Friday, October 21, 2011

Small Business Chat on the Value of Technology Partners with TRC Networks

On October 20 Cisco Canada and TRC Networks discussed the value that a technology partner can bring to your small business -- whether you are looking to upgrade your network, deploy a unified communications system or determine which IT solution will maximize your technology investment.

@CiscoCanadaSB: Our first is now underway! Let's kick off the chat with our first question. > Q1: What is the biggest technology challenge for a small business in Canada?

@trcnetworks: I would say the biggest challenge is keeping a companies technology steps ahead of the competition

@CiscoCanadaSB:Q2: What are the top 3 concerns SMBs have today about tech and its use in their business?


1. Cost to acquire new technology and the ROI

2. The ability to maintain and support the technology with limited resources

3 How to embed the new technology into their new business practices. How do they leverage more from their phones

@CiscoCanadaSB: Excellent points @TRCNetworks - financial resources are an issue across Canadian #SMBs/#PMEs

Q3: What best practices should SMBs follow to take best advantage of their technology?

@trcnetworks: Leveraging a consultative approach and identifying a customers needs

@CiscoCanadaSB: Very important > RT @trcnetworks: Leveraging a consultative approach and identifying a customers needs

Q4: What advice do you give SMBs that want to upgrade their technology?

@trcnetworks: Try to tie technology to their business objectives and goals

@CiscoCanadaSB: Wer'e halfway through today's chat! > Q5: How does partnering with Cisco allow you to remain competitive in the SMB landscape?

@trcnetworks: Ability to offer best of breed technologies across multiple architectures for example Collaboration, Security and Borderless networks

@CiscoCanadaSB: Great points!

Q6: What services can a tech partner provide that make them essential to an SMB's toolkit?

@trcnetworks: Providing education and consultation for voice, data and video in the converged workspace

@CiscoCanadaSB: You both raise a good point about the SMB's ability to manage all of their solutions. Very true

Down to the last few q's > Q7: What are the top 3 trends in technology you see in your small business customers?


1. Increased focus on opex expenditures as verses capex (hosted/cloud offerings)

2. Video/collaboration (video conferencing, IP Surveillance )

3. Using social media

@CiscoCanadaSB: Q8: How do you differentiate yourself in the technology partner landscape?

@trcnetworks: By using a consultative approach to truly understand a customers needs and goals. Also, looking at their objectives and leveraging technology to support and enable the companies goals

@CiscoCanadaSB: We're glad to have partners that distinguish themselves in the marketplace the way you both do! Last question coming up

Q9: What is the one thing you want small businesses to remember about Cisco's SMB products?

@trcnetworks: Cisco products offer a complete end to end solution (data, voice, video, wireless, surveillance)

@CiscoCanadaSB: That concludes today's TweetChat! A huge thank you to @TRCNetworks for taking part

Thanks for hosting the Tweet Chat!
If anyone has any questions feel free to send us a tweet. Visit us online at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Join Us for a Small Business TweetChat on the Value of Technology Partners

According to a recent survey by IT World Canada, Canadian small businesses listed their biggest IT problem as ‘staying current and competitive with technology.’ The same surveyed revealed that, although interested in new products, more than 70 per cent of small businesses expect to spend the same or less on technology in 2012 than they did this year.

Join us for a small business TweetChat on October 20 where we will discuss the value that a technology partner can bring to your small business – whether you are looking to upgrade your network, deploy a unified communications system or determine which IT solution will maximize your technology investment.

Just follow #ciscosbchat on October 20 to watch, or use the same hashtag and join the discussion!

When? Thursday, October 20 from 3-4pm ET/12-1pm PT.

How? On the day of the event, login to and follow the #ciscosbchat hashtag. To join the chat, visit Alternatively, you can use your favorite third-party Twitter client (such as HootSuite or TweetDeck) or TwitterSearch to follow the chat hashtag #ciscosbchat. During the event, you can follow the discussion, contribute questions, and submit your own comments by using the same hashtag.

Who? The session will be hosted by @CiscoCanadaSB managed by the Cisco Canada Social Media Team. Two of Cisco’s Canadian partners will join us in the chat:
• TRC Networks, @TRCNetworks (in English)
• Medwave Optique, @MedwaveOptique (in French)

Questions / Comments? Please tweet us @CiscoCanadaSB.

