Archive for the ‘Company Blog’ Category

Is Your Network Infrastructure Ready for More IoT Devices?

Employees working in a office setting using IoT Devices

From Wi-Fi 6E (and the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 technologies) to smart cameras, IoT devices are expected to grow by 50% by 2027. As organizations leverage more of these intelligent, data-generating machines to boost employee productivity and user experience, they may want to consider the impact on the network.

The associated data influx of additional IoT devices could lead to network congestion and slow response times, affecting the performance and reliability of both the network and the IoT devices it supports. Moreover, IoT devices can be susceptible to cyberattacks. Is your network infrastructure ready to handle the expected IoT growth?

Imagine investing in interactive whiteboards to enhance employee collaborations, only to experience network congestion causing delays in sharing and saving content. This would lead to frustrated employees and upset clients.

Realizing IoT investment starts with a secure backbone

We recently expanded our Cisco Catalyst 9300-M switching portfolio with 15 new models designed to meet your most demanding use cases. It enables you to deliver a flexible and secure end-to-end network at scale while managing it with ease and confidence. Here are some features designed to unlock new use cases while lowering deployment and operational costs:

  • Secure networking across sites: extension of Adaptive Policy across all new platforms and capable of up to 1T physical stacking and stacking flexibility across models.
  • Smart, sustainable spaces: 90W Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE+), 1,900W power supply option, and StackPower.
  • Digital experiences and assurance: high-density mGig and fiber options and 25G/100G uplinks.

For more detailed information, please refer to the datasheet. Tune in to our latest Cisco Champion Radio episode and learn how these latest Catalyst 9300-M switches can help our customers solve the most challenging IT and security needs at scale.

Power more distributed, smarter, and sustainable spaces with UPOE+

The expansive corporate campuses of yesterday have given way to a new age of decentralized offices and hybrid work structures. A recent Cisco survey underlines this change, showing that 98% of meetings now involve at least one remote participant.

The new Catalyst 9300X-M 90W UPOE+ switching powerhouses can connect more power-hungry PoE devices securely to ensure application operations and frictionless user experiences, such as smart lighting systems, conferencing system, and smart cameras. The best part? All your Meraki devices across distributed locations can be managed centrally on the Meraki dashboard, unlocking dynamic topology and rich telemetry, enabling your team with a deeper understanding and control of the entire network for faster mean time to resolution and effective security management.

When converging network and power management, it reduces deployment and simplifies ongoing operations. PoE management on Meraki dashboard can also help you achieve sustainability goals.

For example, the Wrexham County Borough Council in the United Kingdom used Meraki sensors and Cisco Meraki switch port schedules to reimagine its IT infrastructure to reduce cost and carbon emissions across 70 schools. The council has been able to make significant energy savings of 10 metric tons of carbon and roughly $28,000 in electricity savings per year across its 70 schools.

Connect everyone and everything securely with streamlined security

The traditional VLAN-based security policy approach is insufficient, introducing skill gaps and challenges for your IT and security teams to maintain.

Adaptive Policy enables secure access to network resources by dynamically segmenting the network based on user identity and context. This approach reduces SecOps efforts and costs by eliminating the need for manual management of thousands of access control lists (ACLs) and re-architecting the network infrastructure when deploying policy changes.

It strengthens security by automatically applying appropriate policies to the correct users and devices. Back to the earlier example, it will ensure employees can access the interactive whiteboard without delays, while unauthorized devices such as smart cameras will not have access to business applications.

Simplify network operations with an agile, flexible platform

In a distributed IT landscape, Cisco Meraki provides a centralized end-to-end management experience, from wired and wireless, to security, to IoT. This comprehensive approach helps your team deliver secure network management at scale without a steep learning curve. Your network team can make configuration changes in one place and push to selected locations, eliminating manual processes and potential human errors.

Real-time application visibility and rich telemetry provide your network teams with proactive insights to optimize the network, ensuring a seamless employee experience. Furthermore, firmware updates are made effortless with Meraki. Simply schedule and stage them from the cloud, improving productivity for your team.

Resilient, secure networks start here

The Catalyst 9300-M switching portfolio, along with the scalable Adaptive Policy, can help you navigate this new influx of data and network requirements. For more information, please explore our page or contact our sales team.

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Is Your Network Infrastructure Ready for More IoT Devices?

A Platform for Cloud Success

Reduced costs, increased scalability, and faster innovation are just some of the reasons why companies around the world are rapidly adopting a cloud-first strategy for their IT operations. However, with the rate of technological change today, businesses must be extremely strategic with their investments, and cloud-first is not a one-size-fits-all solution. How can tech leaders harness everything the cloud has to offer to produce optimal outcomes for their business?

In this five-part conversation, Forbes and Cisco Meraki examine the tremendous value of a cloud-first approach and discuss how and why cloud-managed platforms have the power to transform and modernize organizations faster than ever before.

Rich Karlgaard, Global Futurist and Editor-At-Large, Forbes, interviews Lawrence Huang, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Meraki and Wireless

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

How Cisco Networking is simplifying IT

Rich Karlgaard:

Cisco announced a Networking Cloud vision at Cisco Live, your big conference in Las Vegas. Can you tell me a little bit about it and how it differentiates itself from other solutions in the marketplace?

Lawrence Huang:

Yeah absolutely. The way I would articulate it, it is a response to what our customers want. The feedback that they’re looking for from Cisco is, how do you actually build things in such a way that your technology, applications, networks, and solutions work cohesively together as one? And really, a big part of what we’re delivering with Cisco Networking Cloud is a massive simplification and unification of the experience.

