Collaboration in 08, Virtualisation in 09

by Tabrez Khan    Dec 29, 2008

Which were the technologies you focused on in 2008?


At Cisco, the key technologies we focused on in 2008 can be clubbed under the following themes:

  1. Collaboration and Unified Communications
    This includes powerful communication tools and integrated voice, videoconferencing, and Web capabilities that help control costs, increase productivity and boost competitiveness.
  2. Web 2.0: This is the next generation of the Internet, which enables companies to reach out to various stakeholders over the Internet, using online tools with richer communication capabilities.   
  3. TelePresence:  With the demand for virtual solutions gaining in momentum, Cisco launched "TelePresence" applications that deliver real-time, face-to-face interactions between people and places in their work and personal lives, using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies. Cisco TelePresence combines rich audio, high-definition video, and interactivity to deliver a unique in-person experience over an IP network.
  4. WebEx: The combination of escalating customer demands for more powerful collaborative solutions, the availability of more dynamic web services and the success of partner ecosystems have inspired Cisco to create the WebEx Connect platform for multidimensional and cross-organizational collaboration. WebEx Connect enables an ecosystem of ISVs to create new, composite applications that can be delivered on-demand via the web to support collaboration across multiple organizations.
  5.  Contact Center Solutions: The solutions have helped in various ways to reduce voice-related costs with the ability to carry voice across IP. Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise delivers intelligent contact routing, call treatment, network-to-desktop computer telephony integration (CTI), and multichannel contact management over an IP infrastructure. It combines multichannel automatic call distributor (ACD) functionality with IP telephony in a unified solution, enabling your company to rapidly deploy a distributed contact center infrastructure.
  6. Mobility
  7. Location-based Services: This mobile device accessible service enables intelligent responses based on the user s location, and is especially effective within a network to ensure secure access and to reach specific information
  8. Secure Wireless Networks: A wireless network with the right amount of security features enables companies to stay connected even with their mobile workforce, such as sales or service teams. Access from public networks to a closed corporate network is possible with the right parameters and firewalls built in Unified Communications for Mobile Workspace
    This technology extends all the benefits of the Unified Communications platform to a mobile workforce, enabling them to function and collaborate as effectively as their wired counterparts

What would the tech focus be in 2009?

The prime focus for 2009 stems from what we consider our three pillars for the future:

  1. Video: Cisco is ready with new technologies and solutions that will enable networks to be optimized for a new generation of video and rich media applications and services. This new class of technologies is designed to enable advanced communications, collaboration and entertainment experiences through video- and rich media-optimised service provider, business and home-networks, known as medianets . Streaming Video allows for high-quality videoconferencing, which Cisco believes to be a great business transformer, today, especially considering the high cost of travel impacting the company s bottom-line as well as its environmental impact
  2. Collaboration: In the future, we see collaboration moving from intra-company to inter-company, creating a safe and secure channel for companies that work together to communicate effectively with each other. The architecture supporting this shift is based on the network, and it is no longer about stand-alone applications like smart applications or videoconferencing, but rather how effectively it is able to integrate all these, towards a seamless collaboration experience
  3. Virtualisation: Virtualisation technologies enable businesses to treat all IT resources as a set of shared services that can be combined and recombined to improve efficiencies and scale quickly

One technology that did not live up to its promise in 2008


WiMax, a standard-based wireless technology, gaining rapid acceptance around the world is capable of delivering broadband Internet and extending services like Internet telephony throughout India without major disruption to transportation and other services.

However, issues like licensing, cost effectiveness, maturing of the technology are some of the challenges that need to be overcome to enhance WiMax adoption.


And one technology that held true to its promise in 2008

Unified Communications: Through its collaborative tools, Unified Communications has brought to life the age-old dream of an office-without-borders. Teams in diverse locations are able to collaborate as effectively as teams, that are in the same office. It is also enabling the radical concept of allowing employees to work from home or any other location, and the simple requirement of being able to go online allows them to access the corporate network, emails, and their work tools. Unified Communications and its component technologies are speeding-up businesses on their road to going green, as carbon-heavy overheads are reduced.

Business travel is responsible for a major part of company greenhouse gas emissions. This includes national and international trips for high-level meetings, sales conferences, group training, or live exchanges. Here too technology offers ways to cut down on the need for physical presence, without losing the human contact that remains an essential part of doing business effectively.

There is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when TelePresence meeting tools are used as opposed to airline, automobile, or rail travel to attend a meeting. Considering that a commercial flight from Chicago to New York results in an estimated 633 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions the environmental benefits can be substantial.


What will be the impact of the global recession on IT spends in the industry?


As the global economy slows down, and the macro economic situation continues to be challenging, companies are looking for ways to trim spending and improve the bottom line. Spending on IT has as a result been affected, especially in sectors like banking and finance, retail, auto. India too has been impacted by the global crisis, but in my opinion not as much as the US or Europe. We are still looking at steady economic growth, and the government is working with the industry to ensure that the impact is further reduced.

There are challenging times ahead but organisations need to take a long-term view and embrace technology that will help them bring down costs while increasing productivity, and we see this as an opportunity to partner with our customers to explore new models.


Will the organisation increase spend on information security, security appliances to combat calamities and other acts?


Information security will continue to remain critical on the CIO s agenda. Today, security-related hardware, software and services represent a $38 bn industry worldwide, a figure IDC projects will reach $67 bn in 2010.

Organizations are fast adopting advanced security solutions to protect end-points, network admission control, application security and security monitoring & event co-relation and this segment is growing almost double the rate of traditional security solutions.

Physical security in the light of the recent events will gain further importance and organisations are likely to invest in related technologies.