Cisco began developing IP Communications solutions in 1997 and has provided IP Communications services and applications longer than any other vendor. The Cisco Unified Communications system of voice and IP Communications products and applications helps organizations communicate more effectively—by helping them streamline business processes, reach the right resource the first time, and increase profitability. Cisco has led the industry in employing a systems approach that integrates Cisco Unified Communications within a Cisco Intelligent Network, helping enable capabilities and information sharing throughout the network.
Cisco intelligent networks are application-aware and actively participate with the applications, automatically providing end devices with rights and priorities based on the needs of the device and the application in accordance with organizational policy. Embedded in the Cisco Intelligent Network, the Cisco Unified Communications applications are also network-aware; they seek out the network services they require—for example, an IP phone retrieving the proper settings for power or quality of service (QoS).
EnablingDemand-DrivenRetailingROBUST NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE IS CRITICALTO SUPPORT NEW APPLICATIONSAN RIS WHITE PAPERAnalysts and savvy retailers view demand-driven retailing asa critical business initiative. According to AMR Research,demand-driven retailing is a system of technologies andprocesses that capture consumer behavior at each point ofinteraction and then use this information to define productsand services that shape customer demand, while facilitating areal-time, profitable response across a network of suppliersand channels to meet that demand.Retailers are undertaking major business process changeto get to that vision, defined in AMR s Demand-DrivenRetailing Is about More Than Retailers, July 19, 2006. Thatwork includes laying a foundation of tightly integrated soft-ware applications that are capable of collecting, analyzing andexchanging high volumes of data within the enterprise andwith trading partners. Proactive communication among peo-ple is another essential element to achieving the high levels ofvisibility and responsiveness necessary to attain the con-sumer-centric ideals of demand-driven retailing.None of that can happen without a robust, secure voice-ready retail network infrastructure to transport the requiredvoice and data traffic. Already healthy volumes of data willcontinue to multiply as retailers move closer to attaining col-laborative, shared platforms accessible to authorized employ-ees and partners. Add data-rich capabilities from RFID tag-ging to the mix, and it s clear that bandwidth and securityrequirements will explode.Retailers must take the same care in building theenabling infrastructure as they do in building their applica-tion platforms. Demand-driven retailing and the increas-ingly collaborative nature of doing business in the retailsupply chain must not be constrained by limitations toretailers network infrastructure. Retail spending is attributed to the fact that retail compa-nies are dependent on telecommunications to accomplish coreUntitled Documentbusiness processes, including sales and marketing, employee coordination and supply chainmanagement, according to IDC Forecasts Fastest Growth in Wholesale and Retail Industries forU.S. Telecommunications Services, July, 2005.Now is the time to lay the foundation to support these processes. Retailers must consider thepotential benefits and resulting bandwidth impact of enabling technologies such as RFID, Voice-over-IP (VoIP), wireless VoIP and IP-based audio and video conferencing. A robust, comprehen-sive and evolving security plan is another essential part of the mix. Wainhouse Research believes that the convergence of voice, video, and data traffic onto thecorporate data network should be a part of the corporate network strategy for virtually everylarge, distributed enterprise organization, according to a July, 2005, report, Real-World IPNetwork Convergence for Conferencing. WHY SO MUCH BANDWIDTH?The ability to proactively respond to customer demands requires a high level of communication,via both voice and data exchange. Retailers will need a robust, secure, high-capacity IP-basednetworks and unifed switching to leverage the convergence of data, voice, video and wirelesscapabilities. That infrastructure will support:G Voice over IP Telephony ServicesVoIP will deliver benefits well beyond call savings from connecting stores, headquarters anddistribution centers into a low-cost voice-ready retail network, by delivering new services toenhance interactions with customers. Scalability has improved, price