When you think about the rich portfolio that Cisco has, we have an opportunity to stitch together these different components in a way that we haven’t done in the past. That way, we can drive more consistent automation, we can drive more consistent analytics, and help our customers diagnose issues faster so that it doesn’t feel like you’re logging into many different solutions from one company.

Yes, cloud is the norm these days, but the power of what we have is the level of depth of our data—the number of customers, the number of networks, the quality of the data that we have to drive better insights, better analytics, and better intelligence.

The other piece to it is that we’re able to have partners build on top of our platform so they can extend the capabilities to solve bespoke use cases that may make sense for a given customer, but not broadly.

And then last but not least, it’s fair to acknowledge that Cisco, as a company with #1 market share in many of our markets, serves a breadth of customers, from on-premises to cloud to hybrid. If you think about what we announced, we said very clearly that our goal is to help our customers with the Cisco Networking Cloud—whether you’re fully on premises, you’re hybrid, or you’re fully cloud first—to be able to benefit from the simplification—this unification of our platform.

The power of a simplified platform experience

Skip to video at 2:23 min

Rich Karlgaard:

Not only is the IT infrastructure often for a hybrid company, we’ve got a mix of on-premises, a mix of cloud, and now the workplace itself is evolving into hybrid. COVID hit us like a lead anvil falling on us in the spring of 2020, and new companies have emerged. It just seems, you used the word “bespoke,” that almost every company and every industry is figuring out what the future of the workplace is going to look like.

Is it going to be back to work, is it going to be staying at home? Is it going to be a hybrid of some kind? How many days in the office? How many days not?

How on earth do you deal with customers coming and telling you these infinite varieties of workplace solutions that they’re working through right now?

Lawrence Huang:

First and foremost, hybrid work is something that every company, to your point, is figuring out. But I think it’s fair to acknowledge that what it was pre-COVID is not going to be the same going forward. Even with the changes in the macroeconomic conditions out there, where you do see some employers trying to pull back people to the office, they are voting with their feet.

The reality is that users of these office spaces, whether it is actually traditional office space or the office of one at home or something in between—what they’re demanding is a better experience bar none. So what IT infrastructure teams need to be able to deliver is a better experience at scale—at global scale.

Oftentimes what this means for them is that security is going to be front and center.

It’s going to be something where it’s not just a centralized architecture. It has to be something that they have to think very judiciously about, no matter where the end points, where the people, where the devices are that need to access the applications. A big part of what these owners of this infrastructure need to be able to do is do this in a way that makes sense—in a way that is simple for them to manage at scale.

What we’re asking here is what Cisco Networking Cloud is centered around: How do we unify the experience? How do we do things like provide single sign-on across our different platforms so that when you bring these different technology components to support hybrid work, you can do so in a way that makes sense where you’re not logging into different systems; that you can understand the policies end-to-end and see where there may be security risks more readily than if it was just bespoke solutions tied together.

Cloud-activated resilience is a business differentiator

Skip to video at 4:58 min

Rich Karlgaard:

Coming back to this idea of resilience, in April we had a Forbes CIO conference called the CIO’s Architects of Resilience, and the idea is that the world is moving beyond the pandemic—it is a different world. We’re not returning to the pre-pandemic world. We’re returning to a world where you need more than one supply chain. You need multiple options for your supply chains. There are more geopolitical risks, there are more monetary and inflation risks, and so the idea of resilience is that you’ve got to be able to create plans to deal with all of those contingencies without making yourself stiff and bureaucratic.

How do you think about resilience, what do your customers ask you about resilience, and what do you think contributes to resilience that works for Cisco Meraki customers?

Lawrence Huang:

Yeah, with your examples, especially over the past few years with the headwinds in supply chain or the changing dynamics with business conditions, resilience is a topic that is front and center with many of our customers. The best ones [customers] can treat resilience as a business differentiator if they’re able to do this well.

Oftentimes, when I think about conversations I have with our customers, they think of resilience as “how do I be more nimble and agile?” Whether it’s supply chain diversification or how do I shift my cloud workflows in a way that I’m leveraging more than one cloud provider?

But from an infrastructure perspective, there’s this concept of simplicity that we talk about a lot here at Cisco Meraki. Simplicity with our platform can be a core way to enable resiliency.

What we’re seeing here is, across the board, the way the infrastructures are being built and managed—it’s very different than it was in years past. Oftentimes what we see is that you have to be able to support employees no matter where they’re working. Whether it’s in the traditional office environment, whether it’s in the home, or somewhere in between.

It’s about simplicity of the experience. Imagine infrastructure at scale where you can actually deploy security policies end-to-end, and where you have visibility end-to-end—that is something that provides a foundation where you can then start adapting to changes in your business condition. This idea of a platform means that as your business needs respond, you can build on top of the platform to solve unique use cases for your business to provide greater resiliency.

From a people and team perspective, I believe that its also important to invest in the culture and the people. This is for many people a little more touchy feely, but i think its an important leg of the stool for how you build a resilient organization.

AI/ML and predictive automation: business development accelerants

Skip to video at 7:51 min

Rich Karlgaard:

Let’s talk about this new onrush of AI. AI’s concept has been around 50 or 60 years, and there have been false dawns of AI, but this dawn looks real for sure. Internet analyst Mary Meeker told me at a conference a couple of months ago she’s never seen anything come on as fast and scale as rapidly as ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI. And really, when you step back and you look at every significant technology advantage that has come along since silicon chips, [AI] has been really an accelerant. It’s an accelerant of the underlying metabolism of how fast business can be conducted.

