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No More Meeting Travel

One of the habits that Cisco promotes is substituting virtual meetings for physical ones. There are numerous statistics as far as the productivity benefits and cost savings that result from the immediacy and geographic-independence of a IP telephone call, video-conference, WebEx session, or Telepresence. One area that doesn’t get mentioned as often is the environmental benefit of avoiding air and automobile travel by the use of these technologies.tnc_logo_2007.jpgLate last year, I pledged to avoid physical travel and instead substitute virtual meeting technologies like videoconferencing, WebEx and virtual world technologies. I was asked by The Nature Conservancy to write up a summary of my experiences which they recently published here, and was ‘Digged’ here. This has, in turn, resulted in a number of emails and phone calls asking for more best-practices for substituting virtual meetings for physical ones. One thing I know for sure is that 10 or 100 brains are better than one. What I’d like to propose is that the readership also share their best practices, and we aggregate this into a user-editable wiki of what seasoned virtual attendees/presenters have found to be key elements to making their work a travel-free experience. Lets start out by using the comment field of this blog entry, and I’ll furiously set up a Wiki page for us all to use once we have a critical mass of inputs. Sound like a deal?

MetaverseU

For those already in the Northern California area, or who are able to attend via Second Life, the great folks at Stanford University will be holding ‘MetaverseU‘ on the 16th and 17th of February at Stanford in Palo Alto. Henrik Bennetsen at Stanford has assembled a diverse field of people from around academia and industry with the goal to catalyze some critical thinking around the current state of networked virtual environments and where they could, can, and will go.Be sure to check out the agenda page of speakers to see some of the topics and visionaries that he has put together for the event, and please try to attend if you are in the area for any of the other many virtual world-ish events taking place that week in San Francisco.

Nexus 7000 Series Mixed Reality Event

So as I wrote last week we have another mixed reality event on Thursday, January 31st at 8:30 a.m. Pacific featuring Jayshree Ullal, SVP, Data Center. During this event you will be able to watch a live video stream of Jayshree in Second Life or on the web. You will be able to ask questions of Jayshree in both mediums. Jayshree will be discussing this weeks announcement of the Nexus 7000 Series Data Center-Class Platform. The Nexus series is an innovative family of data center-class switching platforms. The Nexus series delivers the infrastructure chapter in Cisco’s Data Center 3.0 vision which was unveiled last year at Networkers at Cisco Live!We hope to see you out for what should prove to be a lively discussion.

Beauty in Utility: Trash from X Games

My wife gets all the cool asignments. A few months ago it was Fenway Park and the World Series. This weekend she’s working the Winter X Games. And, all I got out of it was these lousy cell phone photos of trash cans from Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen. (Of course, they’re beautiful):garbage1.jpg   garbage.can.jpgYes, there is a web user experience tie-in to this. If you’re involved in design of your company’s web experience, you could learn a thing or two from stylish trash cans. Read More »

Personas Come of Age

It’s interesting to see something from the inner depths of the user-centered design world suddenly exploding into the mass media. This has happened recently with personas.

Personas are a tool we use at Cisco in designing products and web sites — a way of profiling a “prototypical” user (that might be you!) based on our interviews and research.

For instance, one of our personas (at right) is named “Millie” and she’s a small business owner who juggles appointments, phones, deals, and employee assignments. Sometimes we use real photos; sometimes we use figurines or illustrated comic figures to represent our personas. But they’re always accompanied by a lot of background information to help us understand different types of visitors to our web sites. And they are always based on what we learn from visits or interviews with real customers.This last week I’ve seen in-your-face instances of personas used in mass media, and I think it’s an indication that companies (and even ad agencies) are becoming more oriented to their users. Read More »