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What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting Have in Common? Part 1

April 15, 2014 at 11:37 am PST

What do WebEx QoS and Phone Troubleshooting have in Common?

The answer is Medianet, which in conjunction with a Cisco network can provide an innovative solution for two very different real life problems. In Part 1 of this 2 Part blog we’re going to discuss how customers can use Medianet Metadata to provide a robust QoS mechanism for the WebEx cloud service within their Enterprise Networks. Keep an eye out for Part 2  where we’re going to take a look at how we can extend Medianet’s Mediatrace capability to Cisco’s 79XX, 89XX and 99XX IP Phone portfolio. I’ll also point out the benefits for each of these completely different Medianet use cases.

WebEx is a SaaS Conferencing service providing web based data, audio and video conferencing for millions of users. As it’s a cloud service, it’s inherently secure and in a lot of use cases it will tunnel all its media streams within HTTPS. That’s great for secure transport, but it’s resultantly challenging to map the constituent parts of the WebEx application into a granular Enterprise QoS policy. Why would we want to do that anyway? Isn’t it good enough to mark all the WebEx traffic the same?  As the saying goes, there is a method to our madness.The tunnelled WebEx traffic contains control packets, data-sharing traffic and possibly VoIP, which are relatively low bandwidth media streams. On the flip side any tunnelled video traffic will likely be bandwidth hungry by nature. The challenge we want to circumvent is how to ensure the WebEx video traffic does not “swamp” the other types of meeting traffic. Ultimately, we want to allow end users to enable the video service they have paid for, without the risk of video having a negative impact on the overall quality of the online conference. We do everything with the end user in mind to make sure you have the best possible experience.

For those of you that don’t know, a WebEx client can generate Medianet Metadata. In simple terms, Metadata is a way for a Cisco application to announce itself to a Cisco network. In the case of WebEx, different Metadata packets are transmitted onto the network, uniquely identifying all the component media streams (including video) that comprise a WebEx conference. This allows a Cisco network to useWebEx Metadata to differentiate between any WebEx traffic types, even when securely tunnelled over a HTTPS connection. The figure below provides an illustration of the different Metadata packets that will be generated for different types of WebEx traffic.

Figure 1 – Identifying Different Flows using Metadata

Figure 1 – Identifying Different Flows using Metadata

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How to Access Real-time Data with High Confidence

April 12, 2014 at 5:44 am PST

Doctors at Carilion Clinic, a hospital in southwest Virginia, are getting a productivity boost with their medical applications. They can complete their cardiology study a lot faster than before because they can review real-time diagnostic imaging files much faster and more reliably.

You see, real-time data is getting a lot of attention in the industry lately. Using analytics and real-time data effectively, people can discover hidden patterns and new clues for better and more timely decisions. This is very exciting. But first thing first. People often have to answer this challenging question: is the captured data, which is often complex and huge in size, dependable enough to begin with?

As an example, imagine that you were having a critical video conversation with a business partner. You were going to make a major decision based on the outcome of this conversation. Would you be confident enough with your decision if the voice and the image stream were messed up as seen below on the left? And would your confidence level be hugely boosted when the voice was clear and the image was sharp as seen on the right?

Carilion case study

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Over-the-Top (OTT) Considerations: Functionalities and Technologies

Tom OhanianBy Tom Ohanian, Cisco Service Provider Sales Business Development Manger

The television viewing experience that since its inception consisted of gathering in the family living room and watching live television has clearly changed. Today, television viewing perhaps should be changed to the more versatile term of content consumption. Regardless of whether that content is consumed on a television in a living room or on a mobile device on a crowded subway, the behavior of content consumption and the delivery of content are rapidly evolving. As these business models and consumer behaviors evolve, so too do the complexity and technology of delivering this content.

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We are currently in the third wave of Internet Protocol (IP) video. The first wave, covering Read More »

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Video: What will it cost?

Video: What will it cost?

