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Suitable For Everyone or Restricted to Some…

This is the third in a series of blogs comparing and contrasting the Microsoft and Cisco approaches to providing enterprise collaboration in the post-PC world. The first blog from Cisco SVP and GM, Rowan Trollope, discussed the differences between a purpose-built architecture and a desktop-centric approach that needs third party extensions to make a working enterprise-class system. The second blog discussed how the two companies are approaching the trend towards “Bring your own device” (BYOD) to work. Today’s blog discusses how the two companies deliver voice and video.

Suitable For Everyone or Restricted to Some…

We’re seeing more and more advisory labels on products these days that inform us whether they are suitable for everyone to use, or should be restricted to certain groups.  I’m wondering whether Microsoft should apply such a label to Lync? Let me explain, starting with Cisco’s point of view.   Read More »

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What Really Matters in Collaboration

On the eve of Microsoft’s first Lync User Conference, I think it’s a great time to start a frank and direct conversation about what’s changed in collaboration and, because of those changes, what’s really important for IT decision makers to consider as they evaluate collaboration vendors and solutions. This conversation, which I’m confident will spark a lively and healthy debate, will last for weeks and will include input from a variety of Cisco Collaboration leaders.

So, to start, what has changed in collaboration? At the macro level, I would argue that collaboration has evolved from a tolerated office tool into the single most important technology investment that an organization can make. Why? Because the next breakthrough levels of performance and productivity needed in business won’t come from a better-looking web portal or a bigger Inbox — they’ll come from the ability to tap into the collective knowledge and creativity of our people.

But, here’s the catch: not all collaboration solutions are designed to help people engage the way they want to engage, and they’re also not architected from the ground up to cater to IT’s needs and requirements.

Customers tell us time and again that a modern collaboration platform needs to deliver more than the basics like IM, conferencing and VoIP.  It needs to offer flexibility and choice in support of trends such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), high-quality video, and cloud-based deployments (private, public, hybrid, and hosted). The modern collaboration platform needs to be usable not just by office workers but by anyone, from physicians to customer care agents, executives, mobile and desk-less workers. And it needs to be as complete of a solution as possible — including the underlying infrastructure, a wide choice of compatible endpoints, and world-class support and maintenance — to maximize business and IT value.

Which brings me back to Microsoft and Lync. We believe Read More »

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Bring IT Together

Unification is a big deal for Adena Health Systems, a medical center with multiple Ohio locations. The company’s data center was running on disparate technology that was causing outages, neglecting incoming calls, and slowing business. With some tough competition nearby, Adena’s aging infrastructure was becoming a burden; not to mention the struggle with supporting important medical applications.

Adena took action and updated its network with Cisco technology, implementing the cohesive infrastructure of the Cisco® Unified Computing System™ (UCS), based on Intel® Xeon® processors, to run their data center. In doing so, not only was the IT infrastructure unified, but the IT team and the business were also brought together to provide top-of-the-line functionality.

Alignment between the IT staff, the business, and the technology is proving successful for the company. Additionally, virtualization has decreased the physical IT footprint and is more cost effective, while enhanced communication is achieved with videoconferencing and VoIP capabilities. IT is now at the center of Adena’s business vision, allowing for the support of applications and functionality to ensure world-class patient care.

Read more about the benefits of Adena’s IT transformation here.

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WebRTC – Bringing Real Time Communications to the Web Natively

Would you believe me if I say that, using just a few lines of JavaScript and HTML5 you could transform the Photo Booth app (available on Mac OSX) into a cool web based application, or overlay real-time audio and video onto your favorite WebGL based 3D game canvas, or build a plugin-less version of WebEx?

Through this blog, I attempt  to take you on a journey into the latest disruptive Web Standard called WebRTC. My goal in writing this blog, is to provide readers with some background information and dive a bit deeper into what WebRTC has to offer from the standards, and application developer perspective.

Before I jump in, let me introduce Cisco’s WebRTC  crew  –
Cullen Jennings, Ethan Hugg, Enda Mannion, Suhas Nandakumar (that’s me :)).


The Web is evolving at a pace faster than ever before. The last few years has seen tremendous innovations in the Web Technologies, Applications, Infrastructure and Services. The advent of HTML5 has redefined the way Web Applications work by bringing in the capabilities & richness of native applications to the Web platform.

HTML5 technologies such as Web Workers, Browser-Native Media, Web Sockets and the like are redefining the roles and capabilities of the browser and the Web, and  creating experiences that rival native applications.

Building along similar lines, is the introduction of WebRTC/RTCWeb technological standards into the HTML5 standards basket, which is concerned with bringing rich real-time, interactive communications natively to the browsers.

Read More »

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Technical College System of Georgia Connects Students Across State

Always interested in the unique ways telepresence is being used in education, I recently heard about one of Georgia’s technical colleges with six campus locations using telepresence in a unique way. With video communication, staff advisors and registration personnel work from one main location and use video to connect to students across the state to assist them with the often stressful registration process.

The college is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), which is the agency responsible for Georgia’s technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and many economic and workforce development initiatives. As recently published in an interesting case study, the TCSG works to unify the education system across 25 technical colleges in Georgia, representing 100 campus locations and more than 170,000 students and 11,000 employees. The TCSG team wanted to provide a technology solution to streamline internal communications between administrative staff at each college. Its goal was to migrate campus infrastructure from the older Centrex architecture to a next-generation technology model, which would help enable the efficient provisioning of student and administrative services and increase opportunities for collaboration between campuses and colleges. Read More »

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