Shane’s Touchscreen Keeps Him In Touch – With Everyone!

September 22, 2012

For our Director of Managed Services, Shane Roberts, everything he does – at work, or at home – revolves around communication – email, instant messaging (IM), text messaging, and the telephone.  Shane is what many might call a communications “power user”.  He looks at the things that a technology will allow him to do, then figures out how to modify the technology to fit his needs. 

I wanted to understand some of the techniques and tools that Shane uses to stay on top of things – and still get some sleep.  So, I decided to follow him around for a day.  Here’s what I learned.

6:30 a.m.:  Shane arrives at the office.  And while he’s downloading his email on his laptop, he’s scanning today’s news on his iPad.  Shane likes the article he’s found on Cisco’s Nexus switch in the Wall Street Journal, so he shares it with colleagues and customers directly from his iPad.  And, because Shane has “favorites” set up on his iPad email, he’s already responded to important customer or company email last night before he went to bed.  Now, all he has to do is scan through what’s left, and respond only to messages that need his immediate attention.

7:00 a.m.:  Shane checks his iPad calendar for the day and realizes that he’s got a full day ahead.  A customer call, an onsite customer meeting, a company conference call, and the Nexus Open House.

To prepare for the customer call and meeting, Shane takes a quick look at each company’s web site.  What’s been happening?  Have they announced a new product or service?  Has the company won any awards or have the products or services been mentioned in a newspaper or journal?

8:00 a.m.:  Time to check in with the sales teams for the customer call and meeting.  Shane uses his company IP phone to do two short video calls.  Is there anything that he needs to know beforehand?

8:30 a.m.:  Shane’s first customer call.  Shane uses his laptop, IP Phone and Nexus’ Cisco Unified Communication Manager to share his desktop and a short presentation.  I’m intrigued by the Bluetooth headset that Shane is using.   With it, he can connect to, and switch between, his IP phones (Shane has two), laptop, iPhone and iPad with a single click.  It makes me wonder if he’s actually listening to me during our telephone conversations, or if he is switching over to speak with someone else on another device.  Hmmm….

10:00 a.m.:  It’s time to run down the hall for the customer onsite.  Instead of loading up his laptop, IP phone, cell phone, pen, and paper like I do, Shane just grabs his iPad.  He uses Microsoft’s OneNote to take notes in the meeting.  When he gets back to his office, he’ll just sync up his iPad to transfer the notes to his laptop.

Shane needs some files that are only on his laptop during the meeting.  Does he panic?  No way.  He merely invokes the remote desktop app that he has on his iPad and accesses the files.  I discover that Shane’s remote desktop app can access his laptop using our VPN and the Internet as well as the company wireless LAN.

I’d been noticing that Shane’s laptop never seemed to leave his office – yet he was still getting work done on the road and at home.  Now I know how he does it!

11:30 a.m.:  Lunch, but there’s no time to go out.   Why that sneaky Shane!  He has a flat panel TV installed in his office with a Sling Box.  He’s catching up on the last episode of Sons of Anarchy while he gets a quick bite.  Now I know how I can watch some Ryder Cup matches in a couple of weeks!

While Shane is watching – and eating – he’s also doing his expense report.  How?  Using Concur, he merely takes a picture of his receipts with his iPad, then forwards them in a message to Finance.  Cool!

12:00 p.m.:  Time for the company conference call.  It’s a long one.  During the call, one of our important customers calls Shane on his second IP phone.  Shane uses his slick wireless headset to switch over to the customer, answer his question, then return to the conference call.  No one even knew he was gone!

1:30 p.m.:  Open house duty for Shane.  Customers come by the booth and ask for status on their tickets.  Shane whips out his trusty iPad and gives them updates from his Salesforce.com app.  In between, he sends some quick IMs using his iPAD’s Cisco Jabber client.  That’s when I notice something odd.  When I open another app on my iPad from the Jabber client, I get disconnected from our Unified Communications Manager.  Shane doesn’t.  What’s going on here?

Shane’s been up to something again.  He has done a “jailbreak” on his iPad.  His iPad, unlike the standard one, can run multiple apps concurrently.  Shane can switch from video or voice to Salesforce, to OneNote seamlessly.  What a timesaver!  I think Shane might have another iPad to work on very soon – MINE!

6:00 p.m.:  It’s been a long day.  Shane faced some tough questions today, and everyone seemed to want to speak with him at once.  While I was grabbing a beverage, I look around and Shane isn’t around.  Hmmmm…  I head back to his office, and there he is.  Hey!  What’s that on his dual wide screen monitors?  That looks like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit!  It IS! 

