Meraki started life ten years ago, one of those Silicon Valley stories we all hear so much about. From humble beginnings, the company quickly became an industry disruptor, introducing a whole new approach to owning and operating a data network. Hitting a receptive market with something different was fundamental to our success.
After joining the Cisco family in late 2012, Meraki rapidly accelerated its growth, reaching new markets and customers who see the advantage of a cloud-managed network: simple to implement, monitor and troubleshoot. That growth has been reflected in our hiring, and Meraki is now five times the size it was just four years ago! Every team has grown to support the business. Today we’re taking a look at the newly expanded Product Marketing team.
So what is product marketing and what are the typical characteristics of a great product marketing manager (or PMM, as we like to call them)? At its essence, product marketing sits at the intersection between marketing, sales and the technology itself. Great product marketeers are truly unicorns, combining deep technical knowledge with the passion and ability to effectively convey targeted messaging to the right audience, nurturing a community of customers and prospects with the ultimate goal of driving business.
Finding exceptional product marketeers is no mean feat, so we’re extremely excited to have assembled what we’re confident is one of the best PMM teams in the industry over the course of the past year. Allow us to proudly introduce the team.
Joe needs no introduction to anyone interested in our MX product line. After joining Meraki as a member of our support team he quickly advanced and was invited to become the product specialist for the MX before stepping into the PMM role for the product line in 2015. Joe has many talents, not least of which are his linguistic and musical abilities, which led to this amazing reworking of a Gilbert & Sullivan classic in our recent Musical Webinar. Find Joe in many places, including over on our Reddit.
Tony has been focused on Meraki switches since their introduction at the beginning of 2012, rapidly rising to become one of the Meraki switching rockstars. There’s not much about the fast-growing MS line which he hasn’t watched develop from idea to execution. His passion for customers makes him an excellent fit for the PMM role, so we were delighted to welcome him aboard. In his own words, Tony is “an adrenaline junkie and love riding my motorcycle into work every single day, rain or shine.” And here’s the evidence!
As one of the newer recruits to the team, and to Meraki, Rachel has been on a vertical learning curve, using her strong technical abilities to pick up networking in a very short time. What’s she doing at Meraki? Well, we’d love to tell you, but as anyone who follows Meraki will acknowledge, we hate to spoil a surprise. All will be revealed in the fullness of time. Rachel has a deep fondness for foods of all kinds, especially ice cream, as clearly evidenced in this photo!
Emily is a seasoned product marketing professional, with extensive experience gained here at Meraki and elsewhere in the startup world. Mixing it up over time, she’s taken care of MX, MS and now MR, our wireless product line. Emily is also helping us ensure our efforts are effective by overseeing the measurement of our various efforts. Emily loves nothing more than corrupting the dogs in the Meraki office with her delectable treats.
A career in the networking industry ultimately led Simon to Meraki in 2012 where he helped build our early marketing efforts in Europe. After moving to California in 2014 he developed a broad product marketing capability, covering the full Meraki stack, now including the exciting new MC74 phone. Simon is a regular on Twitter (@merakisimon) and is also an avid motorcyclist. Despite being a Brit he owns two which are American built, neither of which are a Harley Davidson!
Anyone who’s seen or read anything about Meraki Systems Manager has seen Paul’s work. He’s been working on our industry leading mobility management solution since the early days, and knows it intimately. He recently joined product marketing to channel his unstoppable enthusiasm for the product into helping us get the word out about this sophisticated and powerful tool. In his own words, “I love technology, I love the outdoors, and I’ve played the trumpet since 4th grade. #oddball”.
There’s so much talent and energy on this team. From the moment we wake up we’re contemplating and designing new and engaging ways to bring Meraki technology to our customers, partners and prospects. Our work is all over our website and collateral, here on this blog, at events all around the world, and on webinars. Hopefully we’ll get to meet, in person or online, and if Product Marketing at Meraki sounds enticing then be sure to keep an eye on our jobs page!
