It’s the day after Halloween and people across the country are hanging up their costumes, sorting through their candy and recovering from sugar highs. At Cisco, we’ve once again been reminded of the power of telepresence—especially during the holidays.
In some cultures Halloween is seen as a time where the door between the physical world and the metaphysical is opened, creating a connection between the two. For me, Cisco TelePresence opened up doors to communication I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced.
Yesterday, colleagues from all around the country including San Jose and San Francisco, California; Boxborough, Massachusetts; Reston, Virginia; Richardson, Texas; and several home offices in between, met via telepresence for our annual Halloween costume contest. Meeting “in-person” virtually diminished the distance between us that spanned more than 3,000 miles. We “oohed” and “ahhed” over the creative getups and classic costumes and together waited in suspense to hear the winner announced. I knew the pressure for best costume would be on this year as we vastly expanded the footprint of our contest to include more locations and team members. I spent most of the day Sunday sewing my costume and put the finishing touches on Tuesday night by candle light (thanks to Hurricane Sandy). It was a very close contest but I managed to eeeek out the win over Marvin the Martian and a Sock Monkey who were a close 2nd and 3rd.
But for me, what was even more surprising than seeing my colleagues decked out in Halloween gear was the surprise they had in store for me. The virtual Halloween costume contest also doubled as a surprise baby shower for me. Seeing my colleagues’ faces and expressions and hearing their congratulatory words reminded me of how powerful telepresence technology is in building relationships across geographically dispersed teams. This experience could not have been mimicked over phone, email or text. Thanks to telepresence I celebrated Halloween and my baby shower with colleagues from all corners of the country with a virtual experience I won’t soon forget.