Shane’s in his office relaxing from a stressful day.  O.k., but, I’m still wondering how he got the Xbox 360 in here without anyone knowing about it!

6:30 p.m.:  Shane’s out the door – with his iPad. 

So what did I learn during my day with Shane?  That there are lots of ways to use communications and other technologies to help us get things done.  And, that taking a break and having a little fun during the day, only helps to make us happier and more productive.

For Shane, his iPad is the hub that keeps him connected to all of his devices, applications, and most importantly to his customers and colleagues, friends and family.  Shane’s iPad touchscreen definitely keeps him in touch – with everyone!


Keeping an eye on what’s important

August 23, 2012

– by Waheed Choudhry, President and COO

I just returned to the office yesterday from a family vacation to France and London for the Olympics.  Like any executive, I realized that the trip was going to present me with a big challenge.  I had to figure out a way to stay in touch with the business without letting it interfere with the quality time I planned to invest with my family.    

To meet that challenge, I put together a plan – a “family plan”.  My “family plan” allowed me get a needed break from the daily grind and spend time with the most important people in the world – my family.   It also allowed me to take care of business – important business.  Here’s how it worked.

  • Before we left for the trip, I got in contact with my wireless provider to put in place the service I’d need to make and receive voice calls only.   Text messages were out, as were their constant interruptions. 
  • Prior to the trip, I also met with my staff and made sure that all of them understood that they were in charge of the business.  I would be available, just not necessarily instantaneously. 
  • During the trip, I confined Email and other data capabilities to WiFi connections and hotels, Internet cafés, and Cisco’s Cisco House in London.  This ensured that I would share my family’s memories of the people we’d met, the places we’d seen, and the experiences we’d enjoyed.

My “family plan” was a huge success.  I’ve returned to the office renewed and rejuvenated.  My family and I have tons of wonderful memories from the trip – and the incredible opportunity to actually attend Olympic competitions.   And the business?  My staff has kept Nexus on course for another great year.

Staying connected anytime, anywhere, and anyplace is important to every business, everywhere.  But sometimes we as individuals have to remember that we need to disconnect as well.  When we disconnect it allows us to reconnect with the people who matter most– our family, friends, and community.   It allows us to keep an eye on what’s really important.

Click to watch a video on the Nexus corporate culture of “Success, Family, and Fun”


The net impact of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

August 7, 2012

– by Tom Lyon, VP of Managed Services and Shane Roberts, Director of Managed Services

the multitude of consumer devices facing ITA member of our staff at Nexus was surprised to discover that his family of four had consumed 8.26GB of data in just one month.  After interviewing family members, it was pretty clear that the culprits were streaming and downloaded video along with Pandora radio.  But his experience got me thinking about the number one issue our customers talk about when we ask them to name the biggest network management problems they face.  Almost without fail, it’s how to deal with all of the consumer smartphones and tablets that are proliferating on their networks. 

Our customers, and our own experience here at Nexus, tell us that allowing users to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), significantly impacts the network infrastructure in three main areas:

  1. Bandwidth – If four consumers can use 8.26GB of data in one month, how much more will an executive, sales person or field technician generate that uses TelePresence to stay in touch, views high-quality 1080p video, and downloads multimedia documents like PowerPoint presentations, brochures, and comprehensive reports?  Our experience, and that of many of our customers, is that users consume bandwidth almost as fast as it is installed.  We’ve found that providing the bandwidth users need at a cost the company can afford requires an approach that includes policy (limiting devices or types of traffic), technology (bigger pipes, improved infrastructure), and operational improvements (better tools, more efficient processes).
  2. Security – It’s just a little scary to realize that the Vice President’s “business” tablet is also a toy for his/her nine-year-old son or daughter.  And, that both of them are probably making the four biggest smartphone/tablet security mistakes:

    * Downloading apps from unverified sources
    * Using an unlocked device
    * Using a device without a password or using a password that’s simple to break
    * Failing to keep the device’s OS updatedIT professionals know that it’s difficult to change user behavior.

    Therefore, it’s protecting the network that’s key.  We’ve found that single sign-on, context-based access rights, and SSL VPN’s – along with policy – can help insure that a nine-year-old’s mistake doesn’t result in a network intrusion.

  3. Storage – To users, storage is like bandwidth – the more there is, the more they’ll consume. However, all of that video, all of those documents have to be stored somewhere.  And for companies that must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and other state and Federal laws, simply deleting all of the video isn’t an option.  We’ve helped our customers – and ourselves – to manage the storage storm by implementing robust storage area networking solutions and using virtualization to help cap costs. 

