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FCC Decision Opens the Door for Rural Broadband Access

I heard an NPR story the other day about the FCC‘s recent ruling that diverts monthly fees from rural telephone service to rural broadband service. The “Universal Service Fund” or something similar has been around since the early 20th century, charging a small fee on our phone bills to subsidize phone service for rural areas and the poor.

The newly minted “Connect America Fund” now allocates this money for mobile telephone and broadband in rural communities and needy areas. As I’ve discussed in a blog post earlier this year, access to the internet can not only offer rural U.S. citizens access to critical information, but it can provide them health care benefits that could literally save lives.

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Bringing the Power of In-Person to Everyone with the Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set

In October, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Cisco TelePresence and shared our vision for the future of telepresence. Just as we have transformed the way leading organizations do business and work together with telepresence in the last five years, our goal in the coming months and years is to bring the “Power of In-Person” to everyone, everywhere — taking telepresence from the boardroom to the desktop and everywhere in between.

In the spirit of this commitment, I am excited tell you about our new Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set, a flexible integrator solution that can turn any flat panel display into a powerful telepresence system. If you are familiar with our C20 Quick Set, the SX20 Quick Set is the next generation with added benefits.

Here is a quick snapshot of SX20 product benefits:

  • Creates a powerful telepresence system with any flat panel display
  • Only telepresence quick set to offer built-in individually transcoded multipoint conferencing with ability for users to add three additional participants to a call
  • Designed for flexibility with three camera choices and a dual-display option to accommodate small-to-medium rooms
  • Enables high-definition 1080p60 video quality and 1080p15 content sharing
  • Sleek, compact, highly flexible design with new wall mount for easy and discreet mounting
  • Best price performance among other telepresence quick set products on the market

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West Palm Beach Integrates Digital Technology, With Room for Telepresence

The city of West Palm Beach, Florida, is on to something.

The popular tourist destination, and home to 100,000 residents, has embarked upon its own digital revolution of sorts. In an effort to develop business, bring digital communication to the underserved, and make its citizens feel more connected to the local government, West Palm Beach has pulled out nearly all the technological stops.

To bridge the digital divide between wealthy and impoverished populations, the city has installed free Wi-Fi in many public places, including its famous waterfront and the public library. Two Youth Empowerment Centers now include audio/visual recording labs to encourage teens’ multimedia skills and interests. Additionally, in terms of constituent outreach, a planned “Tele-Town Hall” will enable residents to connect with city officials via phone, local television, and social media.

So what more could West Palm Beach do to optimize its technological prowess? Add more telepresence… Read More »

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TelePresence in the Cloud

With five years of Cisco TelePresence successfully under foot, I’m eagerly looking to the future of the technology. And where does this future lie? Well, I’m not a fortune-teller, but I’ll make a prophecy:  The future of telepresence is, in part, in the cloud.

To date, telepresence has made its name largely as an enterprise technology. Its traditional infrastructure requires IT know-how and onsite maintenance capabilities. On the contrary, hosted telepresence requires no special technical expertise, nor does it demand a large equipment investment. Affordability, ease of deployment, and automation make a hosted telepresence service a highly feasible collaboration technology for smaller businesses.

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Public Sector Experts Weigh In on Virtual Desktops and the New Virtual Workspace

Have you ever sat in on a TelePresence meeting? It really makes you think about how technology can make distance disappear, and bring together people across a wide geography for the purpose of collaborating and sharing ideas.  Such is the case with the National Townhall on Desktop Virtualization I participated in recently, along with VMware.

Seven industry experts from seven US cities, discussing the impact or key learnings of implementing desktop virtualization in government, healthcare and education.  I was joined by my colleague Chris Westphal of VMware, and our panelists, bringing firsthand experiences of their journey to desktop virtualization.  If you want to attend the interactive webcast of this event, please click here – I think you’ll find it incrementally valuable if you’re on the verge of a pilot, proof of concept or just researching your options.

This experience reminded me of something important regarding the transformation of the user desktop as we know it. Immersive business video is increasingly becoming a modality of enterprise collaboration that workers will depend on to be productive.  Consider the fact that ten people had meaningful discourse in this session, without any of them having to board a plane.  IP telephony is the same – we can’t imagine a day without access to our phone.  So when we talk about using virtual desktops making people more productive, and making business more agile, it makes total sense that we expect by extension of that premise, voice, video and virtual desktops to converge in a single workspace that’s accessible on any device, anywhere.  We depend on all of these modalities to be effective, not just one.

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