Framework for the Borderless Network

The product announcements aim to improve security and support for multimedia applications

Cisco Systems has been touting the idea of “borderless” networking for several months now, and last week, the vendor put some substance behind the architecture.

The product announcements aim to improve security and support for multimedia applications as companies expand the boundaries of their networks—to more locations that serve employees, as well as to external locations that help employees connect with business partners. As organizations extend these connections, they’ll naturally use more energy adding equipment and devices. The Cisco Energy Wise product helps companies centrally manage and control power—initially to IT equipment and ultimately to other building systems.

All three of these issues are priorities for many businesses. For example, the number of companies that have a strategic security vendor has increased by 38% in 2009, and nearly half of companies have a green/sustainability initiative. What’s more, the use of multimedia applications, ranging from desktop to room-based to telepresence video has increased significantly. More than 70% of companies use room-based video conferencing now, and nearly one-third uses telepresence.

A key driver to these trends is the distribution of employees. If everyone were in the same building, the need to collaborate electronically wouldn’t be as great, nor would a secure, robust WAN. Sure, managing power consumption in a single data center would be important, but it wouldn’t be as significant a cost without the equipment and circuits to support all those distributed workers.

We continue to operate more virtually: 89% already consider their workplaces to be virtual, meaning employees work remotely either full or part time, and within those companies, about 30% of their workforce is virtual. We’re growing used to this way of working within our corporate boundaries. Moving forward, the demands will grow outside the corporate boundaries.

In order to enable collaborative applications across company borders in a secure, cost-efficient, reliable way, IT organizations must first achieve those goals internally. As the carriers build out their inter-carrier interconnects, we will someday enjoy the age-old goal of true anytime, anywhere, anyone communications.

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