points have dropped, and a full range of high qualityvoice features are available for a wide range of circumstances, say Ellen T. Curtiss andSusan Eustis, co-founders of WinterGreen Research, in Service Provider Voice Over TheInternet (VoIP) Packet Telephony Rack Based Ports And Servers Market Opportunities,Forecasts, And Shares, 2002-2007.VoIP can deliver user-friendly voice mail and centralized voice management, so employ-ees can receive and check voice mail no matter where they re working that day. Inbound callscan be automatically routed; a call in response to a toll-free number on a TV ad, for example,can be sent to the appropriate service person. The customer can be given the option of pur-chasing from the online channel, speaking to a customer service representative or talkingdirectly to a local store employee. In call centers, customers can be pre-identified, and theirhistory called up, before call center personnel even pick up the line. The retail industry is&expected to significantly extend its use of IP telephony equip-ment through 2009, mostly in an effort to help execute business objectives related to improv-ing customer care and interaction, supply chain management, and managing a globally dis-parate workforce, according to Adoption of Wireless LAN and IP Telephony CreatingHotbed of Opportunity Within Key Vertical Markets, Says IDC, Oct., 2005.Fully 30% of respondents to RIS News 16thAnnual Retail Technology Study, co-pro-duced with Gartner, say they have up-to-date technology in place for the emerging categoryof voice/data convergence, or have already begun installation. An additional 34% will beginupgrade within two years.G IP phones Retailers are deploying wireline and wireless IP phones to take full advantage of their VoIPsystems. More advanced IP phones can include LCD screens, look-up functions, onlinedirectories and time clocks. Already healthy volumesof data will continue tomultiply as retailersmove closer to attainingcollaborative, sharedplatforms accessible toauthorized employeesand partners.ENABLING DEMAND-DRIVEN RETAILINGUntitled Document It s clear that interest in faster, fatter bandwidth is reaching the main-stream of retailing. Cost savings and robust feature sets are expected to be the primary drivers for increasedspending on IP telephony equipment over the forecast period, which is expected to rise thefastest within the financial services and retail sectors, according to IDC s Oct. 2005 report,which projects spending on wireless LAN equipment in retail and other industries to morethan double by 2009.G Video BandwidthEnhancing the customer experience and providing more detailed sales information to the cus-tomer is behind a push toward in-store electronic signage and interactive high-definitionvideo on the store floor. Keeping these data-rich presentations fresh and cost-efficient meanspushing signal out over retailer networks.Isuppli/Stanford Resources has reported that the worldwide retail signage market was 501 million in 2003 with a growth projection of 29% CAGR to 2.35 billion in 2009. Electronic Signage Networks (ESN) are poised to follow Word Processing, VisiCalc,bar codes, Enterprise Resource Planning and e-mail, in becoming the next Killer App , atechnology application that finds its place in usage quickly and broadly, because of itsenabling value and money-making potential, according to Apogee Partners.G VoIP Audio and Video Conference CallingThe daily business of retail typically entails a high volume of fee-based audio conferencingservices via telephony services. For a retailer paying rates of 12 cents per minute and averag-ing conference calls of one hour, costs quickly add up. That cost can be eliminated through aconverged voice-ready retail network, and this application often cost-justifies the solution.So-called rich-media conferencing ups the benefits of audio conference calling by addingvideo and document sharing to the mix, enhancing productivity but also consuming morebandwidth than audio alone. Whether you consider an investment in conferencing to be a way to cut costs orincrease productivity, these tools will soon join the ranks as necessary tools for your compa-ny to compete in the world economy, says a March, 2005 report from Wainhouse Research,The Business Case for Videoconferencing.G Wireless VoIPGiven the high percentage of retail workers distributed across the sales floor, distributioncenter or even within corporate offices, the ability to tap into converged voice-readyretail networks via wireless devices is key. Wireless devices on the sales floor can helpreduce lines, boost customer service, enable inventory and price lookups, allow easystore reconfiguration, and keep managers out