will offer six undergraduate degree programs and two Master degree programs. These include some really unique areas of concentration including Big Data Analytics, Cloud Virtualization, Health Informatics, Cyber Gaming, Information Assurance and Cyber Security, and even more.

Another unique aspect of this high-tech university is that they work closely with industry partners to ensure strong relevance to real-world needs.  This will ensure graduates are learning the critical skills needed to join some very competitive workforces.  In fact, all you have to do is check out the campus to be impressed:

If you are in Florida, check out the PolyPremiere – a campaign where Florida Poly is rolling out the purple carpet at movie theaters across the state to give potential students an in-depth look at Florida Poly’s campus, curriculum, culture and scholarships.

Where are your tech students looking for STEM degree opportunities?

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Guest Blog: Migrating High Density University Networks to 802.11ac

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joe Rogers, Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida (USF). Hear Joe speak about his experiences with next-generation wireless in high density environments on next Tuesday’s webinar:  ”Migrating Enterprise Networks to 802.11ac” at 10am PST (Dec 17) (Register here)

Joe RogersJoe Rogers is the Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida.  He is a graduate of USF’s Computer Science and Engineering program and has worked as a network engineer at USF for the past 20 years.  He is currently responsible for all aspects of USF’s network which provides connectivity to over 100k devices across three campuses.  He’s held a CCIE routing and switching certification since 1999.  When not working, he’s an avid mountain biker (if you can call it “mountain” biking when you live in Florida).

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Universities face some of the most complex design challenges in wireless networking.  Our user population is highly mobile, bandwidth-hungry, and often simultaneously using at least two wireless devices in rooms with hundreds of their classmates.  The wireless network isn’t simply a convenience to them.  It’s critical to their educational success as many of the students are taking tests or working on assignments across the network.

At the University of South Florida, we support over 20,000 concurrent wireless users on our network of over 4,000 access points.  We have more than 90,000 unique devices registered this semester.  Our biggest challenge is designing the wireless network for the device densities in our large classrooms and popular study areas.  In these locations, we often have a thousand devices in a few hundred square feet of space.

We heavily rely on band select to place as many devices as possible on 5Ghz where more channels are available.  Unfortunately many devices such as older tablets and smart phones simply don’t have an 802.11a/n radio.  So we must carefully RF engineer the environment with smaller cells to provide the necessary coverage density. Read More »

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Higher Education Races Towards 802.11ac

[Webinar] 802.11ac in Higher Education | Wednesday July 24 at 3pm PST < REGISTER

It’s no secret that mobile devices are playing a larger part in today’s businesses. With the fast pace of mobility adoption by consumers, network usage has started to outrun the infrastructure of most enterprises’ mobile networks. Enterprise IT managers are struggling to keep up with mobility’s effects on workplace productivity and requirements.

Among the growing trends that weigh heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals is bring your own device (BYOD). The growth of bandwidth-intensive applications, like video streaming, and the user expectations of always-on network and application performance also place heavy demand on organizational infrastructure.

802.11ac is the next generation of Wi-Fi, designed to give enterprises the tools to meet the demands of BYOD, high-bandwidth applications, and the always-on connected user. This Wednesday we will be hosting a workshop to discuss the benefits of 802.11ac, and how to optimize it for high density and high bandwidth to benefit higher education. Students, typically early adopters of wireless technology, usually bring 802.11ac in the form of the latest laptop, smartphone, and tablet that support this new technology. Read 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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