Cisco Blogs

My Human Network Effect

- October 13, 2008 - 8 Comments

As a new member of the Cisco community, I was given the opportunity to work on the Digital Cribs New Hire Project. Seeing how technology and home networks affect the lives of our three Digital Cribs personalities, I started thinking about how my home network has changed my own life. What is my favorite aspect of my Digital Crib?imageSiblings and cousins gathered around our computers in Paris during the Holidays.

My mom recently took her sister on a tour of our new house by carrying her webcam equipped laptop around. Soon enough, my aunt’s familiar critiques of certain decoration choices came pouring out. Ten or fifteen years ago, a monthly phone call or a fax (I am indeed old enough to remember using the facsimile machine) was our standard means of communication with our family in France. Now, our home network has revolutionized how we seamlessly communicate with the people we love about the big, the small, and anecdotes of our daily lives…Lately, the benefits of my home network escalated to a new level when I began video chatting with my cousin in Paris. The cross-continental communication and interaction my home network enables is definitely one of the best aspects of my Digital Crib. A Telepresence set-up would be ideal for my family but we content ourselves using Skype. My parents immigrated from France shortly before I was born and we go back bi-yearly to see family and friends. Though fortunate to hop across the pond regularly, the six month waits are long and unpleasant for me and my cousin Alison. She finally installed a suitable and debatably reliable internet connection in her Parisian apartment (I’ll have to send her Cisco gear to further escalate her bandwidth) and we’ve been video chatting on a weekly basis. The ability to see each other while we talk makes the long distance seem momentarily insignificant. Last week, I showed her a new dress I bought, only to find a disappointed look on her face from what she deemed was a poor choice. Like mother like daughter, I suppose — but the ability to see each other face to face and criticize poor fashion choices are the small things that you can’t easily share without a home network. Let us know how home networking has affected your life!

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  1. This is really interesting to think about, and the comments definitely reflect how I feel. Video chatting helps me feel like I really understand what is going on in the other person's life, from seeing a new haircut or pair of shoes to seeing a bright smile from far away. Maybe it will even help corporations reduce their carbon footprint, if meetings and interviews can be conducted via video chat instead of flying people into another city just to spend a few hours in an office.

  2. Good point. We're not the only ones who are using technology in the home anymore - even my grandma is trying to vid chat!How has home networking affected my life? productivity has been given a boost and my connection to the outside world has improved as well. The world is flat! haha

  3. I'm glad to hear that home networking is working for you. My parents are moving to Sri Lanka soon and we're planning on using video chatting to keep in touch. It's good to know that you stay in contact with your relatives in Paris using video chat!

  4. I witnessed some of the video chats mentioned in Marie's blog. A couple of observations. First, while Skype is realtively easy to use, it's still hard for ormal humans"" such as a member of our family, name withheld to protect the un-nerd. I'm curious: Will Cisco help there? Try set up a Skype or iChat video call and see how many (baffling to non-tech users) prerequisites get in the way.Second, VOIP vs. video, no contest, video is the killer app, voice leaves people relatively unmoved, they can do this already, not the case with video chat. Food for thoughts of consumer $$$ ? JLG"

  5. I totally know how you feel! Now that work has taken my loved ones away from me the video chat is a life saver. It helps so much to be able to see my pops on my computer when he's overseas and to video chat with my fiance who has to work in the bay area now.

  6. Funny you mention this, Marie. I couldn't be more intrigued by this trend in video-chatting/conferencing. A few years ago, this type of communication was reserved exclusively for high-powered executives at large companies, who had the budget and the reasons to install such infrastructure. Today, one-on-one conversations can happen between two family members on the most mundane topics (including which dress to where on a night out :) ).Very recently, I had a personal example of the power of visual communication through video conferencing. Just a few weeks ago, I started speaking to our parents on Skype, while they were overseas in Paris, and I was in my apartment in San Francisco. Mid-way through the conversation, our mother inquired on the state of my webcam, as she proclaimed wanting to see her son. I frantically searched around my desk, only to land upon it. Fiddling with it for a few seconds, as I plugged in it, I finally managed to get it to work, and got us to a point where we were able to see each other, while separated by an ocean and the contiguous 48 States. The dialog became that much more real. Dad, who previously was in the background, stepped into the foreground to wave hello. Mom made a remark on the state of my apartment, which I will continue to maintain, was in fine shape ;). I was able to read things into the situation. It's almost like, for that small moment, I was having sitting across from them, in their Parisian flat. The smiles, facial expressions, demeanors, and mannerisms were all there; as clues and benefits to the entire exchange. Once in a while, technology delivers on its promise to make our lives that much better. This latest instance was certainly one among many, brought along in the Digital Era we live in...

  7. This really describes what I value in my home network too! Being able to stay closely connected with people despite a large distance is one of the most important things to me in my global lifestyle.On both a personal and professional level, the ability to have high-quality engagement with people far away opens up so many more possibilities than just a simple telephone!

  8. really interesting blog! i video chat all the time too with the fam in NY! =)