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World, Meet Thor – a Project to Hammer Out a Royalty Free Video Codec

Video codecs remain an area of active research and development. The current generation video codec is H.264 – in widespread usage on the Internet. Cisco has actively worked towards making H.264 the foundation of real-time communications on the web. The next generation codecs are just beginning to emerge. There are two of note – Google’s proprietary VP9 codec, and the industry standard H.265 (HEVC) codec, which is the successor to H.264 (AVC).

Unfortunately, the patent licensing situation for H.265 has recently taken a turn for the worse. Two distinct patent licensing pools have formed so far, and many license holders are not represented in either. There is just one license pool for H.264. The total costs to license H.265 from these two pools is up to sixteen times more expensive than H.264, per unit. H.264 had an upper bound on yearly licensing costs, whereas H.265 has no such upper limit.

These licensing terms preclude usage of H.265 in any kind of open source or freely distributed software application, such as web browsers. They also preclude its usage in freemium products – like WebEx or Cisco Spark – which have versions that users can use for free. Thus, while H.265 is still a good fit for hardware products like our telepresence room systems, it is not something that can serve as a universal video codec across hardware and software. Thus, we believe the industry needs a high quality, next-generation codec that can be used everywhere. Read More »

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ITD: Learn how to deploy ITD in 10 minutes

ITD (Intelligent Traffic Director) is being deployed by a large number of customers, and it is saving them massive CAPEX and OPEX, while providing unprecedented scale and high availability.

Here is a 10 minute video that shows step by step ITD deployment.


ITD is shipping on Nexus 9k/7700/7k/6k/5k Series of switches. ITD won the Best of Interop 2015 in Data Center category.

Here is more information about ITD:

Please send email to if you have any questions.



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New Collaboration Cloud Harnesses the Power of IoE to Improve Public Safety

To see the growing role that technology is playing in law enforcement, all we need to do is turn on the news. From the growing call for police body worn cameras to the lack of physical security surveillance capabilities in an aged correctional facility system, there is an increased demand for law enforcement organizations to respond more quickly and effectively and with greater transparency to crises. In order to improve the collaboration and communication within agencies and with the broader community of public safety officials, Cisco and Verizon have teamed up to create a national public safety collaboration cloud for the eco-system of public safety organizations.

The National Sheriffs’ Association Collaboration Cloud will enable sheriff offices to easily acquire, deploy and communicate using video technology. The Sheriffs will also expand this collaboration to their public safety partners in all 3080 counties of the United States, so law enforcement organizations will be able to allow their personnel to quickly communicate within their own department or with other local, state or federal agencies to conduct their business. Using the cloud, law enforcement organizations can respond more effectively to real-time incidences as they occur and work together on inter-department or inter-agency task forces with ease.

The new cloud based collaboration technology will improve many areas of law enforcement activities, including patrol vehicle applications and drug and gang task force collaboration. The areas of probation and parole will also benefit from this service as they interact with correctional facilities, prosecutors, defense lawyers and the courts.
For example, the collaboration cloud can be used for video meetings and hearings with attorneys, judges and inmates at correctional facilities. This helps law enforcement organizations to significantly reduce transportation and overtime costs for personnel. It can also reduce other public safety risks including reduced movement of incarcerated individuals by enabling legal teams and providers of numerous inmate services to communicate with inmates via video.

The National Sheriffs’ Association Collaboration Cloud will give law enforcement organizations better access to resources to train their personnel on emerging response tactics and mandated training certifications. By equipping training rooms for remote training and accreditation services, organizations will be able to expand their programming significantly. This collaboration cloud also enables real-time communication between patrol cars, emergency operations centers, 911 centers and dispatch locations using a myriad of devices including tablets, smart phones and laptop computers. It opens the pathway of reducing the largest budget number in corrections through the delivery of telehealth in county jails, juvenile detention centers and state prisons.

Overall, the public safety collaboration cloud greatly enhances the ability of local, state and federal public safety organizations to collaborate and work together to preserve and enforce public safety. The National Sheriffs’ Association recognizes the transformative power this collaboration can have on public safety. During their annual conference this past June, the National Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Thompson thanked Cisco and Verizon for making it possible.


(Click through to see the video on C-SPAN.)

As the demand for technology in public safety grows, Cisco remains committed to working with these organizations as they move into this new technology-driven future. Whether through connected justice initiatives, cybersecurity or collaboration efforts such as the Sheriffs’ Association’s Collaboration Cloud, Cisco is dedicated to improving efficiency across all areas of public safety, harnessing the power of the Internet of Everything (IoE) to transform the eco-system of justice and improve community public safety.

To learn more about how Cisco is leveraging IoE in the justice, public safety and security sectors, click here.

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Provide Service at Your Customer’s Convenience

107718_NW Infographic_04-27-15As consumers, we have many options in how we browse, research, and purchase products today.  We expect more freedom and flexibility in how we work with retail companies. Forward-looking companies strive to improve their customers’ experiences and provide flexibility without compromising quality.

However, some industries are considered conservative and rigid. Financial institutions are often seen this way. It’s ironic. Financial institutions brought us ATMs, online banking, bill payer, and generally made us more self-sufficient with our funds.

Unfortunately, areas such as mortgage lending remain high-touch and require a face-to-face meetings with customers. For banks, the challenge is that it doesn’t make sense to have an expert in every branch, which means mortgage experts typically travel among branches.  Customers may have access to a lending expert only once a week, or even every two weeks.  It’s difficult to do business that way.

Now, look at what Nationwide has accomplished in the area of mortgage lending.  Nationwide prides itself on customer service: It’s the world’s largest building society and services 1 of every 4 U.K. homes.  In order to grow and provide exceptional service to more households, Nationwide realized it would be better to
bring its mortgage experts to the customer.  They did this with video conferencing and the results have been spectacular.

Most impressive is the increase in customer satisfaction from meeting with consultants over video.  The experience and expertise remain the same, but providing experts at the customer’s convenience led to a significant improvement in ratings. And, additional business for Nationwide at lower cost.

I applaud Nationwide for not over-rotating on video.  They have successfully taken advantage of video to serve more members and bring home ownership to reality for those members on their terms.  They did this by continuing to provide “white glove” treatment to their members.

Upon arrival, customers are greeted by an employee who escorts them to the meeting room. The employee begins the video session, makes introductions, provides refreshments, and supports the process by managing documents, copies, signatures, and other branch-based tasks.

Video doesn’t replace the experience, it augments it.

There’s a saying that Read More »

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In Search of a Good Popsicle Story

FullSizeRender copyMy grandmother, now eight years passed, used to tell the best stories about Vietnam. I remember one about my grandfather who wooed her with a popsicle on one of his early visits. In the incessant heat of a mid-1940s Hanoi summer, this was a feat of magnificent proportions.

But it would be rude to eat it in front of him, she thought. So she set the popsicle aside on a plate to save until after he leaves. When later she went to retrieve it, she would only find a small puddle and stick where her popsicle once was. Through tears, she chastised her siblings for coveting the gift from her beloved. Then someone explained the power of refrigeration to her, and that sealed the deal. She decided my grandfather was a man of the world and would make a suitable husband.

Ah, in the middle of Silicon Valley, there’s no greater love story than one aided by technology. So, I racked my brain to extract a good one for the amusement of my future grandchildren. Could the power of video collaboration be as heart wrenching as the power of refrigeration? Read More »

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