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Watch out World, Africa is Logging On

I’m reading about a 24-year-old who started a computer skills business in his bedroom and now has three training centers. This isn’t in the San Jose Mercury News, though. It’s in Kenya’s Daily Nation and the young man in question, Stephen Orioki, is more than your average entrepreneur.

As the head of a tech training business in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest shanty towns, he is not so much worried about venture capital as whether he will get through the day without a power cut. His launch pad was the Cisco Networking Academy, which has been training Kiberans since 2007.

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The Human Face of Technology: How Cisco TelePresence is Connecting Families Separated by Oceans

Earlier today, I had the privilege of witnessing a beautiful, touching reunion of five young children from Shanghai, known as the “Shanghai Five”, with their parents. The only catch was that the children were in New York while their parents were back home in Shanghai. The children are in New York for a month to perform with the National Dance Institute (NDI), a fantastic life-changing experience for them for sure, but not without the expected dose of home sickness.

So it was a real treat for them to be able to see their parents again after so many weeks away from home, albeit over the high-definition, 1080p screens of Cisco TelePresence. The video below captures only the first few minutes when the children first see their parents but it will give you a good feel for their joy. With the children are Jacques d’Amboise, founder of the NDI, his Artistic Director Ellen Weinstein, two teachers from the Shanghai Children’s Palace, who accompanied the “Shanghai Five” to New York, and several other dancers from NDI.

The reunion is the first of the Cisco and Tata Communications Family Reunion Program where both companies extend the use of their TelePresence facilities to families in Shanghai who have relatives in other parts of the world. The program will run until the end of October this year with the families in Shanghai connecting out of the Cisco Pavilion in World Expo while their families could be virtually anywhere in the world within reach of a Cisco or Tata TelePresence suite.

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Russian President Medvedev visits Cisco HQ in San Jose

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Cisco’s HQ in San Jose at the end of June as part of his visit to find out what makes Silicon Valley really tick.  Below is a short video that shows some of the technologies that Cisco demonstrated to the President and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Cisco Executive Briefing Center.

Following the demos, Cisco confirmed a 5 phase, multi-year $1B commitment to the Russian technology innovation agenda over the coming decade.    As part of this overall initiative, Chambers also signed an MoU with Viktor Vekselberg to confirm that we will establish a physical presence in Skolkovo in Russia to develop a second headquarters for our Emerging Technologies Business Group under Senior Vice President Marthin De Beer.  Cisco also announced that we are introducing a dedicated I-Prize contest to stimulate Russia entrepreneurship.  Read more for details of what our $1B commitment entails below.

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Cisco Networking Academy Trains Future IT Workers in Sichuan, China By Jenny Carless

Cisco Networking Academy teaches students information and communication technology (ICT) skills through high-quality e-learning curricula, hands-on labs and online assessments. For the 800,000+ students who go through the program annually, it opens doors to new opportunities.

One place where doors are opening is in China’s Sichuan Province, the scene of an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in May 2008 that left much of the region’s infrastructure – educational and otherwise – devastated.

To help lay the groundwork for ongoing economic development, Cisco’s Connecting Sichuan, a partnership to improve the lives of people in earthquake-affected areas through technology, is working with Networking Academy to establish ICT training programs at colleges and universities throughout the province.

Together, the two have established 50 new Cisco Networking Academy sites, trained 103 new instructors and enrolled 3,700 students.

This ICT education in colleges and universities will play an important role in helping students develop stronger networking technology skills as well as in training teachers to understand ICT trends better,” says Liu Cong, director of the Educational Management Information Center, Department of Education, Sichuan Provincial Government.

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Transforming the way business is conducted in North Africa

The deployment of Cisco TelePresence can be increased significantly throughout the sub-Saharan African region with the arrival of submarine cables, which now offer high bandwidth at attractive prices. Cisco’s vision is to be the leading enabler of ICT and broadband acceleration in emerging markets through innovative, scalable, high-value technology offerings and solutions such as Cisco TelePresence. This solution will not only transform the way business is conducted in North Africa but also help make vital services like healthcare and education more accessible to those who need them most.” Anthony Vonsee, managing director for Cisco North Africa Levant

Working in Emerging Markets at Cisco requires us to stay in touch with our employees, customers and partners across 132 countries in the region.   I am excited to see so many TelePresence solutions being deployed in our region as it allows us to be connected.   TelePresence has literally changed my work life as it allows me to have face-to-face meetings with employees and customers in many remote locations.  The time zones are still a challenge but the ability to collaborate and connect has become so much simpler.   TelePresence really enables the human network.  And now, I have created a new term to describe TelePresence before 7 am,  my colleagues will often hear me say that I am “Tele-lagged” as I often have sessions at 4:00 am but it sure beats jet lag.

I was so inspired to hear that we can now connect with employees, customers and partners in Morocco and Tunis with the new TelePresence solutions that are now readily available.

Cisco’s Casablanca office is the first business premise in Morocco to use face-to-face Cisco meeting solution to bridge distance and reduce travel costs   In Morocco, Cisco TelePresence will be able to offer more than just a virtual meeting experience for businesses. For healthcare professionals, for example, Cisco TelePresence will make it easier and more convenient for clinicians to collaborate, regardless of location, thereby improving both the timeliness and quality of care delivered. For patients, TelePresence facilitates access to physicians and specialists from remote locations. Cisco TelePresence is also ideal for applications of telemedicine such as specialist or radiologist consults.

Likewise, for educational establishments, Cisco TelePresence Classroom will help transform the learning environment, providing a means to bring education to remote locations and also connect with colleges, institutions and tutors from around the world.

Hassan Bahej general manager for Cisco Morocco is confident that “in the very near future many more organizations in Morocco and across North Africa will be deploying the Cisco TelePresence solution.”

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