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How the National Cancer Institute Helped a Researcher Keep His Mentoring Program Alive

July 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm PST

As budget cuts take their toll on healthcare research funds, some organizations have developed resourceful strategies to keep critical projects alive.  When a research professor from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) no longer had the funds to travel the country and mentor young researchers, NCI’s lead computer specialist Todd Cox made sure the researcher could maintain his existing mentee relationships without getting on a plane. Cisco collaboration technologies enabled the professor to have face-to-face video meetings with his students during which he discussed the microorganisms they were observing on his microscope.

We were lucky to have Todd present at this year’s Cisco Federal Collaboration User Forum and to hear first hand how NCI leveraged Cisco’s video technology in a creative way to continue its cancer research. Check out the video below for an excerpt from his presentation. His full presentation can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/CiscoPublicSector/nanotechnology-10.

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Get the Most from Telepresence with Cisco Unified Call Control

Ensuring seamless, secure connections over telepresence and video, Cisco Unified Call Control offers a scalable and pervasive collaboration solution. It includes the following:

  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM), which delivers key aspects of core call control; and,
  • Cisco TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) Expressway, which enables advanced telepresence applications such as secure B2B communication, remote access and firewall traversal capabilities;
    • VCS Expressway also supports H.323 for interoperability and interworking to maximize customers’ investments.

Check out the video below from InfoComm 2012, where I  gave a short overview of how CUCM and VCS Expressway operate together to streamline and simplify the telepresence experience.

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London Mayor Only Gets Work Done in the Office?

Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor, recently went on a tirade about working from home, criticizing the work ethic and the “general malingering” of a teleworker.

Coming from a company where telework is widely practiced, I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Mayor. The world is on the cusp of the next revolution in how people work and this next phase must create deeper relationships and spur more effective communications and a sense of “connectedness” that we’ve been missing. Telework has not only been proven to make for a more efficient workforce but it also has resulted in happier employees.  More than 80 percent of employees claim a better work/life balance since working remotely and 73 percent say they are more willing to put in extra time at work without their commute.

Organizations that provide flexibility are also more likely to attract new talent. Cisco surveyed college students and young professionals working around the world to determine the influence mobile device protocols, remote work opportunities, and Internet policies have on their employment decisions. And it matters — 42 percent of college students and recent graduates said they make career decisions based on companies that provide the best work/life balance. This request for balance came before more money (26 percent) or advancement potential (23 percent).

Read More »

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Extending Global Communication

In real estate, location, location, location is the most important thing to remember.  It doesn’t matter the condition of the house, the color of the walls, or whether or not there are stainless steel appliances. All of that is cosmetic and unimportant, as long as you are in a desirable neighborhood with safe streets and a grocery store nearby.

The only downside is that once you buy that house, you are locked into one location for the life of your mortgage payments.  The thought is daunting and requires quite a commitment.   Location can be a blessing or it can be something that holds you back.

For the 194 member states of the United Nations that participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), however, location was not a cause for concern.  For their 17th annual Conference of Parties (COP17), member countries from across the globe gathered to debate climate change strategies with a goal of coming to a global political deal between all attendees. 

Committed to their mission of reducing impact on the environment, the United Nations chose Cisco to provide HD and quality video communication tools and web conferencing capabilities for its expected 20,000 attendees to participate.  With trust in Cisco’s stable and secure communications network, attendees were able to engage face-to-face in conversations with each other from telepresence rooms and via desktop video from all around the world.

COP17 represents a milestone in the ability of the international community to work together on climate change by leveraging virtual collaboration capabilities as the parties agreed to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change by 2015.  Disparate locations could have limited the UN’s ability to effect transformation in global sustainability, but instead, TelePresence enabled each participant to bring his or her perspective from all across the globe to make change.

Read more about COP17 here.

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Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm PST

Ah, the excitement and power of the Olympic Games – and what an inspiration it is to young athletes and students! Watching the coverage of the lead-up to London 2012, I can’t help but contemplate the potential impact of collaborative technology on not only the games themselves, but those participating in and watching the games.

For those who know me, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a big wrestling fan. My husband is an accomplished wrestler and head high school wrestling coach here in Allen, TX, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact the sport has had on the lives of young men and women. Unfortunately, in the U.S., wrestling is somewhat of a second tier sport in the mainstream sports world. So, when the Olympics come around, excitement builds for wrestling fans as we prepare to watch the wrestlers we have admired for so many years get a spotlight on the global Olympic stage.

With my experience in the videoconferencing industry and my underlying passion for the sport of wrestling, I was especially intrigued last year when I heard about the organization called Classroom Champions. They connect students in high-need schools with top performing athletes in order to motivate them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. Read More »

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