What is a TweetChat? TweetChats are online conversations held at a pre-arranged date/time between a group of Twitter users. Chats are uniquely identified by pre-defined Twitter hashtag (such as #ciscosbchat) to identify the discussion thread. By including this hashtag in each tweet, the conversation can be monitored separate from the larger Twitter conversations.

Once again, we look forward to chatting with you on October 20th at 3-4 pm ET (12-1 pm PT). Just follow hashtag #ciscosbchat and join the discussion!

Monday, October 17, 2011

PBX and IP PBX Sales by Cisco and Avaya Go To Starkly Different SMB Customers

By John Malone, Eastern Management Group

Don’t assume that Avaya and Cisco are always selling to similar SMB customers. New research from The Eastern Management Group finds they are not. Avaya sales to first-time buyers are unimaginably strong. Cisco is the go-to company for features that improve employee productivity.

The Eastern Management Group has been examining global PBX and IP PBX purchases of several SMB sub-segments. It has also recently begun to report data on companies with 50-75 employees, one of the newly attractive markets for PBX and IP PBX suppliers, due to the growing demand for unified communications and collaboration in the SMB market.

Businesses with 50-75 employees purchase PBX and IP PBX systems of between 25-150 stations, and in aggregate account for significant sales. As can be seen in this linked EMG report, purchases to the more broadly defined SMB market are almost half of all PBX and IP PBX sales worldwide.

Among businesses with 50-75 employees the largest volume of sales, almost 40 percent, are to buyers of unified communications and collaboration PBX and IP PBXs, for the purpose of improving employee productivity.

First time buyers account for a quarter of all purchases in the study group, EMG found.

Avaya draws almost 40 percent of its sales from first time PBX and IP PBX buyers in the 50-75 employee market. Panasonic numbers are similar. According to buyer interviews by The Eastern Management Group, Avaya and Panasonic get a larger percentage of their sales from first time buyers than do Cisco, NEC and ShoreTel, for which first time buyers account for less than one- fifth of PBX and IP PBX sales. In the case of ShoreTel, the number is less than 10 percent.

Cisco, NEC and ShoreTel operate in a sweet spot of the global 50-75 employee market, getting most of their PBX and IP PBX sales from businesses wanting unified communications and collaboration.

About The Eastern Management Group: The Eastern Management Group is one of the world’s premier strategic companies. By delivering product research, market research and analytical tools to clients, Eastern Management facilitates decision making by IT Professionals and Technology Companies.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Polycom Goes Mobile with the First Enterprise Software Solution for Apple, Motorola and Samsung Tablets that Lets Users Enjoy HD Read more: Polycom G

Polycom® RealPresence™ Mobile Links Tablets to Immersive Video Rooms, Group/Desktop Systems, and Laptops, Offering Unsurpassed Video/Voice Quality, Security, Flexibility, and Reliability in Face-to-Face Video Collaboration

PLEASANTON, Calif. – October 11, 2011 – Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in standards-based unified communications (UC), today unveiled Polycom® RealPresence™ Mobile, the first enterprise HD video software solution for tablets, available today on Apple iPad 2, Motorola XOOM and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, with more mobile devices to follow. Polycom® RealPresence™ Mobile, powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform, extends Polycom’s HD video collaboration technology beyond the office and conference room to deliver to tablets the same high-quality, secure, reliable video experience customers are accustomed to inside the office. Mobile professionals can use their tablet of choice to collaborate face-to-face with other colleagues joining via desktop and immersive video room systems, tablets or laptops. The RealPresence Mobile software application is available via a free download from the Apple App Store and Android Market beginning today. Polycom president and CEO Andy Miller will demonstrate the new mobile solution October 12, during his keynote address at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications™ 2011 conference in San Diego, Calif.

Delivering Polycom video to mobile platforms is a key component of the company’s recently announced software strategy to bring secure HD video collaboration to the broadest range of business, video, mobile, and social networking applications.

Now, whether you’re in the field or on the road, in an airport lounge or working from home, or wherever business takes you, you can use a tablet to connect and collaborate face-to-face with colleagues, customers, partners and suppliers. RealPresence Mobile allows customers to leverage Polycom’s UC infrastructure to harness the benefits of video collaboration, increase the industry’s highest ROI even further, and unleash the powerful network effect of HD video collaboration.

Drivers of the Visual Mobile Society
The network effect is already spreading video to the masses as human culture and technology becomes increasingly visual. The latest generation has been raised on video and social connectedness – three billion YouTube videos are streamed daily.1 Within this context, it’s not surprising that video conferencing is also on the rise. UC and video collaboration is increasingly recognized as a mission-critical capability for businesses and a solution that pays for itself within months by reducing travel expenses while improving teamwork, collaborative decision making, organizational productivity, and employee and customer engagement.

