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The Workplace of the Future is Here

Whether you work at a specialty boutique firm or a large global enterprise, video is having a profound impact on the way we do business in today’s digitally connected world.  Nowhere is this more visible than at a global architecture firm like Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF).

Headquartered in New York City with offices in six global locations, KPF exemplifies the workplace of the future—that is, one that allows virtual teams to work together anytime, anywhere. My Cisco co-worker Diane Davidson recently had the pleasure of visiting KPF’s New York office, where she was able to see their collaboration infrastructure firsthand.  Not only do they have an environment that allows project teams to work together from any location at anytime, they also have video on every end point—from desktop video phones, laptops, tablets and smart phones to room systems.  According to James Brogan, AIA Director, Firmwide Technology, that’s because face-to-face communication is absolutely critical to the firm’s success. 


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Telepresence enhances performance whether market booms or busts

According to a recent article in ARN, economic resurgence following the recent global financial crisis has opened wide the Australian telepresence market. Already a telepresence pioneer in terms of education, the Australian telepresence market is now also taking off in government, banking and financial services, utilities and mining, health care, and professional services, the article said.

The story focused on a study by Frost & Sullivan analysts who looked at trends in the videoconferencing market, which includes telepresence. They found revenues increased by 33 percent in 2010 and predicted the Aussie videoconferencing market would more than triple by 2017.

While we are excited about the increasing economic confidence and concurrent eagerness to adopt telepresence, it’s worth noting that telepresence technology can also act as an austerity measure. Take the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently began installing telepresence in 15 sites around the country. GSA wants to increase telepresence use as a cost-cutting measure, in response to budget cuts, according to Fierce Government IT. The telepresence centers will enable more teleworking and lessen the need for expensive business travel.

The fact that governments, businesses, manufacturers, schools, and health care networks all seek to adopt telepresence technology—some as an upgrade, others as a money-saver—demonstrates the versatility of the technology. Telepresence crosses economic lines, meets multiple needs, and makes communication more efficient and convenient. It’s exciting to be part of the revolution! Do you agree?

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Inner-city Schools Concert Inspires, Engages Kids

The bright hot autumn sun burned down into Compton, California – right onto the shoulders of a busy nine year-old boy. The boy was respectful, working on hurrying up his chores for his mother so he could play ball with friends.  The boy eyed the last pile of leaves and thought “last one, then I’m done”. He heaved the rake over the pile and pulled back – and stiffened in shock as the rake revealed two automatic hand guns, still warm, hidden in the leaves.

To this day Fred Martin does not like leaves.  Buried under high piles of leaves are where the Compton gangs he grew up with hid their guns – at the safe house of “the Church family” – Fred’s family. The police never searched there; his father was a minister. Soon enough at ten years age Fred, a music prodigy, found himself playing organ in church on Sunday mornings – he later figured the music carried him away from the leaves.

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Telepresence Fosters Real Learning Through Virtual Exposure to Science

Have you ever explored one of the first rockets to launch into space? You haven’t? Then what are you waiting for? Go to the New York Hall of Science!

Oh, you don’t live in New York. No problem, the museum will come to you through one of its Telepresence virtual tours.

With Cisco TelePresence, the Hall of Science takes remote visitors all around its museum floor. People in places like Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; St. Joseph, Michigan; Ontario, Canada; and Mexico City, Mexico have gone to the Hall of Science to dissect cows’ eyes, learn about the phases of matter, and study the science of sports—and they haven’t set foot on an airplane.

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Telepresence in the Classroom: Enhancing Breadth and Depth of Learning

When you hear the word “classroom”, do you think about four walls? Desks and chairs? Maybe you are old school and still imagine a green chalk board – well, those days are over, now it’s more likely to be an interactive whiteboard, right?

If your idea of a classroom is the traditional, you need to check out Charles County Public Schools in Southern Maryland. In 2010, the district introduced telepresence, installing three completely equipped rooms to service the community’s students and teachers. All of a sudden, the classrooms lost their walls, and prior geographic and instructional limitations ceased to restrict learning.

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