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Celebrating Five Years of TelePresence

As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of Cisco TelePresence, I think back on some of the most notable milestones and how we’ve helped transform the way businesses communicate and collaborate. We’ve changed the way people work and the way people learn; we’ve learned to do more with less and work across the globe. With telepresence, we’ve replaced countless hours of travel and given time back to companies and employees, while at the same time bringing people closer together despite great geographic distances between them.

I recently had surprise call from my five-year-old daughter via telepresence. She wanted to tell me about her day, so she sat down at our home telepresence end point, pushed where she saw my name, and with one touch she was talking to me in high definition. The same age as Cisco’s TelePresence technology, my daughter was able to call me from home, while I was at work. I am confident that in the years to come telepresence technology will proliferate to the point that all children will expect to see their parents live when they call them on video, just as my daughter already does.

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Lessons from the DOD: Energizing and Engaging Students through Technology

November 10, 2011 at 5:31 am PST

A recent American Forces Press Service article reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) launched a visionary program to renovate or replace 134 of its 194 schools worldwide. The DOD allotted  $3.7 billion to bring all of its schools up to the highest technology levels by 2016 and Congress appropriated nearly $400 million in fiscal 2011 to aid the effort. This is a fantastic program that builds on the Department of Education’s current initiative to prioritize technologies such as telepresence for K-12 schools.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has embraced multiple initiatives, from building robots to teaching Japanese in a virtual learning program. According to the story, military children move an average of six to eight times over the course of their school careers, making these programs particularly important. Read More »

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Ensuring Secure Telepresence for the Mobile Federal Worker

November 7, 2011 at 6:35 am PST

The General Services Administration (GSA) has had its telework initiative in the pipeline for some time now, but it recently became official: the vast majority of GSA employees are now eligible to telework, and managers need to implement policies that support remote workers.

The GSA telework mandate is an exciting step forward, leading the way for other federal agencies to realize the benefits of telework, which include increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Empower teleworkers with collaboration technologies like telepresence and they enjoy the best of both worlds—no commute, but the same collegiality and interaction with co-workers and supervisors they would have if they worked in a building together. 

There is one more factor that plays into fine-tuning the telework machine, however. GSA and other agencies can face challenges in determining their technology protocols. As mobile technology takes over, and as people express personal preferences for particular smartphones and tablets, agencies have to weigh employee ease and comfort against potential security risks. The “Bring Your Own Device” to work movement has momentum and merit; it simply requires careful planning. Read More »

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Telepresence A Must for the Virtual Worker

November 7, 2011 at 6:34 am PST

I already passed along some tips for making conference calls more productive and pleasant using telepresence… so I thought I’d share with you an example of the successful video conference call in action.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Sarah Max reported on CUNA Mutual Group, a financial services provider with an 80-person sales force spread throughout the country—and in large part working remotely. CUNA relies on video technology for regular meetings, including their annual cocktail reception. Employees enjoy drinks and refreshments they provide for themselves at home, but through video still interact and get to know each other personally. No uncomfortable heels or last-minute shoe shines required in order to impress! Read More »

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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?

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