There was no surprise that the agenda at last week’s Internet Summit 10 in Raleigh, N.C. was dominated by cloud computing, mobile applications, and social networking. The hype and consensus around “the Cloud” is very positive. The concepts of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions are being perfected and the value of the Cloud as a best of breed service and infrastructure cost avoidance are being realized.

Mobile computing was also a hot topic for many of the presenters and attendees. Many wanted to know the best way to deliver mobile applications. With the continued evolution of mobile platforms, from Apple’s iOS operating system on iPads and iPhones to Android to the new Windows 7 devices, everyone is concerned with their delivery method and platform to build these applications. And there isn’t a clear answer to this question.

Most businesses will get along fine by creating a mobile skin for their applications and websites to be viewed on any mobile browser. There are some applications that will require a richer user interface that is only obtained by building native solutions and products for the different mobile units.

The most interesting speaker I heard was Jeanette Gibson, Director of Social Media Marketing at Cisco. She spent an hour discussing various ways that Cisco has used social media to improve their customer experience while reducing costs associated with public relations and customer service (see their Live Web Chat through WebEx).

They continue to increase their specific channel blogs to focus on Cisco products. They have also created a Cisco channel on YouTube to help spread the corporate message from the CEO, educate customers on their products and provide customer support on pressing issues. Cisco is really focused on video blogs to continue to spread their message. They are using low-cost mechanisms like Flip video, which Cisco purchased, to quickly deliver videos to their social media channels.

If you don’t have a social media strategy, there is real ROI to be captured for those initiatives. Cisco is great case study for doing that. Social media doesn’t mean you just have a Facebook page. It means you are looking at ways to continue to deliver value and spread your corporate message through easily accessible, well understood social channels.

-Andy Frank
COO and Founder, UDig