Now, mobile video conferencing is poised for explosive growth, driven by the demand for video communications, an increasingly remote workforce, and a convergence of technical advances. Today, organizations tend to be more geographically dispersed and virtual, with more than one billion teleworkers globally.2 At the same time, technology advancements are driving the visual mobile society, including the proliferation of camera-equipped mobile tablets and smartphones; the advent of 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks; and cloud delivered services. In fact, the tablet market is expected to grow five-fold by 2015, to 326 million units sold annually, and an estimated 900 million tablets cumulative in the market by then.3 And by 2015, the number of people participating in video chats is forecast to grow 14 times to more than 140 million.4

In addition to providing numerous benefits to enterprises customers, Polycom RealPresence Mobile brings a new level of portability, usability and scalability to a number of vertical industries. For example:
· Healthcare – A physician can now use a tablet device to collaborate via video with medical experts to streamline telemedicine evaluations, speed diagnosis and save lives.
· Education – Students can stay connected virtually to professors, lectures and course content whether in a classroom, a remote campus or even at home.
· Government – Mobile response units can now share and analyze live on-site information in real-time with crisis centers and emergency teams to analyze the situation, deploy needed resources and enhance decision making.
· Manufacturing – Manufacturers now have eyes and ears on the factory floor to remotely facilitate inspection, expedite diagnosis and reduce time-to-market.

Powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform for Enterprise Scale, Reliability and HD Quality
Built on the Polycom RealPresence Platform, RealPresence Mobile provides benefits both for the IT teams who manage the system and colleagues who rely on it to connect and collaborate.

Polycom’s enterprise mobile video software solutions deliver the essential provisioning, management, system interoperability, firewall traversal, and scalability that CIOs require, and the reliability, security, rich features and lifelike quality that users demand, all of which drives higher productivity, adoption rates, and return on investment. The RealPresence Platform provides unparalleled scale – supporting up to 75,000 devices and 25,000 concurrent sessions – plus resiliency and universal bridging to support both on-premises and cloud-based delivery. Like all Polycom solutions, which are developed with an open standards-based approach to interoperability, RealPresence Mobile works seamlessly with the broadest range of related applications, protocols, call control systems and end points.

For end users, Polycom RealPresence Mobile:
· Provides a high-quality video meeting experience with the familiarity of “in office” video conferencing that colleagues are accustomed to, and enables tablet users to join group video meetings with other colleagues joining via tablets, laptops, or desktop and immersive video room systems.
· Enables users to choose the device of their choice, supporting multiple operating systems – including Android, iOS, and other platforms in the future.
· Features an intuitive user interface with system touch control for ease of use, including the ability to simultaneously view content shared from other participants, and toggle back/forth between enlarging the content and other video participants on your tablet screen.
· Delivers the industry’s best video and voice quality, including unique Polycom advances such as stereo echo cancellation, voice detection, and background noise suppression. Also, Polycom’s exclusive Constant Clarity™ provides voice and video Loss Packet Recovery (LPR), which delivers a higher-quality experience over wireless networks.
· Supports firewall traversal and VPN clients so that users can easily join a conference from any WiFi, 3G or 4G network.
· Connects to the corporate directory, allowing users to place video calls with the touch of a name (available on iPad 2 today, and soon on Android devices)

In the coming months, Polycom RealPresence Mobile combined with the RealPresence Platform will enable service providers to offer “video as a service” from the cloud, putting mobile collaboration in the hands of potentially tens of millions of users globally.

The Polycom RealPresence Mobile solution is available beginning today. All elements of the Polycom RealPresence Platform are currently available through Polycom’s certified channel partners.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Small auto business gains efficiency with UC

The Ontario automotive supplier gained more efficiency by moving toward a Cisco UC system aimed at SMBs

10/11/2011 9:04:00 AM By: Harmeet Singh

After losing its receptionist and facing other challenges during the economic downturn, Dual Design and Machine Inc., an automotive manufacturer and supplier based in Newmarket, Ont., was able to spring back and reach a new level of efficiency by implementing a unified communications (UC) system in its office.

