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...

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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...

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Qualcomm XR1: Finally Making Mixed Reality Viable

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—which we now call mixed reality—has had two very serious problems that I think could have been solved had the industry just approached this segment properly. Before we get to the Qualcomm XR1 platform and how it addresses those issues, though, I want to chat about how the industry messed up bringing this technology to market. The VR/AR Screw Up What is often find really annoying is when my industry tosses out everything we’ve learned about how to bring a new technology to the consumer market and then seems surprised when it doesn’t go well. Up until now VR/AR has been a huge disappointment in the consumer space. Google brought out Google Glass for AR which turned out to not only suck, it actually got some of the users beat up and called Glassholes. Then Facebook and HTC brought out expensive but sub-standard offerings with little content and seemed shocked their offerings didn’t sell well. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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The FBI’s Accidental Argument for Using Blackberry Phones

This week there was another FBI scandal. This one was on how the FBI massively overinflated the numbers of phones they needed access to in order to “protect the nation.” For some time now, they’ve been arguing that they need to be able to have a “secret key” to breach the encryption on smartphones even though it would put the vast majority of high risk US citizens, like politicians and highly-placed executives, at extreme risk. This also seems incredibly hypocritical because, at the same time, they are arguing we shouldn’t use certain Chinese phones because that government may have done the exact same thing (there is no proof—just suspicion). This apparently showcases that they not only don’t realize that if they got a key every major government would also want one, but also that if that key existed its value would be so high it would be virtually impossible to secure. The FBI Position Puts The Nation At Risk If there were a universal key to break smartphone encryption the value of that key would make it virtually impossible to protect given state-level players would all want it. Almost any key short of a Quantum Key (which doesn’t really exist yet) can be brute force discovered with enough computing power and governments have access to the latest supercomputers. However, given how relatively easy it has been for hackers to gain access to otherwise secure government documents, they probably wouldn’t have to go to such lengths. Simply spear phish someone that had access, bribe or blackmail them and they key could be had from almost any government agency. We simply aren’t that secure. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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HP Steps Up to AMD Laptop/Desktop Opportunity

There is a lot of distrust surrounding the Intel brand at the moment largely due to a sequence of events which included a slow disclosure of a serious security flaw (which appears to be getting worse), a secret early disclosure of this flaw to China (which has technical ties to North Korea), related patch problems, their CEO apparently fleeing Intel stock. This damaged trust and raised the question of why anyone would want to invest in a company, for product or stock, that the firm’s own CEO didn’t think was a good investment and this comes on top of the insider trading concerns raised by the activity. In the meantime, AMD released their strongest set of processors in their history, generally equal to or better than Intel’s offerings, and providing unique values in areas like single socket servers. Against that launch Dell, HP, and Lenovo brought out new products. However, it is interesting to note, that of the 3 HP was by far the most aggressive releasing entire lines of offerings. Let’s talk about why this could play particularly well for HP. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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