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The Future of Education: #TomorrowStartsHere

Frustrated. That’s how Wharton School of Business Professor Karl Ulrich feels when he cannot engage with students enrolled in the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s remote campus in San Francisco.

Given how many hats members of the faculty from the school wear, it’s a real challenge. Take Ulrich. In addition to his duties as a professor, he also serves as the Vice Dean of Innovation at the Wharton School. Add to that his work as a researcher, entrepreneur and author, and you get a professor who wants to spend time with students – but can’t – due to time and distance. The same is true of remote students who are eager to spend time with the Philadelphia-based professors for which Wharton is renowned. It’s been frustrating!

Until now.

Today, Wharton and Cisco are taking the wraps off a technology that will change the way we look at education. In the “Cisco Connected Classrooms” unveiled in San Francisco and Philadelphia, Wharton educators can interact with remote students separated by thousands of miles as though they were in the same room. I’ve had a chance to join students and professors today and experience first-hand how we can transform education and become truly collaborative. I want to congratulate the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, Inder Sidhu and Shailendra Gupta, and the educators and technologists from Wharton. They have produced a true breakthrough in education.

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Cisco Joins Forces with Wharton School on Classroom of the Future

Wharton school picI am proud to be part of a company that is making innovations in education on a daily basis. You may have already heard how universities around the world are using Cisco to transform the classroom, and today’s news is further evidence of this.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is working with Cisco to provide collaboration solutions that will bridge faculty and students in Philadelphia and San Francisco to deliver the classroom of the future. As one of the country’s most esteemed colleges, the Wharton School is using Cisco’s collaboration technologies, including Cisco TelePresence, to bridge the classrooms across the United States. In the future, they hope to extend these benefits to Wharton’s classrooms around the globe, including Asia, Europe and South America.

Most of Wharton’s star-studded professors are based in Pennsylvania and frequently travel to the San Francisco satellite campus that caters to Silicon Valley executives aiming for an MBA.  Read More »

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Bringing Flexibility to Manufacturing through Mobile Collaboration

Manufacturing’s evolving workforce has introduced both challenges and opportunities to the manufacturing industry. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and tablets in the workplace, manufacturers are seeking ways to leverage their newly-connected workers to enhance the impact of the enterprise network and adapt to the needs of its employees and customers. The reasoning is simple. Deploying mobile collaboration technologies on the plant floor adds value by connecting factory product experts with R&D, sales and even maintenance teams that are off-site. Until recently, plant floor engineering resources were “off the grid,” detaching product knowledge and real-time production status from enhancing global operations, sales, and customer support.  Adding these previously untapped workers to the network brings exciting collaboration opportunities from reducing plant floor downtime to sharing best practices across the manufacturing enterprise.  This new level of connectedness can also go beyond internal uses to benefit customers and partners who rely on manufacturing efficiency and information sharing.

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Cisco and Singlewire Bring New Paging Capabilities to Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Cisco is pleased to announce that with the release of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 9.1, we will include new paging functionality with all new CUCM orders.  This paging functionality will be provided by one of our long-standing development partners, Singlewire Software (formerly Berbee) and will help enhance the paging/notification capabilities available within CUCM.  We have received a number of requests for basic paging functionality and this offering allows our partner/customer base to meet customer paging requirements in an easy to deploy way.  Details are outlined in Singlewire’s press release, which can be found here.

Singlewire has enjoyed a successful partnership with Cisco in the past and has more than 4,000 CUCM customers running InformaCast today in 50 countries.  We believe this tightly integrated model greatly strengthens Cisco’s Enterprise and Mid Market Unified Communications offerings. This complete bundled offering allows Cisco partners to close deals in verticals where Advanced Notification is required: for example, industries such as education, manufacturing, hospitality, or transit.  Partners can leverage these new paging and notification features to change the sales conversation, using the most comprehensive notification solution to meet customer needs with a single vendor/product solution for voice and emergency notification.

The advanced features provide great sales conversation starters to set your Cisco UC system apart from your competitors. Included with this are features like:

  • Pre-recorded/scheduled broadcasts, such as school bells or shift changes
  • Notification to Jabber IM users
  • Triggered notifications- M2M input/output (This includes notifications and alerts for panic buttons, door locks, and lights to name a few.)
  • Integration to existing overhead paging systems and IP Speakers
  • 911/emergency call monitoring, alerting and recording

With this announcement, we are able to offer the basic paging aspects of Singlewire’s well-known InformaCast offering at no cost to our CUCM customers. Read More »

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Collaborating with Cisco WebEx Cloud

Over the last six months, I’ve talked with numerous customers and partners. One thing is clear: People get it. Connecting employees, vendors, partners, and customers — so they can work together with no barriers — makes sense. It saves money and time, and builds relationships.

It seems like overnight we landed in a post-PC world — a place where working from anywhere, anytime is how it is every day. Two technology trends are driving this new work-style while embracing the existing IT landscape: cloud-based applications and smart mobile devices.

Cloud-based services are already familiar in the consumer world — with music, storage, and social media — and in the business world with customer relationship management (CRM) and other transactional applications. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) model offers well-known benefits to IT — such as rapid deployment, flexibility to meet changes in demand, and the ability to shift costs from capital to a predictable operating expenses — all while providing an “always on” service that is available anytime, anywhere.

I keep coming back to that: anytime, anywhere. It is the touchstone for this new work model. Smart mobile devices are the perfect complements to cloud-based services. We can have consistent access to information from different devices and locations throughout the working day. Check email, join a conference call, or participate in a video conference — all from your smartphone, notebook, tablet, or desktop. Whether you are on the road, in the office, or at home — place doesn’t matter. The Cisco WebEx cloud collaboration applications are hosted on the Cisco WebEx Cloud, a platform that supports nearly two billion Read More »

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