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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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Cisco Announcements at InfoComm: Transforming Video Communications

Guest post by Didier Moretti, VP/GM of Cisco’s Media Experience and Analytics Business.

We are approaching a new frontier for video.  Video communications technologies like Cisco TelePresence eliminate distance, making it easier for individual and teams to meet and collaborate regardless of physical location.

But how do we extend our reach, to hundreds or even thousands of people, across many different time zones and countries, in offices or on the go and on a variety of mobile devices?

My team within Cisco has been working on addressing these needs and developing a complete solution to capture, transform, and share video content, whether live or on demand.  This week at InfoComm in Orlando, Florida, Cisco announced the newest release of the Media Experience Engine (MXE) 5600, fulfilling the next part of our capture-transform-share vision.  The MXE 5600 delivers a breadth of services aimed at addressing specific customer needs, by bringing together telepresence, video conferencing, and unified communications endpoints into WebEx, and by enabling recording and sharing of live and studio mode meetings when combined with the Cisco TelePresence Content Server.

Our solution transforms any TelePresence or video conferencing endpoint into a content creation device – and enables users to time shift and engage when they are ready, from any device, anywhere. This combination enables people to engage and leverage talent at scale, and work together in new ways that were difficult to imagine before.

Here’s how it works:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bXxkdxT0as

This is just the tip of the iceberg:

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Keeping the Department of Defense Running Smoothly with Telepresence

We’ve talked about how telepresence can bring therapy to those in need, and it turns out the technology may help calm the nerves of another suffering group of people: some federal employees.

As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative, the Defense Department (DoD) has begun to move 123,000 employees to new office facilities. The moves profoundly change the personnel composition of more than 8,000 bases across the country, and it costs more than $35 billion. According to a survey by Federal News Radio, 49 percent of the 468 respondents do not think the consolidation will improve collaboration amongst the affected DoD and military offices, civilian agencies, and contractors. Conversely, they see mounting problems with communication, commute, employee satisfaction, and training.

Fortunately, for federal workers impacted by these changes, there is a technology currently deployed within DoD and Civilian agencies that can alleviate much of the stress of these foreshadowed issues.  Telepresence and video communications can facilitate real time interaction with Pentagon offices, which are no longer easily accessible by displaced workers, removing the potential for BRAC to “greatly disrupt” the relationship among offices, as one respondent feared would happen.   Likewise, telepresence technology can make teleworking more effective and efficient, providing the “face time” several employees expressed concern about losing, while still allowing them to be an integral part of the conversation.

The benefits keep multiplying. Keeping employees connected in real time boosts morale, makes everyone feel invested in the day-to-day operation of the bases, and makes possible the mentor/mentee relationships some respondents said would be lost.

With budgets and government downsizing hot button issues right now, it’s a solution the feds can’t afford to overlook.

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