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“Clear and Differentiated” Video Wins the Day    

MQ for group video systemsSometimes when the essence of something is so eloquently captured, there’s no need to say it any differently. That’s how I felt when I read Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems report. In it, we feel Gartner confirms Cisco’s position as an established leader in the group video systems market who offers “a clear and differentiated set of devices, with form factors now available for virtually any meeting space.”

I have a theory on how we achieved a “clear and differentiated” product set – by finding the sweet spot between feature innovation, beautiful design, ease of use and deployment, and cost effectiveness. Concurrently, we’ve enhanced our infrastructure to make multiparty conferencing easier and more affordable. And we’re continuing our work to enable video interoperability in the cloud, especially with Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms. These are the hallmarks of our current portfolio and instrumental in our ability to gain market traction in large-scale deployments.

But beyond strengthening our own competitive position, I believe our strategy – bringing to market video solutions at the right quality and value – helped to encourage video adoption and growth for the industry overall. As we reported last quarter (FYQ3), we saw a 60 percent year-over-year unit growth. This is in share gained and also market expansion. That’s great news for Cisco, but it also serves as a good bellwether for the video market as a whole. The appetite for visual communications is clearly growing, and that’s good news for everyone.

What we’re seeing in Gartner’s most recent report has also been validated to me over the past 18 months since we’ve refreshed our entire video endpoint portfolio. Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the design, capabilities and direction of our product portfolio. So, between these two points of validation, it feels really good to know we’re delivering products that are having a positive impact on the market.

Let me know how our video products have positively impacted your work life – especially in clear and differentiated ways.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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Reduce Costs and Increase User Adoption of Video

Yesterday I took my car to get a dent fixed. It was one of those dents that, while barely visible, required a lot of time and expense to fix. (In fact, you had to kind of crouch down and look very closely at the underside of one panel to see it.) But given that it cut all the way through the paint, I couldn’t ignore it!

When I collected the car in the evening, I was glad to see no evidence of the time when car met kerb a couple of weeks before.

The mechanic’s quality of work was marked by the fact that there was no evidence that anything had happened at all. He told me that the most enjoyable part of his job is meeting his customers – and making sure that they are happy with his work.

We’ve recently been spoilt with opportunities to talk directly to our customers and partners, with two shows in quick succession: Cisco Live and Infocomm. The enthusiasm of people who attended demos, talks and presentations was palpable. It was a great opportunity to learn first-hand about the issues people are facing, and how new capabilities of our solutions are helping to address them.

The main themes customers shared with me were: Read More »

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Solving Customer Problems with Flexible Solutions

I recently flew from Heathrow to San Diego to attend Cisco Live. About an hour in and the cabin crew started serving dinner. It was a full flight and, unfortunately for me, I was seated right in the middle of the economy section. As the cabin crew converged on my row it became clear they didn’t have enough food.

“Not a problem”, I thought to myself, “maybe they’ll get me some of the nicer food from the front of the plane!”

Nearly 45 minutes later, as my fellow passengers finished their meals and settled into a movie, there was still no food. But perhaps more frustrating – no one from the crew had talked to me about what was happening. If this had been a restaurant, I’d have got up and left. But at 35,000 feet I had nowhere to go.*

Fast forward about 72 hours…

I’m in a session at Cisco Live about how Cisco Midsize Business Solutions can power growing businesses. Seth Corriveau from SickKids Foundation was talking about how critical communication is to his organization. The SickKids Foundation is a midsized organization doing great work raising funds for SickKids hospital in Toronto.  They had been having real problems with poor-quality audio and dropped telephone calls. This was an issue for donors who call in to donate their own hard-earned cash to support the treatment of very ill children. Complaints were escalated to senior VPs at the Foundation weekly. Read More »

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“Seeing is Hearing” – Where Video Really Makes the Difference

I love hearing customers talk how they’ve conquered communications challenges using our technology. It’s exciting to be a key part of their journeys and successes. A recent conversation with such a customer affected me in a powerful and personal way that I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

It was late afternoon at a recent technology trade show. Booth traffic was lighter as attendees headed toward a reception to wrap up a long, information-packed day. I was mentally massaging my aching “trade-show” feet and thinking about a research-paper topic for the American Sign Language (ASL) class that my daughter and I are taking at our local community college. A customer strolled up to ask about our latest portfolio enhancements, and thus began our extraordinary conversation.

He shared how his organization comprises a group of companies that deliver network-based interpretation services for different types of clients. His team provides “in-person” ASL interpretation through a video-relay-service (VRS) using Cisco collaboration technologies.

The organization offers the service to registered deaf and hard of hearing clients across North America. It uses Cisco video conferencing solutions. Read More »

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How Cisco Scored a Spot on TWiST

If you don’t know about the podcast series, This Week in Startups (TWiST), hosted by my friend Jason Calacanis, it’s worth checking out. Jason is a legendary investor and media mogul who has his fingers in every part of the tech industry. Each week, he brings CEOs, business founders, venture capitalists, angel investors, and tech experts into his San Francisco studio to talk about the latest trends and happenings inside the world of Silicon Valley and beyond.

I first met Jason around 10 years ago in Los Angeles. We were playing poker at a friend’s game. His brash poker playing style matches his approach to investing: nothing ventured, nothing gained. But unlike his approach to prospective business ventures, in poker, Jason never met a hand he didn’t like.

Since I’m part of this little startup Cisco, I got to be a guest on the show last week, episode 552. Jason invited me on to talk about entrepreneurship and how it’s been finding its way into big companies. We covered it all – DIY video conferencing, our new business messaging app Cisco Spark (and how he thinks we can monetize it), why John Chambers gave me a job, our theories on mergers and acquisitions, how AirBnB is improving lives, Uber pooling, Luxe, and, actually, a lot more.

Read More »

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