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Utah Education Network: A true innovator in education technology

Utah Education Network (UEN) joined the ranks of technology leaders in October when the Utah Governor broadcast a motivational speech to Utah high school students via live-telecast. Governor Gary R. Herbert was the first ever Utah governor to address students through statewide broadcast.

The Governor’s address was broadcast via telepresence from the USU/CEU center in Blanding and was available via live-stream to every high school in the state. A recording of Governor Herbert’s live event is housed on the UEN site. During the event, the Governor took questions via interactive video from students in Rich High School (Randolph, UT), Orem High School, and Murray High School. Read More »

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Maximizing Telepresence’s Value for Federal Agencies

Wanting to treat himself, my friend recently upgraded to the ultimate cable service in his area. He now has thousands of channels from which to choose, access to any movie on demand, and is the proud owner of a remote control with more buttons than the control panel of the Death Star.

You may wonder: Has he expanded his viewing preferences since acquiring the new system? Hmm … no. For one, he’s afraid of his remote—it’s way too complex. He also often struggles to turn the system on.

Those who invest in telepresence need not suffer this technological befuddlement. Nor would they want to miss out on the technology’s benefits, especially after making such a large investment. Yet, as Cisco’s Tim Markey pointed out at our Federal TelePresence Users Forum, several telepresence customers have struggled to maximize the potential of their systems. They had trouble transforming their workplace cultures to communities that embrace video as the paramount means of communication. Read More »

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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

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

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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