Cisco Blogs

The End of Generation Text

December 4, 2008 - 1 Comment

Carlos Dominguez wrote a fascinating post on his recent experiences with ‘millennials’ and how they are shaping the future of work. It got me thinking that a consequence of this change in our workforce is the rapid demise of”Generation Text”.For many of us, collaboration technologies have been largely focused on text collaboration- documents, email, IM, even wikis and blogs. We’ve been part of”Generation Text”. But with changes in technology, changes in workforce and the drive to find new frontiers for step-change improvements in productivity, text collaboration is giving way to rich media, in-person collaboration technologies.We’ve spent the last decade plus using web 1.0 technologies to achieve productivity gains by automating humans out of business processes- replacing armies of data entry clerks with web self service applications in finance, HR, support, sales etc. In most cases the really big gains have already been made and now we’re making minor incremental improvements. A key characteristic of the web 2.0 era is that we are gaining productivity by improving the processes that humans must be part of by using technology to scale human interactions. Take Cisco TelePresence for example. By virtualizing in-person meetings, subject matter experts, decision makers at all levels and executives can meet more often, with more people and with less latency than any other means. The productivity gains can be startling. Cisco itself has quantified nearly $60M in productivity gains by using TelePresence. In this challenging economic climate we’re all faced with the need make decisions quickly and to collaborate effectively to execute on those decisions. Many of these decisions involve sensitive, important topics like priorities, investments and strategy where human interaction is a critical element and where the participants are often geographically disperse.

Using collaborative video technologies like TelePresence and WebEx can be the difference between thriving and surviving.This is the time for all of us to make the generational shift from Generation Text to Generation Next using collaborative video technologies. David Hsieh, vice president of marketing, Cisco’s Emerging Technologies Group

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  1. David,I couldn’t agree with you more with the importance of video and the impact it has on collaboration. As a matter of fact, 30 % of our brain is dedicated to vision versus 8 % to touch and 3% for hearing. Another interesting tidbit is that we remember 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see and 70% of what we hear and see. We as humans are very comfortable with visual interactions and technology like Telepresence create an environment that is conducive for true human interaction. The economist did a report on collaboration several months ago and one of the key inhibitors they highlighted in collaboration was the need to establish “trust” among the group. This barrier of trust can be overcome faster if people interact in person and through a very immersive experience that is just like being there. I can tell you from personal experience and a very frequent user of TP (5+ times a week) that it is a transformational technology and is a true enabler of collaboration. I’m also a frequent user of Webex and when you combine the two technologies you can extend the reach , availability and effectiveness of the technologies. They are both fantastic tools that have significant impact on how I do business daily. Several months ago I concluded a TP session and was rushed back into my office to do a standard video conferencing session with one of our customers that didn’t’ have TP. The difference in the experience was monumental. I couldn’t identify anyone and someone spent the entire meeting trying to zoom in on the speaker. The audio was really poor and I kept asking people to speak up. Someone had a cellphone near the microphone and the feedback was unbearable. I was concentrating so hard to keep up with what was going on that I was totally exhausted by the end of the call. TP and Webex are transformational technologies and I wouldn’t know what I would do if I didn’t have them. Hmmmm….. I guess I would travel a lot more.