Posts Tagged ‘Cisco’

Cisco Introduces Customer Collaboration Software to Help Businesses Respond to Social Media Interactions

November 14th, 2010

Cisco, a networking and communications technology business, announced a customer collaboration software suite to help businesses track and respond to social media interactions: Cisco SocialMiner and Cisco Finesse. Cisco Socialminer can monitor status updates, forum posts, or blogs from customers in real time, alerting enterprises of conversations or comments related to their brand. Cisco Finesse, a web 2.0 collaboration desktop for customer care representatives, places all the information in a single, modifiable “cockpit” enabling agents to help callers faster, better, and with higher accuracy. Cisco also introduced a new network-based media capture platform that supports the recording, playback, live streaming, and storage of media, including audio and video, with recording metadata.

Cisco’s Customer Collaboration software suite includes the following benefits:

* Cisco SocialMiner: By providing social media monitoring, queuing, and workflow, customer posts on social media networks are organized and delivered to social media customer care teams, allowing companies to respond to customers in real-time through the originating social network.
o Consumers benefit from the engagement that Cisco SocialMiner enables. Customers see rapid response from businesses that are providing value-added engagement when and where consumers are seeking it. Additionally, consumers will see the benefit of enterprises engaging with them to provide service and information, rather than having to find information on their own through company web sites.
o Consumers will be able to continue to manage their online privacy in social media through opt-in and opt-out settings within the social networks themselves.
o Through proactive engagements with customers, companies can enhance relationships immediately, address potential consumers or product issues, generate proactive sales opportunities and manage brand perceptions.
o Internally, Cisco’s Consumer Products team including Cisco FlipTM has been using Cisco SocialMiner to manage social media customer engagements.
* Cisco Finesse: This new solution combines traditional contact center functions with Cisco QuadTM enterprise social-software capabilities.
o This Web 2.0 architecture for the agent experience will allow businesses to integrate collaboration technology and business applications to give contact center agents the tools to provide the best possible customer experience.
* Rich media capture: By recording conversations on the network, contact center agents will have access to captured media. The media can be accessed by different applications via simple interfaces, simplifying the architecture while helping to lower costs and provide optimum scalability for companies.
o Through this ecosystem, organizations gain insights into caller issues, can guide customer service agents toward speedy first-call resolution, improve agent productivity and increase customer satisfaction

Ross Daniels, director of Cisco collaboration marketing, envisions the media capture being influential with agent training as wel”Multimedia capture itself will support playback for training applications… making conversations available in real time to a third party through an interface….We see that as very beneficial in terms of reducing the time to effectiveness of new agents [and] reduce[ing] the amount of training,” says Daniels.

Michael DeSalles, principal analyst of contact centers at Frost & Sullivan, commented that, “[Cisco Socialminer can] become part of a holistic suite of contact center services. It is important that the contact center agent have all the tools [they need]. It could be email, Twitter, or Facebook.”

DeSalles added that, “Based on my exposure to some of the other technologies, I think Cisco is on the cutting edge with this one. It moves you through that basic level of …proactive engagement. I think Cisco has really done their homework.”



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Cisco fleshes out its business video plan

October 21st, 2010

Cisco is releasing new gear that it says makes it practicable to deploy pervasive, flexible video across business networks regardless of the vendors’ gear they choose to buy.

The company has been talking about this plan, called Medianet, for more than a year, but a flurry of new products this week make it possible to implement some of what had been more of reference architecture, Cisco says.

But the company’s announcement is a more detailed vision statement than it is a clearly defined set of products that are available to deploy today, says Andrew Davis, a senior partner with Wainhouse Research.

“It’s an impressive statement,” Davis says. “I think it’s going to take them a good five years. They’ve skirted over some of the ugly details of what’s available now.”

Calling it informally Medianet 2.0, Cisco says the implications of the technology it’s talking about are that anyone connecting to a network via virtually any type of video device can connect to any other and use any video features the network supports.

This goes beyond enabling, say, someone with a laptop video camera to join a high-definition, immersive telepresence conference, with maximum quality for both the image the telepresence participants see and the images displayed on the laptop.

It also includes, for example, the possibility of integrating Cisco digital signage — high-definition video screens that display messages in public places — with conferencing so the same screen can be used for signs and also for video calls.

Medianet could also support integration of Cisco’s physical security gear with unified communications, so if a Cisco door-badge system detects a possible intrusion, that event could trigger boosting the quality of the video being recorded at that doorway and fire off a notification to security personnel to check it out in person, Cisco says.

This any-to-any architecture is based on Cisco hardware, at least for now, including the fixed-configuration Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3500 — announced nearly two years ago — and the new, larger, modular MXE 5600 that has eight slots.