When you think about all of these accelerants that are now in the marketplace, from cloud infrastructure to generative AI to mobility and connectivity everywhere, companies really need to have their act together and be organized around the speed of change. If they are not, they’re going to find that their lunch is eaten by their competitors or some company they’ve never heard of.

What are you seeing in terms of the sense of urgency that the latest accelerant, generative AI, is bringing to the marketplace? And what are some use cases where you’re seeing that companies are proving out early that there are some real advantages, whether its predictive analytics or machine learning and automation, or whatever that happens to be?

Lawrence Huang:

I think the more crass way to say it is, the gold rush is on. Everyone is trying to figure out what this next wave of AI means for them and their business and their customers. I think it’s fair to say that from a product development standpoint, there’s the internal, “Hey, can we use these tools to increase the productivity of our developers so we can actually get more capabilities out to our customers faster and more efficiently?”

From a customer standpoint, going back to your point about, “What are some of the use cases that we can use this technology for?” I think that a lot of it from our world is going to be centered around, “Can we make this idea of predictive analytics more powerful than it is today?”

And one of the things I’ll say is that I don’t think AI, in and of itself, is the end-all-be-all. Sometimes the right answer, quite frankly, is a better user workflow. But other times, using technologies like AI and machine learning, it’s actually the right set of tools because what’s normal in one environment may not be normal in another environment. Having humans and people trying to figure it out is not the best way to do it. That’s where you apply technologies like AI and machine learning techniques to help.

What I’m excited about is seeing the new opportunities around areas like sustainability and areas like being able to create new businesses out of these technologies. It’s early days, but the other piece to it is that privacy is going to be a big part of how customers think about how they use these tools. That’s one thing that, as a company like Cisco, we think very deeply about when we introduce these capabilities. Privacy is front and center, and not putting our customers at risk.

Be a transformative CIO: infuse innovation

Skip to video at 11:15 min

Rich Karlgaard:

One of the reasons Cisco is a trusted brand is that among C-suite executives, particularly CIOs and CTOs, people see Cisco as rock solid and trustworthy and a good partner to have, not only for their own companies but for their own careers.

In thinking about the future of the CIO, one of the things that we have at Forbes is this idea of the “CIO+.” The “CIO+” runs an impeccable, button-down, no-errors (or very small-level of errors), in terms of the IT infrastructure.

But they also do three other things:

  1. They understand the finances and operations of a company and they can go toe-to-toe with the CFO and speak the language of finance.
  2. They understand the revenue levers—what drives revenue, what drives profitability, what drives margin-expansion, and all of those things—so that they’re a partner there.
  3. And then they are a futurist. When they look at technologies like cloud infrastructure or generative AI, they are looking at it the way a venture capitalist would and organizing a portfolio of future projects.

From your perspective, as somebody who has worked with top-level IT people and served their interests and needs, do you have any comments on the changing nature of the CIO? How does the CIO or CTO get to that level where they’re a 90th-percentile CIO in terms of their ability to really drive transformational change at their company?

Lawrence Huang:

If you look at what’s happening across the industry, if you are not that transformative CIO and a team supporting the business, then quite frankly you’re a cost-center. You’re something that is necessary, but not strategic. The best CIOs realize that the way you actually drive real value is to turn your function into something that is strategic for the business.

Oftentimes, even with the example that we talked about with hybrid work, we know for a fact that across the board we are seeing shrinkage in office real estate. Across the companies that we work for, everyone is having a conversation about employees wanting a better experience when they come into the office. They need a reason to gather.

As a CIO and a team supporting that, how do I start working across different teams, whether it’s the real estate team or the facilities team, to create that better experience for them? What do we need to do differently to make these technologies that span across multiple teams and tie them together in a meaningful way so we can actually bring people together?

I think about the 3-30-300 rule, which is: The utilities of a given space and the square footage is roughly $3, and for real estate itself it’s $30, and for employees it’s $300. So there is this massive leverage that you get out of having productive employees. Everyone knows this, so how do you actually invest in a way to make them more productive?

The last piece to it is the innovation in terms of being able to respond to the business. When I hear the stories from our customers, when they’re looking at, “Hey I have stores,” as an example, “that through the pandemic were booming, and then after the pandemic were not … how do I make sure that I can actually build on the infrastructure that I invested in and layer on additional capabilities?” Whether it’s things like cameras and sensors to help, for example, my leadership team understands the productivity of my store employees better. How do I make sure that I deploy technologies in a way that can drive and support sustainability initiatives?

These are areas that really [top] 1% CIOs are helping their businesses transform to meet the needs that they have, whether it’s business headwinds that they need to go address or whether it’s net new initiatives to target sustainability net zero.

I’m really excited about what these top CIOs are doing within their organizations.

Rich Karlgaard:

Thank you for a very illuminating conversation!

Lawrence Huang:

Thanks a lot Rich, I appreciate the time.

Ready to be a transformational leader? Visit the Meraki platform page and explore how a cloud-first strategy can boost your business.

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on A Platform for Cloud Success

Creating a Long-Term Strategy for Secure Remote Work

Hybrid and remote work have become a coveted way of life for many professionals around the world. The elimination of commutes, flexibility in scheduling, and opportunity to work in your pajamas is so appealing that nearly 50% of remote employees stated they would look elsewhere for employment in the event of a return-to-office mandate.

Although working from home is cited as being easier and less stressful for many employees, has anyone stopped to ask IT professionals how they feel about this? Probably not.