This is the first in an exciting new series of posts to keep everyone in the know. In the Know posts showcase features or capabilities that already exist in the Cisco Meraki portfolio but may not be as well known. Up first are some of the major benefits of using the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager EMM solution with Windows 10 devices.
Installing software and keeping it up to date is one of the many concerns for today’s IT administrators. The Meraki cloud can centrally host up to 3GB of installer files in order to further simplify software deployment. Software can be hosted privately as well. To learn more about installing applications on traditional devices see our product documentation, or look below for an example.
A challenge of managing laptops, tablets, or phones is that it becomes easier than ever for sensitive data to end up in the wrong hands—literally. Systems Manager provides the ability to remotely wipe managed devices. Enough said.
REMOTELY WIPE MANAGED DEVICES AND SECURE SENSITIVE DATA
Whether Windows devices are corporate-owned or user-owned, it is sometimes necessary to restrict their functionality. Common restrictions include disallowing the use of a camera, disabling Cortana, restricting WiFi or Bluetooth access, preventing use of external storage, or removing access to Internet Explorer. Restrictions can be found in Dashboard by navigating to MDM > Settings > Restrictions.
If you’re a Systems Manager legacy customer and are interested in these powerful features, then find out how you can take advantage of them here.
If you’re new to Meraki or Systems Manager, you can also start a free trial.
Hot on the heels of our global announcement at Cisco Live Las Vegas, we’re pleased to say Cisco’s Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) is now publicly available for Meraki MX customers with an Advanced Security license. With AMP you can protect your networks against millions of malicious files with the flip of a switch. What’s more, the new Security Center view in Dashboard combines IPS and Malware data across all of your MX Security Appliances so that you can quickly and easily detect and protect against a variety of threats across dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations. We’ll be rolling the new AMP functionality out to existing customers over the coming weeks according to their upgrade settings, but if you just can’t wait you can always use the firmware upgrade controls on the Network-wide>General page to manually schedule an upgrade for your networks.
You can learn more about AMP on the Meraki MX here.
The first few weeks at a new job can be intimidating, to say the least. You’re in a new environment, interacting with new people, and often times in a new city altogether. On top of that, if you’re on the Technical Support team, you’re working with completely new products as well. Not only are you faced with the question of “What do these products do?”, but also, “What do you do when these products don’t do what they’re supposed to do?!”
For the bright-eyed new hires of the Meraki Technical Support team, technical training is their introductory course on becoming an all-things-Meraki expert. Technical training for new Network Support Engineers is a two-week process, led by trainer Zakariya Alcodray. The first week is designed to get new hires as much hands-on experience with the products as possible. Imagine learning and engaging with all things security, switching, wireless, EMM, and communications for the first time, in just two weeks! The first few days cover product demonstrations and hands-on labs (ending with a break and fix lab, designed to provide first-hand troubleshooting experience). The second half of the week consists of one-on-one case management training, where new hires begin handling their first email cases. During the second week, each individual moves at his or her own pace while transitioning from email cases to live phone cases. By the end of that Friday, every new hire will handle one phone case on his or her own.
Zak began leading these training sessions in November of 2015, and since then has tailored the training to focus on learning to provide Meraki-grade customer support by meeting five important goals:
Comfort navigating the Meraki dashboard
Utilization of the troubleshooting toolkit
Understanding of job process fundamentals
Soft skill development: communication, overcoming hurdles, professional development
Overall, new Support Merakians are provided with the tools and support needed to develop and improve their case management, interpersonal, and team building skills.
Below is an interview with the man himself, Zakariya Alcodray:
In your opinion, why is training so important?
Our support team is very diverse in terms of geographic and academic backgrounds, but we have achieved something very special here: no matter where we hail from, our support team consists of good-natured, hard-working individuals who treat each other like family, as opposed to merely coworkers. This creates a dynamic, collaborative environment, allowing us to provide world-class support to our customers. It is important that we maintain this standard, and our training program allows us to do so.
What are three pieces of advice you have for those just starting training?
Don’t expect to know everything right away. That’s what the team is there for
Be ready to think outside the box
Get a lot of sleep!
