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Making interoperability work in unified communications and collaboration

As we kick off this year’s Enterprise Connect conference, one subject I am discussing a lot with customers is interoperability. This topic is always evolving, but our customers’ need for interoperability has remained the same. So what are the customers telling us about their interoperability requirements and concerns within unified communications and collaboration, and what is Cisco’s approach to addressing those?

What customers want:

At its heart, interoperability is about enabling the free flow of communication across boundaries – whether those boundaries are geographical, across firewalls between businesses and their ecosystems or customers. Customers want to be able to share information quickly and easily across different systems from multiple vendors.

Customers also stress the need for protecting their investments in existing systems and extending their capabilities to new types of work scenarios. These systems include infrastructure (such as Active Directory or Exchange or Notes), voice and video systems (such as Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and TelePresence and competitive products from other vendors), and desktop or enterprise productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus, SAP, Salesforce.com and others). They must work within heterogeneous environments and accommodate new solutions as they come to market.

But that two systems work together is not enough. They must come together as seamlessly as possible to ensure an uncompromised user experience

Finally, this all needs to happen across platforms and devices, particularly as we move toward a post-PC era of many different devices -- from smartphones and tablets in the field to desktop computers and immersive room-based systems. These devices need to be blended into customers’ existing collaboration environments while providing a consistent and compelling user experience.

This is what customers want.

What the industry needs to do:

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Three Drivers of Collaboration

March 21, 2012 at 9:46 am PST

In my last blog, I asked the question “Is Collaboration Worth It? Every day, customers tell us collaboration is critical to their ability to compete—something top of mind right now. Why does collaboration matter? From our research and interviews with business leaders, we attribute the growing importance of collaboration to three fundamental trends:

  1. Competition comes from anywhere and everywhere. The barriers to entry are lower than ever, and you cannot predict who will enter your market next. It might be a startup in India, China, Africa or Eastern Europe—or competition from another industry. How do you stay ahead when you don’t know which organizations you’ll compete with next month or next year? Read More »

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The Case for Cable in the Tablet Era

By Roland Klemann, Director of Service Provider Practice, Western Europe, Internet Business Solutions Group

Although the coaxial cable may have been born in 1929, predictions of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

While traditional models for consuming television are indeed under siege—from time-shift TV, over-the-top video, and an ever-expanding array of new devices—cable remains highly relevant, even in an age of exploding data traffic. In fact, with savvy deployment of Wi-Fi services, cable providers can seize an opportunity—not in spite of the mobile data deluge, but because of it.

After all, that sleek new iPad—introduced last week while I was attending the Cable Congress in Brussels—boasts dazzling video resolution. But for network operators, it only adds to a growing problem. They are already reeling under the burden of a massive upsurge in traffic, from tablets and IP-enabled devices of all kinds. What’s worse, they are still at the low end of an ongoing mobile data explosion. Cisco’s Virtual Networking Index predicts an eighteen-fold increase in mobile traffic from 2011 to 2016.

As a result, two things are breaking down: 1) the physical capacity of the networks, and 2) their economics. Theoretically, mobile carriers can build enough macro cells to carry all the traffic in the world, but in reality, that gets prohibitively expensive—fast. No wonder some are feeling an encroaching sense of doom.

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Cisco Brings the Luck of the Irish to San Francisco Through Video

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Why not celebrate it the true Irish way by watching the festivities happening at the Christchurch in Cork, Ireland! For the first time ever, citizens will be able to watch St. Patrick’s Day celebrations occurring on both sides of the pond through a live simulcast link between San Francisco’s City Hall and their sister city of Cork, Ireland (more information here).

At 1:00 pm PDT, San Franciscans in City Hall Plaza will be able to see the Lord Mayor of Cork, Terry Shannon, kick off a live broadcast of Pulses of Tradition – a festival of traditional Irish music and dancing taking place inside the beautiful ChristChurch at the heart of Cork. Festival-goers on the other end will be able to see the finale of San Francisco’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade as it arrives at the Plaza, from a live display in City Hall. In addition, revelers in San Francisco will be able to toast their Irish friends as, for the first time, Moylan’s Beer (from Movato, California) will be toasted over Cisco TelePresence.

Green with envy that you won’t be in San Francisco City Hall Plaza to attend the parade? Don’t worry – Cisco and U-Stream have you covered. Check back here tomorrow, or access the live stream from your mobile phone or tablet at this link. You will join an expected 45,000 attendees in San Francisco in a first of its kind, global St. Patrick’s Day celebration.


Live broadcast by Ustream

This celebration could only be enabled through the power of the network with Cisco. Cisco TelePresence Codec C90 systems in both San Francisco and Cork will provide a high-quality video connection between both cities thanks to a collaboration with service provider UPC in Ireland; Cisco TelePresence will also stream the live video out through U-Stream to remote viewers throughout the world.

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See you in Melbourne, mate!

The Enterprise Video team is on the move again, this time to Cisco Live Melbourne!

Cisco Live Melbourne runs March 20-23 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

You can catch Enterprise Video demos in multiple areas of the World of Solutions.

For starters, check out the main Cisco area will feature the latest in Cisco Digital Signage, including signs with touch interactivity, as well as kiosk-based signs with endless aisle applications.

Next, head over to the Collaboration area, which features the latest in integration across our video content solution with new ways to capture, transform and share video. Be sure to stop by this demo following Rob Lloyd’s keynote, as we will be “pulsing” it just like we did for Cisco Live London!

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