Mobile devices aren’t going away.  And, since companies can’t just stay on an unlimited data plan with their wireless vendor to cap mobile data costs (like our colleague), it’s important to prepare for their impact on network bandwidth, security, and storage.  

Information on Nexus solutions that can help solve BYOD issues is available at:
Identity Services
Network Security
Meet the Demands of End Users
Keeping Up with Bandwidth Demands
The Role of the Network in Data Center Virtualization
Overpaying for Your Communications Infrastructure
Managed Services Provides a Predictable Cost Model


3 Statistics to Make You Think – Round 1

October 25, 2011

Earlier this year, we compiled a short video to highlight how pervasive technology has become. This clip is the first in a series of excerpts from that video. Each one contains some fairly startling statistics, and all of them will make you think. Is your network ready? 


Virtual Collaboration

July 29, 2011

With the consumerization of IT in the workforce today, businesses are spending more and more time chasing down support for virtually unlimited types of devices. From iPads, to PCs, Macs to Android devices, every day seems to introduce a new device that employees want to use.

By decoupling applications from operating systems, we can deliver information securely to virtually any device today – and devices that have yet to be introduced – without significant effort. With virtual collaboration, applications can run on devices such as iPads, Cius tablets, zero client backpacks, PCs, and Macs transparently. Applications such as WebEx Connect can run in a virtual environment, yet still control physical phone devices on the user desktop.

Nexus experts understand the data center, borderless network, and collaboration elements involved in delivering applications to any device safely and securely. This demo we recently gave at Cisco Live shows you the first phases of virtual collaboration, and where the technology is headed:


Would You Give Up the Web for $1 Million?

July 10, 2011

If someone was ready to fork over $1 million to you to stop using the Internet forever would you do it? A recent informal poll by the Fund for American Studies suggests the answer is “no”. The question was posed to beachgoers one afternoon and answers ranged from “I don’t even know if I could take on that challenge” to “it would have to be something in excess of 15-20 million.” Strong sentiment for such a casual audience.

But the video doesn’t just stop with that question. It’s a thought-provoking commentary on the value/worth of technology today versus its actual cost. In its Visual Networking Index, Cisco estimates that by 2015, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be twice as high as the global population. And with internet access available for  just pennies a day, the value/cost ration of the internet is without equal.

It’s a fun video and an interesting social commentary. Give it some thought – would $1 million dollars make YOU give up the internet?


Tablet Trends

June 1, 2011

Focus Research just launched this Research FYI called The Tablet Takeover. In the report, they predict that as computer manufacturers launch new tablet devices to compete with the iPad, the market will experience accelerating growth over the next several years. According to available data, more than one-tenth of shoppers online are planning to purchase a tablet within the next half-year, suggesting that as many as 28 million of the devices could be sold in the coming five months, numbers suggest that demand could outpace supply. 

Forrester’s tablet forecast for 2011 offers their perspective and predictions on market drivers and the competitive landscape. Their call: The tablet market will grow rapidly, from 10.3 million US consumers in 2010 to 82 million in 2015. As the tablet market grows, product strategists must nurture both the app ecosystem and the browser environment — both will be key channels for delivering content experiences on tablets.
Tablets 
So what constitutes a tablet, exactly? This definition by Gartner, sums it up nicely: Media tablets are slate devices that support touch and run a lightweight OS such as iOS, Android, WebOS or Meego. Examples of media tablets are the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Cisco Cius.

Over 100 tablets were unveiled at CES in 2011. This list compiled by BGR’s Zach Epstein shows the entire line-up, making it clear that the Android operating system is poised to grab major market share from Apple, just as they did over the last year with the sale of Android smartphones. It’s an impressive list, but doesn’t include the dozens more tablets designed for enterprise use, including those by industry leaders Cisco, RIM, Avaya, and HP. 

The struggle to support tablets at the enterprise level is eloquently articulated in this CNN Money blog. As author Michal Lev-Ram puts it, “Tablets are small and lightweight, and they have the computing power to accommodate enterprise-class applications. But they’re also expensive, and can’t do some of the things a smart phone can (like make calls and fit in your pocket). What’s more, tablets have yet to prove their return on investment in the workplace.”

Security is another grave concern with the rise in tablet usage. This Information Week report sums it up: Smartphones have already altered the enterprise risk landscape, and tablets will only accelerate the pace of change. Employees want access from their personal devices, and companies need to provide it. The report offers 4 possible strategies for tackling mobile security, from Basic Device Management, to Enhanced Device Management to a Walled Garden Approach, to Risk-Based Management.

Innovative CIOs will turn the mobile device management challenge into a business opportunity—and show that IT can help people be more connected and collaborative, regardless of location.


%d bloggers like this: