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In The Boardroom With...

Mr. Roy Skillicorn
Senior Director
Video Services line Hi, Roy, thank you for being with us today. First, please tell us a little about yourself.

Roy Skillicorn: For more than 15 years I've been helping customers achieve their business objectives through network and communications technologies. About five years ago, I created the go-to-market services and built the delivery organization for Cisco's video product line and have been leading video services ever since. Currently I am the senior director of enterprise video technologies and solutions within the Cisco Services organization. My team is responsible for the services and services strategy for Cisco's portfolio of business video solutions. These include Cisco TelePresence solutions, Cisco Digital Media Systems, emerging video technologies, network and video infrastructures, and of course video surveillance. In his recent interview, David Hsieh mentioned Cisco initiatives regarding medianet architectures. Can you explain what a medianet is? And how are Cisco Services involved?

Roy Skillicorn: A medianet is a network optimized for video and interactive multimedia. As you know, video applications are being increasingly integrated into networks. What Cisco Services can do is play a role in the design and assessment of security for these medianets. I have been in many discussions with customers as they formulate plans to prepare their infrastructures for higher volumes of video traffic. What kinds of preparations are we talking about?

Roy Skillicorn: Video, especially for real-time applications, has higher requirements for quality, bandwidth and storage. So it's important to take a comprehensive, multiyear architectural approach to planning. Otherwise it's easy for the infrastructure to fall behind in its ability to support the ongoing needs of the business. Our video and physical security solutions are engineered to take advantage of an intelligent network, leading to faster innovation and lower operating costs for our customers.

Cisco Services and our partners have a deep knowledge of both the network infrastructure, including security solutions that require use of the network, and the video application layer. We and our partners can therefore work with customers on solving questions like: How do you send video to mobile endpoints like tablets? How do you enable interoperability across protocols? How do you ensure that consistent tagging and security is applied so you don't create a weak link somewhere?

Cisco's architecture for medianets provides a framework to address these types of questions, and services from Cisco and our partners have the expertise to bring it all together. We can help define the business case, target potential solutions, and define an integrated architecture that will provide the right level of performance, reliability, scalability and affordability. Each service experience provides a continuous learning opportunity for our customers as well as our partners. The key benefits of this --self-sufficiency and greater productivity -- lead to a reduction in operating costs. What specific resources, services or skill sets can partners and customers take advantage of now?

Roy Skillicorn: With the right planning, a networked video-based system not only provides an effective platform for identifying and responding to threats but can open new business opportunities as well. An IP-based security system can provide the foundation for integrating a medianet architecture capabilities with other video systems and devices; it opens new business possibilities and new operational considerations.

A network-based approach leveraging the medianet architecture also means that security systems can be used for much more than just security. For example, a surveillance system can provide data on in-store consumer traffic patterns in a retail location, and it can push a customized message to a digital sign to direct customers to an area offering what they might be looking for. We have demonstrated this kind of innovation in our Business Video Demo Center.

Cisco Services offer many partner programs that bring specialized expertise to assist customers in realizing these kinds of business opportunities. We can evaluate an organization's capabilities for video and help it to cost effectively manage the medianet architecture. Lowering costs is one of the most critical elements of the overall design of a medianet -- and it's a strength of Cisco Services. Cisco and our partners support many mission-critical networks around the world every day, so we are well-equipped to make the best recommendations for an organization's people, processes or tools. This experience, combined with the automated smart-service capabilities Cisco delivers to our partners, means we can reduce a customer's operational costs. Can you offer a bit more insight on "automated smart-service capabilities"? What are they?

Roy Skillicorn: Sure. Cisco delivers automated smart-service capabilities to help partners prevent problems with networks and the IT services that run over them before these problems can affect the customers' businesses. Examples of partner offerings that have proactive smart-service capabilities are Smart Care which verifies that a network is secure, reliable and functioning optimally; Smart Call Home, an embedded feature that provides diagnostic reports and trouble-shooting advice; and Collaborative Professional Services, a portfolio of about 30 business services for Cisco Borderless Networks, Collaboration and Data Center architectures. The network is becoming increasingly important in delivering security and across the enterprise. What services does Cisco provide to partners and systems integrators to maintain network competency?

Roy Skillicorn: At Cisco, we recognize that our partners have deep expertise in vertical industries and with their customers' specific businesses. We have teams working with partners every day to ensure consistency and alignment with Cisco methodologies, tools and best practices.

We scale intellectual capital through leading practices, project methodologies, service-practice templates, detailed project management diagrams, and sales and delivery training. We also offer certifications and specializations. These broaden partner skills across multiple technologies and deepen their skills within a specific technology area. Increasingly we are also recruiting and supporting developer partners who provide value-added solutions through our Cisco Developer Network.

Customers who choose to engage with certified partners definitely see a quicker return on their investment by making sure the right skills and approach are being applied to their program. How do Cisco Services support customers and partners who want to integrate network security for businesses?

Roy Skillicorn: At the core of everything we do is our network expertise, which we have built over 25 years as the leader in the networking industry. By working with customers day-in and day-out , we have gained a tremendous amount of experience and have consolidated that experience into best practices and tools. With our partners, we form the largest collection of certified IP experts in the world supporting the most complex networks. We think of expertise in terms of professional experts, information and applied knowledge. Cisco Services help customers complement their in-house or partner IT expertise. You must have various teams for different customers.

Roy Skillicorn: Yes, we provide expertise across three broad areas. Advanced Services focus on integrating the customer's technologies while lowering operational costs, increasing network availability and optimizing performance. Advanced Services can help plan, design, implement, operate or optimize network technology solutions. Technical Services help customers and partners ensure that Cisco products and the customer's networks operate efficiently and benefit from up-to-date software. Remote Management Services help a customer manage its networks around the clock. Can you give an example of how Cisco Services operate?

Roy Skillicorn: This year Cisco Services designed and implemented a complete Cisco Borderless Network Architecture for the Abu Dhabi Education Council. The solution connected 270 public schools to the data center, the Internet and each other, transforming education across Abu Dhabi, the capital, political and industrial center of the United Arab Emirates. What's a Borderless Network Architecture, and how does it tie in with security solutions?

Roy Skillicorn: The Cisco Borderless Network Architecture allows organizations to connect anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device -- securely, reliably and seamlessly. Components of the architecture come together to build systems that span the network to the cloud. Intelligent network, endpoint and user services provide the flexibility to support new devices, applications and deployment models.

One of the challenges that public and private organizations face as they implement Borderless Networks is how to integrate networks and systems across silos to create Smart+Connected Communities. For example, in the area of public safety communications interoperability -- which enables urban security, border security, health care security, energy and Utilities/Smart Grid security, and safe and secure cities -- Cisco Services provide the expertise needed by customers and systems integrators.

Using the network as the platform, Smart+Connected Communities enable voice, video and data communications interoperability, which often streamlines operations, accelerates deployment and lowers costs. There's that word again, "interoperability." How big an issue is it for Cisco Services?

Roy Skillicorn: You've probably heard of Cisco IPICS -- the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System. It's an IP-based dispatch and incidence response solution. Using it, public safety personnel can communicate on whatever desktop or mobile device they have.

We provide a broad range of services to support customers using IPICS. For example, we helped the New Zealand police roll out its system. The Austrian company ASFINAG uses IPICS to improve information exchange between its radio networks and emergency services. You cover a lot of ground. How would you summarize your operation?

Roy Skillicorn: Cisco Services provide benefits in three main ways: (1) We help reduce the amount of time that customers and partners spend on deploying, planning, optimizing and managing network infrastructure. (2) We help optimize the business value and efficiency of solutions through integration and performance. (3) We help businesses and customers plan for transformation of business operations and capabilities using network technologies. That's a clear description. Thanks again for joining us today, Roy.



Learn more about how to engage Cisco Services for all technologies:

Learn more about IPICS services:

A medianet-readiness assessment case that shows how Cisco Services provide value:

A Forrester report on the strategic value of network services: