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Bringing Back Music Education to Our Schools

February 27, 2014 at 8:38 am PST

While many are arguing the existence of a comeback in liberal arts education, too many public schools are seeing a decline in arts education due to budget and resource cuts. The benefits of music and arts education are well documented, but we continue to see schools losing music programs.

Unfortunately, cutting music programs in public schools tends to impact low-income students disproportionately, as private access is available to those who can afford and support it. However, people and technology are making a difference and finding a way to bring music education to schools in new ways. Read More »

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Four Things That Will Rock Video Collaboration in 2014

It’s Hard to believe we’re already in February 2014. It seems like just yesterday we were making cloud collaboration predictions for 2013– forecasting that cloud and the demand for interoperability would drive innovation and help businesses harness the power of video.

Well, 2013 saw all of that and more happen in the world of collaboration. And I predict there will be more from the cloud, as well as other smart, cool and exciting video innovations in our (near) future.

Here’s what I predict is on the horizon:

Communications will be ever more visual, so you’ll use video with more people and in more situations – and cloud makes it more accessible.

The 2014 workforce isn’t a sedentary group – it’s mobile, global and social. And people won’t move for jobs anymore–jobs will become more flexible for people. I know. I manage a globally dispersed team and on any given day find myself visiting China and the United States, all from my office in Norway. Adaptive, intuitive and connected video solutions will continue to allow an innovative and collaborative workplace experience that can be accessed anywhere – from the boardroom to the browser. This year, the cloud will continue to empower workers with access to video anytime, anywhere and on any device, including new environments and use cases such as “always on,” real-time collaboration in research labs and lectures in global classrooms.

2014 will be the year that business quality video is expected by consumers during their online business interactions. We’ll see video solutions used extensively in Read More »

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How Video Makes a Difference in the Way I Work

February 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm PST

Last fall, I was standing in a hotel lobby in Boca Raton, Florida, where I was attending our annual Collaboration Summit. I noticed an energetic woman walking directly toward me. “It’s so great to see you!” she said when she reached me.

I quickly attempted to access the facial-recognition software in my own brain to identify her.
Click, click, click…
I’m terrible with faces.
Click, click, click…
I think I recognize people I don’t know, and I don’t recognize people I’ve met.
Click, click, click…

She saved me further embarrassment and introduced herself. We’d recently worked on a big presentation together. Over instant messaging and e-mail. And on the phone. We’d never met in person, but she recognized me immediately. Why? Because I always use video in online meetings and conference calls.

Later that evening, I went to a reception with a group of customers. In the weeks prior, I’d had WebEx meetings with many of them to review agendas and answer questions. Several people approached me saying they’d recognized me from the call. One said she wasn’t sure she was at the right reception until she saw me there.

I don’t use video because I’m enamored with my own visage, but because I find it useful. And easy to do. At first it was a bit awkward – did I just scratch my nose? – but it quickly became routine. Sometimes I’m the only person on a call using video. Other people will often start their video after noticing that I’m using mine.

A Forrester study of how knowledge workers collaborate showed that 71% work from a personal desk within their organization four to five days per week. And even for collaborative tasks, employees tend to work from their desks to a much greater extent than at any other location, such as a conference room. Case in point: they make 88% of phone calls from a personal desk at work. Read More »

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Video Changes the Equation

December 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm PST

At our recent Collaboration Summit in Boca Raton, I had the opportunity to sit down with some of our customers and talk about how they are incorporating video into their organizations. It’s clear that many of our customers are already seeing the business benefits of video – whether it’s using remote expert services to improve pipeline conversion or launching new services more quickly through video collaboration.

But what if you looked at video not just as a way to help you improve what you are already doing, but as a way to allow you to do things you couldn’t do before? Things that previously were not feasible because of cost, resources, or other perceived barriers?

What if you could offer health services to a segment of the population you could not previously reach?

Read More »

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Santa’s Special Connections

Since they graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the illustrations of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker have created many of the Christmas holiday season’s de facto images. For many families, the reality of their Christmas celebration doesn’t match the picture-perfect, however. That’s especially true when the family member with the strongest belief in Santa has pressing questions like “how will Santa find me if the hospital has no chimney?”

The good news is that as he readies for Christmas, Santa is taking extra time to visit with children who are hospitalized this season. Instead of just making a quick stop on his whirlwind worldwide delivery route, he’s checking in with some of these very special children from his communications headquarters at the North Pole. Not content to have one of his shopping mall stand-ins do the work, he has personal face-to-face videoconferences with kids who can’t leave the hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, posted a great video of Santa’s visit from earlier this week.

Connected Santa is a collaboration in which volunteer elves visit hospitals to help make the connection between children and Santa. Using Cisco TelePresence and Jabber technology, the elves conference a child with Santa so they can have the ever-important conversation about good, bad, and wish lists.

Just the other day I Read More »

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