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Keep It Simple: Collaboration Lessons from Coaching Kids

Andy blog - soccer imageAs an enthusiastic football (U.S. translation: soccer) fan, I watch my two young sons playing youth-football every week. Not surprisingly it was only a matter of time before someone asked me to help coach. To keep up the pretence I actually knew something about football; I started scanning around for coaching tips and drills.  After a while I came across an e- book called “KISS: Keep it Simple Soccer: How to coach youth soccer” by John Fraher.

In it is a quote from legendary Dutch footballer, Ruud Krol:  “Michels [coach] taught us always that simple football is the best. It is also very difficult to play simple football.”

This got me thinking about the oft-quoted business principle “Keep It Simple, Stupid” and how it applies to collaboration technologies.

I’ve only been focused on marketing midsize collaboration solutions for a few months. Already I’m delighted by stories I hear from our customers talking about how our solutions enable their teams to work in new and exciting ways.

But I occasionally hear people say things like, “that’s all great for large enterprises, but it’s too complex” or “it’s not affordable for small to medium sized businesses.”

Well, the good news is that is not the case. We’re simplifying things.  And there are many examples of smaller organizations using collaboration technology to bring people together, with amazing results.  Take Switzerland’s 60-employee Intercantonal Reinsurance, which is seeing a 10-20% improvement in employee efficiency with Cisco Business Edition 6000.

I’ve worked in midsized businesses for a large part of my career. The relevance of collaboration technology and the opportunities it offers for growing businesses are just as great as for larger enterprises – if not greater. Read More »

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Pro Football Hall of Famers Reach Students Through Telepresence

July 28, 2011 at 5:01 am PST

Heart of a Hall of FamerWith the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2011 Enshrinement coming up next weekend, and the lockout over, I think it’s great timing to highlight what the Pro Football Hall of Fame is doing for students around the world.

How many times during your grade school years did you come face to face with one of your celebrity idols? Most of us probably can’t attest to more interaction with our famous role models than seeing their faces on posters or interviews on television. Thanks to telepresence, however, today’s students have a different story to tell.

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Big, Bigger, And Then Texas Stadium

It’s been a most interesting week in my wireless corner of the universe. A number of very cool things happened, but I’d have to say that for me, the meeting of the week award goes to a wireless deployment site visit at Cowboy Stadium with an all access pass.

The scale and scope of that building is beyond hyperbole. There simply is no single word to describe the Cowboy Stadium. It turns out that $1.3 billion buys an awful lot of steel, glass, concrete, and electrical infrastructure. For the Super Bowl there next week, you’ll be spending approx $23K per seat near the 50 yard line at the lower level. A measly $3K each will get you one of the highest seats in the house- and believe me, they’re way, way up there. Think of watching a sporting event from the roof of a 20 story building a block away- literally.

It’s a structure that rivals anything I’m aware of that mankind has built in terms of scale. Math, engineering, tools, design knowledge, and maintenance resources seem almost infinite now. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt pales in comparison as the Cowboy stadium has about 6X the square footage. Mind you, to the best of my knowledge, Jerry Jones wasn’t restricted to papyrus, hand calculations, and rudimentary tools, so the ancient Egyptians are still able to amaze us- 4,600 years later.

One thing I’m fairly certain of is that the Egyptians didn’t install wireless. A good thing too, because the complexity of installing over 900 access points would impress even the best of their engineers. It’s pretty daunting today; there are, on average, 40 AP’s for every 100 feet of walkway inside the perimeter of the Cowboy Stadium. Each technician verifying and fine tuning the design walked dozens of miles to ensure every AP would properly service the local clients. Just for kicks, I took an RF measurement at dead center on the playing field- it came in at around -70 dBm. This would rank as another one of those “that really shouldn’t work that well here” experiences I’ve had in nearly every deployment I’ve attended around the world.

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