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What could possibly be more important than food, water, air or shelter?

September 27, 2011 at 7:51 am PST

The Internet. Believe it or not, in Cisco’s 2011 Connected World Technology Report, 49% of college students and 47% of recently employed college students (many working in their first full-time jobs) said the Internet is “pretty close” to the level of importance of air, food, water and shelter.

A few other fascinating stats from the Connected World Technology Report:

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Manufacturing: Be there while staying here

One of the challenges all of today’s manufacturing companies face is global operations that require increased attention from a diverse and oftentimes shrinking or aging workforce. Manufacturers and machine builders are faced with challenges every day in terms of getting the right engineer or expert from her office to the plant floor half the globe away. If the plant is down or operating inefficiently there are huge cost impacts to the manufacturer, huge support cost to the machine builder, and just tremendous impact to the value chain.

At Cisco we have shaved hundreds of millions of expense dollars from our budget by using a variety of collaboration tools. These start with Unified Communications but they include tools like WebEx, TelePresence, Video and Active Collaboration Rooms. These all add on to the existing capabilities of Borderless Networks. Many of our manufacturing customers already use these tools and are successfully stripping cost from their Operations every day.

Imagine the power of walking into a conference room, pressing a button on the phone and instantly seeing your assembly operations in China and Germany, being able to share data with the operations people from both plants with your staff in Michigan. Finishing that meeting you can capture the action items via your interactive whiteboard, set up follow-up calls via WebEx (all without printing, by the way! A Green feature!). Then you can get a cup of coffee and head back to your office and handle the call from Brazil about the packaging machine that wraps half the skid, then shuts down – and you do that from your phone, finding the design engineer that is at a customer site in Australia. And you did this all without having to fly anywhere, and you had visual contact with everyone. Read More »

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Telepresence An Indispensible Technology for K-12 Classrooms

September 19, 2011 at 7:41 am PST

If you were to walk into any school these days—whether an elementary, middle, or high school—you would see students using some degree of technology. Whether it’s a computer in a lab, a tablet, or an interactive whiteboard, technology has no doubt made its way into students’ schooldays.

The trend towards technology in education stands to proliferate: according to Education Week, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education rank facilitating technology access as their top goal during tough economic times. With this goal in mind, telepresence should rank highly on the list of technologies designated for schools—after all, telepresence offers several solutions to maintaining education quality under ever-tightening budgets.

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Carbon Disclosure Project 2011 global launch—Walking the low-carbon talk

This past Wednesday morning, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) put on their annual global launch via Cisco TelePresence.  What CDP “launches” is a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the responses to CDP’s 2011 Investor survey.

Cisco did very well.  We again made both the CDLI and CPLI (Carbon Disclosure/Performance Leadership Index).  Cisco had the top disclosure score in the Information Technology sector.  In 2009 and 2010, we were #1 and #2, respectively, so we’re maintaining our focus.  In general the IT sector seems well engaged on carbon reporting, judging by participation rates—95% of Global 500, IT-sector companies responded to the CDP survey (38 of 40).  That’s a higher percentage than any other sector.

Congratulations as well to SAP and Sony for rounding out the top three in the IT sector.  I was in one of the Cisco TelePresence rooms with Peter Graf, SAP’s CSO, and got to give him the good news!

The event used Cisco TelePresence units at nine locations, shown below:

CDP Launch Cisco TelePresence locations

For this virtual event, CDP assembled an array of 18 speakers that represented a broad range of perspectives.

  • corporations (IT, banking, retail, chemicals)
  • environmental advocacy
  • investor
  • United Nations FCCC
  • government

Within these groups, CDP also captured the developed and emerging markets viewpoints.

As I watched, I pondered Marshall McLuhan, the medium (Cisco TelePresence) and the message (from those 18 people scattered about the world).  With deft facilitation by Paul Dickinson (CDP Executive Chairman), we were treated to many speakers, many different perspectives, but each delivered quickly and with compelling intimacy. Going forward, is this how progress is going to be made on intractable problems?  Through this portal—”metaphorical table” as one speaker called it—will we be able to assemble the critical mass in terms of knowledge, geography and function to move the needle on a low-carbon economy?

Watch the recorded broadcast (direct Ustream, CDP website) and let us know what you think. (The streaming quality is fantastic; I watched afterward full-screen on a 27″ iMac and was mesmerized.)

Let’s move from the macro to the micro, from big ideas to individual responsibility and action.

Hats off to CDP for taking a risk and changing how they do business, choosing to walk the low-carbon talk.  I’m sure CDP’s annual global launch is very important for their organization and its mission.  In past years, CDP held an in-person event in New York City to coincide with UN opening week and CGI. (Cue the airplanes.) Last year, CDP began the transition to virtual, adding a Cisco TelePresence unit on stage that connected the auditorium to locations on five continents.  This year, CDP made the leap to all virtual, and provided a wonderful example of bringing together a far-flung and unique group to share views on a very difficult problem.  And none of these executives and leaders spent days and flew many thousands of miles for this discussion.

The technology exists, it works and it’s cost effective.  It takes effort to change, but the upside is intriguing.  Climate change is a global problem, but the solution will be built from billions of people making thousands of individual decisions.  Everyone trying new ways to live, work, play and learn.  So each day, think about your decisions and how you can lead the way.

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Solving Education Budget Crises with Telepresence

September 9, 2011 at 7:28 am PST

As we’ve talked about before, Hillcrest High School in Riverside, California has state-of-the art facilities. But, it has no students. Financed with $105 million of bond money allocated in 2007, the school now lacks the $3 million it needs from the state to operate for one year. California state budget cuts of $18 billion, one-third of the state’s education funding, keep Hillcrest’s halls and classrooms empty.

In similar dire straits as California, Minnesota’s state government this summer borrowed $2.2 billion from its public schools to end a government shutdown. The state has not set a date by which to pay the schools back.

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