The network-based devices work out details of how to translate signals from varying endpoints that may use different protocols and codecs so they can all talk to each other at the best possible quality.

“The MXE is like a ferry boat that connects different islands of video,” says Davis, with the all-Cisco island supporting all Medianet features. “Most people will play on a different island called media standards.”

That can pose a problem for companies with large investments already in other video vendors’ gear. “The answer is the MXE,” Davis says. “It gets you — or a service based on the MXE — that’s how Cisco has claimed interoperability.” Cisco says Medianet is already compatible with some other vendors’ equipment including LifeSize and Polycom. It says it is working with smartphone vendors — “the usual suspects” — to make their handsets compatible for video chat over Medianet.

An analogy put forward for understanding Medianet is that of a computer operating system that receives service calls and responds with the service. In the analogy, Medianet software distributed in the network, services and endpoint layers acts as the operating system. As devices make service calls — like a high-definition video device seeking resources to send 1080p, 30 frames-per-second video — the network responds with that service, much as an operating system might.

Medianet is also intelligent, so if network can’t supply the resources the video device needs, the network and device will negotiate the best possible quality that is available at that time, upgrading to the requested quality as more resources become available, Cisco says.

Most of this is done in software, which may require upgrades to the version of Cisco’s IOS in network devices. In cases where switches and routers are more than 3 or 5 years old, the hardware may have to be replaced as well, Cisco says.Davis says this stands to benefit the company because it will sell more routers, switches and IOS upgrades to businesses that buy into Medianet, and they’ll sell a lot of video devices.

Endpoints Cisco says will be compatible can vary from laptops and video phones to business-class telepresence rooms and consumer video such as Cisco’s recently announced umi. They can also draw together unified communications networks, WebEx, digital signs and physical security devices.

The company also intends to address the complexity of deploying devices by making them automatically link to a Medianet network when they are plugged into a switch port. The devices would describe their needs and the ports are configured appropriately for quality of service and the like, Cisco says.

Cisco says it has a standards-based interoperability interface it will license free to partners so their gear can support Medianet features.

In addition, new MXE capabilities include the addition of Cisco Pulse, software that can search stored video for specific content and jumping to that part of the session rather than watching all of it or skipping through hoping to find the relevant part, Cisco says.

The company says it expects this new infrastructure to be picked up by businesses for deployment within their networks but also by service providers who will use it to support media-exchange services.

Davis says businesses should pay attention to the Cisco vision and consider whether its benefits will help meet business goals. But they should also look to other vendors to consider their alternatives. “Tread very carefully for vendor selection,” he says.The good news is that there is probably plenty of time. “IP telephony took nine years and video is harder,” Davis says.



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VIQ solutions signs software license agreement with Cisco systems

October 13th, 2010

VIQ Solutions Inc. announced today that they have signed a five year software licensing agreement with Cisco Systems, Inc. . The non-exclusive License Agreement covers the licensing and integration of VIQ’s Encompass RPC product suite into Cisco’s product portfolio worldwide.

VIQ’s Encompass RPC software provides the unprecedented ability to securely control multimedia recording in multiple courtrooms from any satellite location across the Internet, WAN or LAN. This remote processing control, backed by real-time synchronization for complete data redundancy, allows large-scale and complex installations to be managed efficiently by fewer resources.

“There is a natural fit between the products, technology and expertise that seamlessly provides a scalable, reliable, secure justice system that will benefit the legal community,” says David Outhwaite, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIQ Solutions. “The integration of our solutions on a worldwide basis brings unprecedented opportunity to the justice community to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs.”



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Linksys e2000 advanced wireless-n router

October 7th, 2010

The Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router offers excellent performance and includes a nice set of features.

The router also has an aesthetically pleasing compact design and an intuitive software application to help home users set up and manage their home wireless network with ease.

The bad: The Linksys E2000 can’t operate in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency bands at the same time.

The router’s Web interface and desktop software don’t work together, and neither offers complete control over the router’s configuration. There’s also no USB port to host network storage or printers.

The bottom line: The Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router is the fastest router we’ve seen in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands and will definitely make home users happy with its easy-to-use setup software.

Advanced users, however, might find its desktop software and Web interface combination a little disjointed.

The Cisco Linksys E2000 shares the same design and desktop software as other new routers from Cisco, such as the Valet Plus and the E3000.

Novice users won’t have any problem setting it up and advanced users can also take advantage of its robust Web interface. In addition, the E2000 has the best performance we’ve seen.

Unfortunately, the router also shares the same major drawbacks as others in Cisco’s Linksys E and Valet series: its easy-to-use desktop software doesn’t work with its Web interface, and you’ll need both to take advantage of all of its.



