Volcano Fallout: Cisco Telepresence Helps Businesses Keep Moving
The Iceland volcano has been shutting down airports again, most recently those in North Africa and Spain. The eruptions, which create ash clouds that threaten airplanes, are a powerful reminder of how best-laid plans can suddenly change, with little warning.
In addition to recent airport closures, the volcano, which began spewing a toxic plume of ash on April 14, grounded the majority of flights to, from, and within Europe for five days. So how do you keep your business moving forward when events beyond your control threaten to bring it to a sudden halt?
Many relied on technologies such as telepresence, videoconferencing, and WebEx as a way to keep going.
Among those turning to Cisco TelePresence was Paul Dickinson, the CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, a greenhouse reporting organization. The volcano prevented Dickinson from traveling to Beijing from London to interview three job applicants, according to Fortune. So Dickinson interviewed the applicants from London using Cisco TelePresence and ended up hiring one of them.
“I realize now that you can even appoint someone remotely,” Dickinson told Fortune. “That’s pretty transformative.”
Cisco’s own executives benefitted from telepresence when grounded by the volcano eruption.
As fate would have it, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Emerging Technologies Business Group Marthin De Beer was to fly from San Jose to Oslo to participate in a press conference announcing that Cisco had completed its voluntary offer for TANDBERG.
When De Beer’s flight was cancelled because of the ash cloud, he and Fredrik Halvorsen, senior vice president of Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group and formerly TANDBERG’s CEO, held a virtual press conference together using TelePresence and TANDBERG equipment.
“I would have loved to have been in Europe with you guys,” De Beer said during the conference, as reported by international news agency AFP. “Thanks to telepresence, we are still able to do this, although it is two in the morning here and I don’t know how we can fix that.”
Only time will tell whether the Iceland volcano will mark a major transformation in how businesses bounce back after an unexpected event. One thing’s for certain, however. In an increasingly interconnected global economy, and our growing dependence on just-in-time supply chains, developing a solid plan for business continuity in the face of unforeseen events has never been more crucial.
“As the world (has) seen earthquakes, H1N1 and other disasters, it has really made businesses pause to think how they can use technology to create a sustainable business model,” De Beer told AFP.
One step businesses can take now, before the next unexpected occurs, is to test-drive telepresence, videoconferencing, and other collaboration technologies. Cisco’s Meeting on Us program provides a complimentary TelePresence meeting, while the TANDBERG FlyFree program offers a free videoconferencing meeting. You can sign up for a free 14-day WebEx trial, too.