Cisco’s Rich Media Specialist Certification

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When promise and potential evolve into practicality, it’s a beautiful thing. Similarly, rich media communications—essentially applied digital interactive media—has become a necessary tool for businesses, big and small. Rich media’s compelling strength is that it enables companies to convey strong messages to their constituency using a combination of vibrant digital media technologies.


Some industry analysts say that in 2005 more than 80 million people and 100,000 companies worldwide used some form of rich media communications. Other analysts estimate that by 2007, the market value of videoconferencing end-point devices will be $900 million and videoconferencing services will top $5 billion.


For business use, rich media communications over an IP network enables multiple forms of communication such as audio conferencing, videoconferencing and Web conferencing. Live video and video-on-demand can be provided over the same IP network.


Cisco Systems is introducing a new certification to prepare customers and partners for the increasing requirements for knowledge and skills associated with integrating rich media communications applications to a converged data network. The new Cisco Rich Media Specialist certification is intended to prepare IT and network professionals to design, install and manage such rich media applications as Web conferencing, videoconferencing and live video streams.


Using rich media communications tactics and techniques, a company can impart its vision and ideas, both internally and externally, to influence, motivate and educate the people who matter most to its success. So, as rich media grows, the availability of trained, qualified specialists who are able to properly implement it equals the technology in importance.


What Is Rich Media Communications?
Rich media communications ties together IP videoconferencing (IPVC), IP video telephony (IPVT), instant messaging (IM) and Web-collaborative tools. It enables people to interact with one another in new, highly visual, immediate, flexible and productive collaborative conferencing environments.


Real-time collaboration wasn’t a problem when face-t0face meetings at corporate headquarters were regular and mandatory. But for today’s global enterprise, a technology that incorporates audio, video and applications in one collaborative platform is necessary to convey corporate vision, direction, strategies and tactics in an appropriately effective manner.


Taken individually, the components of rich media communications offer compelling advantages. For example, webcasts enable application sharing and collaborative viewing. On its own, video is important in a number of collaborative settings including sales presentations and customer relations. But the sizzle of rich media occurs when video and audio are combined in a virtual conference or collaboration, producing a more dynamic outcome.


The Market
The move toward real-time, rich media communications and collaboration is not new, but recent catalysts such as interactive requirements, productivity issues and expense reduction have spurred it on. In other words, a sluggish economy combined with increased travel costs have prompted many companies to slash budgets by turning to virtual communication and collaboration.


Videoconferencing and rich media technology now include shared computer applications such as Internet pages, chat rooms, documents and software. These communication technologies offer new possibilities for learning, project management, collaboration and professional activities such as meetings and interviews.


Conferencing use continues to grow rapidly. For many companies, virtual meetings now exceed face-to-face gatherings in number. Voice conferencing is used by nearly as many people as e-mail. IM, Web and videoconferencing are being employed by a significant and rapidly increasing percentage of knowledge workers.


Rich media’s myriad uses include presentations, sales forecasts, project management, demos, product development, supply-chain management, Web design and teaming, to name just a few. These uses have key business issues in common, such as timeliness, resource allocation and cost-efficiency.


While the benefits of rich media communications are clear, factors such as budget, infrastructure, security, scalability and integration impact its deployment in the enterprise. Market drivers and compelling business needs are pressing companies to thoroughly examine implementation and use of this solution.


The Program
The Cisco Rich Media Specialist certification prepares IT professionals to plan and deploy Web and video-conferencing. It enables IT professionals to deliver the benefits and savings of rich media communications, while maintaining the integrity and manageability of the IP network. To achieve the Cisco Rich Media Specialist certification, candidates must pass the Rich Media Specialist and Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE) exams. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is a prerequisite.


With audio and video deployed over IP networks, careful planning is required. The IP network must deliver the same quality, switching, speed and clarity as is expected of the traditional telephone network. Integrating videoconferencing applications into a voice and data network brings its own set of expectations. Videoconferencing or streaming video should not disrupt the data and voice traffic already on the network, and applications must use network resources equally well. Network planners and technicians must take these expectations into account when planning, designing and implementing rich media in the converged network.


Accordingly, the Rich Media Specialist certification prepares professionals to integrate videoconferencing in an IP network independently or with other deployments, such as Cisco CallManager for IP telephony, Cisco Unity voice messaging or Cisco IP Contact Centers.


The new Rich Media Specialist course and exam were designed together from the same job-task analysis, aimed to meet the needs of both designers and implementers. This approach helps ensure that certification candidates are well prepared for the required exam. The requirement that candidates pass the Cisco Voice over IP (CVOICE) exam provides validation that certification candidates have necessary fundamental knowledge of Voice over IP.


Responding to requests for multi-modal learning solutions, recommended training for the Rich Media exam is being offered exclusively via e-learning. On average, the course will take about eight hours to complete. Presenting the course’s three modules (Fundamentals of IPVC, Designing for IPVC and Implementing IPVCs), e-learning will make study more efficient by allowing users to navigate the modules at their own pace and in their preferred order. Recommended training for CVoice is offered as a five-day instructor-led training course in addition to a variety of e-learning offerings.


Cisco Learning Partners provide the entire suite of learning products required to prepare someone for the Cisco Rich Media Specialist certification exams. Employees of Cisco channel partner organizations also can access the Rich Media Specialist course using the Partner E-Learning Connection, the dedicated learning portal for Cisco channel partners.


Value Proposition
Applying rich media communications enables organizations to realize the cost savings and application potential of converged networks. Indeed, in today’s business environment, companies that do not explore rich media communications risk falling behind the competitive curve.


Rich media communications promises to set apart those firms that take advantage of the technology and its implementation from those that do not. The Cisco Rich Media Speci

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