In my recent blog, From Cairo to Nairobi- Eye to Eye at the Touch of a Button, I explained how we are achieving massive cost savings and efficiencies at Cisco as a global organisation and more recently across the continent of Africa, thanks to immersive TelePresence.
In fact the vast majority of our sales force in Africa, 7 out of 10 employees, now have access to this flagship communication and collaboration tool at their local Cisco office. This means they can meet face to face in a life-size virtual meeting with colleagues, customers and partners across the globe without the need to travel, as if they were sat in the same meeting room just across the table from one another. So what are we doing for the remaining 30% of employees on the continent who do not have access to this capability?
As you might expect, we have a solution for our smaller, less populous remote offices where it may not be cost effective today to deliver a high speed Wide Area Network which is a pre- requisite for immersive TelePresence. The solution is a High Definition video experience which can run across a low bandwidth link, yet still provides a clear and vivid face to face interactive experience. Our TelePresence EX90 desktop solution which we have chosen to deploy, is one of a range of High Definition video products that Cisco offers today from the PC to the 65″ screen and beyond. The EX90 allows employees to collaborate on a 1:1 basis, moving seamlessly between face to face discussion or sharing a presentation on the same screen yet we can enable up to 48 units to connect together into one meeting.
The EX90 can be installed and commissioned at a desk in a matter of minutes provided there is a reasonable internet connection available to ensure a good experience. In Cisco IT, we recommend an internet connection of ~ 1 Mbps up/ down yet they will actually operate at lower speeds, with the call remaining established even if the network becomes congested which provides a good degree of flexibility. In fact the devices run at much higher speeds with increased quality at up to 1080p resolution where the connection allows.
We are on plan to enable all Cisco field sales office teams across our Africa Levant region with this capability in the coming months, extending into Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Senegal and South Africa. In fact every small office in Cisco’s Emerging Markets geography will be running this lower cost option by the time we start our next fiscal year, with more than thirty offices entering into the new dimension of High Definition Video. Naturally this opens up the door to a world of new opportunity, bridging these remote field sales offices together, yet perhaps more importantly, these units can communicate in High Definition with our flagship immersive TelePresence product which effectively means that everyone has the opportunity to stay connected, whether they are in a campus size environment or in a remote office.
I am looking forward to this new opportunity to work more closely with my clients across the continent. When I started out in the Emerging Markets team, we had a vision of delivering equal opportunity in terms of IT Services, now that vision is fast becoming a reality – the High Definition TelePresence EX90 really does enable Video for the Masses.