Access, Access, Access

The concept of a digital workspace has evolved over time. Most clients we speak to can imagine new ways of offering services to their users. Questions remain though;  How much gear do I need to provide them? How can I make it simpler for my users to access and keep pace as the industry continues to introduce new applications and methods to consume and create content? How can we maintain security and ensure data is protected? Most IT professionals are working with their organizations to shore up screen-of-life-blog-imagethe gaps in their security when lines of third-party SaaS providers are introduced and then have difficulty retaining control and accountability for access. Time-to-value for new methods, mobile apps and change of any kind that promises improvement to their organization is many times not accurately accounted for. Screens have continued to explode in popularity throughout organizations globally. These portals into the world of digitized information empower users to impose requests for the latest consumer technology and BYOD upon IT that bring both opportunities and threats. Let’s take a closer look at these screens and the power they hold.

Screens were created to read or rather watch words. They are always on and have the capability to transform any space into a digital consumption platform. Being digital allows users to: annotate, mark up, underline, bookmark, summarize, cross reference, hyperlink, share and talk to content. Adding these capabilities allows reading or watching content to become social. In order for this to become a reality we must make content portable.

Possession is not as important as it once was. Now instant access is critical, and gives many of of the same benefits and few of the disadvantages.

There is a mythical dream to backup the entire Internet. Some are attempting to do this and “The Cloud”, built upon today’s technology can enable that dream. An achievement such as this will be remembered for all time and will contain the entire works of all human kind. This is a very large library, representing approximately 310M books, 1.4 B articles, 180 T songs, 3.5 T images, 330K movies, 1B videos, 60T public webpages. Today it would take the space the size of a bedroom. Eventually will fit on the future size of a phone.

IT professionals have two views on this type of power. 1) Half are surely hoping they die before such things happen and 2) the other half want to know what’s taking so long; summon content as desired from anywhere and securely access it from the screen of their choice. Delivering a new digital workspace built as a cloud-first service, where continuous development is employed to bring new innovations on a weekly and monthly basis; will allow IT professionals to meet business and user expectations at the accelerated pace we are now moving and our users have come to expect.

Failure to provide end user’s the ability to access the required applications and data securely efficiently and effectively can have a very negative impact on business. SMP works with clients to deliver IT solutions that provide highly efficient digital workspaces and mobility, leveraging cutting edge technology, enabling businesses to move forward.

Introducing the Cisco 8845 and 8865: Affordable HD Video for Every Desk

For those who missed it, Cisco recently released two next generation video phones called the 8845 and 8865.  The phones are richer in features than their 8900 and 9900 predecessors, and while nothing has been officially announced, the writing is on the wall that these new endpoints will phase out both the 8900 and 9900 in the very near future. Combine that with last weeks End of Sale announcement for the legacy 7900 series phones, and Cisco’s personal endpoint portfolio will soon consolidate to only the 7800 and 8800 series phones, along with Cisco’s desktop experience endpoints known as the DX series.

The 8845 and 8865 are orderable now and can be added to any Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) cluster running v8.6.2 and later.  Their value is superior to anything else in Cisco’s endpoint portfolio, with a street price of approximately $300 and $400 respectively.  Both have 720p cameras and 5 inch screens, support Intelligent Proximity and have Bluetooth.  The 8865 adds the ability to use USB headsets and attach up to three expansion modules (sidecars) as well.  Both will support Mobile and Remote access through Cisco Expressway (VPN’less connectivity no matter where you are), providing a secure, seamless experience whether you are in the office or working out of your home.

The 8845 and 8865 communicate natively with Cisco Jabber, 8900/9900 video phones, DX series endpoints, existing TelePresence and Conferencing infrastructure, and support both Business to Business and Consumer to Business video as well.  With the Video Call Back feature being added to WebEx in the very near future, even deeper integration is right around the corner.

If you already have a Cisco Unified Communications platform and are looking to refresh your phones, choosing the Cisco 8845 / 8865 is an economical way to add HD Video Telephony to workspaces where it doesn’t exist today.  If you are looking to replace your telephony platform with something new, this is just one more reason why you should consider selecting Cisco as your vendor of choice.

List pricing and datasheets for both endpoints are below.

CP-8845-K9= / $575 List pricehttp://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoints/ip-phone-8845/index.html#

CP-8865-K9= / $795 List pricehttp://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoints/ip-phone-8865/index.html

8845 Charcoal8845 White

NOTE:  The white model won’t be available for a couple of months, but the grey version is orderable now.

If you would like a demonstration of the 8845 or 8865 IP phone (or any Cisco Collaboration endpoint for that matter) please do not hesitate to reach out to the SMP Collaboration Team.

SMP is a Cisco Master Collaboration and Cisco Gold Partner, and we have a state of the art Solutions Center where we can demonstrate the latest and greatest in Cisco technologies in person or remotely.  Please reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you with your IT challenges.  We pride ourselves on enabling our customers so they can keep up with both the speed of business and IT.

Sean Wilson – swilson {at} smp-corp.com

Welcome the Age of Change @ the Speed of Life

We live in a connected society of humans and machines. This world creates great conflict for both humans and machines. Humans must protect themselves from allowing the machines to control them. Some of us attempt to do so by removing technology from our lives at certain times during our day. I say attempt because it is very challenging to do this and very easy to fail. Due to our difficulty in controlling our actions of how, when, and where we use technology, we as users of the machines have become very unpredictable. Machines need protection from humans in order to avoid being cast aside for not delivering an acceptable user experience that is consistent. Herein lies the pain and conflict users consuming IT resources can feel.

IT departments are made up of humans trying to configure solutions and machines have very little defense against their creator. Complicating the situation is unpredictable, volatile, and at times what appear to IT as “abusive” users.  The evolution of our society as it relates to technology has moved quite quickly compared to the evolution of our society as a human race. The more we continue to evolve the ways in which we consume and inherently change our behavior, the more complexity we introduce into the IT departments responsible for delivering the tools we use. This challenge presents a situation which forces IT to choose how  to overcome this uncertainty.Read More »

The “Network Effect” and its Impact on Collaboration

A successful collaboration strategy promotes the grouping of applications, services, devices and content into “one” unified architecture to improve business processes and boost productivity. Cisco’s Collaboration portfolio has an end to end solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes. However, an organization will not see the impact of their strategy until the user population adopts the technologies and puts the capabilities to use.

Successful collaboration relies on the “network effect”. I am not referring to network design… or how secure a network is… or how much bandwidth it has… or whether or not Quality of Service has been implemented. I am referring to a concept that the “value” of a product or service increases as more and more people use it. A perfect example of a product falling victim to the “network effect” is the telephone. The more people who own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. A user purchasing a telephone may not intend to create value for other users, but they do so regardless.

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