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VA Rolls Out Tablets, Enables Telepresence On-the-Go

To ensure its facilities stay on the cutting edge of healthcare and technology, the federal government plans to purchase 100,000 tablet computing devices for its Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, according to Nextgov.

It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, as Fierce Mobile Healthcare notes in a recent story. Tablets represent the most current technology available, and their presence in a hospital lures medical students to fight for positions, as they perceive the technology as top-of-the-line, according to the article. The devices save hospitals money by preserving funds that would otherwise go towards more expensive PCs or laptops, and they save physicians time by streamlining documentation and administrative procedures, the article said.

There’s one more crucial thing a tablet brings with it to the hospital: telepresence. With telepresence at their fingertips, doctors can remotely follow-up on their patients, yet still see their patients “in person.” They can provide care to chronically ill patients living far from the hospital, review x-rays clearly and precisely, and access continuing education resources.

We’ve had the fortune of seeing the tablet in action at a healthcare facility. Palomar Pomerado Health in Southern California uses Cisco’s Cius tablet to enable physicians to access full patient histories anytime, anywhere. This access speeds the reporting of test results and the delivery of prescriptions and medications. Doctors also use the Cius to support Cisco TelePresence.

While there are security and other mobile device management issues to consider, both Apple- and Android- based applications are beginning to take these barriers into account and fine-tune security on their devices, according to Nextgov. The Cius, for example, built from the ground up with security in mind, has security functions in place at all levels, from the hardware to the network access and from enterprise access to mobile security.

With anytime access to telepresence, patient records, administrative tools, and more, the VA stands to greatly enhance its patient care as it evolves its technology to the tablet. Knowing confidential information remains secure with tablet technology, could your agency or office benefit from having telepresence and expanded network access on the go?

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Learning in an Online Environment – Drexel University and Learning@Cisco Share Best Practices

According to the American Society for Training & Development, 37 percent of training in 2009 involved electronic technology, up from 15 percent in 2002, while face-to-face instruction fell to 59 percent. As the paradigm of education continues to evolve to meet new institutional and business requirements, developing instructional strategies for new virtual education environments is becoming key to improving student results.

Watch below as David E. Fenske, Dean, iSchool at Drexel – College of Information Science and Technology and I discuss Talent Development in a Virtual World – TelePresence, Trust & Learning.

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Medianet Heating Up Russia

Cisco won the Breakthrough Technology award in the Business video category from Open Systems magazine. Open Systems magazine is a leading and one of the oldest periodical editions in Russia, devoted to complex IT infrastructure and information technologies. Cisco was recognized for its medianet innovation.

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Does This Videoconference Make Me Look Fat?

Miss Manners has enlightened us all over the years on the proper fork to use, how much to spend on a wedding gift and the best way to tell your mother-in-law to stay out of your business. But one thing that seems to be unclear to most businesspeople is the proper etiquette for participating in videoconferences.

I enjoyed this recent Entrepreneur Magazine article on the subject. While it delved into some of the more basic recommendations (look into the camera when speaking, allow a two second pause before responding), it also focused on some less obvious tips like the concept of “foreshortening,” an unfortunate angle that results from joining videoconferences on a laptop from your couch or bed. I’m pretty sure we would all agree that enhancing our chins and nostrils is not the most flattering image to put forth! It also recommended removing clutter (chocolate shake, stuffed animals, the awful vase from your mother-in-law, etc.) from the room to appear more professional.

At Cisco, we’ve always held a firm belief that using telepresence properly can not only bring a personal touch to meetings, but actually make them more efficient and save time. In a recent blog post, my colleague, Kerry Best discussed the benefits of telepresence for dispersed government agencies. These benefits – such as reading each other’s nuanced body language and engaging in lively, natural dialogue without the common audio call hazard of talking over one another – also apply to the private sector.

The main etiquette point to keep in mind, as described in the Entrepreneur article, is that telepresence “isn’t a combination of talking on the phone and meeting in person. It’s its own thing, with its own set of rules.” We couldn’t agree more, and one final tip: keep your chocolate shake in the freezer for after the meeting.

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It’s Hot in Miami: Collaboration Summit News Highlights

It used to be that everyone had to be at the office to work. Phone, desk, computer, email–that was it. We’ve come quite a long way since those days and I personally am thankful. Using WebEx, Jabber, video, and a phone means I can work at home in my sweats on most days. I’m sure you have your own list of reasons that may or may not include a relaxed work-at-home attire.

This week at the Collaboration Summit in Miami, collaboration took a huge leap forward. Unified Communications via Jabber can now happen via a Web plug-in, so customers can use IM, Android, click-to-call and click-to-video from Apple, BlackBerry, Windows, and even Nokia devices.

Not only does collaboration offer great benefits to your own work experience, but these tools are a great way for partners to differentiate, too, by offering a host of integrated solutions and services to customers. And with channel programs, incentives, sales and marketing resources, partners can earn even more profits on the countless ways to customize collaboration solutions.

Plus, the Jabber Software Development Kit means new collaboration-enabled applications. (More details on the Collaboration blog.)

Let’s see, what else happened this week? New versions of WebEx, partners, parties, demos, and Cius ambassadors roaming the halls.
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