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Digital Britain: The Relationship Economy

When does a new business relationship need to move from being a virtual (online) experience to a physical (in-person) experience?  That question was a topic of discussion with a couple of friends, over a beer after a recent TechHub event.  Moreover, I have been pondering this issue since I participated in the pilot of an International Investment Forum.

How much of our business conversations need to be face-to-face? With all the electronic communication options that are at our disposal today, does it really matter?

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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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