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Welcome to the new Break Down the Walls

March 16, 2010 at 11:02 am PST

We originally started the TANDBERG Public Sector blog to keep government employees, thought-leaders and decision makers informed about the ways video teleconferencing was being implemented across government agencies and organizations.

We were looking to highlight the ways in which video makes the government run more effectively, efficiently and smoothly and discuss some innovative ways it answers the difficult questions in government today.

We expected some public servants to find our discussions about teleworking, collaboration and face-to-face communication interesting, but we never expected what happened next. You showed up. A lot of you.

Soon, our readers were demanding to hear more.

So, we expanded our editorial coverage to discuss the ways that video was improving the educational experience for America’s students, making lessons more interactive, and even helping teach teachers.

We added coverage of healthcare and the ways that video is helping to save lives and bring treatments to people who were too far away from the specialists who could provide them. We even began discussing how courts and police and rescue workers were utilizing the technologies to keep our streets safe and better serve American citizens. And it STILL wasn’t enough.

So we’ve taken another step. Much like how our video conferencing technologies break down walls between people and agencies and organizations, we’ve broken down the walls between the TANDBERG blog authors and you, the readers.

Let me be the first to welcome you to www.breakdownthewalls.com.

This redesigned site offers the same interesting content about video conferencing in the public sector in a much easier to navigate format, making it easier to find content that is of interest to you. But it also offers much more.

Here you will find all of TANDBERG Public Sector’s social media activities, from YouTube videos to Twitter streams. You will also have access to a library of white papers, case studies and other resources designed to further educate you about how video provides a new way of working, governing, and learning. We encourage you to not only read what we have to say, but interact with us. Tell us your thoughts. Let us know how the trends we’re discussing are influencing you.

We hope you like this new site and that you will be a part of its success. Please feel free to engage with us…ask us questions…and start a dialogue. Break down the walls separating us, and we’ll show you how video can enable a new way of working.

We can’t wait to connect with you.

On the Road – UC Expo

March 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm PST
ucexpo photo

TANDBERG booth at 2010 UC Expo

On March 10th I visited the UC Expo at London’s Kensington Olympia exhibition center  in order to experience the latest technologies in Unified Communications, Collaboration and VoIP. The event, although smaller than I imagined, was well attended by both exhibitors and end users. The TANDBERG booth was demonstrating various UC flavored offerings. Most popular amongst the exhibition attendees was Microsoft OCS integration, which enables connectivity between various unified communication environments via our VCS platform.

Microsoft OCS displayed a dominance amongst the exhibitor’s offerings on show. It seemed that nearly everyone who had technology, such as:  traditional phones, mobile phones, contact centers, and other VoIP paraphernalia, were all somehow linked back to Microsoft OCS. It appears Microsoft is definitely ahead in the battle to win over the hearts and minds of the UC vendors at the very least.

It was also very encouraging to see video and telepresence featured in nearly everybody’s UC scenarios. Vodafone gave a public presentation around how they use unified communications in their day-to-day activities and shared a funny story about how recently many of their staff were snowed in but they still managed to complete an important management meetings via video. They supplemented their presentation by showing screenshots of the employees sitting at home with heavy snow falling in the background! It seems the use cases for visual communications are limitless.

VTC breaks down the walls between cultures and shatters stereotypes

March 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm PST

In previous articles on Break Down the Walls, we’ve discussed the educational benefits of video teleconferencing (VTC), from resource sharing between schools and school districts, to the efficient training of teachers. One interesting VTC implementation that we have yet to discuss is currently being used in New Jersey to help do something truly revolutionary in the area of women’s issues and women’s rights.

A Women and Youth Leader Alliance’s project called Spotlight on Girls Productions is using media as a tool to transform society through raising awareness and education. The project creates TV crews of women, all aged 14-29 and from urban areas within New Jersey, including Trenton and Newark. These TV crews are tasked with the creation of educational and entertaining video content that is aired throughout New Jersey, and distributed across the country, and the world, through online wire services.

A large part of the creation of the video content, which focuses on the experiences and culture of women around the world, is research. The TV crews accomplish this research by speaking with women across the globe via video teleconferencing. These conversations are focused on sharing first-hand experiences, opinions and insights. The women involved in the project and the people they are interviewing connect on a personal level via video and learn more about each other’s culture than what is shown through the media.

These video conferences tend to develop in three stages, with the women first exchanging pleasant and polite introductions and being conservative and careful in their interaction. Later, the conversation becomes more personal, and the participants often begin to discuss stereotypes that they’ve encountered about each other. The third stage involves the discussion of social issues and topics, which enables the TV crew to accurately portray topics from multiple perspectives.

This learning process helps to diminish stereotypes the different cultural groups had about each other, while simultaneously helping open a window into another culture and the issues women face in that culture. This window into other cultures helps the participants battle the stereotypes that are perpetuated by the media and that invariably drive the objectification and devaluation of women. The research is then incorporated into the video content produced by the TV crews, which have focused and raised awareness of such important global women’s issues as human trafficking and arranged marriage.

None of the research that empowers the creation of this important video content, and helps bring cultures together, would be possible without VTC. Video allows the participants to have real, natural conversations where facial expression, body language and other unspoken cues can be witnessed and understood. VTC is bringing women from five continents together and breaking down the walls between cultures.

By providing an alternative to the content available in the often stereotype-filled mainstream media, VTC is empowering understanding and increasing knowledge of other cultures. Now that’s a new way of learning.

See Hello to the Global Video Community

Is video the new voice?

TACTICAL C4

March 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm PST

For more information about this event, please visit TACTICAL C4.