High energy prices are great! Before you call for my head, let me finish. Nothing is a louder call-to-action than skyrocketing costs. And the action is heating up (Pardon the pun!) in both our personal and professional lives. Stay-at-home vacationing is up. Hybrid car sales are up. Alternative heating system sales are up. Telecommuting is up. Web conferencing is up. Video conferencing is up. And the increased interest across all these fronts is accelerating related innovation. So yes-from bad comes good.Within your organization, you’re almost certainly seeing decreased daily office occupancy and increased demand for telecommuting support. You’re almost certainly seeing decreased air travel and increased use of remote collaboration tools. You’re witnessing changes that are good for your workers, your business, and your world. Of course, this new”virtual” business environment pushes the network to the front and center in our fight to reduce the energy costs and environmental impact of your organization. Is your network ready for this challenge? Is your network ready to satisfy all the requirements of a large-scale telecommuting movement? A few people working from home once in a while is one thing. An organizational commitment to have workers spend even one day per week working from home is another. Here, the WAN and home offices become part of your campus network. Only you don’t have physical control over these portions. Security, bandwidth, unified communications, and business applications that are readily available and efficiently managed on the campus LAN suddenly must be provided outside the controlled local campus environment. And it must be done cost-effectively. WAN costs must be contained despite rising remote user traffic. Home office systems must be simple, yet fully effective. Help Desks must maintain service levels despite rising remote support calls. Is your network ready to support all the different types of communications applications available to your workers, partners, and customers? Phone conversations, video broadcasts, distance learning, web conferencing, peer-to-peer exchanges, and hyperactive Web 2.0 applications put unique demands on the network. And let’s not forget that these systems must be available for use anywhere at anytime by anyone. The network must offer services that locate resources, manage dynamic connections, maintain service quality, and offer full protection in order to for all these many applications to not only execute properly, but also”get along” on the shared network infrastructure. Is your network ready to deliver the best possible video conferencing experience to your workers? Here, we’re talking about HDTV quality video and Dolby directional audio. This is not your father’s video conferencing system! And it is not a system that just simply requires a bit more bandwidth. Low latency, high, throughput, traffic prioritization, advanced multicast, enhanced buffering, and instant failover are just some of the necessary ingredients for the network to deliver the truly rewarding TelePresence session -the kind of session that has people coming back for more and driving even greater Green rewards. We are indeed entering a very new world of business — and a very new world of networking! And with some work, these can combine to help us take better care of the old world we all share.