Cisco and Collaboration

I’m at C-Scape, Cisco’s big analyst event which is held during Cisco Live, this week. One of the more interesting sessions was by Jonathan Rosenberg who is the VP and CTO of Cisco’s collaboration business. What caught my attention is that he opened with Metcalf’s law, which states that the value of a network is the square of the number of people on the network and he suggested this law also applied to communications tools. The reason this caught my attention is that it seems that most of the folks that are building collaboration/communications tools seem to believe that just building the tool is all you need. But, as Jonathan pointed out, if you don’t have a critical mass of folks actually using the tool it is worthless. He made a number of interesting additional observations let’s cover a few of them. Tools Are Gaining Communications/Collaboration Features According to Jonathan, there are a ton of developer tools that are gaining communications and collaboration features which may be causing some confusion about the purpose of these tools. This doesn’t change these tools into an alternative to email—the features just enhance these tools. However, they are creating (along with the social media stuff) a huge problem with regard to tracking the related conversations and managing them. The implication is there is an increasing need for a tool that can aggregate all of these conversations for the user. Kind of like the BlackBerry hub or Hootsuite for social media, but with far more reach. Cisco is developing just such a tool—a tool that can aggregate all communications—with WebEx Teams. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More

Lenovo Wants to Simplify Conference Room Collaboration…

Equipping a conference room used to be really easy. You’d specify a speaker phone for the room, maybe select a couple of white boards and a flip chart, specify a conference table and chairs and that’d be about it. Video conferencing attempted to disrupt this several times, but a lack of compatibility, poor ease of use, and extreme expense tended to keep it from getting to true critical mass. The bigger problem was the systems tended to be underutilized once in. Same with digital white boards there was a bit of excitement around them, but folks didn’t seem to want to learn how to use them, so they too never really got to critical mass. The choice seemed top be, keep it simple and get complaints about not having tools that were really expensive, make a guess about the advanced technology and then try to defend the expense against little subsequent usage, or pass the task of equipping the conference rooms to someone you really don’t like. Generally, the last choice tended to be the best for you, but it hardly put you in the running for best co-worker of the year. What makes the Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub 700 interesting is that it addresses most of the pain points I know of in conference room technology without adding a ton of complexity. It seems to follow the KISS rule of “Keep It Simple Stupid” which is something we all should have had engraved on our foreheads years ago. Let’s talk about conference room solutions this week. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More

Cisco: Driving Diversity Where It Counts

This is Women’s History Month and I think it is important to highlight companies that are going the extra mile. Cisco stands out because—unlike most tech companies, where diversity is in the lower ranks—Cisco is diverse at the top. Cisco has also fielded the Office of Inclusion and Collaboration, and the Cisco Empowered Women’s network. Finally, Cisco funds the Women of Impact Conference which was held back on the 7th right at the start of Women’s History Month. Let’s talk a bit about each of these events and why it is important for firms like Cisco to give diversity in the workplace more than lip service. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More

Cisco Moves Virtual Assistant into The Office

Well it was due to happen. First we had Siri and Cortana on our phones and PCs, then Alexa invaded our homes and now Cisco is pushing their Spark Assistant into offices and I’m kind of surprised why it took so long. We are about to be up to our armpits in digital assistants, but that isn’t a terrible thing. You see—up until now—we have largely been forced to learn how to communicate with the computers and systems we interface with. But what digital assistants do is they start to bring these systems back towards us. In short, this is the beginning of machines learning how to work with us. I think you could argue that having to learn how to work with someone else puts them in a superior position, the same goes for machines. This past practice kind of made us their servants, where it should have always been the other way around—or, at least more of a peer relationship. This is a major step into creating far better human/machine interfaces and a major step toward a far higher level of efficiency and customer satisfaction with the products we will interface tomorrow. Let’s chat about that this week. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More
Cisco: Where We Are (Part 2of3)
Dec17

Cisco: Where We Are (Part 2of3)

SAN JOSE: The IT industry has weathered a lot of changes over the last 30 years, many of them either pioneered – or at least cashed in on – by Cisco Systems, including switches, routers and converged systems. The history of Cisco is market transitions, Chairman and CEO John Chambers told a group of journalists and analysts during a three-day Cisco-thon. “We see around corners… we see the things 3, 5, 10 years ahead of the opportunity.” While the 30-year-old remains networking’s 800-pound gorilla, and has captured the lion’s share of the surging converged infrastructure market – some combination of servers, storage and/or networking – it has been active in a variety of other segments, including analytics, cloud, collaboration and security. While Chambers called data analytics the “one area we were missing”, he added that the company has been heavily involved in analytics for many years, but the Internet of Everything, which the company has been calling a $19 trillion opportunity by 2020, requires a new approach, bringing the analytics to the edge where most of the data resides. The key is the edge, where the analytics goes, he said. However IoE and big data analytics (AKA Cisco Connected Analytics) are Cisco’s future (i.e. Part 3). According to company executives, Cisco’s today includes the usual networking suspects, as well as a variety of other segments, including security. “We have security as the number one, number two, number three, number four concern for all of our customers,” said Chuck Robbins, SVP Worldwide Field Operations. Just in case the 25% revenue jump last quarter didn’t indicate just how important Cisco thinks security is, IDC just reported that Cisco hung on to its lead in the security appliance market, growing its share 2.8 points to 18.7% of revenues, well ahead of second-place Check Point and more than twice the revenues of third-place Palo Alto Networks. The company also announced its intent to acquire Neohapsis, a privately held, Chicago-based security advisory company providing risk management, compliance, cloud, application, mobile, and infrastructure security solutions to Fortune 500 customers. Cisco’s key focus is addressing customers’ security issues, said Marty Roesch, Vice President/Chief Architect, Security Business Group/Sourcefire CTO, but solving them is more of an aspirational goal. “Over the last decade we’ve seen the industrialization of hacking.” They’re really getting professional in how they attack, with QA testing and even guarantees, he said. According to Ponemon data, the average cost of a breach in 2014 is $5.4 million per incident, and in a recent Cisco survey, 100% of the sample was compromised. The good news, said Roesch, is that means there is a huge opportunity in...

Read More