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Can Technology Help Bring Peace and Prosperity? I Say Absolutely

At a ceremony held last week in Washington, DC, Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers was presented with the prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

From a record 78 nominations this year, Cisco won the 2010 ACE in the Multinational Enterprises category for its partnerships and initiatives designed to enhance socio and economic development in Israel and Palestine.

This prestigious award is presented annually in recognition of the vital role U.S.-owned businesses play in exhibiting good corporate citizenship, innovation and advancing democratic principles around the world.

It all started in January 2008, when Cisco announced a $10 million commitment to seed a sustainable model of job creation and economic development in the Palestinian territories over a three year period through key initiatives that help elevate the ICT sector and enhanced the ecosystem to support a high-tech industry.

And what was kicked off as a CSR initiative to create jobs, ended up today as an investment model where business processes and IT development work is now being outsourced to Palestinian IT companies.

Engineering project collaboration between Cisco Israel and Palestinian software development companies: Exalt, Asal Technologies, and GSSI, venture capital investments in high-potential small businesses throughout the region, and training programs that support the development of ICT skills.

Additionally, Cisco was also recognized for its engagement in supporting education and bridging the digital divide in underserved communities through the Net@ Program, and a $2.5 million investment in education and social inclusion through the creation of the Digital Cities Project (Nazareth and Nazareth Ilit) and the Mediterranean Young Technology Club (MYTecC).

See the entire ACE award event ceremony here.

Worth noting that Cisco received the ACE in 2005 in recognition of the company’s Jordan Education Initiative and commitment to the education of Jordan’s youth.  Cisco was also named one of 11 ACE finalists in 2009 for the company’s Partnership in Lebanon efforts.

French and Russians fight Alzheimer’s disease with Chess and TelePresence

Last week, the French Embassy in Moscow and Cisco successfully completed a Russia-France virtual chess tournament that wasn’t exactly your average everyday chess tournament type.

The tournament aimed at increasing awareness and research to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The two day event was supported by Cisco, IBM, The French Presidential Commission On Alzheimer Disease, French Ministry of Healthcare, Moscow State Healthcare University, University Hospital of Nice, Chess Federations of Russia and France. Additionally, the tournament was attended by Anatoly Karpov, Russian chess grandmaster and winner of the multiple world chess championships, French Grand Master Joel Lautier and Anatoly Weisser, current world champion in the seniors category.

Over the course of two days, Russian and French teams of eight chess players competed in an immersion collaborative experiences using Cisco TelePresence rooms located in Cisco offices in Moscow and Nice. Simultaneously, players were closely observed by medical specialists who monitored their cardiac and cerebral reactions.

All players were senior citizens who were at least 60 years old. One of the French participants was 94 while notably, another chess player from Russia, born 86 years ago was a decorated WWII veteran.

By the end of the tournament, a trilateral press conference was held with journalists participating from Moscow, Paris and Nice on TelePresnece and WebEx who discussed topics related to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and the role technology can play in advancing the research to defeat it.

Journalists engaged in lively conversations with speakers that included Karpov, Weisser, Lautier and senior healthcare experts from France and Russia. Weisser referred to TelePresnce as a fantastic technology, while healthcare specialists from both countries described this project as a breakthrough in terms of increasing research and effort to prevent Alzheimer disease.

The French counselor for social affairs at the  French embassy in Moscow called the event as an “excellent conclusion of the Year of France in Russia and Russia in France”.

I will leave you below with some snapshots from this amazing event!

Etisalat, Tata Communications and Cisco rollout UAE’s first Public TelePresence

Located at the Dubai World Trade center (DWTC), one of the region’s busiest business exhibition centers, the Etisalat Public TelePresence room provides high definition virtual conferencing capabilities to businesses across a robust global video network. The network includes a unique network of 23 other Public TelePresence rooms, deployed by Tata Communications, in prime business capitals of the world, such as New York, London, Mumbai and Shanghai.

Etisalat, Cisco, Tata Communications and Dubai World Trade Centre executives at the launch event.

For end-users, booking a room is easy thanks to  Etisalat’s interactive, 24×7 online booking system that can enable businesses to book the Public TelePresence room for meetings in advance. For the average price of an airline ticket for one person, up to six participants on either side of the call can connect to  multiple TelePresence centres worldwide. This solution offers an affordable and efficient alternative to attendees traveling overseas for business meetings.

