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What Does a Video and UC Conferencing Service Owner Do?

The job description for the conferencing service owner could be a bit of a mystery in many enterprises, so I am going to try to demystify the role based on my experience as a Video and UC Conference Service owner at Cisco IT.
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Telepresence A Valuable Tool for Project-Based Learning

August 29, 2011 at 10:46 am PST
edutopia article on project based learning

www.edutopia.org

In school, you’re learning all about fish. Would you rather look at, hold, and examine an actual fish to determine its species or would you prefer to read a textbook about a bunch of different fish?

Sliminess factor aside, I’d vote for seeing the actual fish.

The students in science teacher Michelle Underwood’s class feel the same way:  They love the hands-on projects — fish study included — that Underwood has worked into her classroom, they said in a video. A self-described convert from “death-by-Powerpoint” lecture style teaching, Underwood now embraces collaborative project-based learning to increase the depth of her students’ understanding and ensure their sustained interest. She brings everything from animals, to computers, to video equipment into her classroom to facilitate engaging lessons.

According to the educators at Edutopia, George Lucas’s educational foundation, Underwood has the right idea. Project-based learning, as opposed to textbook-based work, helps students retain more material and better develop the ability to self-direct, said an article by the Edutopia staff. Hands-on activities provide students opportunities to experiment with technology and witness real-world connections to the information they encounter in the classroom, the article said. Read More »

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Telepresence enhances performance whether market booms or busts

July 11, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

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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Cisco TelePresence Turns Cities “Smart”

June 2, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

A trip to the DMV -- a thought that causes mild apprehension and dread -- can require a lofty time investment. By lofty, I mean that if you go on your lunch break, don’t count on being home for dinner. It’s just one of those necessary hassles we’ve come to grudgingly accept.

But behold the DMV in the energy efficient city of the future, and behold it from your living room couch: a Cisco TelePresence connection that lets you renew your license in your PJs. No emissions from the drive to the office. No lines once you get there, which helps to conserve your energy -- and sanity.

It’s all part of the development of Smart Cities —energy efficient urban centers of the not-so-distant future. With telepresence, Cisco is on the cutting edge of these cities’ evolution.

Witness Songdo, South Korea, a new city built with the “greenest” of standards. Cisco is working with Songdo’s developers to put telepresence technology in every home, with the aim of reducing energy consumption. At the GigaOm GreenNet conference in April, Cisco’s Marthin De Beer discussed telepresence’s role in Songdo and 100 other urban development projects, including a retrofit of Charlotte, North Carolina. In Charlotte, Cisco partners with the city and its utility to decrease building energy use by 20 percent.

De Beer noted in his remarks that telepresence has saved Cisco $800 million in travel expenses during the last five years, writes Greentech Grid’s Eric Wesoff. Translate those savings into municipal dollars, and you find more money for education, infrastructure, and countless social services. Cities adopting Cisco TelePresence technology stand to not only curb energy consumption, but also to enrich the lives of their residents (and DMV employees) in many ways.

I don’t know about you, but the grass sure is looking greener on the smarter side of town.

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Filling the Void: School Districts Embrace Telepresence to Save Money and Share Resources

May 19, 2011 at 6:55 am PST

With budgets tighter than ever, school administrators are finding new ways to collaborate with other schools and districts hundreds of miles away.  Instead of spending money on flights and hotels to travel across the state and share best practices with others in their field, teachers, principals and superintendents in several California schools are now using telepresence to get that same face-to-face interaction without leaving town.

Fontana Unified School District (FUSD) in Southern California, for example, is a huge district – 41,000 students at 40 schools across 25 miles. FUSD is the latest school district to incorporate telepresence in order to offer their students the best programs possible — and not only prepare them for college, but also prepare them for the real world.  In such a large district, telepresence is a vehicle that allows the district to offer the same opportunities to every student at every school, and save time and money because administrators don’t have to travel across town for meetings.

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