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Cisco adds more software, hardware capabilities

October 5th, 2010

For some time Cisco Systems Inc. has been cramming more services into its IOS operating system, giving network managers the choice of buying capabilities in software rather than more hardware.
On Tuesday the company continued the trend, adding optional WAN optimization and application acceleration features to its ISR G2 integrated routers often used in branch offices. In addition, there a new hardware module for the ISR G2 allows organizations to use the router as a backup server for critical application

Finally, the manufacturer tossed in a new Aironet wireless access point for small businesses.

Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior marketing director for what Cisco calls its Borderless Network strategy, said the new products are aimed at meeting the shifts in organizations to virtualized and mobile environments.

“We’re rolling out a whole set of performance optimization tools to enable the delivery of those applications from consolidated data centres to the endpoint,” she said in an interview.

One of the main capabilities is what Cisco groups under the name Application Velocity, a set of services in the ISR G2 routers that can be turned on by purchasing a software key, or through plug-in modules.

They include

–WAAS Express, which is integrated into the ISR G2’s IOS operating system. WAAS is usually sold as a standalone application acceleration and optimization appliance or an ISR G2 module. However, the module couldn’t be used on the ISR G2 800-series routers. With WAAS in software, uses of that series can now get application acceleration without buying an extra box. WAAS starts at US$1,000;

–WAAS SRE, an enhanced module for acceleration from Layers 4 to 7. Unlike the Express version, the module is aimed at sensitive applications such as video. It starts at US$2,500;

–UCS Express for VMware and Windows Server, also a plug-in module, allows IT departments to deploy core Windows services such as HTTP or DNS, or their own applications in branches for remote survivability. It could be very useful for organizations that have pulled servers out of branches, Lasser-Raab said, without increasing the hardware there. The module starts at US$2,795 and will be available next month.

On the hardware side, Cisco has come up with big numbers, starting with the Catalyst 4500E, an upgraded midrange modular switch for large offices and small data centres. The E means it comes with a new supervisor card that makes it the fastest switch in the manufacturer’s lineup: It can handle throughput of up to 848 Gigabits per second (Gbps). It runs on the IOS XE operating system, which means it can also host third party applications. Prices start at US$27,480.

The new ASA 5585-X security appliance is twice as fast its predecessor, says Cisco, supporting 20 Gbps of throughput. The 2U-sized firewall can handle up to 10,000 VPN connections or 8 million total connections. Prices start at US$29,995.



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Skype names senior Cisco exec Bates as CEO

October 4th, 2010

Internet telephony provider Skype said on Monday that Tony Bates, a senior executive of Cisco Systems(CSCO.O) would become the top executive at Skype, which is planning an initial public offering.

Skype, which is partly owned by eBay(EBAY.O), said that the company’s Chief Financial Officer Adrian Dillon would act as interim CEO until Bates joins the company later this month.

Bates, who has to relocate from California to Luxembourg where Skype has its headquarters, is switching from his role as general manager of Cisco’s enterprise, commercial and small business division.

At Cisco, Bates reported to Chief Executive John Chambers and was responsible for $20 billion of annual revenue and managed over 12,500 employees around the world.



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The second edition of Cisco ASA Firewall fundamentals configuration guide is now available

October 3rd, 2010

Harris Andrea, author of Cisco ASA Firewall Fundamentals, proudly presents the second edition of his electronic book dealing with the configuration of the most popular hardware firewall in the market, the Cisco ASA 5500 series appliance. “The second edition of my book is probably the most up to date and comprehensive Cisco ASA tutorial available today as it covers all Cisco ASA 5500 models and all Cisco ASA software versions 7.x and 8.x, including the latest 8.3 release” says Harris Andrea, a Cisco Certified Security Professional (CCNA, CCNP, CCSP) with more than 15 years experience in the field of Network Security.

The electronic book will take you by the hand and help you to configure any Cisco ASA firewall appliance from scratch. Based on the author’s practical experience, the configuration tutorial is based on real world scenarios and examples that are usually found in actual networks. Packed with colorful network diagrams, tens of scenarios and actual command line configurations, this book is focused on the practical aspects of the Cisco ASA firewall configuration. “I tried to incorporate as much technical experience as possible in this electronic book”, says Harris.

From the basic firewall configuration steps through more advanced features, such as Network Address Translation, VPN, WebVPN, DMZ configuration, Access Control, Firewall Redundancy, Routing Protocols etc, the book provides fully tested configuration procedures to help firewall administrators tackle any possible requirement in their workplace.

In addition to the main Cisco ASA Firewall Fundamentals – 2nd Edition book, there is also a Free bonus tutorial which is focused specifically on the smallest ASA model, the Cisco ASA 5505 appliance. Both books provide also complete configuration examples for several complete network implementations.



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