Dual Design and its nine employees, was one of the first customers to adopt Cisco Systems Inc.'s (NASDAQ: CSCO) recently launched Small Business Unified Communications 300 series for very small businesses that want to update their systems. With the help of TRC Networks Canada, a communications-focused solution provider based in Vaughan, Ont., Dual Design implemented Cisco's UC320 system, part of the UC300 line launched about eight months ago.

The 300 Series is networked UC system supporting up to 24 phones including the Cisco SPA300 Series and Cisco SPA500 Series IP phones. The idea is for small businesses to migrate to IP telephony to reduce cost and improve collaboration and productivity, according to Cisco. The series includes built-in data and wireless support, along with features such as voicemail and automated attendant.

Having a reliable communications system is critical for SMBs, according to Gabriel Kohut, vice-president of sales with TRC. “In today's environment, they cannot miss a call,” he said. “If you miss a call, they're on to the next guy.”

After a colleague suggested looking into a Cisco system, Dual Design's president Jeff Laycock met with TRC to discuss its options. “They basically worked within our schedule,” he said, and consulted on what solution would be best for the small office and shop floor. The company was using a traditional system with legacy Nortel phones. During the economic downturn, the automotive sector was hit hard and one casualty was Dual Design's receptionist.

TRC implemented the data switch and IP-based voice and video solution for Dual Design, along with integrated wireless phone support. It will also be providing SIP trunking and ongoing service. The wireless support was especially important for him when moving around the office and shop, he said, since he can now use Wi-Fi for his smartphone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's The Great iPhone 5 Launch

Indeed, today’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” launch event at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino was the tech industry equivalent for the eternal wait for the Great Pumpkin. And the tech press and blogosphere was dragged into it like an army of Sally Browns.

Android phone user

And during I am an Android phone user, I too wanted the Great Pumpkin — the iPhone 5 — to be real. Because as a technologist and observer of the mobile industry, I wanted Apple to actually push the envelope on smartphone hardware, to put it more exactly than release a purely iterative and modest upgrade to an existing design like they did with the iPhone 4S.

However, I want to be completely honest. During I am an owner of several Apple products — an iPad 2, an Apple TV 2, an Airport Express, an iPod Classic and a Mac Mini, I knew then in advance that the at once-generation iPhone product, would never be the “smartphone of my dreams” or even the ultimate product in its category.

I suspected that like many millions of other people, it wouldn’t be theirs either. Late-2011 Market share of Android platform-based smartphones prove this in raw numbers in technology conducted by comScore, AC Nielsen and NPD.

Why would I have thought this, device sight unseen? Because I fully understand Apple’s design ethos and as such, I knew the product would never fit my use case requirements, which is typical of many frequent business travelers.

What whiz-bang software improvements or faster chip

I knew no matter what whiz-bang software improvements or faster chip, or higher-res display or other refinements Apple would introduce into this new product, it will almost undoubtedly lack key functionality that I need — the ability to run on and tether to a 4G high-speed LTE (Long Term Evolution, latest standard in the mobile network technology) network, and to use a replaceable, extended charge battery.

And I knew no amount of marketing showmanship Apple managed to pull off this week at its Infinite Loop launch is was going to change that, Steve Jobs as circus ringleader or not.

Avid user of GMail

Given that I am an avid user of GMail, Google Voice and Google Calendar, the tighter Google integration is essential, which is something only an Android phone can give me, as then as many millions of other people.

Instead of the iPhone 5, Apple launched the iPhone 4S, and made pricing changes on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS which it will continue to sell aggressively in 2012. All three of these are now targeted at the high, medium and the low end of the Android market.

The iPhone 4S is a modest improvement over its predecessor in that it brings the iPad 2’s dual-core A5 processor with enhanced GPU to a proven smartphone design, as then as a re-designed 8 megapixel camera.

The iPhone 4 should now be an in the extreme popular phone with the Gen-Y crowd at a $99 subsidized price point, and the 3GS will now be free with a 2-year contract, which should lure in plenty of folks that were if not looking at “feature phones” nevertheless have always coveted an iPhone of their own.

However, it should be noted that the real value add to these phones is the iCloud-enabled iOS 5 — which is going to be available via an iTunes update on the original iPhone 4 and 3GS. Which means that most of the features these “new” phones are introducing can be had for free by existing clients.

Notifications had to be fixed. Cloud integration has been in Android since… day 1. Voice recognition has been in Android since for the moment late Froyo updates and Gingerbread, though I will admit that what Apple has done with Siri is nice.

But now Apple has to keep pace with Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich — and that’s landing within the then and there month.

