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Video – It is a Buyer’s Market

Enterprise Connect Crowd at Collaboration BoothAs I walked the halls of Enterprise Connect last week for the 7th or 8th year in a row (who’s counting??), I noticed that video is still one of the key themes across many of the vendors.  A few years back, it was introduced as the “next killer app” and while some think the sizzle has gone down, I would argue it is just heating up. Look at initiatives like WebRTC, one of the hot topics at the show.  You couldn’t go to a panel or discussion without hearing or seeing how video will play a major role in the development of this space.

The reality is, our buyers are demanding more and more when it comes to video.  It is no longer about meeting or boardroom-based video endpoints, it is now about getting video on any device a user has access to, being able to integrate the video experience with more traditional conferencing experiences, delivering video-based content across an organization, and oh yeah, doing all of this without killing my network and for an affordable price.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – March 22, 2013

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Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important Cisco-related content you may have missed along the way. Let’s have it.

Off The Top

It was a big week for collaboration and unified communications discussion as Enterprise Connect took place in Orlando. Cisco as usual had a lot to talk about, including what Richard McLeod, senior director, worldwide collaboration sales, described as very important enhancements to the Cisco telepresence portfolio.

Specifically, Richard notes, Cisco Telepresence is now Webex-enabled, and partners are also getting their first look at the DX360, the latest addition to Cisco’s desktop conferencing line. Both announcements represent upsell opportunities for Cisco collaboration partners and their customers, as Richard and other executives noted to CRN, Channelnomics and other press.

“Revisit your customer base and start briefing them today on the new capabilities,” Richard urges partners. “Use video in every customer interaction to demonstrate the value and ease of adding video to meetings. Train your sales teams to identify the right video tool for each customer’s use case, which will increase customer satisfaction. And go the extra mile to ensure customer adoption by offering end-user training and creative best practice documentation.”

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HOW WELL DOES TELEWORKING TRANSLATE?

Teleworking in emerging markets is on the increase. It’s helping businesses across Emerging countries to work and collaborate effectively, and be more productive wherever they are located.

In South Africa, 85% of companies offer flexible working*, which is a much higher proportion than some European countries. The next generation of workers in the Middle-East and Africa are expecting to have the option to work at home. In fact, only 9% think they’ll be in the office full time*, which suggests the days of a fixed workplace and 9-to-5 working are over.

At Cisco, we’re committed to offering choice to our workforce. We think this is fundamental to a positive and engaging employee experience. Teleworking here is encouraged and let me offer you a personal story from this week.

We had an Emerging Theatre ‘All Hands’ hosted by my boss and myself via WebEx. Let’s consider the numbers: we set this up giving our teams just 10 days’ notice; and we brought together over 500 of our colleagues from their desktops, workplaces and home offices to educate and inspire them using video collaboration: presentations, webcam and a Q&A via chat, text, email and audio.  This was one of the largest assemblies of our team this year and it took place across 12 timezones for 90 minutes.

Those numbers are quite staggering, even more so when you begin to consider the wider benefits: minimal disruption, maximum attendance, no additional travel arrangements, venues, (catering, flights, taxis, or hotels) and the bonus for employees is minimal impact on their private lives. The value for us is not merely in having the capability and flexibility to host this kind of event but also the level of participation and commitment from our teams.

What employees need – as well as choice -- is sensitivity to their circumstances and flexible workspaces that match their needs. For companies, not only does finding the right solution help to maintain productivity levels, it can also motivate existing staff and help you attract talent from the next generation who expect teleworking to be an option throughout their careers.

On a daily basis the power of our teleworking is bringing our talented people from across the whole of Emerging closer together at Cisco and the effects of teleworking on our productivity at work and our quality of life cannot be underestimated. We look forward to seeing you on a screen near us soon!

*Regus, 2011, global research report based on responses from 17,000 businesses across 80 countries

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20 Years Teleworking: $291,200 Savings and 435,200 Pounds of Pollutants Spared

Cisco, in partnership with Mobile Work Exchange, is eager to kick off the third-annual Telework Week from March 4-8. Telework Week 2013 is a global effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge to telework anytime during this week. I plan not only to pledge to telework that week, but also to continue in my career of teleworking.

I have worked for companies based in San Jose, Tucson, Phoenix, Washington DC, Boston, and now San Jose again… all without leaving my beautiful home state of Ohio.  I adopted telework in 1993 and as Telework Week 2013 approaches, I wanted to share my story about my years as a teleworker. Let me start by saying I would not change a thing.

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Telework Pros and Cons… But Are They Really Cons?

Do I miss having lunch with my colleagues? Sure. However, my dogs are pretty good companions because they never complain. Plus, the food in my kitchen is a lot better than any cafeteria food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed being able to celebrate the milestones taking place in my colleagues’ lives in person, but I’ve made sure they always get a baby gift or a wedding gift.

What I don’t miss is the daily commute. Driving in rush-hour traffic or in snowstorms aren’t especially fun or productive and through telework, I’ve been able to get to work on-time every day. Also, my checkbook likes my lower insurance rates. On top of all of that, I am able to work in pajamas or sweat pants if I feel like it. For big projects that require more focus and concentration, I appreciate not having people dropping by to chat about their weekend.

Sometimes, people tell me I have it so easy working from home, being that I can come and go as I please. However, any teleworker will tell you it just doesn’t work unless you have regular office hours. My schedule still fills up with meetings just like my colleagues’ working from an office. What many people don’t know though is that it seems a lot harder to end the work day when your office is just a few steps or clicks away. Read More »

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Cisco’s 2012 Education Retrospective

December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am PST

AM71308At the beginning of 2012, we saw three major trends emerging in the education space, but we had no idea that they would all be converging: Flipped Learning, BYOD, and Shared Collaborative Platforms.

This time last year, I was sitting at an old, high-top biology lab table with my son’s AP Biology teacher, asking him to explain this whole “Flipped Classroom” thing and why his classes’ AP bio scores were so high.  Lo and behold, Flipped Learning became the mantra of the year.

Sal Khan and the Khan Academy became the best-known content-feeder into this phenomenon, and I started voraciously consuming his videos on pre-calculus, statistics, and world history.   So did teachers and students as they turned to Khan as a source of pre-packaged lectures, new flipped learning models, and emerging information on different assessment measurements.  Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann even wrote a book about it, The Short History of Flipped Learning, and they joined us as guest speakers at the 2012 ISTE show.

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