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Networking Academy Brings Career Prospects and Hope to Deaf Students in Africa

December 12, 2011 at 8:53 am PST

Imagine you are 17 years old, you live in Kenya, and you are deaf. In this part of the world, deaf and disabled people are considered “cursed.” Your family is ashamed of you. You can’t communicate with them or with anyone else. Nor can you go to school, see a doctor, get a job, or make friends. You are alone, with little hope that your life will ever change. Now, imagine being able to personally help teenagers like this, without even leaving your office building.

Karim Remu, a Cisco systems engineer in Toronto, is doing it — by mentoring a group of deaf students who participate in a Cisco       Networking Academy program in Nairobi, Kenya designed just for them. If you aren’t already familiar with Cisco Networking Academy, it is a global program that teaches students how to design, build, manage, and secure computer networks. Networking Academy helps fill a mounting demand for network professionals worldwide, and also provides a path to a career and financial independence for participants.

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Bringing the Power of In-Person to Everyone with the Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set

In October, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Cisco TelePresence and shared our vision for the future of telepresence. Just as we have transformed the way leading organizations do business and work together with telepresence in the last five years, our goal in the coming months and years is to bring the “Power of In-Person” to everyone, everywhere — taking telepresence from the boardroom to the desktop and everywhere in between.

In the spirit of this commitment, I am excited tell you about our new Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set, a flexible integrator solution that can turn any flat panel display into a powerful telepresence system. If you are familiar with our C20 Quick Set, the SX20 Quick Set is the next generation with added benefits.

Here is a quick snapshot of SX20 product benefits:

  • Creates a powerful telepresence system with any flat panel display
  • Only telepresence quick set to offer built-in individually transcoded multipoint conferencing with ability for users to add three additional participants to a call
  • Designed for flexibility with three camera choices and a dual-display option to accommodate small-to-medium rooms
  • Enables high-definition 1080p60 video quality and 1080p15 content sharing
  • Sleek, compact, highly flexible design with new wall mount for easy and discreet mounting
  • Best price performance among other telepresence quick set products on the market

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TelePresence in the Cloud

With five years of Cisco TelePresence successfully under foot, I’m eagerly looking to the future of the technology. And where does this future lie? Well, I’m not a fortune-teller, but I’ll make a prophecy:  The future of telepresence is, in part, in the cloud.

To date, telepresence has made its name largely as an enterprise technology. Its traditional infrastructure requires IT know-how and onsite maintenance capabilities. On the contrary, hosted telepresence requires no special technical expertise, nor does it demand a large equipment investment. Affordability, ease of deployment, and automation make a hosted telepresence service a highly feasible collaboration technology for smaller businesses.

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Celebrating Five Years of TelePresence

As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of Cisco TelePresence, I think back on some of the most notable milestones and how we’ve helped transform the way businesses communicate and collaborate. We’ve changed the way people work and the way people learn; we’ve learned to do more with less and work across the globe. With telepresence, we’ve replaced countless hours of travel and given time back to companies and employees, while at the same time bringing people closer together despite great geographic distances between them.

I recently had surprise call from my five-year-old daughter via telepresence. She wanted to tell me about her day, so she sat down at our home telepresence end point, pushed where she saw my name, and with one touch she was talking to me in high definition. The same age as Cisco’s TelePresence technology, my daughter was able to call me from home, while I was at work. I am confident that in the years to come telepresence technology will proliferate to the point that all children will expect to see their parents live when they call them on video, just as my daughter already does.

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The New Era of the Virtual Worker

Telecommuting isn’t really anything new -- people have been doing it for many years. One thing that has changed, however, is the dramatic gain in popularity. More people than ever seem to be embracing the option of working remotely, and it’s setting the standard for the new in-demand work environment, writes Mashable Business’s Amy-Mae Elliott. Working parents like the telework option to balance work and personal life; metro area employees enjoy the break from hectic commutes; and, younger employees appreciate the workplace flexibility, according to the article.  Question is, are organizations ready to embrace the spike in demand for this growing trend?

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