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There’s More to Telepresence Than Just Hardware

September 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm PST
TANDBERG Telepresence T3

TANDBERG Telepresence T3

For a business investment as high profile as telepresence, seeing a solid return on investment is important.

Many companies who chose a telepresence solution based on discounted hardware typically realize hidden costs that outweigh the value. That is why it is so important to research your options and make sure you ask vendors some key questions that can help you take a deeper look at the possible choices available for telepresence solutions.

Check out the Telepresence Buyers Guide to see some recommended questions to ask when researching telepresence options.

Do you have any other recommended questions or considerations?

Training tech savvy teachers

September 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm PST

School budgets are being slashed everywhere these days, so it is nice to be a part of programs that offer alternative (and sometimes free) education opportunities. In a recent post by Wesley Fryer on Moving at the Speed of Creativity, he shared not only how he is able to work remotely with ease and convenience, but also a list of courses being featured in the TANDBERG Connections Program.

Some of Fryer’s professional development sessions on digital storytelling, blended learning, education podcasting and other topics are offered to educators who are eligible for Connections and have access to video teleconferencing (VTC) equipment.

Fryer is a content provider listed with the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC), and we think his efforts to help educators learn more about teaching with 21st Century technology are notable. Using VTC for professional development, whether in education or other environments, is a great way to cut costs, save time and manage resources, which are very limited in today’s economic environment.

Educators are teaching children who are introduced to technology – and savvy at using it – at younger and younger ages. It is imperative that today’s educators find any and all ways to use technology in the classroom, and what better way to do it than by taking advantage of cost effective, and sometimes free programs delivered over video?

Is your agency ready for H1N1?

September 15, 2009 at 9:01 am PST

Imagine that it’s mid-January and the reality of an H1N1 flu pandemic is upon us. No less than half of your team has been diagnosed with some strain of the flu, and some of those that aren’t sick are in the vulnerable populations of pregnant women, asthmatics or diabetics. The CDC recommends that during an influenza pandemic, all sick people should stay away from the workplace.

Your company has put guidelines in place guidelines for those who are sick to stay at home. But, the reality is that there will always be someone who shows up sick, potentially contaminating the entire office.

As we look ahead to this possibility, it is a good time to assess your agency’s capabilities to keep your workforce engaged and meeting critical deadlines during a pandemic. Ensuring that you have a thorough and thoughtful strategy for employees and management to telework is essential. Adding video conferencing to the mix is a consideration to ensure that managers can meet face-to-face with employees, particularly since there could be extended absences and high stress levels during an outbreak.

TANDBERG has begun scheduling sessions with agencies, schools, healthcare providers and others to share best practices on ways to add mobility to existing video communication strategies. Truly mobile video communications are here but questions remain for many: How does my agency incorporate mobility into my existing communications infrastructure? How can I easily and efficiently mass deploy endpoints? How do I ensure that the technology will be utilized?

These are obviously big questions. We can share some suggestions with you, along with some best practices and hands-on experience on what works and what doesn’t.

User Stories – Vemun

In the first of our weekly User Stories video blog series, which will touch on the more personal impact video conferencing and telepresence technology can have on users, Vemun describes how technology allowed him to stay connected to loved ones from thousands of miles away.

Virginia telework day successful — pass it on

September 10, 2009 at 10:26 am PST

Virginia’s recent Telework Day proved successful, with more than 4,000 federal, state or private sector employees participating. Sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Telework Exchange, the event was designed as a “low-risk” way for agencies and organizations to experiment with telework and to help break down the psychological barriers that many organizations have against telework.

Some of the findings included that 22 percent of event participants had not previously teleworked, while 25 percent had worked remotely on occasion. Seventy eight percent of participants did not encounter any problems during the experience, and the experience convinced 91 percent of participants to consider working remotely in the future.

As the federal government looks to possibly hire more than 250,000 workers to replace those retiring over the next three years, it would be prudent for them to consider telework as they move forward. Telework not only can make the government a more attractive employer, but it also increases productivity and efficiency, and supports work/life balance, a cleaner environment, business stability, retention and relief on the roadways.

Taking telework to the next level is the next step – by adding video conferencing into the mix, employers and employees get the added bonus of face-to-face time with each other no matter where the employee works. Face-to-face communications eliminates the miscues and misunderstandings that can come from regular phone or email communication.

Do you telework? What benefits do you experience from it?