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Why Your In-Store Web, Mobile, and Video Experiences Matter

The lines between offline and online experiences are blurring. Customers no longer go online, they are online 24/7, and that includes inside your stores. In fact according to recent Google research, 89% of smartphone users leverage their smartphones while shopping in stores. And close to 70% of those used it to look at the retailer’s site and 21% look at apps.

Furthermore, according to Laura Wade-Gery, executive director of Multi-channel eCommerce for Marks & Spencer, “Shoppers who shop on our website as well as in our stores spend four times as much; throw smartphones into the mix and they spend eight times as much.” Enabling web, mobile, and video experiences in the store represents a huge opportunity – whether it is interactive, connected digital signage; Wi-Fi; employee-focused endless aisle apps; and so on.

Yet the majority of our customers face the reality that digital innovation is overwhelming their enterprise network. Everything from web apps, HD video, software updates, mobile apps, and even digital signage are traversing the network eating up valuable bandwidth. In addition, most retailers subscribe to doing more with less – particularly when it comes to IT – so upgrading enterprise network bandwidth across every store every few years is often just not viable, both from a budget and agility perspective. That is not to mention that a lot of Cisco customers can’t upgrade their bandwidth due to store location even if they wanted to.

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But bandwidth constrained enterprise networks are only one side of the story. Latency is the other, whether caused by distance or amplified by enterprise network architectures such as backhauling Internet traffic over the WAN through the datacenter and out to the Internet. Currently, the vast majority of retailers use this network topology for store Internet access.

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And as we all know, high latency is particularly detrimental to web application performance.

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Just look at the difference in latency and bandwidth between in-store and residential Wi-Fi. In fact, latency for in-store Wi-Fi is higher than latency for LTE.

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The bottom line is that congested, high-latency, low bandwidth enterprise networks result in slow HTTP applications, video, and software updates.

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And we all know that video or apps that are slow or not working properly are bad for business. There has been plenty of research highlighting the fact that as web apps get slower, conversion rates decrease, abandonment rates increase, and employee productivity plummets.

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In other words, slow apps – whether inside or outside the store – equals unhappy customers and unproductive employees. The answer to this problem? Retailers need to focus on accelerating HTTP/S applications, video and software updates while maximizing enterprise network bandwidth to ensure fast, high-quality experiences to all of your end users.

To learn more, be sure to register to join us on June 16 for a free one-hour webcast.

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Reinventing Conferencing

What kind of a world will you live in three years from now? How about five? Will your personal robot pour you a drink after your self-driving car delivers you home? That’s where we’re headed, and it’s a pretty quick trip: self-driving cars are already on public roads and you’ll soon be able to buy that humanoid robot.

Cisco’s Collaboration team thinks a lot about the future—not just about how we’ll get around and get our drinks, but about how we’ll connect and collaborate. We’re passionate about the future of collaboration, about giving the world collaboration tools that are every bit as smart as those self-driving cars and whiskey-pouring robots.

Where we’re at: today’s challenges
Before we talk more about the future, let’s talk about where the industry is right now. Over the years, various vendors have given us audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing. Each of these technologies were introduced at different times, and have matured at different paces—with audio being the tried-and-true veteran, video conferencing the relative newcomer and web being the thing that came somewhere in-between.

Herein lies the problem: Read More »

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Our Week as Video Broadcasters: 5 Insights

In mid-May, we told you about our plans to broadcast live keynotes from Cisco Live  on Cisco.com, specifically from our home page.

Well, we did it. For four days, May 19-22, our live video coverage on our home page included:

    • John Chambers keynote
    • Rob Lloyd keynote
    • Industry keynote — IoT
    • Guest keynote — Sal Kahn from Kahn Academy

Here are a few snapshots of what it looked like:

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Now that the event is over, what did we learn — and where do we go from here?

  1. Video is engaging. Over 7,000 people clicked on the spotlights to view the live streaming videos in just four days.
  2. Video and screen size matter. The larger the screen, the longer the attention span. We delivered a fully responsive experience across PCs, tablets, smart phones and connected TVs and were able to track the attention span accordingly. It was the greatest on PCs (29 minutes), followed by tablets (12 minutes) and phones (8 minutes). There was a single view on a gaming console that lasted 28 minutes.
  3. Video needs to be purpose-built. Personalization is key to increase engagement opportunities. Video is no different. It needs to create mutual value between the viewer and the business.
  4. Video needs to be a priority. Partnerships and prioritization across IT, user experience, digital strategy, analytics and video teams are crucial to the success of your overall video strategy. The whole is greater than the sum of all parts.
  5. Video requires innovation. We plan to explore new and exciting ways to leverage video on our Cisco.com homepage — and pull cross-functional teams together to help us test, experiment and innovate.

 What are your discoveries around video? What have you found works and doesn’t work?

 

 

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Portland State University rolls out 802.11n and 5760 Series Controller

Portland State University is Oregon’s largest and most diverse public university encompassing 50 city blocks, eight schools, 226 degree programs, 29,000 students, including 1,700 international students from 91 countries, and 126,000 alumni. For the second year in a row, the US News & World Report has named Portland State University a top 10 “up-and-coming” national university in its Best College rankings, released online Sept. 10.

In 2010 Portland was one of the first schools to adopt the Cisco CleanAir capable Access Points 3502 to address the frequent sources of interferences found in a typical school environment. In this blog, I will describe how the students adopt technology to learn as well as share some details about our conversation with Tamarack Birch-Wheeles, the manager of Network Team in charge of the WLAN deployment with the 5760 Series Wireless LAN Controller.

psu Read More »

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Fiesta Exploit Pack is No Party for Drive-By Victims

This post was also authored by Andrew Tsonchev and Steven Poulson.

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Update 2014-05-26Thank you to Fox-IT for providing the Fiesta logo image. We updated the caption to accurately reflect image attribution.

Cisco’s Cloud Web Security (CWS) service provides TRAC researchers with a constant fire hose of malicious insight and now that we are collaborating with Sourcefire’s Vulnerability Research Team (VRT) we have additional capabilities to quickly isolate and prioritize specific web exploit activity for further analysis. Thus when we were recently alerted to an aggressive Fiesta exploit pack (EP) campaign targeting our customers, we quickly compared notes and found that in addition to the typical Java exploits, this EP was also using a Microsoft Silverlight exploit. In the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report (ASR) we discuss how 2013 was a banner year for Java exploits, and while updating Java should remain a top priority, Silverlight is certainly worth patching as threat actors continue to search for new application exploits to leverage in drive-by attacks.

Fiesta Exploit Pack

Image provided courtesy of Fox-IT

Over the past 30 days this specific Fiesta campaign was blocked across more than 300 different companies. The attacker(s) used numerous dynamic DNS (DDNS) domains – that resolved to six different IP addresses – as exploit landing pages. The chart below depicts the distribution of hosts used in this attack across the most blocked DDNS base domains.

CWS Fiesta Blocks by Distinct Requests

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