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How Video Makes a Difference in the Way I Work

February 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm PST

Last fall, I was standing in a hotel lobby in Boca Raton, Florida, where I was attending our annual Collaboration Summit. I noticed an energetic woman walking directly toward me. “It’s so great to see you!” she said when she reached me.

I quickly attempted to access the facial-recognition software in my own brain to identify her.
Click, click, click…
I’m terrible with faces.
Click, click, click…
I think I recognize people I don’t know, and I don’t recognize people I’ve met.
Click, click, click…

She saved me further embarrassment and introduced herself. We’d recently worked on a big presentation together. Over instant messaging and e-mail. And on the phone. We’d never met in person, but she recognized me immediately. Why? Because I always use video in online meetings and conference calls.

Later that evening, I went to a reception with a group of customers. In the weeks prior, I’d had WebEx meetings with many of them to review agendas and answer questions. Several people approached me saying they’d recognized me from the call. One said she wasn’t sure she was at the right reception until she saw me there.

I don’t use video because I’m enamored with my own visage, but because I find it useful. And easy to do. At first it was a bit awkward – did I just scratch my nose? – but it quickly became routine. Sometimes I’m the only person on a call using video. Other people will often start their video after noticing that I’m using mine.

A Forrester study of how knowledge workers collaborate showed that 71% work from a personal desk within their organization four to five days per week. And even for collaborative tasks, employees tend to work from their desks to a much greater extent than at any other location, such as a conference room. Case in point: they make 88% of phone calls from a personal desk at work. Read More »

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A Love Letter to Video

Our feelings about video are undeniable year-round, but what better day to make a profession of love than Valentine’s day! Take a look at this “anonymously” written letter I found taped to my personal video unit this morning…

Dear Video,

This Valentine’s Day, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the exciting relationship we’ve shared over the years and make a toast to our future. Together, we bridge the gaps created by distance, time—even language barriers. Whether we’re in the boardroom or on the go, together we make the connections happen to nourish business and personal relationships.  Whether I’m with you in an immersive collaboration room, or using you on the device in my pocket, I know that you are always there for me -- helping me connect with my customers, partners, and colleagues, making my life so much easier.

valentine's day blog image 2_14_14Over the years, we’ve worked together to spread the love. We’ve brought Santa Claus to hospitalized children. We’ve brought U.S. troops home for the holidays. We’ve caught wedding fever and helped brides get the feedback needed to say “Yes!” to the dress by connecting with faraway family and friends. We’ve given kids in Ghana the opportunity to see snow in Hershey, Pennsylvania—and connect with other students half a planet away.

Video, you’ve made collaboration better. For more than 2.6 billion minutes monthly, video enriches the WebEx meeting experience on desktops as well as the more than 5.5 million tablets, smartphones and laptops that have downloaded the WebEx app. Meetings are now fully interactive experiences that offer real-time feedback and visual context to the more than 11 million registered WebEx hosts who meet with the more than 46 million coworkers, customers and clients on WebEx each month via the cloud. Read More »

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Getting Beyond “Why Cloud For Collaboration?”

Why should I move to the cloud for collaboration? This is the question I get asked most often, and it’s easy to understand why;  there is a lot of noise in the market around Cloud and Collaboration.  Adoption has been pretty rapid by both IT and business units–so it’s no wonder interest in Cloud Collaboration is so high.  Looking across all the current research that I see, about half of respondents currently use -- or plan to use -- the cloud for collaboration services.   So why Cloud?  Well, often it helps solve a series of problems, provides a more integrated solution and better connects people.  Often the biggest reason is that it provides what’s needed to run the business. 

Perhaps instead of focusing on ‘cloud’ per se, you should focus on your business.  What business challenges could the cloud help you solve?  Customers I speak to are often looking to reduce complexity, control costs or make them more predictable, and become more agile.   In our discussions Read More »

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Creating Environments for Better Employee Engagement

February 5, 2014 at 10:42 am PST

I recently wrote about the importance of laughter at work. Laughter isn’t the only indicator of employee engagement, but it’s a good one. There have been times in my career where it seemed that my team’s leaders considered laughter as a sign that people weren’t serious enough about their work. (My current team is seriously amused – serious about our work and consistently amused in general.)

These organizations operated according to invisible “all work and no play” mantras. And those were gray places indeed. Places with little collaboration, innovation, and motivation. Places where people showed up, clicked through ominous task lists of multitasking, and went home. Places with little energy. Places with low employee engagement.

Improving employee engagement is gaining emphasis as organizations realize that they can set up all the processes and objectives they want, but people and organizational culture make the difference. Read More »

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Cisco’s Musical Legacy: The Story Behind the Song You’ll Definitely Recognize

This story is about a piece of music you’ve already heard, although you may not have realized at the time. It’s that song that has you tapping your feet while you’re on hold with customer service, or humming along to the piano riff halfway through.

The song is called Opus No. 1, by Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel. It’s never been on a Top 40 list or gotten radio play, and yet it’s heard around the world by the millions of people who are placed on hold each day.

Darrick and Tim’s story actually begins back in 1989, when as teenagers and friends they recorded a song in their garage. Unfortunately, they didn’t go on to rockstar fame and fortune, but years later Darrick would go on to take a job with Cisco. In his role building Cisco’s first version of IP phones, he was aware of Cisco’s need for a piece of music to use as the default hold music for the new system. Cut to several years later, and their high school composition has become the hold music for the world’s most popular phone systems with over 65 million IP phones sold. With that, Opus No. 1 has left the safety of Darrick and Tim’s childhood recording studio and entered earworm status.

Now Darrick and Tim’s story has gone viral, with their famed hold music being heard everywhere from an episode of NPR’s This American Life, to articles in The Atlantic, to NBC and Network World. You can hear more about Darrick’s rise to hold music stardom from him here:

Read More »

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