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Finding More Time through Better Collaboration

January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm PST

“Time is an illusion.”

―Albert Einstein

Time is an illusion. And an obsession. And apparently time is endangered because everyone is trying to save time, find more time, use time more wisely, or just plain stop time.

Time is of the essence, after all. And in the wonderful world of business, it always seems that we’re trying to find ways that let us move faster. We want to reduce the time it takes us to do what we do, whether it’s responding to customers, making decisions, adjusting to market trends, or getting the latest-greatest whatever-it-is to market.

You can’t reduce an illusion, but you can find ways to be more effective and make better use of the time you have.

Executives and managers consistently believe they need at least 20% higher performance from employees to meet their business goals, according The Corporate Executive Board, in its report “The Future of Corporate IT, 2013–2017.”

That’s a tough number to hear from the employee side of that equation. Maybe I spend time with the wrong crowd, but I don’t know too many people who consider their performance to be only 80% of their potential. So where does that additional 20% come from? Is it an illusion too? Read More »

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Video Changes the Equation

December 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm PST

At our recent Collaboration Summit in Boca Raton, I had the opportunity to sit down with some of our customers and talk about how they are incorporating video into their organizations. It’s clear that many of our customers are already seeing the business benefits of video – whether it’s using remote expert services to improve pipeline conversion or launching new services more quickly through video collaboration.

But what if you looked at video not just as a way to help you improve what you are already doing, but as a way to allow you to do things you couldn’t do before? Things that previously were not feasible because of cost, resources, or other perceived barriers?

What if you could offer health services to a segment of the population you could not previously reach?

Read More »

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Santa’s Special Connections

Since they graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the illustrations of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker have created many of the Christmas holiday season’s de facto images. For many families, the reality of their Christmas celebration doesn’t match the picture-perfect, however. That’s especially true when the family member with the strongest belief in Santa has pressing questions like “how will Santa find me if the hospital has no chimney?”

The good news is that as he readies for Christmas, Santa is taking extra time to visit with children who are hospitalized this season. Instead of just making a quick stop on his whirlwind worldwide delivery route, he’s checking in with some of these very special children from his communications headquarters at the North Pole. Not content to have one of his shopping mall stand-ins do the work, he has personal face-to-face videoconferences with kids who can’t leave the hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, posted a great video of Santa’s visit from earlier this week.

Connected Santa is a collaboration in which volunteer elves visit hospitals to help make the connection between children and Santa. Using Cisco TelePresence and Jabber technology, the elves conference a child with Santa so they can have the ever-important conversation about good, bad, and wish lists.

Just the other day I Read More »

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Wearable Technology — And Yaks?

December 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm PST

I’m not sure I want my wardrobe to be smarter than I am. And I’m not sure if I want my clothes sending messages – to me, or anyone else. Actually, I’m sure. I don’t want my socks to beat me in trivia games and then brag about it on Facebook.

This whole wearable technology phenomenon has a lot of interesting and positive aspects to it. But in other areas it dives right into the world of, to put it nicely:

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

We’re in the ooooh, shiny! phase of the Internet of Things where potential is everywhere, everything seems like a good idea, and many people are moving too fast to ask the important question: Should we?

In this flurry of activity companies large and small, mainstream and fringe, are realizing “hey, we can stick sensors in this thing!”

Reality check: Sensor technology is small enough now that you can put them in anything. The trick is doing it in a way that makes sense and provides a benefit that’s actually beneficial. And for some idea-generators out there, that the combination of the sensor and the function makes sense.

I’m not against the idea of wearable technology. In fact, I’m considering hopping on the fitness-wristband bandwagon. Nike or Fitbit might not talk me out of that afternoon taste of dark chocolate, but the information they provide may convince me to walk the dog as penance. Read More »

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When Your Collaboration Infrastructure Starts Making Odd Noises

December 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm PST

If your car is overdue for a tune-up, it may let you know in unexpected (and unsettling) ways — rough handling, sluggish acceleration, and even an odd (“that can’t be good”) noise from under the hood. If you’re like me, you don’t want to find yourself waiting on the side of the road for a tow truck. You schedule your car for regular tune-ups to make sure your tires aren’t worn, the wheels are aligned, no fluids are leaking, and the engine is performing to the right specifications.

Just like your car, a collaboration infrastructure needs regular tune-ups. In fact, just like your car, a collaboration infrastructure will let you know that it’s not running optimally. But by the time you actually notice the performance problems with collaboration applications, the odds are that those problems have already started causing issues with your end-users.

Traditionally, optimization has been looked at (even by Cisco in the early days) as the final step in the deployment cycle. But IT projects queue up so fast that optimization for the last project may not happen because the next project is already underway. Today, however, we look at optimization in an Read More »

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