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Doobie Brothers Unique Premiere via TelePresence

Doobie Brothers - World Gone Crazy - new album release

The Doobie Brothers are the sound of my childhood as my Dad would seemingly wear out record player needles, playing albums over and over again. Now, the classic American rock legends, the Doobie Brothers, are back -- with a new recording entitled “World Gone Crazy,” releasing on September 28. All of us at Cisco are really excited to partner with AT&T and Marriott to host the band’s live performance -- broadcast via Cisco TelePresence and Ustream -- on Monday, September 27th at 3:30pm PST from the CiscoTV studios in San Jose, California. In fact, I didn’t realize how many Doobie Brothers fans there were until we opened up a few seats in the studio audience to Cisco employees and were simply bombarded by, no kidding, thousands of requests. (Of note, my administrative partner is one of them…I need to get her in or else she’ll book my next flight to Boston with a connection in Bangladesh.)

The good thing is that you don’t have to be in our San Jose studio for the event. We invite you to join the live concert on Ustream -- from anywhere in the world -- to hear their classic and new songs. And many others, through various promotions, will be able to attend the concert via the AT&T TelePresence service and Marriott TelePresence locations. Together, working with our partners, we can help to transform how we all experience music and video, in a truly interactive online format.

Harnessing the Power to Bring People Together

You know, back in January, when Marriott announced their Go There Virtual Meetings facilities, I have to admit that I don’t recall discussing with them the possibility of launching an album over it or helping a band effectively create a “world tour” event in a single evening…

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Cisco, Citrix and NetApp develop holistic solution for desktop virtualization

You’ve probably seen Cisco’s announcement on its new architectural framework for the data center, called Data Center Business Advantage.  This broad framework highlights Cisco vision and strategic approach to innovation in the data center market, with the focused goal of helping customers achieve not just IT advantages, but real business advantages and models.

An important element of Cisco’s approach is creating and delivering, together with our partners, comprehensive solutions that address top of mind business challenges. And when we talk top of mind – agility, compliance and cost are pretty high up there – and therefore IT’s growing interest in desktop virtualization. 

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School Districts Collaborate with TelePresence

For the 2007-8 and 2008-9  school years , California’s Fresno Unified School District accomplished  historic gains in math achievement for K-6.  The superintendent attributes  the fast pace of success to a unique collaboration with California’s  Long Beach Unified School District, using Cisco TelePresence.

The Fresno Unified and Long Beach  Unified K-12 school districts have much in common, including tight  budgets, high poverty rates among student families, and a strong  commitment to improving student math scores. Fresno  Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson and Long Beach Unified  Superintendent Chris Steinheuser shared ideas when they saw each other  at conferences, but realized that an effective partnership would require  more frequent collaboration. Traveling the 250 miles to each other’s  districts was not an option because of time and budget constraints, and  telephone conversations come up short for strategic discussions.

Sharing Lessons Learned Without Travel

The districts found their solution in  Cisco TelePresence. Each district has a Cisco TelePresence system,  which provides a live, face-to-face experience over the network. A  large, ultra-high-definition display and high-fidelity audio quality  create an experience that rivals in-person interaction. And launching a  Cisco TelePresence session “is as easy as it gets,” says Superintendent  Hanson. “We push a button and Long Beach is on the other side.”

The  Proof is in the Numbers

In spring of 2009, Long Beach Unified sent a group of math  teachers to Fresno. While there, they and their counterparts from Long  Beach joined a Cisco TelePresence session with other Long Beach teachers  to talk about a common assessment framework. “In one day we completed a  project that would have taken months without this technology,”  Steinhauser says, noting that the two districts are “accomplishing more,  faster, and at lower cost.” The results  were swift and impressive. In the 2008-9 school year, 2000 more  elementary school students in the Fresno Unified School District scored  proficient or advanced in mathematics than in the prior year. “That’s  2000 lives, futures, and sets of promises that we now have to hold as  they move through the system,” Hanson says. Long  Beach Unified School District also gained from the collaboration.  “[Cisco TelePresence] takes professional development to a level we  haven’t seen,” Steinhauser says.

Muliplying the Gains

Now Fresno Unified is looking forward  to replicating its math gains in middle school, as the first students  to benefit from the collaboration move up. The district will capitalize  on a winning formula by using Cisco TelePresence to get new ideas for  the curriculum and learning strategies. California’s Garden Grove  Unified and Oakland Unified School Districts are implementing their own  Cisco TelePresence systems and will join the partnership, so that all  four districts can learn from each other’s experiences.

For more info, watch the video of  Superintendent Mike Hanson and Superintendent Chris Steinhauser  discussing collaborating on math achievement with Cisco TelePresence.

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National and State-wide research and education networks

Research and education networks have evolved throughout the last 40-years reaching a substantial position in providing advance networking capabilty and services to 1,000′s of higher education institutions. Over the past few years, the expertise of the groups owning and operating these fiber-based backbones has continued to grow, and in many areas of the country have extended their state-wide reach to K-12 schools, libraries, museums, healthcare facilities, state and local government, some federal agencies, as well as private industry who are engaged with academic research and education. This expansive experience in planning, deploying, and managing broadband networks uniquely positions National/State-wide networks to play a very interesting and meaningful role in the ongoing need to provide broadband capability and services across their state and the country. An important component of this need is the ability to cost effectively provide equitable access to both education and health care services through leveraging technology in order to scale expertise to the areas with the most need.

An exciting example of ‘scaling the expertise’ via Cisco TelePresence was recently demonstrated in California using the state-wide research and education network that enabled advanced -- placement classes to be delivered to a high school in the central valley, giving the students there the same opportunties for college preparation as their counterparts living in the more metropolitan areas.

Other opportunites exist to ‘scale the expertise’ of health-care professionals from university medical schools into rural areas providing ”tele-consulting’ services as part of their overall internships.

Collectively, the National and State-wide research and education networks provide more than advanced networking capabilities and services. They provide the enablement for researchers, educators, and students to collaborate, learn, innovate, and discover across the state, across the country, or across the world.

An exciting example of cross-cultural collaboration was demonstrated on April 5, 2009, when the first international telepresence meeting between national research and education networks was achieved. The National LambdaRail, the US national research and education network successfully held the first telepresence session with the United Arab Emirates research and education network, ANKABUT. This opens up many new opportunities to bridge physical distances and enable researchers and educators from other sides of the globe to collaborate live, literally face to face via telepresence as the collaboration tool.

Research and education networks will continue to evolve. They will continue to enable expertise to be available across the state or across the world, and they will continue to be the fertile environment for collaboration, innovation and discovery that benefits us all!

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Technology – Bridging the gap in higher education

As countries around the world like India, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico etc gear up to provide education to 400 million or more students, the public and private education institutions and their physical infrastructure alone will not suffice. Using the network as a platform, and technologies such as Cisco Unified Communication, Cisco WebEx, Cisco Telepresence, Cisco Wi-Fi Mesh networking, higher education institutions can enable themselves to supplement in-class curriculum with online curriculum as well. Professors from other institutions within the country or abroad would give lectures online that the students can view in a classroom via video conferencing or individually at home or at their desks. As the global economic and urbanisation trends shift the focus to the east, universities need to provide training to the students for employment and connect with the employers for job creation. Training goes beyond regular curriculum to include specific vocational training in finance, retail, BPO, software, healthcare etc.

In a connected world, the students across the world use similar technologies such a mobile phones, iPods, computers and the Internet. They have access to same content with the internet having democratised access to information. Leveraging the same network, the institutions could partner with employers to provide the required job skills training while they finish up their high school or college education. This will help employers to identify talent early on to meet their demands and reduce on-the-job training when new entrants come on-board.

Next generation learning environments also provide a collaborative environment for students within a country as well as outside the country to work on projects together despite the distance and learn from each other. Examples could range from collaboration on agricultural research, computer science, management, new business ideas etc.

Cisco does a lot today in the space of Education through global network academies providing networking skills to students even with high school diplomas. Cisco also donates equipment and funds research with select universities and provides financial support to educational institutions and volunteer projects through its corporate social responsibility initiatives. Cisco solution teams are innovating solutions to address the needs of these new cities and communities around the world.

On a Saturday morning in February 2008, executives and leaders from the Cisco’s marketing organisation volunteered for a local charity ‘Ashwini Charitable Trust’ near Cisco’s Bangalore campus. The task was to build a library and a computer centre for the underprivileged kids in the area. The relationship between the charity and Cisco’s marketing organisation has since grown. The kids in the high school were taught how to use computers, access the internet, collaborate online, and use digital cameras for video and photography. As part of their summer project in June 08, each team of these high school and college kids produced excellent videos that were judged by Cisco’s leadership team in Bangalore. Since then these young students are using computers to learn from the new web based content relevant to their curriculum and are very confident young people, aspiring to careers not just in technology but other fields as well.

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We, in Cisco solutions marketing organisation, want to enable the dreams and aspirations of these young students and education institutions across the world through our extensive portfolio of products, solutions and services.

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