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Simplify Sales with Remote Product Demonstrations

I spent the last eight months on the front lines of the virtual demo world for Cisco. Working from our headquarters in California, I met with people from all over the world to demonstrate our latest products — without a single plane trip. Using collaboration technology sales teams can avoid travel expenses, sell more, and increase productivity.

Most significant business purchases require some form of travel. Companies need to send sales experts out in to the world to demo their products. Or, depending on the products or the situation, customers often travel to the vendor’s site. Although travel involves expense and time, personal interaction is important to customer relationships. Travel can make the sales process more cumbersome and time consuming. But without travel, you limit the degree of direct engagement you might have before a customer makes a buying decision.

How Can Remote Demonstrations Add Value to the Sales Process?

Remote product demonstrations are providing companies with a less-expensive option to engage with customers. And the best part of it is that neither customers nor your technical experts have to travel as much. Just as video is changing the nature of meetings, it’s also a fitting solution Read More »

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Finding Simplicity in Complex Video Installations

While it sounds too good to be true, it can be simple to build seemingly complicated video installations. Like a custom-built house, you can build video-collaboration rooms to specification. And custom doesn’t always have to mean complex. Cisco is helping organizations do that today by creating a solution with powerful codecs, intelligent imaging technology, and flexible software.

I’m often asked how to quickly build training or briefing rooms with presenters on both ends. People usually ask about a briefing room with 24 classroom seats or a 100-seat training room. They typically have three key requirements:

  • Local presenter or when the presenter is in the room
  • Remote presenter or when the presenter is calling in
  • Interactive discussion between different sites with local presenter at the podium

FH video blog post SX80 8_4_14

This requires multiple screens, Read More »

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Fire Departments Improve Training with Telepresence

May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am PST

There are roughly 10,000 firefighters in Los Angeles County who are responsible for the lives of 9.8 million residents. Getting the proper training for all of the fire departments in the county is of the utmost importance in order to maintain a safe community.

Training difficulties

Mandatory classes for all L.A. County firefighters are held annually at one location to maximize the instructors’ time. The problem with this approach is that firefighters are spending several hours outside of their jurisdiction to attend the classes, which affects response times. To adequately staff stations during training, fire departments spend excess dollars for travel and replacement firefighters.

So, they began searching for a way to save money and enhance firefighter training programs during a period of government budget constraints. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association (LAAFCA) received grant funding from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program to help to support their high-threat, high-density communities.

Virtual technology for enhanced training sessions

The LAAFCA decided to use the grant to invest in telepresence, or video conferencing, technology to help them meet their financial and training goals. Telepresence was scalable and could be manipulated to fit the needs of the different-sized fire departments in the county.

With HD cameras, microphones, speakers, and lighting, the video systems would allow one highly-qualified instructor to conduct trainings from one location to multiple departments throughout the county in real time.

Since the integration of telepresence, L.A. fire departments have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and travel costs, provided multiple virtual training sessions with the same level of high-quality emergency support, recorded previous course lectures for replay at any time, and improved firefighter response time.

“If there is a major emergency in the region, all of the county’s firefighters can respond with the same level of high-quality emergency support. Video conferencing offers these benefits to the trainees in the most efficient way possible.” -- Christopher Donovan, Fire Chief at Monrovia Fire Department, California.

If you would like to learn more, read the full case study, and let us know how technology is helping your local first responders.

We also invite you to join our upcoming live webcast on June 5 – our industry experts will cover everything you need to know to create a unified, interoperable public safety IT environment. Register Now

More to come! Be sure to check in for all our upcoming Friday blogs on the latest trends, challenges and technologies impacting public safety. Follow the hashtag #CiscoPublicSafety and @CiscoStateLocal and @CiscoGovt on Twitter for updates, and visit the Cisco Public Safety site for more information on solutions.

 

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5 Reasons for Midsize Businesses to Use Video Collaboration

I’ve been talking for a while now about how effective video collaboration is and how video technology can enhance and improve the way businesses collaborate. Many of you may still think that videoconferencing is only for the larger companies with multiple locations and large budgets to cover a video technology investment, but I disagree.

Here are five reasons that that I think midsize businesses should consider using video collaboration.

  • Video Collaboration products are easy to use: At Cisco we design our video technology products to be intuitive and easy to use. This means the user interface in the smallest video endpoints works the same as the controls in the largest, so anyone can make a video call anytime they need to.
  • Video is becoming the norm: Many organizations are realizing the benefits and ROI of using video collaboration to extend their business boundaries. Meeting with partners and customers around the world – just like they are around the corner – have enabled organizations to do business in ways they never thought possible before.
  • Utilizing video can increase productivity and profits: Read More »

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Exceptional Collaboration Gets Personal

Not too long ago, I was digging around in some old boxes and pulled out my old Motorola RAZR phone, along with a surprising number of other devices I used to carry around. What can I say? I’m a geek. In addition to my phone, I had a digital camera, a notepad & digital pen, an iPod, a GPS, a few spare memory cards and even a Palm Pilot. It struck me that in handful of years everything has changed. All the things I needed those devices for now exist in my smartphone – making my life simpler and easier. Peter Diamandis calls it dematerialization; I call it simplification, and use it as a backdrop for our collaboration technology strategy.

The ability of technology to simplify our experiences inspired our mission: to make collaboration simple. Consider that for all the promise of today’s collaboration technologies to make our lives easier, we are often frustrated by the fact that the most advanced products can’t seem to do the simplest of things; starting a meeting on time, connecting me with anyone anywhere, or allowing me to share my stuff easily. While technology companies race around to one-up each other introducing the next whiz-bang feature, they mostly overlook the one essential: what their product should do really well.

I joined Cisco with the purpose of delivering on this mission and bringing exceptional collaboration technology to everyone, everywhere: every room, every desk, and every pocket. The results of this focus have started to materialize in a set of announcements we started a few months back.

In March, we introduced the products that bring collaboration into every room in the enterprise: the SX10, MX200, MX700, and MX800 endpoints. These products are all about great collaboration experiences: engagement, simplicity, affordability – and award-winning design.

Today, we bring these elements to every desk with the Cisco DX80. It’s time to provide every worker—not just executives—with the tools that let everyone collaborate at a moment’s notice, without technology hassles. Read More »

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