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An Architecture of Inclusion to Save the Planet?

In a few days, Cisco is going to host an industry first: a virtual”eco-panel.” The session will be simulcast live to audiences around the world, including 2,500 attendees of the Voicecon conference in Orlando, Florida. Using TelePresence, former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore will be participating from Nashville, Tennessee, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers will be participating from Cisco headquarters in San Jose, Cisco EVP of Marketing and Government Affairs Sue Bostrom will be live on the keynote stage at VoiceCon, and science journalist Lawrence McGinty will be beaming in from London, UK. It’s not going to be your father’s tradeshow event.Rather than foreshadow the keynote let me herald the question: can the information and communication industry apply our technology and talents to address what is clearly one of the most significant problems of our day? Can we use the tools and the time given to us to help reverse global warming?Addressing climate change is not an opt-in technology subject. It’s not an upgrade cycle you could or should delay. Solutions and insights are not proprietary to a specific company, country or part of the globe.And it bears a direct relationship to Unified Communications, which we see as the unification of all forms of communications. Because we must work together, to connect, communicate and collaborate together to solve our environmental problems — in ways that span companies, countries, and cultures. Climate change tests the true underpinning of UC in a real way. Even how we speak, how we communicate about climate change will be different, as witnessed by the recently chartered George Mason University Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communications Research. As an industry, we like to think in terms of architectures. What about architecture of inclusion, one that supports openness and the rich context, and nuance of video communications as a part of collaboration? One that integrates video as effortlessly as voice, texting and IM? Can the unification of communications insert efficiency and effectiveness into business?There is an inherent economy to inclusion. Lowering the barriers to helping people and technologies work together improves cycle time, lowers the cost of integration and re-work, and brings a multiplier of participants to any challenge. In the Flat World, globalization — which is an inclusive architecture -requires people to communicate more effectively to achieve business goals. The Internet changed communications and business, irrevocably by flattening the barriers first to communicate anyway on the globe, and, secondly, to allow businesses to reinvent themselves around a networked business model. Now, Web 2.0, in particular video, is reinventing how people communicate with each other.Thus the communications industry, too, stands at the crossroad of climate change. And if we can enable the rich context that people communicate in person but instead over the network, maybe we are supporting the planet’s amazing aesthetic, noted, simply, by the late great Louis Armstrong:”œI see skies of blue, and clouds of white; The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night,And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”Everyone’s included.

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