It’s natural to assume that with this iPhone family re-arrangement and price shifting, many people are likely thinking about how much damage this can potentially do to Android’s market share. It won’t.

I think the real question is not how much Apple can steal from Android, nevertheless how much of the lion’s spoils from RIM’s deteriorating market share will end up in Apple’s pockets versus the Android OEMs.

So far, market innovation has shown that Android market share continues to rise at the expense of RIM’s, whereas iPhone growth up until now has remained relatively flat, only altering a single percentage point in a single sales quarter.

I will concede but that RIM will continue to deteriorate sharply in the then and there year — a veritable death spiral — and both Apple and the Android OEMs will battle for what remains of the carcass.

Apple’s hyena pack is likely to gain a few points on the way, with Android’s lion pride taking the juiciest pieces, particularly in the enterprise market, where the platform has more form factor flexibility, particularly in devices that have hardware keyboards.

I believe that business-oriented users as then as feature phone and superphone-oriented consumers will continue to gravitate towards Android whereas the high-end, phone as fashion/style accessory crowd will gravitate towards iPhone.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are destined to be tied in perpetual mortal combat, which is good for the industry.

However, at least at this stage, I just don’t see Apple as being able to successfully challenge the mature cloud and value added services that Google and Android represents. Apple doesn’t “Do Cheap” and I don’t see that basic tenet of the company’s core philosophy changing post-Jobs.

I think a certain number of business people will gravitate towards Apple and iCloud if they already have a personal investment in the App store and use existing iOS devices.

However, a lot of professionals already use Google’s cloud for messaging, calendaring and documents. I see iCloud as bringing iOS up to par with Google in cloud innovation, not so much as out-pacing it. Without Cloud, iOS would have been behind the curve.

With Apple’s iCloud gauntlet being thrown in Larry Page’s face, I expect some real surprises from Google in 2012. The company will not stand nevertheless, particularly as it relates to enterprise users.

The real bottom line is that there’

The real bottom line is that there’s just too much inflexibility in the Apple ecosystem to displace Android’s versatility.

While there is some demographic convergence between the two systems, both Android and iPhone are fairly mature platforms that seem to have done then carving out their respective territory. And a lot of this has to do with how Apple and Google both perceive the identity and the role of their own platforms, which are very different.

The vertical integration in iOS

I think that the vertical integration in iOS and the iPhone is always going to be what makes an iPhone an iPhone, or an Apple product, period. Whereas the flexibility and relatively open framework of Google’s mobile operating system makes Android what it is.

There is no question that vertical integration is what makes Apple as a company successful, nevertheless it as well places them into a doctrine in other words prone to inflexibility and can alienate large groups of consumers and business users.

While Android remains largely unaffected by this new product launch, as Google’s software and OEM handsets are more than a match for iOS 5 — the real losers here to my way of thinking are RIM and Microsoft. With iOS 5, Apple has continued to raise the bar on smartphone software research and now RIM’s OS 7 devices look ever so clunky by comparison.

I don’t think the 4S is likely to sway anyone who was looking at the iPhone 4 or 3GS before and went to Android.

The iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 and the 3GS, during proven sales performers which will continue to do very so then now that they’ve been reduced in price, are truly now too low end to grab the Android “superphone” users, nevertheless could conceivably dent Android’s enty-level market where feature phones earlier existed.

Still, if we follow current purchasing trends, It’s much more likely that the collateral damage from the iOS 5-refreshed iPhones and the Android Ice Cream Sandwich/Android 2.3 4G phones being released at the end of 2011 are going to decimate whatever market share RIM is going to have left in 2012.

I believe a large portion of Business users that have been in exit mode from BlackBerry will not find any of the re-launched iPhones as attractive as they could have been had they been equipped with 4G.

There’s something to be said for 8+ megabits per second wireless tethering from your hotel on the road from your business laptop or tablet that you can get on a Droid Bionic that you cannot get on any of the current iPhone models.

Today, we saw a demo that looked great in Apple’s HQ. However what happens when you throw tens of millions of Siri queries at iCloud? That’s but to be seen.

The other hand I know who’

On the other hand I know who’s been doing gargantuan volumes of internet-based queries for years and has been doing it successfully — Google.

My search and voice query response times on my Bionic are instantaneous, no matter what network I am running on, 3G or 4G. And that’s because Google knows public cloud infrastructure better than anyone. ANYONE. Except for like as not Amazon.

Jason Perlow+, Sr. Innovation Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies.