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Video Collaboration and the Present Mom

“Mom, is there anything you don’t do well?” That came from Jaden, my twelve-year-old daughter, after a particularly arduous week tackling algebra and a To Kill a Mockingbird essay with a little help from me.

Clearly, I don’t do everything well, but the validation felt really good coming from a kid who I think is pretty extraordinary, herself. I might be slightly biased, but there’s enough evidence for extraordinary that some of my colleagues call me “Tiger Mom.” What they don’t know is that by Amy Chua standards, I would be a deadbeat mom since I only make my kids practice piano 30-45 minutes a day, and sometimes not everyday (gasp!).

Kim N and daughters 2All joking aside, I did ponder why I was the object of such adoration during a time when kids often retreat from their parents. And I believe it’s because I’m able to be around a lot and be present for my kids at their point of need. That’s because the collaboration tools that are essential to my productivity as an employee also give me the flexibility to work from home and still only be a video call away for my kids when I’m not.

The ability to be present at the point of struggle, at the point of discovery, at the point of accomplishment has been key to my close relationship with my children and in their development. But isn’t that true with just about any relationship? Don’t relationships with customers, partners and colleagues also flourish if you can be immediately present at their point of need?

The video collaboration technologies that are designed for faster decision-making, faster time to market and beating the competition are, in my world, really just about connecting people at their core. Read More »

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Collaboration Technologies Can Help Reduce Travel Costs Without Reducing Relationships

Did you know these corporate travel facts?

  • On average, companies spent more than 10% of their total annual budget on expenses related to business travel in 2014, according to Aberdeen.
  • Non-compliance with corporate travel policies is a top-three challenge for 57% of executives surveyed by Travelport.
  • Nearly 85% of respondents to the Travelport survey say rising airfares and hotel rates have negatively affected their corporate travel programs.

One of my favorite things in life is to travel and to explore new places. It’s inspiring and gives me perspective on different regions and lifestyles. That said, business travel can be a far cry from leisure travel.

It’s great to meet customers and partners, and I enjoy dinners with colleagues on the road. But when I travel, my work week gets jumbled by the diversion from my routine. Time changes, the lack of veggies in my diet, and missing my oh-so-comfy bed. There are times when we all have to meet in person. But business travel sometimes exacts a high cost from project deadlines and time-sensitive work.

Honestly, and I know I am not alone, spending time in security checkpoints, then sitting on a plane for hours trying to get comfortable and be productive can be a nuisance.

Travel itself is expensive. Read More »

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We’re Happy to Oblige

My biggest take-away from today’s set of announcements? Customers just cannot get enough of Cisco video collaboration products.

Our new Cisco TelePresence MX800 Dual, for example, was not a planned product. But after experiencing the vast, single 70-inch screen of the original MX800 (now called MX800 Single), customers told us they wanted more of that great experience. They wanted a dual-screen version. And enough of them said it that we had to oblige; hence, the MX800 Dual with two expansive 70-inch screens to show video and content equally and brilliantly.

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And not just dual screens, but dual cameras. What was once an option is now standard. The MX800 Dual is only available with the dual-camera, speaker-tracking system, because here again customers spoke. For the type of large rooms where the MX800 Dual is useful, dual cameras are required for the best visual experience. A single camera would only capture the full view of the room and participants would appear relatively small within it. Dual cameras bring the active speaker(s) full screen, basically giving everyone a front row seat and giving the meeting greater focus.

The MX800 Dual also comes to market with a few other notable enhancements that are enabled by the new Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 platform for Cisco room-based video systems. We are transitioning to this new software platform from what you may recall as the TC platform with TC 7.3 as the last release. The TC platform served us well for a long time, but the hardware that supported it was running out of processing power. We were forced to move to a new platform in order to continue to bring you the innovative features that you’ve come to expect from Cisco.

And innovate we did. Collaboration Endpoint Software 8.0 introduces these key new features: Read More »

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4 Ways Video Conferencing Makes a Difference

4 Ways Video BenefitsIt’s not an industry-specific thing. Video conferencing can provide business benefits no matter the industry. Retailers and financial institutions are employing video to interact with customers. Medical professionals are consulting with one another across distance. Manufacturers are addressing production issues more quickly and thoroughly.

Where the need for interaction exists, so does the potential for video conferencing to add value. Once upon a time, suggesting a meeting over video was folly. It was too complicated, expensive, and it required equipment housed in the hallowed halls of the executive wing (and maybe an IT guru).

Now it’s on my smartphone, tablet, and laptop. My kid can figure it out. Hurdles cleared. Check.

A recent Forbes Insight article, “Boost Innovation with Video Communications,” outlines eight ways video can provide business advantages. Here’s my take on four of them.

1. Reduce travel costs.
Making video conferencing available up and down the org chart not only reduces travel, but it removes distance as an impediment to collaboration. Although I’ve decreased my personal business travel, I work with far more people outside of my primary work location than I ever have before. And our collaboration is more successful.

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6 Ways HR Can Benefit from Video Conferencing

With the near year come new resolutions.  For many people, among those at the top of the list is getting a new job.

For human resources leaders, the resolutions may be to get more creative to find new talent, and to retain and grow the existing talent. This challenge is even greater when you are attracting a new generation of workforce.

By 2015, millennials will make up 36% of the American workforce. They are more mobile than previous generations; they want greater choice on how and where they work.  They feel comfortable with technology and they’re used to being connected and collaborating all the time.

Video conferencing is one of the best technologies HR can use right away to attract, retain, and develop millennial employees.  Once seen as a nice-to-have, video conferencing for business use has come a long way.  It’s no longer just a big, expensive system in a large conference room where you need IT’s help to get it to work, nor is it relegating to consumer-grade video chat, bypassing IT.  For businesses that use the right video conferencing solution as part of their overall communication tools, they see an immediate business impact.

Here are six top benefits we see from our customers:

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