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Collaboration meets the cloud at Cisco Live user conference

San Diego, Calif. – At Petco Park, a jewel of a baseball stadium that is home to the San Diego Padres, a major wireless upgrade is underway that will provide spectators the option of using a Wi-Fi or cellular service. Plans call for the...


July 1, 2012  


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San Diego, Calif. – At Petco Park, a jewel of a baseball stadium that is home to the San Diego Padres, a major wireless upgrade is underway that will provide spectators the option of using a Wi-Fi or cellular service. Plans call for the placement of 460 cellular antennas and 423 Wi-Fi antennas throughout the facility. The paying public will be able to choose either.

“What’s the beauty of doing both?” Steve Reese, vice president of IT for the baseball club, who has more than 22 years of experience in systems development, deployment and support related activities,” asked recently. “It gives our fans the path of least resistance. We’re going to have a variety of devices coming into the stadium and a variety of different needs.”

Meanwhile, it expected that of all the baseball content that arrives on a mobile device, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MBLAM) will be a major participator. Formed in 2000, it is the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball that delivers content via live streams of all major league games and most minor league games. The amount of online content delivered each season is staggering: one billion visitors, over one billion streams and seven billion page views.

For Joe Chiotti, CTO and senior vice president of MBLAM based in New York City, the goal now is to reach the fans at Petco Park, at Rogers Stadium in Toronto and any of the 28 other major league ball parks where content habits are acutely changing. As an example, last year alone, five million people downloaded At Bat, the organization’s suite of mobile applications.

“We need to deliver that content in the traditional wired world and moving forward, the most important component is the non-traditional world – iPhones, iPads, Androids, Blackberries,” he said during a press briefing at Petco Park held prior to the opening of Cisco Live, the organization’s annual user conference in June.

“We are not at the start of a paradigm shift from the wired to the non-traditional world we are in it. It is only going to get stronger. We are moving to wireless access, connected device access. Content providers need to be focused on this paradigm shift.

“Baseball is very focused on that non-traditional delivery of the traditional game.”

Meanwhile, Live Nation Entertainment – an organization made up of Ticketmaster.com; Live Nation Concerts, Front Line Management Group and Live Nation Network – is utilizing collaboration to ensure information is delivered at the “right place at the right time especially during live global concert tours and festivals.” Collaboration occurs via voice, video, instant messaging and web conferencing on any device –desktop, notebook, tablet or smart phone.

The organization’s global network, which connects 7,000 people in over 150 offices in 18 countries, provides the backbone for a number of IT initiatives that “enhance the fan experience” and impact the bottom line.

At a press briefing, aptly held at the House Of Blues in San Diego’s Gastown entertainment district, David Huckabay, the company’s chief information officer, outlined the major initiatives currently ongoing.

“We have a number of critical initiatives underway. Projects include collaboration and mobility in support of operations, cloud computing in support of the TicketMaster.com business,” he said.

Live Nation has also embraced the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. It supports tablets, smart phones iOS and Android devices for e-mail, file sharing and access to enterprise applications.

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The three organizations have implemented some or all of the five key foundations currently in the mix at Cisco: Routing and switching, data centres, virtualization and the cloud; video; collaboration, and finally, architectures for business transformation. Reporters and analysts were briefed on all five during the course of three days.

At Cisco Live, the company launched a new cloud initiative that was a pre-cursor to a keynote speech from John Chambers in which he outlined the corporate strategy for each of the five key areas

The Cisco Cloud Connected Solution is a product offering that the company says delivers cloud-enabled routing and wide area network (WAN) optimization platforms along with Cloud Connector software and services.

“As businesses are driving the rapid adoption of cloud based services, routing platforms and the WAN have become a strategic control point to provide an optimal user experience across the cloud,” said Praveen Akkiraju, senior vice president and general manager of the firm’s routing technology group.

The launch, consists of:

* New software embedded into the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2 platform along with services that the company says improve the performance, security and availability of cloud applications.

* The new Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR), a virtual router that enables customers to extend their virtual private networks (VPNs) into the cloud.

* New capabilities added to existing routing and WAN optimization platforms to better support cloud computing

“Network infrastructure must rapidly adapt to fully support future enterprise communications systems, which will be highly virtualized, intelligent and application-aware,” said Bjarne Munch, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The impact of new infrastructure and application strategies on the network cannot be overstated. To prepare for these changes, the enterprise network must be modernized, and enterprises must plan for the retirement of legacy technologies.”

In his keynote, Chambers also zeroed in on the speed of change currently under way and to that end, introduced Jim Grubb, the company’s chief demonstration officer, to discuss an open protocol called Locator/ID Separation Protocol or LISP.

“We have put it into the public domain because we believe it is important to have this capability for the new kinds of applications that are being developed.”

Cisco defines LISP as a network architecture and set of protocols that implements a “new semantic” for IP addressing: “(It) creates two namespaces and uses two IP addresses: Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs), which are assigned to end-hosts and Routing Locators (RLOCs), which are assigned to devices (primarily routers) that make up the global routing system.

“LISP is a simple, incremental, network-based implementation that is deployed primarily in network edge devices. It requires no changes to host stacks, DNS, or local network infrastructure and little to no major changes to existing network infrastructures.”

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At last year’s event, press were invited to a demo/interview room to try out the Cius, the company’s former Android tablet that combined voice, video, collaboration and virtualization capabilities.

In San Diego, Chambers and Rob Lloyd, executive vice president of worldwide operations, spent a great deal of time during a media Q&A session explaining why they decided to shelve the project.

Surprisingly, Chambers admitted that it should have been terminated nine months before the May 24 announcement came down. On that day, OJ Winge, senior vice president and general manager of the company’s collaboration technology group, wrote that he believes “there is a greater opportunity for changing the way people work, live, play and learn by embracing the BYOD trend and focusing on software offerings like Jabber and WebEx, that provide the anytime, anywhere and any device experiences.

Jabber is a unified communications application that contains instant messaging, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing capabilities that can run across PCs, Macs, tablets and smart phones; while WebEx provides on-demand collaboration serv
ices through the cloud.

According to Lloyd, the device is changing from the PC-driven world to one that involves smart phones and tablets. Therefore the operating system that we always took for granted on the desktop is no longer

The company’s strategy, he added, is to make the communications and collaboration available on all operating systems, be it iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows and on phones and clients.

“We are going to deliver video, voice, enterprise applications on any device as our customers choose to move away from a client-server only market to one that will be cloud-based,” he said. “That is the market transition we have identified and our architecture is now supporting the movement in that direction

“With Cius, we were attempting to deliver an experience to the business user that will run video, communications and a series of applications together on an Android client, that is experience is now the Jabber platform.”

“We have not moved away from the construct, we have opened up the software to run across multiple devices, which is the way the market is going.”

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CNS asked Rebecca Jacoby, Cisco’s CIO and head of its cloud and systems technology management group, how the customers she speaks with are handling all of this change.

“Although the technology is top of mind, 60% of the questions that come to me are actually about how we manage the amount of change required to take advantage of these technology transitions,” she said.

“Starting with how do we teach our organization to connect to the business architecture, how do I actually run IT efficiently, how do I deal with how massively this is changing my operational model and my ability to manage risk associated with this and how the hell do I bring my people along skillet wise, culture wise?

“One of the things that comes up a lot is that ‘my own guys are the barriers to moving forward on this. They are successful in an old model, but are having difficulty making the transition to the new model.

“There is going to be a fallout organizationally in order to take advantage of these technology trends. This is more poignant in IT today than it ever has been and it is not going to get any easier.”