“What will my video cost?” Is the number one question I’m asked. It’s also the toughest question to answer.  I could just answer: “How much do you have?” But I think I should be a bit more polite.  So here we go….

First, I set the stage that the cost of video production can vary greatly.10118_Finance_256

Let’s take an example of creating a video explaining how Cisco sees the future of the Internet of Everything. I could hire my son, pay him $20, tell him to hold my cell phone and record me explaining the concept for 60 seconds. Upload to YouTube and I’m done. Cost $20.

Now take that same video message and create a TV commercial with professional writers, actors, graphics, editing, audience testing, and well… you get the picture, expensive. Cost: $$$$$

Here’s the Cisco message that I’m sure will have different results than my $20 version would have:

Second, I bring out the analogy (us video people love analogies).

“What will a video cost?” It’s a bit like asking what does a car cost. Cars come in all types, ranging from a mini Smart car, to a basic Ford, a nice Honda, a luxury BMW, or a supercar Lamborghini. Now complicate the picture with size, from sports cars to sedans, SUVs, or pickup trucks. They will all get you to the airport but with different reliability, capacity, and speed -- of course all in much different style.

Now let’s get back to the video cost question at hand.

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Video production and visual content development can be compared to cars in exactly the same way. There are budget entry solutions that may well be just a single camera shoot, similar to the mini or basic car analogy, all the way up to a multi-camera, multi-crewed studio or location shoot that is the supercar of video production. In essence both use a vehicle to transfer the message (or people) in a dynamic engaging way, taking the viewer (or passengers) to the final conclusion (or destination).

Remember your image affects your audience and is just as important as your message.

Before price is even brought into the video production equation the most important point to consider is to take time to decide who your viewing audience is and what style will best suit them. And most importantly, best affect them! Will the mini video analogy work for you, staying true to the product, brand or message that you are promoting, or will you have to accept that the audience will need and may deserve the luxury or supercar video experience?

Seek professional help (and I don’t mean a psychiatrist).

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This final decision is always the tough part for anyone looking to commission a video product. You don’t want to make the decision of selecting a mini solution where a luxury or supercar should have been used, nor do you want to select a supercar when a mini would have been perfectly adequate. This is the point where I always say that engaging with experienced media professionals or video service teams can help guide you to make the correct choice for your budget, and most importantly, your audience.

The bottom line… your bottom line.

Unfortunately there is no magical number that relates to how much a video production will cost your bottom line. A budget production price will vary if you use a “bedroom business” to produce it or if you engage with the latest and greatest Hollywood studio. To me, video production all depends on who your audience is and how you take responsibility to produce the best content that stays true to your brand and gets across your message. Find a media professional or video service provider who understands what car analogy you need and can provide this for the audience.

So to summarize, if you ever need to commission a video think about the car analogy when evaluating how much money you’ll need. Every car gets you from A to B in varying degrees of comfort, speed and style so select the car that will best suit your audience. Then use this car analogy to explain your objectives to a professional video production provider whose knowledge and expertise can make it happen. Having a definitive idea of what type of video experience that you want to deliver can make the process much smoother and fulfilling for all everybody involved.

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Cisco @ NAB: We’ve Got Your 4K, HEVC, OTT, IP, SDN, NFV — Right Here!

There’s a reason the superlative term “broadcast quality” is the measuring stick and euphemism for “highest possible video quality” — and the people that make it happen are all here this week for the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention.

If you’re reading this, chances are high that you’re on your way or already here, perhaps for the second or third time this year — and it’s only April. We’re there too, not surprisingly, with a lot to share with our colleagues in broadcasting.

By “a lot to share,” I mean the new Videoscape Virtualized Video Processing solution, for handling the massive array of inputs, outputs, and related workflows; solutions for 4K/UltraHD video; advanced HEVC compression; new advancements enabling greater compression with no loss of video quality for MP2 and AVC; and a clear path for our broadcast television colleagues to swiftly transition to IP video, from production to ad insertion to delivery.

Probably the most exciting demo at Read More »

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