Since they graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the illustrations of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker have created many of the Christmas holiday season’s de facto images. For many families, the reality of their Christmas celebration doesn’t match the picture-perfect, however. That’s especially true when the family member with the strongest belief in Santa has pressing questions like “how will Santa find me if the hospital has no chimney?”
The good news is that as he readies for Christmas, Santa is taking extra time to visit with children who are hospitalized this season. Instead of just making a quick stop on his whirlwind worldwide delivery route, he’s checking in with some of these very special children from his communications headquarters at the North Pole. Not content to have one of his shopping mall stand-ins do the work, he has personal face-to-face videoconferences with kids who can’t leave the hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, posted a great video of Santa’s visit from earlier this week.
Connected Santa is a collaboration in which volunteer elves visit hospitals to help make the connection between children and Santa. Using Cisco TelePresence and Jabber technology, the elves conference a child with Santa so they can have the ever-important conversation about good, bad, and wish lists.
The other week I attended the “Software Defined Networking 2013” conference in London. This is a UK-based event for the discussion of SDN, OpenFlow and Network Virtualisation Solutions from a strategic perspective. There were quite a few interesting perspective s I picked up at this conference. In particular, the conference for me reinforced the potential of SDN – but if you apply it to the wrong problem, you may not get the return you hope for!
Top of mind for me, then, coming out of this conference was a demo of “What SDN Can Do For You” from one of our competitors. At best, the phrase “using a sledge hammer to crack a nut” comes to mind.
The demo came from our friends in Palo Alto, who once (boldly but incorrectly!) predicted that “Cisco UCS would be dead a year after launch”. They gave a SDN-focused demo that, when I “peeled back the onion”, didn’t demonstrate a compelling SDN use case. Rather, it convinced me that if you have this particular problem as illustrated in their demo, you don’t need SDN: you need a new vendor!
What will phones in the future look like? If our experience at Cisco is any guide, there will be more and more phones, and they will look like almost anything. They will all have two things in common: they will all bring people together – and they will do it with voice and video. Always video.
The video may be on a small screen that fits in your pocket, or expands to your pad or laptop, a bigger screen that fits on the desk, or screens that cover the wall bringing people, lifesized, to your meetings from around the world.
At Cisco, we’re using all of these “phones” (although only one or two looks at all like a phone), and they all work together to bring people together, face to face. Some share more than voice and video, adding presence information and contacts and instant click to call or click to chat or click to share desktops
Here’s Rich Gore from Cisco IT, to give a quick look at these different “phones” in use at Cisco today.
If you are planning to attend the American Telemedicine Association Fall Forum at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto, be sure to make time to visit the Cisco booth. I will be on hand, along with key members of the Cisco Canadian healthcare team, and we look forward to discussing your upcoming telehealth projects.
Being effective in your job doesn’t always mean that you need to be there. In fact, many would argue that their productivity increases drastically when they are given the flexibility to work wherever they want as long as they can stay connected. If that means staying off of a plane for a business trip, even better because it also saves the company money.
Enter video conferencing, the tool that enables users to be part of the discussion without being there. But what does “there” really mean in today’s world? With mobile technologies, including video, transforming how and where we work, the concept of “there” is really anywhere you want it to be. “There” can be a traditional office that is now equipped with video technologies that enable collaboration with others across the world without having to travel in order to conduct business. It can also be working remotely and still being part of your business community with mobile video and other applications that allow users to work at home, at a coffee shop or anywhere they like.
The move to stay connected at anytime from anywhere has been engaged by many organizations including the U.S. Federal Government. To help agency’s ensure productivity while cutting travel costs the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would allow absent Congress members to vote via video conferencing. The bill allows members to cast votes remotely over video and be treated as if they were present in person at meetings.
Government members are also extending this sentiment beyond the walls of Congress as Representative Michael Fitzpatrick also introduced a new bill — H.R. 2643, the Stay In Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2013 — to review agencies’ efforts to reduce travel spending and develop a plan to cut travel expenses by 50 percent through the use of video conferencing technologies.