Every year millions of hours of work are lost to the NCAA basketball tournament – from checking brackets and streaming games at work to people taking time off to catch their choice game. For many, travelling to watch their team’s games could mean even more hours lost –but not anymore.
Two weeks ago I flew out a few days early to Saint Louis, Missouri to cheer on the Stanford Men’s Basketball team in the first and second round of the tournament. My flight from San Jose had Wi-Fi, which allowed me to work for the majority of the time in the air. I wasn’t the only one either: on a flight full of Stanford students in the middle of their finals week, students were catching up on reading, recorded lectures, reviewing slides online, and even submitting final papers.
Over the next few days, I was astonished at how easy it was for me to get work done and stay on top of the other games. Where I was staying, the Hilton Saint Louis by The Ballpark had not only wonderful customer service, but also a great IT team that provided amazing connectivity. With their wireless and LAN powered by Cisco, the network was able to handle a large teacher conference, students filling up the business center, and countless guests live streaming other games without a single hiccup.
Two thousand miles from home, it was almost effortless to stay connected. The buses I rode had electrical outlets, letting you stay charged on-the-go and most places I explored had free Wi-Fi. Using Cisco WebEx, I met with team members in California, Texas and Toronto right from the lobby and my room. Whether at the games or out sightseeing, I was able to seamlessly handle work emails and meetings on my phone, as well as receive push notifications on how the rest of my bracket was doing. The only difficulty I had? Remembering which time zone I was in!
The games were incredible, and from my court-side seats I witnessed one of the big upsets of the tourney: Stanford’s win over #2 seed Kansas. Thanks to the Internet of Everything, various Cisco solutions, a connected plane and hotel, I was able to experience the thrill in person. With my team unexpectedly making it to the Sweet Sixteen and not missing a beat at work, there was really only one thing lost this trip: my voice.