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Archive for June 2015

Three new solutions address the workplace of the future.

We’ve seen a lot of chatter on No Jitter and elsewhere about the changing business environment and the concept of the workplace of the future. Opinions differ on what that “workplace” looks like, but visualizing something that’s so much more than a physical space is hard. This is really about an experience or a way to work, which vendors must keep in mind as they design tools for use in the workplace of the future.

Polycom understands this mandate, as evidenced in three new RealPresence Platform solutions it announced this morning at InfoComm 2015. It designed the new products specifically to address the workplace of the future by improving the user experience and productivity of collaborative engagements.

Here’s a look at the new offerings.

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WAN evolution has been on the mind of IT leaders for decades. Historically though, network managers seemed comfortable to just “talk the talk” when it came to actually moving away from a traditional hub and spoke, MPLS based network.

The problem statement seems to be fairly well understood. Traditional WANs are expensive to run, offer little in the way of flexibility, are hard to secure and network managers typically have little visibility into the types of applications and traffic patterns that traverse the network. So, why haven’t more organizations evolved from a legacy network to something more current, like an Internet based WAN?

The answer lies in the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Despite all the pain, the high cost and the static nature of traditional networks, they’re what we know. Whenever I talk to a network manager about the topic, interest is high, but so is the skepticism about whether an Internet based WAN could really support a businesses needs. This is why so few of us want to be like Captain Kirk and “boldly go where no WAN manager has gone before”.

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The winning UC&C vendors in the digital era will be those that create
agile back ends that allow for rapid development of mobile apps.

With Cisco Live 2015 underway in San Diego this week, I can’t help but think of digital transformation — a significant theme in the keynote of outgoing CEO John Chambers — in context of unified communications and collaboration.

In his keynote, Chambers talked at length about the impact that digitization has had and will have over the next decade. He highlighted a handful of organizations, including poster children Airbnb and Uber, born in the digital era that have, in short order, disrupted some well-established industries.

Now business disruption is certainly nothing new; history is filled with new companies that grow at the expense of a legacy mainstay. Think of the way WalMart disrupted retail. Sears, K-Mart, and others have not been the same since.

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Departing CEO John Chambers challenged IT to
be ready for change in his final Cisco Live keynote.

John Chambers recently stepped down as Cisco's CEO and chairman after 20 years with the company. Credit: Stephen Lawson/IDG News Service

This week Cisco is holding its annual user conference, Cisco Live, in San Diego. The 2015 edition of Live is unlike any other, as this will be the last time John Chambers will deliver the keynote as CEO of the company. In a little over a month, Chambers will transition to an advisory role as Executive Chairman of the board. So while customers, partners, and others involved in Cisco’s ecosystem will likely continue to interact with him, the transition to Chuck Robbins is well underway and will be complete come the end of July.

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Before Cisco Live 2015 even kicked off, startup
Avi Networks announced integration with Cisco ACI.

Next week Cisco holds its annual user conference, Cisco Live, in San Diego. Cisco Live is a great show for customers to get educated on the latest and greatest Cisco technology available to them and how it can fit into their environment. Another benefit of Cisco Live is that customers can find technology partners that have developed solutions that work in conjunction with Cisco solutions.

One vendor that jumped the gun and announced a solution early is the application delivery controller start up Avi Networks. I actually wrote about Avi earlier this year in this blog. I’m guessing that Avi Networks wanted to get ahead of the flurry of press releases that I’m expecting next week, and I’m glad they did as this seems like a compelling solution.

One of the hottest topics at the 2015 edition of Live will be Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and APIC controller. Based on customer conversations, there’s a tremendous amount of interest in ACI, and I’m expecting to see Cisco have dominant share in this market.

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The Piston Cloud Computing acquisition will
help Cisco execute its Intercloud strategy.

Digital transformation has become a hot topic with business and IT leaders. Unleashing the power of a digital business requires IT to think and operate differently, which is why so many organizations have turned to the cloud. The cloud has fundamentally changed technology by making IT more agile at a much lower cost.

When it comes to the cloud, though, few organizations are going to be “all in” with either public or private cloud. In fact, the 2015 ZK Research Infrastructure Spending Survey revealed that about 80% of organizations will shift to a hybrid cloud model where private and public clouds will be integrated together and co-exist (disclosure: I am an employee of ZK Research).

The evolution of the cloud from being a set of discrete cloud islands to a world of interconnected cloud is the model that is driving Cisco’s Intercloud vision. Think of Intercloud as being a set of globally interconnected clouds where information, applications, and other data are free to move back and forth between the various clouds.

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