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Key Components of the Cisco Collaboration Core Infrastructure

So, you’ve decided to introduce a collaboration solution to your organization. You’ve thought about the benefits you want it deliver: flexibility, expandability, and interoperability. And you want the user experience to be easy enough for everyone to use — not just the engineers or executives.

Great. You are on the right path. But what next? Now it’s time to become familiar with the components that make it all work.

Cisco has created a collaboration core infrastructure that provides the intelligence behind the experience. It powers the industry’s leading collaboration portfolio, which includes flexible cloud services and endpoints to fit any need or budget.

The Cisco Collaboration core infrastructure has four key components:

  • Call control and session management
  • Conferencing
  • Collaboration gateways
  • Unified management

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Mastering Design, One Red Dot at a Time

One of my favorite designers, John Maeda, believes that the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.

When John’s somewhat bold prediction is put in the context of this quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – it’s easy to see that John is right.

So if the future successful tech companies will really be design companies, what does that mean for all the “non design companies” of today (read: most tech companies and especially most IT tech companies)? This is an opportunity for all tech companies to understand the real value of design.  I believe that change has to start at the top, so for Silicon Valley, it means business leaders have to come to grips with this transformation. Not just hiring more UX people, or opening a “design center,” but embracing design as a way to lead your entire company.

It should come as no surprise that I place such high importance on the Red Dot awards.  They are a validation of amazing design quality from beyond the technology industry.  Our products in the Collaboration portfolio have won six Red Dot awards in the last 18 months – that’s as many as Cisco has won in all its 30 years.

Last week, I found out we won two more. Our newest video endpoint and the flagship of the Collaboration portfolio – the IX5000 – just won a “Red Dot Best of the Best” 2015 award, the highest distinction in Red Dot’s product design category. In 2015, only 1.6% of the nearly 5,000 submissions received this top prize.

The Cisco TelePresence IX500

The Cisco TelePresence IX5000

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Spark a Revolution

Today’s companies must evolve or face extinction. If they stand still, they’ll die. Pretty dramatic, I know, but that’s the reality. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies will no longer be around in 10 years[1].

Companies in every industry know they need to move faster and innovate quickly to survive. But transforming traditional businesses into flexible, responsive, flat organizations built for speed is not easy. In fact, it’s massively challenging. But it’s this movement that will take us into the future.

Not everyone in the business world has adopted the concept of an “agile business,” but I am a believer. The move to agile has already begun. Even if some don’t get it, the people on the frontlines have already switched gears – the concept of agile was started by software developers, the people building the products and doing the work. Fourteen years later, agile may be the key to survival for businesses desperate to modernize their organizations in a digital era.

Look at the collaboration tools most people are using at work. They were built for businesses operating in a predictable world – a world of the past. Email, phones literally tied to your desk, and audio-only conferences worked well for yesterday’s business. But now, email is overloaded, the mobile is just as important as the desk phone, and audio-only conferences deliver a frustrating experience for everybody. Clearly we need something new. There isa whole host of tools that have entered the market to meet this growing demand for better collaboration experiences.

Today I am announcing how Cisco Spark, our team collaboration service launched as Project Squared in November, is changing the way companies get their work done. Read More »

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We’re Happy to Oblige

My biggest take-away from today’s set of announcements? Customers just cannot get enough of Cisco video collaboration products.

Our new Cisco TelePresence MX800 Dual, for example, was not a planned product. But after experiencing the vast, single 70-inch screen of the original MX800 (now called MX800 Single), customers told us they wanted more of that great experience. They wanted a dual-screen version. And enough of them said it that we had to oblige; hence, the MX800 Dual with two expansive 70-inch screens to show video and content equally and brilliantly.

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And not just dual screens, but dual cameras. What was once an option is now standard. The MX800 Dual is only available with the dual-camera, speaker-tracking system, because here again customers spoke. For the type of large rooms where the MX800 Dual is useful, dual cameras are required for the best visual experience. A single camera would only capture the full view of the room and participants would appear relatively small within it. Dual cameras bring the active speaker(s) full screen, basically giving everyone a front row seat and giving the meeting greater focus.

The MX800 Dual also comes to market with a few other notable enhancements that are enabled by the new Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 platform for Cisco room-based video systems. We are transitioning to this new software platform from what you may recall as the TC platform with TC 7.3 as the last release. The TC platform served us well for a long time, but the hardware that supported it was running out of processing power. We were forced to move to a new platform in order to continue to bring you the innovative features that you’ve come to expect from Cisco.

And innovate we did. Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 introduces these key new features: Read More »

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An Impromptu Meeting With A TechWomen Delegation

Not to long ago I was at the Cisco Executive Briefing Center (EBC) presenting to a customer with a co-worker of mine named Bob. It’s not uncommon for us to present together and I enjoy the dual role of going back and forth as I think it makes for a much better experience with customers combining the story of collaboration with real world examples of video. This EBC presentation was the last of the day and on our way out we came across a group of women by the fishbowl. The fishbowl (so aptly named) is a large, round room with glass walls that houses the demonstrations.

We stopped to chat and came to learn that this was a delegation of women working in IT as part of the TechWomen (http://www.techwomen.org) program. TechWomen is a professional mentorship and exchange program developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. We spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about the program, where everybody was from, and what their interests were in the area of technology.
10742711_309583925916595_1369717274_o Read More »

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