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New York Times: “As Travel Costs Rise, More Meetings Go Virtual”

July 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

“As travel costs rise and airlines cut service, companies large and small are rethinking the face-to-face meeting - and business travel as well. At the same time, the technology has matured to the point where it is often practical, affordable and more productive to move digital bits instead of bodies,” reports The New York Times’ Steve Lohr*. (*Note: free registration required.)

CNBC’s Jim Goldman recently reported a similar story.”When used regularly, the (TelePresence) rooms pay for themselves within a year, analysts estimate.”Lohr reports that one executive who utilizes TelePresence said,”10 minutes into it, you forget you are not in the room with them.” Here are some extremely interesting and compelling (IMHO) TelePresence and web-based meeting stats that Lohr lays out in his report: Read More »

One World, One Dream

I remember the excitement of the Olympics from when I was a kid, gathered around a black and white television with my family, watching the drama of the once-every-four-years’ event unfold. And it seemed that things didn’t change much until just before the last summer Olympics when my husband and I installed over-the-air HD. It was amazing. And at the time there weren’t any real commercials since it was still an experiment to NBC. But by the last winter Olympic games, things had definitely changed. I suspect this time around, HD viewers, if not in the majority, will form a healthy percentage and commercials will be a common element. And as I think about this evolution, I can’t help thinking about it in relation to this year’s Olympic slogan, One World, One Dream. Because that slogan could also describe the evolution of media, and the possibilities which the Internet provides, especially in terms of following coverage of the games. Read More »

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

July 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

On our internal employee website, there is an amazing story of a Cisco colleague based in El Salvador, Rafael Cobos. Rafael is a systems engineer and was on a flight to Honduras in horrible weather when, upon an obviously rough landing, his plane “crashed through a fence before spilling out into the street amid traffic and pedestrians. Cobos’ face slammed into the seat in front of him, injuring his nose. The plane broke into two sections before grinding to a halt in the side of a hill. At least two vehicles were trapped beneath the fuselage.”Not a good start to the day for Rafael, to be sure. What makes this even more incredible is that Rafael, after helping fellow passengers exit the plane, (tragically, two passengers, the pilot, and two bystanders lost their lives) then realized he needed to get his passport stamped, so he went back into the airport and asked to go through immigration, broken nose and all. He was in Honduras to present to a customer, so after a visit to the hospital he went to the customer site and made his presentation. Clearly, above and beyond the call of duty, but one more example of (Cisco plug alert!!!) how important our customers are to us. And, the lesson in all of this comes from Rafael who says, “(w)hat they say is true: When you live through something like this, you appreciate what you have more.” So, make sure you take the time this weekend to count your blessings and maybe give your wife/husband/kids/moms/dads/brothers/sisters /aunts/uncles/friends an extra hug…or e-mail or facebook message of appreciation.

A Seat at the Table

About nine months ago, I submitted my paperwork for US citizenship. Coincidentally, my final interview was on July 2nd, just two days before Independence Day (and one day from Canada Day, the holiday I’m used to celebrating). At the outset, my objective was to take a place at the table of what even then was shaping up to be a watershed event in US political history -- the 2008 election. So what does all this have to do with the network, my usual area of focus? Well, as I’ve watched the primaries and the transition to the general election, I’ve been fascinated by the role the network has played. In fact, it is clearly changing the way people receive and interact with their news. Any major news outlet has a website, often with blogs attached. News hounds have an expectation of immediate gratification from wherever they are. And if that’s not enough, they publish their own. The morning paper has become old news. Read More »

Thomas the Tank Engine and Broadband

July 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

I was reading a Thomas the Tank Engine book to my son Jack last night and the conflict in the story arc came when a piece of hail made a crack in the track. Thomas, of course, could not continue because of the crack in the track, so he (and all the trains behind him) had to wait until the track was repaired. Thomas was a bit embarrassed that he could not complete his trip and his passengers had to unload and walk. (Don’t even get me started about the toad in the road that made the passengers unload.) Thomas thought that there was nothing he could not do, but, in the end, he learned that he is only as good as the track that he runs on. This, of course, made me think of broadband. At this point, Jack fell asleep.Why did this make me think of broadband, you say? Broadband was once famously described as a “series of tubes” that carries data to and fro. Not a dumptruck that you can just dump things on. The series of tubes analogy isn’t that far off, but, of course the size of the tubes (or track) is critical to the amount of data that the tube can carry. In the U.S., broadband was defined by the FCC as 200Kpbs (or, how this measurement was arrived at, the online equivalent of time it took to turn a page in a book), which I have lamented was woefully low and didn’t give us a true measurement in the worldwide broadband stakes. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps wrote about this as well. Read More »