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How much does telecommuting save, anyway? (Hint: LOTS)

Rely on the trusty Internet Business Services Group within the Cisco to come up with insightful research nuggets on how we all really work.  Their latest IBSG Horizons Study, “The Everywhere Employee“,  gives some fascinating detail on the dollars and sense underlying the idea of working “your way”.

Most interesting to me, of course, is the part about telecommuting.  Did you know that 44% of knowledge workers telecommute at least one day a week?  And that this one day a week alone saves companies $2,400 a year per employee?

So let’s do the math (my favorite part).  In a 10,000 person company, 4,400 employees work one day a week from somewhere else, which translates to a whopping $11 million a year.  Enough to pay for some nice executive bonuses!

This pairs nicely with the findings of a study Stanford University professors published in November 2011, “Does Working from Home Work?”.  They gave an emphatic “yes” and also ran the numbers specific to their use case (which examined full-time telecommuters), located in Appendix A4.

So how does this relate to video? In every way possible. Not only can you use a nice, sleek EX90 TelePresence unit on your home office desk, you can use Jabber video on your tablet. Or take your laptop into the neighborhood coffeeshop and join the video-based Webex meeting (just please remember to mute: coffee grinders are loud).

See you on video!

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Video: Diving Into the Technology Behind Cisco Telecommuting

March 27, 2012 at 6:26 am PST

For any tech buffs wanting to know the details behind Cisco’s telecommuting (telepresence) technology this latest video is for you! Jawahar Sivasankaran, one of our distinguished engineers, recently sat down with David Iacobacci, lead architect for Cisco Virtual Office. He provides a deep dive into the architecture and technical components of a large scale, global deployment of telecommuting with a focus on management and security, and describes how Cisco Virtual Office technology is leading us into the new mobile era.  Check out the short video.

Telecommuting — Architecture and Technology

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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?

Read More »

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Collaboration: The Cure for a Rollercoaster Economy

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Rick Hutley, a vice president in Cisco’s global strategic consulting arm, IBSG. Rick advises business leaders in every industry about how technology—and more often than not, Intelligent Network technology—can help businesses achieve their goals.

As we embark on yet another economic rollercoaster, the goal of dramatically reducing costs while simultaneously growing revenues and market share seems impossible to attain. Yet, this is what businesses must do to survive.

In my opinion, the answer to this dichotomy is “collaboration”—enabling your workforce to be more effective at significantly lower costs. Collaboration can deliver significant benefits. Cisco®, for example, realized $1.4 billion in collaboration benefits in FY2010, up from $1.1 billion in FY2009. This was achieved across 27 initiatives at an annual cost of only $128 million.

These findings are detailed in a report titled “Economics of Collaboration at Cisco” by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), with analysis from its Research & Economics Practice. While every company is different, the following Cisco examples from this report offer a compelling business case for adopting similar initiatives where you work.

  • Business travel optimization to enable greater collaboration across regions while containing travel costs resulted in expense savings of $519 million per year and time savings of $140 million per year.
  • Telecommuting initiatives to increase productivity, tap global talent, and improve sustainability resulted in time savings of $320 million per year for Cisco and commute cost savings of $49 million per year for employees.
  • Connected Workplace, Cisco’s solution for optimizing knowledge worker productivity in the office, generated a 43 percent reduction in space per worker, real estate savings of $33 million per year, and energy savings of $2 million per year.
  • Next-generation Unified Communications resulted in salesforce time savings of $27 million per year and improved customer service.
  • Faster time-to-market capabilities with improved remote collaboration accelerated the introduction of Cisco’s ASR 9000, increasing margins by $90 million, reducing time to market from 4 to 3 years, and lowering R&D costs by $70 million.

To achieve these results, Cisco employed much of its own technology. Cisco TelePresence®, for example, powers a new way of working that allows us to be more productive through face-to-face, two-way video collaboration. Cisco WebEx® enables us to hold highly effective team meetings by sharing information whether we are using a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone. Cisco Unified Communications links our phone, email, and other communications systems so we never have to miss a call or wait until a colleague gets back to his or her desk to respond to a critical email. And finally, Cisco QuadTM provides a single, integrated experience where individuals, teams, and communities connect, share, learn, and collaborate.

In today’s volatile economy, it’s clear we must learn how to collaborate better. Fortunately, technologies like those employed by Cisco can give your company an edge by improving competitiveness, innovation, and, most important, business results.

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Video for the neo-Luddite

I work for a technology company — in emerging technologies, no less — but keep finding myself on the end of the technology adoption curves.  It was 2000 before I got my first cell phone, and I’m still using a non-touch-screen Blackberry. Even my two-year old son looks at me with pity when he watches me use my phone.

Part of the reluctance stems from the need to learn (yet another!) interface.  It takes me back to the first time I used a WYSIWYG word processor and found myself wishing I could go back to WordPerfect 4.2: I’d committed the formatting tags to muscle memory already.

This “learning investment” in older technologies makes it harder to adopt newer technologies, even when they’re clearly superior.

But video is totally different.  Unlike other technological “innovations” in the past, it’s actually becoming easier to use.

Consuming video is easy:  just click on play. (Okay, unless it’s a Flash video on an iPhone.)

Interacting with video is easy: just use a phone interface or a touch screen. (No more remotes!)

Recording video is easy: just hit the big red button on the Flip camera.

Distributing video is easy: just plug the Flip camera into your USB port — no more fiddling with tape and converting formats.  Or take a video with your phone and upload it to Facebook.

In fact, it’s strange to NOT see someone I’m talking to.  I telecommute from home, and 90% of the calls I make are over video.  I do one-on-ones with my team members over video.  I meet with groups, sitting in telepresence rooms, over video.  I brainstorm with people spread over five different locations, all over video.

And all over a home broadband connection.  Using a touchscreen interface that even I find intuitive.

I can see the sceptical eyebrow lift, the thoughtful finger tapping, the distracted texting, the enthusiastic hand-waving.  Silent pauses don’t make me nervous anymore.  Everyone gets away with less multi-tasking, which means meetings get shorter and more productive. What a concept!

Most importantly, video makes me feel as relevant as being in San Jose.   Sure, I don’t get the water cooler talk (who has time for water cooler talk, anyway?) but I get to wear pajama bottoms.

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