What is your favorite part about training?
As I sat through my own training last year, a sense of joy was building up inside of me over the course of the two weeks, unlike anything I had experienced before. The amount of knowledge presented was overwhelming; the proposed challenges I would face became increasingly daunting. Regardless, I couldn’t help looking past it because of how proud I was to be part of the Meraki team. I became Support’s technical trainer because I wanted to ensure that each new hire had the opportunity to feel the exact same way I did as they worked to become a member of the Meraki family. My favorite thing about training is being the person who welcomes Support’s new hires and prepares them for hard work and hard play.
Now you can merakify how you think about your WiFi by learning how to use Cisco Meraki APs with the CMX location API to collect valuable location-based data, analyze visitor behavior, and drive revenue. Meraki location analytics provide value across the entire business, not just the IT department, so it’s a great approach to take if faced with budget objections. This solution is perfect for accounts looking to improve customer engagement strategies, such as loyalty programs and marketing campaigns. Our customer case study with UK-based Ladbrokes demonstrates how Meraki location analytics can be especially effective in retail.
Location analytics can help you:
Reveal physical traffic trends for new and repeat visitors, plus gain insight into dwell time and visitor loyalty.
Compare visitor activity across sites and over time to measure the effects of engagement strategies on customer behaviour.
Analyze visitor traffic to help strategically plan employee hiring and shift scheduling in retail stores.
Data collected by intelligent Meraki APs is automatically reported in the dashboard, and can be exported to third-party applications for further analysis via the CMX location API with no additional cost or complexity.
Around the world, network deployments come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. In the UK, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is no exception to this rule. The Trust provides emergency and urgent care services, including NHS (National Health Service) non-emergency 111 call-handling and triage, urgent care, patient transport, and emergency 999 care to 20% of mainland England, SWASFT employs over 4,000 employees.
The geographical spread of the ambulance service throughout the southwest of England is enormous, incorporating remote areas like the Forest of Dean, Bodmin Moor, Exmoor, Dartmoor, and the Isles of Sicily, servicing 5.3 million inhabitants and 17.5 million visitors annually.
Picture by Theo Moye/apexnewspix.com 21.04.08 South Western Ambulance Service Trust, Bodmin, Cornwall.
With more than 100 sites, including airbases and clinical hubs, SWASFT was looking for a networking solution that not only linked everyone together, but was also simple to manage. Deploying a few hundred Cisco Meraki cloud-managed switches and access points alongside Cisco on-premise devices achieved this need. This type of hybrid Cisco deployment provided the SWASFT IT team with a powerful, secure, flexible, and easy-to-use network.
“Meraki is an easy, out-of-the-box solution that I can use from anywhere. I have a guy who just took a switch with him. I’ve already preconfigured the device to be up-and-running when it’s plugged in.” – Greg Moyse, Senior Systems Analyst
No matter which sites employees are traveling between, the continuity of cloud-controlled SSIDs at every location provides automatic access to the network and resources. Employees can even connect to care facilities while they’re in the field or via the wireless system at stations to securely share patient medical data. Once the ambulances arrive at hospitals, the patient’s information is already accessible when they are formally handed over to hospital staff.
Not only are users benefitting from an enhanced network and better coverage, but the cloud technology allows the Trust to grow and evolve. Members of the IT and project team can add new devices, update configurations, or implement Meraki technology in new ways.
Cisco Meraki, the makers of cloud managed IT, are proud to present “Webinar the Musical”. Come one, come all — experience the sights and sounds of Meraki in an exhilarating, one-hour extravaganza!
We’ve spent the last few months adapting the lyrics of 4 popular songs to highlight the advantages of Meraki cloud managed wireless, switching, security, and mobility management. Supported by the vocal and instrumental talents of our in-house employees, we think this is a show-stopping webinar you’ll really enjoy.
Debuting on July 19th at 11:00 AM Pacific Time, this will be an Introduction to Cloud Managed IT webinar with musical tributes to each product family (along with our standard demo of the Meraki dashboard). As usual, eligible attendees are will receive a free Meraki Access Point for attending the webinar.
