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Bringing the Olympics to life

When one is fortunate enough to work on as exciting and mammoth a project as the London 2012 Games, it is easy to forget that while it might take over your life, for others it’s a distant and somewhat unattainable dream.

Certainly LOCOG are working hard to try and expand the reach of the Games beyond London and make sure other parts of the country benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity the Games coming to the UK brings. The torch relay alone will ensure that 95% of the UK population will be within a one-hour journey of the Olympic Flame, and that will certainly help.

But just this week the impact we, as Olympic and Paralympic Partners can have on people’s experiences and perception of the Games, was brought very much to life via feedback we had from our partner Pearson – who are working with Cisco on the Out of the Blocks StemNet programme. This programme was launched in January, using London 2012 as a catalyst to encourage children aged 11-14 to get excited about learning maths and science. So far over 4,000 UK secondary schools have received a set of free Key Stage 4 activity books.

Our colleague visiting a remote school in Lincolnshire was delighted to see the teachers using the Out of the Blocks books and how the children were excited not only about science and maths, but also for the Games themselves. As one teacher said:  “We’re in an out-of-the-way area.  The children have never seen a major event, and there aren’t any children in my class going to the Olympics – this Series brings it to life for them.”

Another said: “Endlessly kids say, ‘when am I ever going to use this Maths in my life?’  Well, this book shows you where and how…  The diving lesson sticks in my mind.  The kids are intrigued by the formulas – it makes them think how they’re useful in real life.”

Nice – now we have a chance of a lasting legacy!

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Study Shows that Cisco-based Contact Centers Perform Better and Save Money

A recent landmark study by BenchmarkPortal showed that Cisco-based contact centers have a nearly 17% lower average cost per call than contact centers not using Cisco.  A medium-to-large contact center can handle millions of calls a year, so these are tremendous savings.  At the same time, the study reveals that companies using Cisco-based contact centers enjoy customer satisfaction rates more than 3% greater than companies using other vendors’ technology.  Given that a fraction of a percentage increase in customer satisfaction can have a major positive impact on business profits, this too showcases why Cisco is creating such a buzz in the contact center market.  You can access a presentation of the study results here.

In less than ten years, Cisco has evolved from a newcomer in the customer care industry to a leading worldwide technology provider.  Last summer we were recognized for the first time as the world’s leading Interactive Voice Response (IVR) vendor.  Cisco is currently #2 in the worldwide contact center market, and we are driving aggressively toward number one.

Contact center is at the core of our collaboration strategy at Cisco.  We are delivering innovations in Customer Collaboration, which combines traditional contact center technology with key innovations in social media, Web 2.0 agent workspaces, video, and network-based recording and analytics to empower businesses to forge deeper, proactive relationships with their customers.

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“What If” Could Be Now: Truly Mobile Healthcare

Once upon a time in the days of Opie and Andy, doctors made house calls. I’ve seen it on TV, so it must be true. Now, a doctor visit usually requires that you do the visiting to a clinic, office, or hospital. An initial appointment may result in referrals for tests or to specialists – more visits, parking lots, waiting rooms. Sometimes your information gets transferred along, sometimes it doesn’t.

Mobile devices are showing up everywhere, healthcare included. There’s even a new word: mHealth. (We had e-everything in the early 2000s, then came along iSomething, so let’s now move further into the alphabet with mWords.) Read More »

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Customer Collaboration Offers Something for Everyone

Cisco’s contact center business is on a roll, as companies of all types and sizes embrace Customer Collaboration at an ever-increasing rate to forge deeper, more proactive relationships with their clients.

Today’s press release showcases three such companies– CareCore National, Skowhegan Savings Bank, and AAA of Western and Central New York–who, although very different, are all transforming and growing their business with Customer Collaboration.

These companies highlight the widespread applicability and benefits of Customer Collaboration, which combines proven, traditional contact center technology with the power of social media, video, web 2.0 agent workspaces, and network-based recording to allow businesses to closely interact with customers in ways that were never before possible.

Each of these companies is different, with its own unique requirements for interacting with customers.  But Customer Collaboration from Cisco offers something for all of them—a way for Skowhegan Savings Bank to connect with existing and prospective clients via Cisco SocialMiner and Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, a platform including Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise and Cisco MediaSense for CareCore National to deliver a better support experience for its physician clients, and an integration of Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise with workforce and quality management solutions for AAA of Western and Central New York to connect more efficiently with its growing customer base.

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“What If” Could Be Now: A New Retail Experience

Consider me a weekend warrior of the DIY home-improvement world. My projects are likely laughable (in scope and outcome) in the eyes of the professionals, but if that’s the case, they’re not invited to my next barbeque. So there.

Granted, I sometimes experience delusions of grandeur as I envision transforming my fixer-upper into a quaint Sunset magazine-worthy before/after feature. Norm Abram will never worry about me usurping his reputation, but I like fixing things when they break and looking at something I’ve improved and knowing I did it.

I can swing a hammer and even use a tile saw, but most projects involve a lot of learning and asking questions along the way. Sometimes that’s a bit of a process – finding the answers I need or the people who have them. Read More »

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