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The Next Top Model

This morning, the news came in that Cisco TelePresence will be part of a Heidi Klum venture. The popular German TV show “Next Top Model” has a segment running next month with a contestant in LA talking to family back home in Hamburg. This “seminal event” got me thinking about how fast this market has blossomed. In just over two scant years TelePresence has gone from a corporate meeting tool to something else entirely. TelePresence has started all sorts of people thinking about new ways to collaborate and communicate. For example, singer Stubby (“The club all smash” is his hit single) used the public Cisco TelePresence Suites a few months ago for a music video shoot, and he’s now thinking about how he could use the technology as he tours and makes music. Not just for staying in touch with colleagues and family while on the road, but how he could use it for music production. Now, that’s a new way of thinking about collaboration technology.Other signs: NBA stars Shane Battier and Yao Ming used Cisco TelePresence for NBA China interviews from their home towns. The NHL uses it at hockey games for in-person interactions between fans, stars and sportscasters. How fun is that to be face to face with some of hockey’s greats? Read More »

Dear Unknown

Such was the salutation of a message sent to a friend recently. The heading of the message went on to state that Acme Corp. (name changed to protect the guilty) prided itself on a “personal” touch and differentiated customer service. This slight mishap, while clearly a marketing campaign automation failure, was a clear testament of how much harder an enterprise must strive for perfection when communicating with customers. Now more than ever, corporations are refocusing their energy on improving customer service by retraining customer care representatives, investing in enabling technologies and replacing aging legacy equipment. Clearly, Acme Corp. would have done better to avert such a faux pas. The reality is that today’s environment requires a reinvigorated look at how Customer Care organizations, in partnership with Marketing and IT, can evolve or even rethink their customer service strategy — a strategy which, in today’s economic climate, must aim to better understand the customer and adapt to her or his communication needs. Read More »

Confidence in Web Services

Sad to see the latest outage with Gmail; how confident should individuals and companies be in web services?At their best, web services allow a concentration of expertise and best-practice that many organizations might not have internally. Many individuals and small- or even medium-sized businesses do not achieve the”99.9%” uptime in their email systems -equivalent to less than 9 hours of service interruption per year -- that is often a minimum service-level standard in the web-services world. To make a simple comparison, in most countries people know that the service from their electricity company is simpler and more reliable than trying to run their own power station. Read More »

A Collaboration Infrastructure

To be truly collaborative, employees require access to the right information at the right time across different workspaces. Enabling this collaborative experience requires consistent connectivity capable of supporting rich media communications. End users and businesses are well served by wired and Wi-Fi based networks. As user demand for collaboration-enabling high-bandwidth applications such as video increases, there is a corresponding requirement of networking infrastructures to support these demands. Cisco offers a robust portfolio of high performance wireless infrastructure to enable campus-based continuous connectivity across high-density workspaces. These networks enable the collaboration experience that unlocks the end user productivity potential. Chris Kozup, Senior Manager, Mobility Solutions, Cisco

Can TelePresence Make me a better Manager?”

Today large companies like Cisco have dispersed teams with managers having employees in far flung places and different parts of the world. I believe that Cisco managers, like myself, can create greater rapport and better relationships over TelePresence than with a telephone call. There are also events like mid-year reviews that can be delivered with the impact of TelePresence and help keep the high performance employee more engaged and feel like they are more closely tied to the team and its objectives. The consulting firm Towers Perrin found in 2007 that only “œonly one out of five workers around the world feel engaged in their jobs”. Cisco Advanced Services recognizes that employees are a key asset in the continual delivery of quality services. The yearly team event physical meeting where relationships are cemented and friendships are maintained is getting the impact of reduced travel expense requirements. That is where virtual meetings need to have the same impact as the face to face team meetings. What are the challenges managers have in creating a meeting and is it possible to have virtual team meetings using TelePresence?by Phil Marechal, product manager, Cisco TelePresence