Team Meraki has arrived in a baking hot Las Vegas for four exhilarating days of Cisco Live, the ultimate gathering of all things Cisco with over 26,000 attendees expected this year!
We’ll be involved in all kinds of presentations, labs, demos, breakout sessions, meetings and lunch-and-learns, and of course we have a prominent, spacious presence in the World of Solutions featuring our brand new Meraki MC74 cloud managed phone.
This year we can also be found in the DevNet zone where we’re showcasing our work with the developer community as we extend the capabilities of Meraki technology, and a Systems Manager demo will be running at a special booth focused on Cisco’s partnership with Apple.
In short, it won’t be difficult to find us. See you there!
At Meraki we’re extremely proud of what we call ‘feature velocity’. By having all our engineers working out of one collaborative building in San Francisco we’re able to rapidly innovate new capabilities for our products. Some of these are features we think are cool, others are created in response to the feedback our customers send us every day, often through the ‘make-a-wish’ box.
It’s not even two months since the launch of the MC74, and we’ve already got a few new capabilities and features to share. Let’s get straight to it.
First, to really underscore the concept of ‘single pane of glass’ management, network admins will now see Phones listed alongside their Meraki wireless, switching, security appliances and MDM. This is nothing short of the promised land of network management, and we’re not done yet!
Voicemail to email
Once an email address has been configured on the phone for User Portal access, this email address will also receive notice of new voicemails. These can then be conveniently listened to right in the browser, with no need for special software and without having to call a voicemail service.
We now support a data and voice VLAN on MC74. This means that when a PC is connected to the 1GbE passthrough port on the back of the phone its traffic can be logically segregated into a separate VLAN from the voice traffic generated by the phone. While not a requirement from a performance perspective, separating voice and data traffic is common practice and now available on Meraki MC.
Meraki Cloud Connectivity
In the early days of telephony, a dial tone indicated a connection to the rest of the world and readiness to place a call. With modern IP based voice this is no longer a requirement, so like a smartphone, MC does not use a dialtone. Instead, to demonstrate that the phone is connected to the cloud and ready to place calls we’ve added a small indicator on the phone display. Green is good.
Missed Call and Voicemail LED Indication
As well as receiving notifications for missed calls and voicemails on both the phone display and in the User Portal, we now make use of the multicolor LED on the phone to indicate a missed call or voicemail. Pulsing red for a missed call. Pulsing green for voicemail. This means that when the phone is in its standby state, showing the date and time, there is still a clear visual indication that a call came in.
We’ve been truly delighted with the response the Meraki phone has been having in the less than two months it’s been available. MC provides the same simple management experience as the rest of the network, so it’s no surprise that customers all over the world are asking when they will be able to get their hands on one. Rest assured we’re working on that just as fast as we can.
In the meantime, these new capabilities are early evidence of our intent for Meraki MC: innovate, and innovate rapidly. It’s the Meraki way. Stay tuned for more, coming soon.
At Meraki, we recognize that being able to provide technology solutions for your network is a top priority. In order to help better meet these needs, we’re introducing the newest resource to help merakify networks event more —the Meraki Developers Portal!
This portal allows customers to extend the core features of the Meraki dashboard, providing solutions that are fine-tuned to customer needs. Check out the Meraki Developers Portal to see ready-made, merakified solutions such as Guest Access WiFi, Facebook Check-ins, proximity-based marketing, and more.
Start developing today
Can’t find a ready-made solution that fits your problem? Join our community of developers! Meraki Developers receive access to free gear, support, and marketing opportunities. Meraki API guides with sample code are available publicly through the Meraki Developers Portal to help you get started — apply now to become a featured developer.
Keep tweeting @meraki using #merakify to share how Meraki technology is helping you drive your business and improve networks.
Also, if you’re attending Cisco Live! In July, come say hi! We’ll be at the DevNet Hackathon and other Meraki specific events on 7/11, 7/12 and 7/14.