Not to long ago I was at the Cisco Executive Briefing Center (EBC) presenting to a customer with a co-worker of mine named Bob. It’s not uncommon for us to present together and I enjoy the dual role of going back and forth as I think it makes for a much better experience with customers combining the story of collaboration with real world examples of video. This EBC presentation was the last of the day and on our way out we came across a group of women by the fishbowl. The fishbowl (so aptly named) is a large, round room with glass walls that houses the demonstrations.

We stopped to chat and came to learn that this was a delegation of women working in IT as part of the TechWomen (http://www.techwomen.org) program. TechWomen is a professional mentorship and exchange program developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. We spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about the program, where everybody was from, and what their interests were in the area of technology.
We then talked about how exciting the field of technology is, the fact that it’s always changing and there’s always something new just around the corner that will have a profound effect on how people live and how businesses work. We talked about how exciting it is to take these new advances and innovations and incorporate them into different environments under our responsibility. And how satisfying it is to deliver compelling business value for our stakeholders and users. Bob and I showed and talked about a few things on our mobile phones like the role presence plays and the ability to have video calls, as well as, host and attend conferences. These future leaders in IT were familiar with video on mobile, but it turns out they hadn’t had the full immersive experience. Bob suggested an immersive TelePresence demonstration.

I’ve done this demonstration a couple of times and it is fantastic. There are two TelePresence rooms that sit back to back. We divided the group into two and each took a room. We then called each other on TelePresence. We did the usual demonstration stuff like showing how if you’re moving across the room the sound will follow you on the other side and the ease of making the call with the big green “JOIN” button. We also answered the technical questions that came up.  All and all it was a great, yet typical, demonstration of immersive video.

Then something interesting happened. We were done answering questions and talking about the features of TelePresence.  We then started discussing the practical uses of TelePresence and of video in general. We talked about how video could play a pivotal role in different industries that were both well established and just getting started in these countries. It was fascinating to hear the ideas and see the expressions as more and more use cases came to mind. The interesting thing was at no point did anybody stop the TelePresence call, or suggest we reconvene as one physical group to continue our conversation. Instead the conversation kept going and we had the experience of being together. As you can see, we even took a photo across the two rooms as a single group.

The experience makes all the difference. When people don’t have to think about managing the experience, but instead can just collaborate, they have reached a new level. They’ve reached a level where they are doing instead of planning. When the experience becomes so simple, so delightful, and the new norm, we don’t always realize the true value. After all, it’s easy!  I was so happy and so honored to be part of the experience for this TechWomen delegation. I look forward to seeing what comes from these exceptional new leaders in IT and hope to have another chance run in with future delegations.


John Gaudin

No Longer with Cisco