Remote work = greater complexity and security risks

The hype around remote work often ends at the doorstep of the IT department. When it comes to the management of a remote workforce, what was once solved by a simple VPN has grown into an intricate combination of managing permissions, ensuring secure access, fighting for visibility into remote networks, and scaling to meet the changing demands of the business. These challenges can be attributed to the growing reliance on hybrid cloud workloads, which comes in parallel with the rise of large-scale remote work.

For organizations embracing a work-from-home (WFH) policy, this often creates a headache for the teams in charge of delivering the simple and secure experiences that businesses and their employees expect. Security is key for an effective hybrid work strategy, but when remote employees access corporate networks through low-grade routers operated and owned by residential service providers, a proper security posture becomes difficult to maintain in the long run.

One platform for everything 

Cisco Meraki is positioned to solve the issue of managing a remote workforce and has been doing so for the better half of the past decade. The Z Series cloud-managed teleworker gateway enables IT teams to connect, secure, and troubleshoot remote workers from the same platform as branch, campus, and IoT.

The newest line of cloud-managed teleworker gateways in the Z4 family provides a secure enterprise-grade router with a built-in firewall that is centrally managed and observed from the Meraki dashboard. When combined with the new Secure Teleworker license, customers benefit from deeper visibility and tighter security thanks to advanced content filtering, health metrics, and integrations into Cisco Talos and Cisco AMP. The ability to provide cellular connectivity to remote employees with the Z4C ensures that your business-critical staff such as IT admin, security teams, and support personnel stay online and connected to the network in the event of internet outages.

Secure remote work that is here to stay

The Meraki Z4 provides unique benefits that satisfy each stakeholder in your business’ remote work strategy.

  • IT teams enjoy zero-touch provisioning for thousands of remote employees with robust monitoring features and blanketed enterprise-grade security that effectively turns each home office into a mini-branch.
  • Remote workers benefit from a sleek, quiet desktop gateway that boosts their overall WFH experience through improved application quality.
  • The business benefits from a reliable, long-term remote work strategy that widens their hiring pool, retains top talent, and mitigates a growing security risk.

Built on the Meraki platform, businesses can easily scale through our intuitive product offerings that cover everything from SD-WAN, IoT, switching, and more. IT teams can add even more value by leveraging integrations with both Cisco and third-party applications. All of this can be managed simply from a single Meraki dashboard.

By combining Meraki cloud-managed teleworker gateways with the power of the Meraki platform, businesses can ensure that their remote or hybrid workforce stays secure when accessing applications, regardless of where the user or workload resides.

For more information on how the Meraki Z4 can transform your remote work experience, explore our page or contact our sales team

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Creating a Long-Term Strategy for Secure Remote Work

Connected Machines, Smarter Factories

In today’s dynamic manufacturing landscape, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technology is a key driver of a transformational shift to Industry 4.0. Cloud networking  enables adaptability for manufacturers amidst the evolving challenges they face as part of this transformation. Here are key cloud networking capabilities that manufacturers can leverage for success along their journey. 

Wireless connectivity—the backbone of modern manufacturing 

Wireless connectivity serves as the backbone of modern manufacturing operations. 

Cloud networking guarantees the reliability of wireless connections, minimizing downtime and optimizing operational efficiency, especially for IoT devices, which rely on robust connectivity to operate effectively. A cloud infrastructure also enhances security protocols, safeguarding wireless networks from potential threats.  

The provision of secure guest Wi-Fi for contractors and visitors further contributes to a seamlessly collaborative environment, allowing external stakeholders to connect securely and participate in manufacturing processes. 

Empowering manufacturing with simplified device management 

Manufacturing companies often grapple with intricate connectivity tasks, particularly in the management and monitoring of network devices. The rise of IoT underscores the importance of connectivity, with numerous devices generating data that necessitates processing and action.  

Cloud networking simplifies these tasks by providing a streamlined and centralized approach, enhancing efficiency for manufacturing companies to seamlessly manage their devices, even in remote operations. The cloud’s scalable infrastructure and remote accessibility further contribute to simplifying the complexity of device management, ultimately optimizing operational processes.  

Safeguarding manufacturing operations with robust security 

Security is of utmost importance in manufacturing, not only for protecting assets but also for ensuring compliance, including adherence to personal protective equipment (PPE) regulations.  

Cloud networking solutions excel in addressing security challenges in manufacturing by automating processes to reduce human errors, implementing robust cybersecurity measures to counter threats, and centralizing control for enhanced protection against vandalism, thereby ensuring the overall safety and integrity of manufacturing operations. 



Increasing efficiency to enhance operations and achieve sustainability targets 

Manufacturing companies can turn to IoT and cloud solutions in their pursuit of increased efficiency and sustainability. Cloud networking technology enhances manufacturing efficiency by providing real-time monitoring of restricted areas, optimizing energy usage through data-driven strategies, and detecting environmental anomalies for proactive intervention.  

Ensuring the physical security of manufacturing facilities is integral to operational efficiency and sustainability. Real-time monitoring of restricted areas, facilitated by IoT and cloud solutions, not only safeguards assets but also streamlines operations, minimizing disruptions. This proactive approach to physical security contributes directly to the longevity and sustainable performance of manufacturing processes. 

These capabilities contribute to improved operational performance and can help teams align to organizational sustainability goals. Embracing cloud solutions enables manufacturing companies to achieve a more resource-efficient and environmentally responsible approach to their operations. 

Boosting efficiency and safety through advanced asset management 

Effective asset management is a game-changer in manufacturing. Most notably, cloud networking can minimize inventory shrinkage by enabling optimization of asset management. Real-time monitoring facilitated by cloud solutions enhances efficiency and safety, allowing for immediate identification of asset status and potential issues.  

Furthermore, cloud networking provides effective oversight of staff, ensuring compliance with safety protocols and contributing to a comprehensive approach to asset management within the manufacturing environment. 

Keeping your network resilient and adaptable  

As manufacturing companies embrace the opportunities presented by IoT and cloud technology, cloud networking solutions stand as a secure, scalable choice to empower their Industry 4.0 transformation. The journey toward a more connected, secure, efficient, and sustainable manufacturing operation is well within reach.  

Meraki cloud networking provides the tools necessary to navigate this revolution successfully, ensuring that manufacturing operations remain resilient and adaptable in the face of evolving challenges. Embrace the future of manufacturing and experience the benefits of connected machines and smarter factories.  

Learn more about Meraki cloud networking solutions by downloading our Top Tech Trends in Manufacturing e-book. 


Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Connected Machines, Smarter Factories

Navigating Black Friday & Beyond

A sales women checking out a customer on a tablet computer

Black Friday is one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year for both retailers; and customers. As the holiday season approaches, retailers gear up to offer incredible deals and discounts to attract shoppers. However, managing the surge in traffic and safeguarding customer data during this hectic period can be a challenging task.

Thanks to cloud networking technology, retailers can secure, scale, and simplify their operations to ensure a seamless shopping experience while efficiently managing increased traffic and safeguarding customer data.

Scalability and reliability for retailers 

When Black Friday hits, websites experience a substantial increase in traffic. The hallmark of any successful Black Friday operation is the ability to handle the influx of customers, both online and in-store.
Cloud networking can empower retailers to effortlessly scale their network to accommodate the surge in online and in-store traffic, allowing for smooth transactions, minimal downtime, and satisfied customers without the risk of network crashes or slowdowns. This scalability is essential to handle the abrupt spikes in traffic that occur during the holiday season.

Elevating the shopping experience 

In addition to managing the surge in traffic, retailers must prioritize engaging their customers to boost sales. Shoppers are always on the lookout for the best deals and a personalized shopping experience.

By deploying advanced digital solutions, retailers can implement real-time inventory updates to ensure customers can easily find what they need, personalized promotions based on customer preferences that can be delivered in real-time, and interactive features that captivate shoppers and encourage them to explore products. Adding these experiences for shoppers ultimately leads to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.

Streamline operations through optimized supply chain management 

Black Friday success goes beyond delivering a seamless shopping experience and enhancing customer engagement. Retailers must also ensure efficient supply chain management, encompassing inventory, distribution, and order fulfillment.

Retailers can leverage cloud networking technology to streamline these operations. Additionally, real-time insights into inventory levels can enable retailers to make data-driven decisions about restocking and distribution, minimizing the risk of stockouts and ensuring prompt order deliveries.

Data-driven insights for informed decision-making 

These advanced analytics tools aren’t only useful for optimizing your supply chain. They can also provide insights into customer behavior to recognize trends that can help inform marketing and product strategies.

By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, you can create personalized shopping experiences that resonate with your customers. This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction, drives loyalty, and ensures your business remains agile and competitive in an ever-evolving retail landscape.

Cybersecurity and data protection: safeguarding retailers and customers

Cybersecurity stands out as a major concern during high-traffic events like Black Friday. With the escalation of cyber threats, retailers need to fortify their networks and protect customer data.
Cloud networking technology incorporates advanced security features designed to shield retailers from cyber threats while keeping sensitive customer data safe. This creates a more secure shopping environment, bolstering consumer trust and enabling retailers to confidently navigate the hustle and bustle of peak shopping seasons.

Stay in the black beyond November 

As Black Friday approaches, retailers must be prepared to meet the challenges of increased traffic. The Meraki platform offers a simple solution, providing the ability to scale, better engage with customers, streamline operations, gain actionable insights, and ensure data protection. This empowers retailers to provide a seamless shopping experience while efficiently managing the holiday rush. Embrace the power of cloud networking technology and elevate your retail success this Black Friday and beyond.

To learn more about Meraki solutions for retail, register to visit our booth at the National Retail Foundation (NRF) show this January.

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Navigating Black Friday & Beyond

Power Your Competitive Edge

On a sizzling summer night, you pull into a fast-food drive-through and are greeted by an automated voice that recognizes your past mobile app orders. The menu board surprises you with personalized recommendations, but what amazes you most is the next-level convenience. Instead of waiting at the window, you are directed to park in a designated area where they locate you and deliver your freshly prepared meal. This seamless customer experience sets the drive-through apart. You’ll definitely come back.

As you drive off, you wonder how they securely and reliably power and connect all their technology (cameras, Wi-Fi, and the digital menu board) in challenging outdoor conditions—whether it’s on a hot summer day, during a cold snowy winter, or on a menu board that needs to fit in a tight space. More importantly, how do their IT experts deploy new sites rapidly, manage firmware updates, and troubleshoot devices across thousands of locations globally?

The answer: extend seamless experiences with a cloud-managed ruggedized switch

Businesses need to power new customer and employee experience possibilities, regardless of industry. To achieve that, you can leverage IoT devices (like outdoor cameras) and Wi-Fi to ensure real-time communication, physical safety, intelligent analytics, and reliable operations in rugged environments. A cloud-managed ruggedized switch is ideal for managing network and security in one place across remote locations.

Meet the MS130R and extend connectivity and security to hot/cold/tight spaces. It is designed to:

  • Power more use cases with 30 W PoE+, IP30 protection, and support from -40 °C to 70 °C (-40 °F to 158°F)
  • Adapt to your installation needs with flexible mounting and power options
  • Connect outdoor access points, cameras, and other IoT devices in hot/cold/tight environments
  • Be used in locations such as parking lots, pop-up events, non-temperature-controlled spaces, outdoor kiosks, and hospitality venues like golf courses and ski resorts
  • Unleash operational efficiency and streamline remote management with the powerful and intuitive Meraki cloud-managed dashboard
  • Protect true edge environments by leveraging Adaptive Policy* with MS130R

The MS130R seamlessly extends common policies from campus to branch to harsh environments, helping you deliver secure networks that evolve with your organization and bolster growth

* MS130R is hardware-ready for the Adaptive Policy feature, with a future firmware upgrade and Advanced license.

Cross two hurdles in one leap: reduce costs and complexity with unified PoE power and network management.

Extending the power and connectivity to these environments is no easy feat.

By utilizing one single Ethernet cable for both power and network access, you not only simplify the installation process and lower costs, but also enable centralized monitoring and control for all relevant devices. The ability to remotely turn off ports and connected devices (like the menu board in the example) at a scheduled time is a great way to achieve sustainability and cost savings.

Peace of mind: manage and troubleshoot no matter how remote

When you deploy and manage end-to-end cloud-managed networks, from cameras to access points, switches, and security, it empowers your network team to manage effectively and unlock insights without adding operational complexity.

Once a Meraki switch is plugged into the network, users will automatically gain an intuitive, interactive topology map that provides unparalleled visibility and control for the entire network. With proactive alerts and powerful live tools like packet capture (PCAP), cable test, and cycle port, your team can effectively see everything and troubleshoot on one dashboard.

The refreshed topology map provides an integrated health overview, device details, and client details on a single page. This feature will be available in the Early Access program soon.

Learn what else you can power with the new MS130R

Discover how Meraki can securely power and connect your technology in challenging conditions and experience the peace of mind that centralized management and troubleshooting capabilities bring, even in remote locations. Visit our page to learn more about the new MS130 and MS130R switches or listen to our recent podcast episode.

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Power Your Competitive Edge

Create Experiences With More SaaS

The modern IT practitioner knows that with today’s ever-increasing demands, technology infrastructure is being maxed to its limits. Your infrastructure—from hardware and software to teams and sites—is highly distributed. Much of what you rely on resides outside of your network on the public internet, where you traditionally don’t have control or visibility.

This means that while your team has access to more technologies and tools than ever before, there are also new challenges to creating great experiences across your network.

New capabilities with a hybrid infrastructure

A distributed and hybrid technology infrastructure offers capabilities previously unavailable to businesses. Many IT teams have adopted this model, and as such, the hybridized array of applications and tools they support are being used to capacity, demanding more bandwidth than ever.

This means you’re likely accountable for more touchpoints and have more areas of your network to analyze when issues arise, which inevitably makes it harder to identify and resolve issues, risking downtime when the associated business costs are higher than ever.

Gain visibility of SaaS applications outside your network

To help you provide consistent, always-on experiences, Cisco Meraki is pleased to announce the general availability of support for ThousandEyes on Meraki networks. Natively integrated into Meraki MX security and SD-WAN appliances, ThousandEyes on the Meraki platform enables proactive monitoring of your SaaS applications across the internet and application servers—domains traditionally outside of your IT team’s control.

This reduces the time to identify the root cause of issues and provides detailed insights to prevent negative digital experience of your users.

Meraki offers the only secure SD-WAN solution that fully integrates ThousandEyes agents into its WAN appliances, so that you can configure and run tests efficiently and at scale from the same dashboard you use to manage your networks end-to-end.


Get ahead of problems before you’re aware of them

When you’re getting started, you’ll identify an array of core applications and networks that you want to pay close attention to. With this offering, you can quickly activate ThousandEyes agents at scale across your network to continuously monitor SaaS application performance.

Combined with an integrative platform approach to secure SD-WAN (and more), the Meraki platform helps you automatically identify and resolve issues, often before users or administrators are even aware there’s a problem. With ThousandEyes Network Intelligence on the Meraki platform, you can rapidly flag and communicate any performance issues occurring across the enterprise.

Deliver the ‘wow’ factor

Creating technology experiences that wows users, customers, and IT professionals alike is not only possible, but simplified, thanks to this new integration with ThousandEyes. Business customers using Meraki on the Advanced Security and Secure SD-WAN Plus licenses can take advantage of the ThousandEyes integration today by activating it on the Meraki dashboard. Those on the Enterprise license can try the complete Secure SD-WAN Plus experience with ThousandEyes here. You can also call your Meraki rep to learn more.

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Create Experiences With More SaaS

Optimizing Physical Security through Automation

Optimizing Physical Security through Automation

This article was contributed by Kisi, a Meraki technology partner.  

The security sector has seen several innovations over the years that have changed the scope of facility management and protection. One of these areas of advancement has been the automation of security processes and responses, which has provided efficiency on a new scale.  

From automated access control and smart surveillance systems, to streamlined incident response and integrated security operations, automation empowers organizations to proactively safeguard their physical assets.  

Read on to explore the benefits of physical security automation, including improved threat detection, real-time monitoring, streamlined workflows, reduced human error, and enhanced scalability.  