“Etisalat is delighted to launch UAE’s first Public TelePresence room in partnership with industry leaders such as Cisco and Tata Communications. This deployment underscores our commitment to bring leading technologies to the UAE and offering enhanced value through innovative services to our business customers. Public TelePresence is a transformational tool that has changed the way business meetings are conducted globally, especially in an era where physical realities are paving way for virtual readiness and businesses are trying to extend their reach while aiming to reduce operational costs. ” Abdulla Hashim. Senior Vice President, Business Solutions at Etisalat.

The Public TelePresence room is built on Cisco’s advanced Public TelePresence infrastructure that enables groups to meet and collaborate in multiple locations worldwide in real time. By combining high-definition video, real time audio and interior design for Virtual Meetings business executives feel as if they are actually gathered together in the same room across a virtual table, even if they are thousands of miles apart.

The Public TelePresence room will offer international connectivity to 23 locations, through Tata Communication’s existing network of Cisco TelePresence rooms.

“As the first public Telepresence room in the U.A.E., this launch marks another milestone for Tata Communications in the Middle East. With this new facility, executives in U.A.E. will be able to easily collaborate with colleagues, partners and customers around the globe. As part of our extensive business ecosystem, the Dubai room will connect to public and private rooms throughout our network and partner networks, spanning 23 locations across 5 continents, making the Dubai Telepresence room a truly global collaboration tool.”  Radwan Moussalli, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Tata Communications.

Tata Communications now operates rooms in USA, Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Kuwait, South Africa, India, The Philippines, Singapore and Australia

Travels through time and space with Cisco TelePresence

“I came to the room and it took me some 10 minutes to realize that the person talking on the stage is not there actually – what I see is his holographic image” an amazed visitor to Cisco Expo Budapest commented.

It was shortly after 9:00 am local time on November 23rd, when Inder Sidhu, senior vice president for Cisco’s Worldwide Strategy and Planning, walked out to the stage in Budapest to talk about the ideas described in his bestselling book Doing Both.

His voice and life-size image were delivered by Cisco TelePresence technology from Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, over a distance of almost 10,000 kilometers, or 6,124 miles, across 9 timezones and projected via holography on stage.

Holographic TelePresence was an emotional moment for the audience, as the inventor of holography, Denes Gabor, was born and raised in the Hungary’s capital city, Budapest.

In essence, this session was not different from the face-to-face virtual meetings which hundreds of organizations around the globe have with Cisco TelePresence on a daily basis. What keeps amazing audiences is how versatile this technology is: no matter whether the image appears on a high-definition display or via holography – the network platform is delivering the “in-person” experience.

Inder Sidhu at the opening session of Cisco Expo Business Class, talking with Laszlo Gyorgy, general manager of Cisco Hungary:

Kaan Terzioglu on day 2 of Cisco Expo, sharing the stage with Jozsef Tazlo, systems engineer manager of Cisco Hungary:

More on “Cisco TelePresence Magic”:

Surging Demand for Rich-Media Services? No Problem

Growth in enterprise and consumer services, including cloud computing, video and collaboration services, are some of the key customer trends that underpin many service providers’ decision to further invest in Carrier Ethernet technology. And Tata Communications is no exception.

On Tuesday, Tata Communications, a global service provider and a leader in the Ethernet market, announced that it has selected the Cisco® ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers to support its new global Next Generation Ethernet Network; and is using the Cisco ASR 9000 to deploy the first global 802.1ah Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) network.

In plain English, this means that Tata Communications’ customers will benefit by having a larger variety of services delivered with greater scalability, reliability, efficiency.

All existing and new services will be delivered with geographic specificity to minimize latency over a highly efficient network. Migrating to 802.1ah PBB will give Tata Communications a network that can deliver multipoint services more efficiently, while at the same time being able to handle a higher volume of services.

This should be exciting news for Tata’s customers specifically as well as the industry in general. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2009-2014, projects that global Internet traffic will increase more than fourfold to 767 exabytes, or more than three quarters of a Zettabyte, by 2014. This amount is 100 exabytes higher than the projected level in 2013, or in other words an increase equivalent to 10 times all the traffic that traversed Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) in 2008.

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