of offices and out among customers.Retail district managers can use wireless VoIP to access their company network as theytravel, within stores or in hot spots. New wireless technologies (such as WiFi, WiMAX, and high-speed data over cellular)will enable the mobile workforce and combine with the fixed network to deliver high-speedvoice, data, and video to the promised anytime, anywhere user, according to IDC sTelecommunications Infrastructure: Top 10 Predictions for 2006, February, 2006. G RFIDThe ultimate goal of RFID initiatives is to provide far more data about product movement.As RFID data collection moves from pallet to case to item level, the volume will multiplyUntitled DocumentENABLING DEMAND-DRIVEN RETAILINGABOUT 3COMA leading provider of secure, con-verged network solutions, 3ComCorporation helps retailers thrive.Integrated voice-ready systems andunified wired and wireless networksfacilitate the implementation ofnew applications to connect supplychain to headquarters, stores andconsumers. They enhance interac-tions and protect POS and con-sumer credit data to increase cus-tomer loyalty and boost same storesales. Their ease of use and stan-dards-based designs help business-es address current needs, whileoptimizing existing infrastructureinvestments.Visit www.3com.com for moreinformation about 3Com secureconverged network solutions. dramatically. That has huge implications for data networks, which must be prepared to movebatched or a stream of real-time data back to where it can be analyzed and acted upon.RFID-enabled materials can generate 10 to 100 times the data volume of a relatively simpleoptical bar code, according to RFID Today. Networks must absorb this surging quantity ofdata without disrupting the other services.SECURE NETWORK INFRASTRUCTUREThe mission-critical nature of this network traffic further elevates the need for a robust net-work security program. Threats include business disruption, leaks of competitive data, andliability and penalties that can result from the compromise of customer financial data. FTCAct Section 5, for example, which ensures companies keep the promises they make to con-sumers about privacy, applies to retailers that engage in interstate commerce. Additionally,card associations are pressuring merchants to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI)Data Security Standards. Security-based incidents from the Internet are resulting in averagerevenue losses of almost 2 million per incident across all industries and firms, accordingto Aberdeen Group s Return on Risk: Managing Security Spend to Avoid and PreventFinancial Loss from Internet Security Problems.Studies show most retailers have approached data security in a piecemeal fashion that leavesdangerous gaps. But full protection requires a holistic, comprehensive and proactive approach toprotecting data. This must include prevention and protection against intruders, hackers, Trojanhorses, viruses, hijacking and more, as well as the ability to quarantine questionable content. Anincreasing number of retailers are outsourcing this responsibility to a trusted network securityprovider.LAYING THE GROUNDWORKRetailers are recognizing the critical nature of robust, secure voice-ready retail networks. Inthe RIS News 16thAnnual Retail Technology Study, 52% of respondents reported having up-to-date technology in place for increasing bandwidth to stores and 43% said they have up-to-date high-speed bandwidth at headquarters, with DSL emerging as the connectivity ofchoice. It s clear that interest in faster, fatter bandwidth is reaching the mainstream ofretailing, according to the report.Within retail locations, Gigabit Ethernet and unified switching are emerging as technologiesof choice to accommodate these bandwidth and converged application needs. Gigabit Ethernetdelivers 1 Gigabit per second versus the 100 MB/sec of Fast Ethernet.ROBUST NETWORKS ARE MISSION-CRITICALRetail technology innovations and the revolution of IP communications are combining to provideretailers with new ways to understand, measure and serve the customer, with emerging technolo-gies such as VoIP , RFID and electronic signage. The convergence of voice, video, data and audioonto one network promises a new level of visibility and collaboration never before seen in theindustry, with new applications continuing to be introduced. Retailers that lay down robust voice-ready retail network infrastructure to take advantage ofthe emerging capabilities of demand-driven retailing, and protect that network with a compre-hensive evolving set of security measures, will be able to realize these benefits faster, leading topositive impact on sales, customer satisfaction and bottom line revenue. I