Improved threat detection 

Automation has allowed for advanced threat detection and responses that are more streamlined and pre-defined according to safety policies. The integration of more automation into threat detection systems means a quicker and more robust response to any potential breaches. 

For example, combining an access control system like Kisi, with IoT cameras from Meraki enables automated intrusion detection. Once a breach occurs, the camera records every action by the intruder, and the access control system sends notifications to the administrator or any applicable parties. This response is completely automated, and allows you to take quick action to mitigate the potential threat. 

Real-time monitoring and reporting 

Automatic functioning of access control and surveillance systems means eyes are always on the premises, even after hours, without dedicated personnel. This helps security managers and landlords have extra peace of mind, knowing that should a breach occur, the automated systems and the records they keep are easily accessible. 

Streamlined Workflows

Some access control solutions allow for automated provisioning, which means you don’t have to manually configure the permissions for each user you already have in your directory. This saves your admins and IT professionals the time they usually spend on setting up and onboarding users for access to spaces and services. This automation also means simplified onboarding and offboarding workflows, enhancing security and streamlining the process of granting and revoking access permissions. 

Reduced human error 

Legacy systems which require human input to detect threats and irregularities in the access flow are vulnerable to error. Security personnel cannot always have eyes on every sector of the premises, and breaches are bound to occur. Cameras and access control systems with automatic functionality can record actions in real time and lock doors on site. This automated process reduces risks associated with employees forgetting to lock the doors of sensitive areas. 

Enhanced scalability    

Companies are growing at an exponential rate, with new opportunities and hybrid work environments paving the way for more employees and bigger premises. Automation makes the process of scaling easier with remote and centralized access management. 

The hassle of distributing keys and managing different legacy access systems across locations is replaced by modern, cloud-based systems, empowering you to automatically manage access through mobile devices. Advanced solutions, like Kisi, can support your transition to the cloud by providing the benefits of automation without needing to upgrade your existing hardware. 

For more information about Kisi and to request a demo, visit the Meraki Marketplace

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Optimizing Physical Security through Automation

New Switches for Turbocharged Employee Experiences 

In our recent blog announcing new Meraki cloud-managed switches, we emphasized the role of network performance in elevating the customer experience. An equally important factor in the customer satisfaction equation is the employee experience, which is also driven by network performance in today’s digital era. A positive employee experience directly impacts the customer experience. Imagine a retail employee is trying to do a stock check for a customer and repeatedly encounters access errors, or imagine a remote call-center employee who can’t access customer data. This creates frustration for both the customer and the employee. 

Reliable and secure connectivity is the backbone of employee success 

Whether you need to encourage employees to return to the office or support a flexible work model, providing them with secure access to relevant information, collaboration, and applications wherever and whenever they need it is critical for job success.   

To turbocharge employee experiences, organizations can leverage new Wi-Fi technologies, such as IoT, to power “smart buildings” that provide seamless collaboration and more safe and secure physical environments. Moving to a smart building approach can be a disruptive process, but it doesn’t have to be. The cloud-managed Catalyst 9300-M network switches securely connect bandwidth-hungry devices, e.g., Wi-Fi 6/6E and smart kiosks, with Universal Power over Ethernet (UPoE) and ultra-high performance bandwidth

Converged power and network management with 60 W UPoE option reduces costs, increases flexibility, and enables intelligent control.

Benefits of the Catalyst 9300-M include:

Adaptability to changing network needs

  • The switch supports 60 W UPoE options, allowing for faster deployment through centralized power and network management
  • With the Port Schedule feature, you can remotely turn ports on and off based on a schedule, saving energy costs when powering devices like smart LEDs or printers
  • The switch also offers a wide range of mGig speed options and improved physical stacking capacity of up to 480 Gbps, ensuring better throughput for Wi-Fi 6/6E and IoT devices

High redundancy

  • The switch provides modular uplink options for hardware flexibility and easier management
  • The Cisco StackPower feature aggregates all available power in a stack of switches and manages it as one common power pool, providing overall campus redundancy while efficiently distributing power and reducing costs

Built-in application layer visibility

  • The switch offers rich analytics and insights that provide dynamic optimization of network performance and resource utilization, helping to align with employee needs and enhancing overall network efficiency


Scale network security operations with adaptive microsegmentation 

Evolving security policy requirements create constant manual work to maintain compliance and widen skills gaps for both network and security teams. 

Thankfully, the Catalyst 9300-M integrates powerful technology to address these challenges— Meraki Adaptive Policy. By leveraging cloud efficiency from Meraki and the powerful Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) to assign security group tags (SGTs), administrators can automatically determine network traffic intent at scale while reinforcing security across locations. Users are dynamically assigned an SGT regardless of the device.   

Back to our previous examples, Adaptive Policy would have enabled the retail and call center employee to seamlessly access applications without being denied. Thanks to Meraki simplicity, Adaptive Policy can effortlessly adapt to and maintain policy changes without requiring network teams to reconfigure switches or manage long access control lists (ACLs) across the network. Mircosegementation has never been easier. 

Adaptive Policy is currently supported with an Advanced license on Catalyst 9300-M, MS390, Meraki access points (MR), and Meraki security appliances (MX), providing a truly flexible and dynamic microsegmentation strategy across your network.   

Sustain operations while enabling innovation 

The experience of your IT teams must also be considered. As the modern network continues to expand, network operations must be optimized to get ahead of changing needs. At the same time, employees need space to innovate in order to build the best network solutions. By combining the power and reliability of the Catalyst 9300 with the simplicity of Meraki, you can complete network refresh projects in days, not months, and streamline network management—all while retaining talent and giving employees back time to focus on strategic initiatives. 

