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Visit Cisco at the ATA Fall Forum: Get Your Complimentary VIP Exhibit Hall Pass Now

American Telemedicine Association Fall Forum

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.

You can even register for a complimentary VIP pass to the exhibit hall by using this code: EXHVIPFF2013.

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Video, More Than Just Faces on Screens

Looking into the crystal ball, I see that video collaboration will not be just about faces on screens, especially for GenY and the young executive. It’s about customizing and manipulating video so that it becomes additive to the business and decision-making process – making the user smarter because of it and the experience “better than being there.”

A recent survey of up-and-coming young executives found effectiveness to be a key driver for visual collaboration. Namely, respondents said they want to be able to see the visual cues that aid in effective communications, to appear present in a meeting, to quickly edit and share video content, and to be able to collaborate on content as if they and their globally-disparate teams are all in the same room. And they want it deployed pervasively.

These requirements are moving visual collaboration from the nice-to-have bucket to the critical-business-tool bucket. Young executives will  expect video to be embedded in mission-critical business applications, much in the same way that email, IM and mobility are today, accessible from wherever they are – Starbucks to the boardroom – and on the device of their choosing. Read More »

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New Bills in U.S. Government Show Commitment to Video

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.

Is it really going to make a difference? Read More »

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Veterans See Improved Access to Healthcare

It’s truly amazing to think about the possibilities that advances in technology have unlocked.  No longer do the barriers of time and distance have to limit the ability for anyone to access education, healthcare and government services.  We can now connect with the push of a button. And often, it allows us to help the people who need it most.

I recently read an article by Bryant Jordan of that discusses how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is changing the lives of veterans across the U.S. and helping meet their unique healthcare needs via telehealth. Veterans are able to meet with primary care physicians and specialists from the comfort of their home, minimizing the pain and hassle of traveling to medical facilities, which are often many miles away.  There’s no doubt technology has provided convenience and improved access to healthcare, but the VA has seen other positive results as well. By increasing veterans’ ability to access medical professionals and services, improving follow-up and ongoing services, inpatient bed days have been reduced by 58% and admissions have declined by 38%.  Read More »

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UC on UCS – The Invisible Servers

Cisco IT completely changed our voice and video infrastructure in the data center – and nobody noticed!

We changed the systems that Cisco IT uses to run ALL our voice and video supporting:

  • 200,000 voice endpoints in 540 buildings around the world,
  • 87,000 voicemail boxes
  • 1600 TelePresence units
  • 8.6 Million Webex meetings per year
  • Our customer contact centers handling 22M calls / year

It was a big job, migrating all these services off of 574 Cisco MCS servers, and onto new Virtual Machines running on 191 Cisco UCS servers in 12 different data centers.  It took a while, but it was truly worth it, despite the fact that nobody noticed.

We reduced the amount of data center resources significantly – less space, less power, fewer cables. Even better, we now have all our voice and video running on virtual machines, making operations jobs and updates and growth a good deal easier, and faster. Best of all, though, we moved all our voice and video to a completely new server platform  — and nobody noticed!

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