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Mr. Spock Meets The Contact Center

One of the most enduring characters introduced in 1960’ television vas the venerable “Mr. Spock” of Star Trek fame. Leonard Nimoy played Spock after having only modest acting success before being cast as the half-human, half-Vulcan in 1964.

Among the many attributes Spock had, two relate to the modern contact center and customer experience paradigm.

Spock Logic 

First, Spock’s primary attribute was an extreme affinity for logic. No matter how far off the handle Captain Kirk had gone, he could always be counted on for a logical response to any situation  His almost robotic responses were cold, even if they were effective.

The tides are shifting in the contact center world in this regard.  Companies are revisiting the notion of scripted and tightly controlled customer conversations with contact center agents.  Since most of the calls, chats, and texts come into contact centers as exceptions after customers have attempted other business processes, it is imperative agents use positive language and more conversational approaches.  This is critical with customers who may be as “off the handle” as Captain Kirk could become!

The Human Focus

Second, Spock had an affinity for calling humans “carbon based units” Read More »

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Behind the Scenes at Jimmy Kimmel Live’s “Wall of America”

Two things happened this year that give me a reason to stay up past 11:30 p.m.: I had a second baby and Cisco started a new partnership with Jimmy Kimmel Live.  Usually, I catch clips of late-night shows on YouTube. But when we partnered with the Jimmy Kimmel Live team to reimagine the fan experience, I knew I would have some great TV to watch while up with my newborn.

IMG_2959What they’ve accomplished with the Wall of America, powered by Cisco video conferencing, has been truly amazing. It brings a new and different dynamic to broadcast television. Sure, video conferencing on television isn’t new. The difference is video conferencing at this scale and quality!

The show’s team had a vision to not only create a virtual audience during live broadcasts, but also to have the ability to interact with the virtual audience in meaningful (and often very funny) ways. Whether home viewers connect to participate in a funny game, or talk “in person” with celebrities, the segments never disappoint.

Things I’ve learned since the Wall’s debut: Read More »

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Which Collaboration Applications Are Right for Me?

As a member of the Sales Engineer Organization,  I spend lots of my time staying close to midsized customers observing how teams that do great work are leveraging applications to collaborate.   The number of choices available can make choosing the right tools an interesting journey.

Is there one solution to meet all needs? Midmarket organizations face these questions.   As I talked to several midsized companies this past year, I heard how improving team productivity is top of mind.  Keeping employees connected across their various workplace resources and devices is increasingly important.  Making customers happy with proactive service and quick response times is paramount to an organization’s success.

In the world of collaboration, consider the parallels between how online meetings and physical meetings take place.  Don’t you find it to be more effective to have the right setting for the meetings you attend in person?  A large group in a small space never works right.

For example, with physical meetings:

  • Large groups require large spaces, structured seating, the ability to share media, and the ability for participants to interact with presenters.
  • Fast moving small teams need rooms that are available on-demand and the ability to do real-time content tracking.

One-to-one interactions require privacy and rich-media sharing with the ability to call in additional participants as needed.

blog midmarket 2015 Read More »

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The Four Dimensions of Open

Last week, I posted about our Project Thor, our effort at creating a royalty-free next-generation video codec. This post generated lots of comments – which is great! But also illustrated that there is a lot of confusion about what it means for something to be open. I’d like to remedy that here and describe the four dimensions of open. Yup, four.

Dimension 1: “Open as in Open Source”

One dimension of open is whether the technology is available in open source form. Typically this means that the source code is available and that there is a license associated with it wherein the owner of the code makes it available for usage, distribution, and modification within other projects without charge. Cisco is typically favors the BSD license. It’s important to note that open source licenses are really about copyright: They tell you whether or not you can include this code in other projects and distribute it. Whether it really costs nothing overall — that’s the next dimension.

HAI68265Dimension 2: “Open as in Free”

The second dimension of open is whether the technology can be used in a form that does not require payment. Where things get interesting is when a piece of code implements something that is patented. In such a case, it may not actually be free to use the technology, because you need to pay a patent royalty fee to the patent owner. It’s totally possible for code to be open source (Dimension 1) but not free (Dimension 2). A great example of this is x264. This is an open source project – indeed available under the GPL license – but because H.264 utilizes patented technologies, any company that ships a commercial product using it has to pay patent license fees to the patent holders, in this case the MPEG-LA consortium. As a side note, the GPL license attached to x264 would also require a commercial product to open source its own code; but that’s a separate matter. Read More »

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What Future Do You See?

The future fascinates me. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut. And watching every sci-fi movie that came out. Robots, aliens, utopia, dystopia – I loved it all. Today, imagining what the future looks like is a big part of my job.

In June, I got to participate in a futurist session at Cisco Live where I had to make one prediction about what the year 2025 would be like. (See Ambient Computing below or watch the recording at 31:31.)

Now I have the chance to speak about the “Intelligent Future” at SXSW Interactive 2016 with my friend Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot (maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot). Our panel, “Robots Taking Over at Work: Why It’s a Good Thing,” is in the running for the event. If you’d like to hear why we think robotics and augmented reality are on their way to the workplace, take a minute to vote using the SXSW Panelpicker.

I believe the world of tomorrow will be dramatically different from today.  Here are some of the futurist concepts that have been knocking around in my head lately:  Read More »

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