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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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The Modular Enterprise


Just before setting off for Cisco Live I heard an economist on the radio talk about the relative performance of leading countries. The key measure was productivity: GDP per worked hour. Certainly historic outcomes are important but they do tend to provide a historic view.

As we accelerate into the digital revolution, I started to think about the best way to measure company performance. Critically, what might indicate future market leadership? Where should a company focus when it comes to communications and collaboration? What is core and what will enable leaders to set themselves apart from competitors?

I decided to spend some time at Cisco Live asking customers for their perspectives. I arrived in San Diego with a long list of potential items. But after John Chambers spoke about market disruption brought about by digitization, I came away with a simple model:  The Modular Enterprise. Read More »

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Say Hello to Our New Advanced Video IP Phones

Have you ever suffered phone envy in the office? You stroll by someone’s desk and notice that they have a better, newer, cooler desktop phone than you do? Maybe it’s one with a smooth sleek design, embedded video capabilities, and a higher-resolution display. If so, now might be a good time to raise your hand and ask for a new phone. We are introducing two new video phones to the IP Phone 8800 Series, which we’ve built to scale across your organization.

Next week at Cisco Live in San Diego, we will showcase the 8845 and 8865 IP Phone models. The new phones deliver the great experience you expect from the 8800 Series with addition of 720p HD video capabilities — at a great price. The new models also have advanced features that go beyond video, such as Cisco’s Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, which provides telephony feature integration with your personal mobile devices. It’s all about enabling you to work your way.

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Cisco IP Phone 8845 and 8865*

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Cisco IP Phone 8845 and 8865*









These new phones round out an exciting phase of innovation on the desktop for Cisco. This time a year ago,

Read More »

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Don’t You (Forget about Employee Engagement)

Tonight I’m heading out for a huge slice of nostalgia. I’m going to see 1980s pop group Simple Minds. No doubt there’ll be much reminiscing and swaying of hands to classics like “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

This year Cisco has been celebrating its 30th birthday. Another recent addition to the 30-something list is the movie “The Breakfast Club.” This John Hughes classic became an icon of the time and helped make Simple Minds and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” world famous.

As a remote worker, I understand it could be easy to feel “forgotten” and become disillusioned with a lack of information and sporadic contact with your managers, peers, and co-workers. How do you, for example: Read More »

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Collaboration Technologies Can Help Reduce Travel Costs Without Reducing Relationships

Did you know these corporate travel facts?

  • On average, companies spent more than 10% of their total annual budget on expenses related to business travel in 2014, according to Aberdeen.
  • Non-compliance with corporate travel policies is a top-three challenge for 57% of executives surveyed by Travelport.
  • Nearly 85% of respondents to the Travelport survey say rising airfares and hotel rates have negatively affected their corporate travel programs.

One of my favorite things in life is to travel and to explore new places. It’s inspiring and gives me perspective on different regions and lifestyles. That said, business travel can be a far cry from leisure travel.

It’s great to meet customers and partners, and I enjoy dinners with colleagues on the road. But when I travel, my work week gets jumbled by the diversion from my routine. Time changes, the lack of veggies in my diet, and missing my oh-so-comfy bed. There are times when we all have to meet in person. But business travel sometimes exacts a high cost from project deadlines and time-sensitive work.

Honestly, and I know I am not alone, spending time in security checkpoints, then sitting on a plane for hours trying to get comfortable and be productive can be a nuisance.

Travel itself is expensive. Read More »

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