In my job as Program Manager for the Cisco IT Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) Program, I need to meet regularly with my team members, leaders of the user communities we serve, and other colleagues who are all over the world.

Sure, I could handle some of these interactions with an audio-only phone call, but I’d miss the face-to-face interaction and I don’t have time to travel to meet each team in person. But today I conduct many of these small group meetings and individual conversations as HD-quality video calls over the personal Cisco TelePresence EX90 endpoint that’s on my desk, using the ACE network video services.

For placing a video call to an individual, I simply click-to-dial that person’s number from the directory listing. For small group calls, I use the easy self-service portal to set-up a scheduled call over a Cisco TelePresence Server 7010 instant rendezvous bridge or an immediate call over a Cisco TelePresence Conductor ad hoc bridge. In either case, the bridge connects multiple types of video endpoints so all participants can easily join the call.

The quality of interaction that’s possible on an HD video call really helps me and my team members build stronger working relationships with each other and with our colleagues. My team is very geographically dispersed, so each member has access to a video endpoint. This allows everyone to be visible during a video call and it’s just like we’re all sitting at the same table.

Video calls on the desktop also give us the benefits of:

  • Better understanding from seeing the reactions and body language of the people we’re talking with, whether we’re on an individual or small group call.
  • The ability to easily start a video conference right away, without having to schedule a special room or configure a special bridge.
  • Reduced travel, which saves costs, helps us work more efficiently, and reach decisions or resolve problems faster.
  • Clearer communications from HD-quality TelePresence video as compared to webcam-quality video calls from a PC.

I had the opportunity to (virtually) sit down with my colleague Jedd Williams, a Senior Director for Cisco’s Americas Collaboration Sales organization and learn more about his experience and similar benefits from using video. He told me:

My team directly or indirectly includes 661 individuals from across Canada, Latin America, and the United States. With such a geographically-dispersed team, remote collaboration is at the core of our day-to-day operations and is engrained in our culture.

For example, I first met many of my team members in a TelePresence call. When I finally meet them in person, our reaction is always, “We’ve already met several times before, but it’s nice to meet you…again!”

With our time-starved schedules these days, my team’s primary mode of communication is video. Just in the last quarter, I spent over 12,000 minutes on video calls. This is time I don’t have to spend at airports or on the road, but most importantly, it helps me maximize my team’s productivity.

Our usage data indicates that the personal Cisco TelePresence video endpoints are very popular among ACE users. As of early 2013, nearly 2000 Cisco TelePresence video endpoints (both personal and room systems) are connected to the Cisco ACE network, collectively generating nearly 107,000 video calls per quarter.

With the Cisco TelePresence EX90 video endpoint that’s on my desk, I no longer reserve video calls just for special occasions. Instead, I get the benefits of “face-to-face” video calls with more colleagues and for more meetings throughout my workday. And that visual quality makes for more engaging and personal conversations for all of us.

This post is part of a series about the Cisco ACE Service Introduction Network. You’ll find more information in these related posts: