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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Exploring innovative technologies the Cisco way

A two-day conference organized by Cisco Systems at the South African Sun City was for brain storming capable of bringing experts together to innovate, writes REMMY NWEKE.

Recently, Cisco Systems hosted its annual two-day conference at the Sun City, a countryside of north-west province of South Africa; is reputed as premier holiday resort, offering a myriad of entertainment and relaxation opportunities and crowned as the gambling mecca of South Africa.

Opening remarks at the Sun City for Cisco Expo 2011, Director for Strategy, Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco Mr. Reshaad Sha said that the event was scheduled to equip people to achieve innovation together.

Welcoming participants, the Managing Director of Cisco System South Africa, Mr. David Meads had noted that the event which began in 2002 when the company launched its value interactive programme while in 2004, this was followed with the unveiling of 20 Yes innovation with 20 communities.

Two years later in 2006, he said, Cisco came up with the revolutionized telepresence while 2007 saw the coming of webbed, even as regional office was opened in India. In 2008, Mr. Meads pointed out that Cisco launched technology leadership with seven formula.

Cisco, he said, is the leader in storage market share with its technology innovation as a means of evolving through with over 20,000 engineers globally, adding that internally, the company’s innovation is second whereas it has done some nine commercial acquisitions.

In the next 12 to 18 months, he said that apart from Cisco South Africa assisting the government to have an all-inclusive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) agenda for the citizenry, 
Cisco intends to work on core transformation including digital inclusion, cloud service, smart, and connected communication, sociology economic development among others.

This agenda, he said, also include partnership for transformation, expanding strategic relationships to name a few with some 125 acquisition in 18 years.

The head of architectures and enterprise for the emerging markets at Cisco, Mr. Den Sullivan, pointed out that innovation is what impact technology has on our life, stressing that mega challenges of opportunity for transformation include the insatiable desire for rich media which has significant network implications.

Technology, he said, has been designed for the enterprise involving security, reliability, scalability and availability.

He maintained that today’s demand in the business environment is huge, thus attracts great minds, stressing that Cisco is a huge innovator that commenced business in 1999 with Internet Protocol (IP) telephony.

Ever since, he said, Cisco has been offering this architectural approach for business transformation, so Cisco works on borderless, and data center to name a few.

In addition, he said, Cisco has developed energy wise to save energy usage and cost too for its customers, declaring, “We are unleashing telepresence.”

Mr. Sullivan said that as technology innovates, more and more data will be on the cloud, hence the need for businesses to look towards cloud investment.

Climaxing this was the launch of Jabber WebEx at the Sun City event, described as its latest in stock version of telepresence, according to the director, Global Collaboration Solutions at Cisco Systems, Mr. Michael Smith, who noted that the launch which coincided with the firm collaboration summit in Florida, where Jabber WebEx which is an online presence was unveiled.

He also said that WebEx could be accessed anywhere and at anytime on any smart device, adding that the beta version would be available by December this year, while the general availability starts first quarter of next year.

WebEx, Mr. Smith further said could be accessed using iPad, Blackberry, iPhone to name a few smartphones, just as this service, involves Cisco integration of single identity and administration even as he listed some of e-benefits to include improving of productivity and saving time as well as enhanced efficiency.

“As far as we are concerned, the security of this service is well secured,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Smith said migration from hitherto telepresence of Cisco could be achieved in two ways, namely by automatic upgrade or by way of grade by grade.

He further said that Cisco has advanced the workspace by changing the meeting experience with the newest release of Cisco WebEx, which redefines the meeting lifecycle.

“Cisco is giving customers a way to not only share data easily during a meeting but also before and after, through a persistent meeting space that enables cross company collaboration anytime,” he said.

Mr. Smith also said, Cisco WebEx provides new levels of integration between Cisco WebEx and 
Cisco’s overall collaboration portfolio, including Cisco Telepresence and several Cisco Unified Communications products, which avails the extending of the power of online meetings while helping customers maximize existing investments.

As said by him, WebEx elevates the video and mobile experience through the provision of high definition (HD) video and pervasive meeting experience with two-way video even when on the go.

“WebEx mobile meetings are available on more mobile devices than any other enterprise meeting platform in the market today,” he reiterated.

Elucidating that with Cisco WebEx basic edition, Cisco will be offering a free version of WebEx in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012 for three users or less to allow new users to experience a web conferencing solution that enables collaboration and helps make their meetings be more productive and efficient.

Equally, Cisco launched collaboration with the Vodacom and NIL for the first real public cloud offering in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA).

By joining forces with Vodacom, leading provider of converged mobile communication solutions in Africa and NIL, a leading global provider of unified computing solutions, to launch the availability of the first office in the cloud, tagged ‘Vodacom Office in the Cloud’ will avail users the virtualization technology and hosted applications, to bring enterprise class IT services to businesses from small to large.

The Executive Head, Hosted Services, Vodacom, Mr. Richard Vester, affirmed this recently in Sun City, South Africa during the 2011 Cisco Expo, saying that Vodacom, Cisco and NIL already have a long established strategic business partnership with in South Africa and their three-way collaboration will strengthen this relationship and ultimately us to deliver innovative cloud services and solutions within the joint markets.

He explained that ‘Vodacom Office in the Cloud’ is a complete managed office solution which enables customers to rent everything they  need for a fully functional office resulting in lower costs, less problems and allowing them more time for their core business.

The solution, he said, is primarily intended to support businesses by providing them with enterprise-class IT services that would otherwise not be available to them because of high costs such as high availability using redundant equipment, high performance, advanced security.

Cloud computing, he said, is profoundly transforming the way information and services are consumed and provided. With this new paradigm shift comes the opportunity to dynamically scale IT resources and make applications and services easier than ever to access.

“We are taking the concept of cloud computing and offering it in a turnkey solution that fits any business, regardless of size ...,” he said.

From start-up to established business, the customer can decide how many workstations are required, with which applications, and pay only for what they use,” he said.

Equally commenting, the head of Managed Services, NIL, Africa, Mr. Brett Orwin, said that his team at NIL has provisioned the cloud solution to allow Vodacom to deliver an affordable and efficient cloud solution over their infrastructure immediately as well as  providing a flexible and scalable portal to deliver a ‘choose and click’ suite of popular office and business applications.

The three-way collaboration between Cisco, Vodacom and NIL, he said, would enable companies to leverage next generation Cisco technology, both in the core switching, security and routing environment as well as the Unified Computing System server blade infrastructure.

And for channel director, Cisco South Africa, Mr. Stefano Mattiello, the collaboration delivers a cloud infrastructure is an important milestone for all three companies in South Africa.

In addition, he said, the collaboration is to server as organic to innovation, pointing out that for some time now Cisco has been partnering closely with service providers around the world to provide the cloud infrastructure that they can use to deliver innovative services including security, video and unified communications to their customers.

“By providing rich services within the cloud, the network becomes a platform – and a building block – for providing real value for customers. Our professional services approach involves helping customers build the cloud solutions they need to support their operations and customers,” he said.

Above all, participants who confided to ITRealms Online said they look up to another session of Cisco Expo.

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