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Telework Set to Go Mobile: One Year Into the Telework Enhancement Act

The end of 2011 marked the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. At the end of last year, Cisco partnered with the Telework Exchange to help convene a panel of telework experts, including federal agency leaders who have pioneered telework programs in their divisions, to hear the outcomes of these initial efforts and share insights into what the future of telework holds.

Reports from participating sections of the Library of Congress and the Treasury Department revealed workers experienced increased flexibility and job satisfaction as a result of having more opportunities to telework. The Treasury Department in particular saw higher productivity, improved emergency preparedness, and cost savings from reduced office space needs. Technology like telepresence has kept workers in disparate locations connected and allowed business to maintain—even enhance—its fluidity and efficiency.

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Empowering Women with Mobile Services

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Last year, I wrote a series of editorials about how mobile data services — mobile agriculture and banking in particular — are becoming major economic drivers in developing economies. While these services can benefit all people in regions under-served by traditional infrastructure, women may benefit in particular.

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Help Her Say “Yes” to the Dress

Ever had a customer who hesitates to buy a dress because she worries she’ll never find the right accessories to tie the look together? Or because she’s just not sure it’ll pass the boyfriend test?  Too often such customers leave empty-handed, promising to come back with the man and/or potential shoes and jewelry in tow so she can decide.

Sometimes she comes back. Usually she doesn’t.

That doesn’t have to happen anymore, and retailers have technology to thank for it.

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Cisco Brings the Luck of the Irish to San Francisco Through Video

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Why not celebrate it the true Irish way by watching the festivities happening at the Christchurch in Cork, Ireland! For the first time ever, citizens will be able to watch St. Patrick’s Day celebrations occurring on both sides of the pond through a live simulcast link between San Francisco’s City Hall and their sister city of Cork, Ireland (more information here).

At 1:00 pm PDT, San Franciscans in City Hall Plaza will be able to see the Lord Mayor of Cork, Terry Shannon, kick off a live broadcast of Pulses of Tradition – a festival of traditional Irish music and dancing taking place inside the beautiful ChristChurch at the heart of Cork. Festival-goers on the other end will be able to see the finale of San Francisco’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade as it arrives at the Plaza, from a live display in City Hall. In addition, revelers in San Francisco will be able to toast their Irish friends as, for the first time, Moylan’s Beer (from Movato, California) will be toasted over Cisco TelePresence.

Green with envy that you won’t be in San Francisco City Hall Plaza to attend the parade? Don’t worry – Cisco and U-Stream have you covered. Check back here tomorrow, or access the live stream from your mobile phone or tablet at this link. You will join an expected 45,000 attendees in San Francisco in a first of its kind, global St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Live broadcast by Ustream

This celebration could only be enabled through the power of the network with Cisco. Cisco TelePresence Codec C90 systems in both San Francisco and Cork will provide a high-quality video connection between both cities thanks to a collaboration with service provider UPC in Ireland; Cisco TelePresence will also stream the live video out through U-Stream to remote viewers throughout the world.

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Cisco Supports First U.S. Based Smart Work Center, 1871 in Chicago

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced at a press conference on Wednesday that 1871, a new downtown Chicago hub for tech startups will open its doors on May 2nd. The new Smart Work Center (SWC), supported by Cisco and partners CDW, Comcast and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, is being designed to promote entrepreneurship, collaboration and greater technology innovation throughout the city.

According to Gov. Quinn, more than 120 digital start-ups were launched in Chicago last year – a 50% increase year-over-year. For many of these companies, the ability to afford technologically-equipped office space is impossible. With 1871, a 50,000 square foot open floor plan in the Chicago Merchandise Mart that is being completely outfitted with a Cisco infrastructure and other solutions, like Cisco Unified Communications and TelePresence, Chicago-based digital start-ups will now have flexible work space options. They will be will be able to rent desks on a month-to-month basis and will have the unique ability to engage a broad workgroup of other entrepreneurs, spawning a new paradigm for how work gets done and how innovation happens.

Gov. Quinn Tours 1871 Smart Work Center in Chicago. From left to right: Illinois Gov. Quinn; Eric Severinghaus, CEO of SimpleRelevance; Jill Billhorn, vice president, small business, CDW; Cliff Thomas, managing director, Global Enterprise Theater, Cisco; Jeff Buzzelli, vice president, business services, Comcast; Matt Summy, president and CEO, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition

Since 2008, Cisco has launched successful SWC programs in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Korea, and is working to develop a framework that can be replicated by other cities around the world. Today there are more than 100 smart work centers in the Netherlands, and South Korea has publicly stated its commitment to deploying 450 smart work centers by 2015 as part of the National Smart Work Strategy announced by the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in July 2010. These projects are transforming urban life, and making it possible to design and manage cities in radically different ways.

According to the Kaufmann Foundation, young firms (defined as one to five years old) account for roughly two-thirds of job creation in the U.S. Through projects like 1871, Cisco and its partners are fostering innovation and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs that will help drive greater economic growth.

1871 was the year Chicago re-built itself after the great fire, becoming the inspirational city it remains today. The new downtown Smart Work Center (1871) is aptly named, as it will bring a renewed spirit of innovation to the city and far beyond.