Here are a few capabilities your teams can leverage to achieve this: 

  • Dynamic topology for instant visibility. Once the switch is connected to the Meraki dashboard, your team gains a dynamic and contextualized view of all device connections and their status. This visibility allows for informed decision-making to optimize network performance and plan resource allocation effectively. 
  • Remote troubleshooting for faster mean time to resolution (MTTR). With remote troubleshooting capabilities and a guided troubleshooting flow, your team can quickly diagnose and resolve issues. They can cycle and ping ports, perform packet capture (PCAP) testing from any location, and restore services without the need for on-site visits. The dashboard also detects misconfigurations and offers one-click VLAN mismatch remediation. 
  • Firmware management at scale. Ensure your network is always up-to-date. Easily review, schedule, stage, and update firmware from an intuitive dashboard or automate the process with an API. 

Watch our video to learn more:


Save time, effort, and operational costs with Meraki 

Ready to transform your employee experience and boost IT team productivity? Jump-start your cloud journey today with powerful Catalyst 9300-M switches for advanced networking and security. Visit our Meraki switching page and learn how Meraki makes it effective to manage and monitor your end-to-end network across locations with one powerful, intuitive dashboard.   

Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on New Switches for Turbocharged Employee Experiences 

Powering New Customer Experience Possibilities

Employe at work in a retail store talking on a cell phone

Imagine a customer walks into your retail location and effortlessly connects to fast, secure Wi-Fi on their phone. Instantly, their app engages them with tailored location-specific information like available coupons and new products, all based on personal preferences and buying behavior. When they’re ready to check out, they skip the register and leave without the wait thanks to cashierless checkout, enjoying a truly convenient and frictionless experience.  

Creating such exceptional customer experiences is vital in today’s competitive business landscape. But behind the scenes, achieving this requires a robust network, integrated IoT devices, and an immense amount of data traveling the network in real time. The rapid advancement of AI-powered experiences—from hyper-personalization to in-store augmented reality (AR)—has opened up countless possibilities, but it has also placed a significant strain on network infrastructures (and the IT teams who support them). 

Your customer experience is only as good as your network 

To deliver exceptional experiences across every touchpoint and every location requires simplifying network operations. A Cisco cloud-managed network enables you to ditch silos and provide reliable, high-performing connectivity at any site, no matter how remote. This allows your employees to unlock productivity and collaborate faster, resulting in better interactions and faster problem solving for your customers.  

Simplifying network operations allows your team to shift from keeping the lights on to delivering innovative, seamless experiences to customers.  

Powering more possibilities starts with scaling the network across locations 

To empower networking teams with more connectivity and flexibility without costly overhead, Cisco is introducing a new, versatile Meraki switching lineup: 


MS130: Cost-effective mGig access switches for remote branches and small/medium campuses 

  • An extensive product family with 8/12/24/48 port options in compact and full rack size  
  • Perfect for connecting and protecting retail point of sale setups, physical security, video conferencing/streaming, or higher bandwidth Wi-Fi deployments, all while reducing operating and deployment costs 

MS130R*: First Meraki cloud-managed ruggedized PoE switch for harsh hot/cold/tight environments 

  • Extends reliable PoE power and connectivity with IP30 protection and extreme temperature (-40 °F to 158 °F) support.  
  • Ideal for outdoor cameras and access points in temperature-challenged environments like parking lots (for physical security and/or seamless curbside pickup), menu board setup,skiing resorts, and pop-up events 

Catalyst 9300-M* switches for large campuses 

  • These switches combine the power of the industry-leading Catalyst switching portfolio with the scalability of Meraki cloud management   
  • With the Meraki out-of-box experience, your team can maximize operational efficiency from day 0 and scale faster without compromising performance  

* Available in late 2023 

Protect networks and privacy at scale with intelligent, intent-based security  


Just like the retail experience we mentioned, these new applications can create a surge of devices accessing the network.  

It is crucial to have granular visibility and control over network traffic and access to protect data and ensure compliance from core to edge. Powered by Cisco TrustSec Security Group Tags (SGT) technology, Adaptive Policy dynamically identifies and enforces security policies for users, devices, and applications with network-based micro-segmentation.   

We are thrilled to extend Adaptive Policy hardware support** to MS130 mGig models, MS130R, and Catalyst 9300-M, enabling you to safely reduce the attack surface across different environments at scale.   


Speed innovation with simplified, smarter cloud-managed networks 

The true magic of Cisco Meraki starts even before the package arrives at your site. With true zero-touch provisioning, large-scale deployments can be completed in minutes, saving time and cost without dedicated on-site IT staff.  

All Cisco Meraki solutions can be effortlessly managed through the same intuitive cloud-managed dashboard, providing your network team with deep contextualized visibility and remote management without complexity or additional operational costs.   

Learn more  

Talk to your Cisco Meraki account team today. Register for our webinar to learn more about how these new Meraki cloud-managed switches deliver enhanced connectivity, increased flexibility, and reduced overhead, empowering your organization to expand the possibilities of the customer experience. 

** Adaptive Policy currently only supports MS390 and Catalyst 9300-M with an Advanced license. MS130 mGig (-X) models and MS130R are hardware-ready for the Adaptive Policy feature, with a future firmware upgrade and advanced license.  


Posted in Company Blog | Comments Off on Powering New Customer Experience Possibilities