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Boring Meetings? Step Up Your Productivity with New TelePresence Tools

You know how it goes: You’re in a meeting, one of many during your workday. Someone is droning on about something you should care about and pay attention to, but instead….you’re doodling. Maybe you’re looking at your Twitter feed. Or maybe you’re daydreaming. This scenario is familiar to just about anyone faced with meeting after meeting in which important matters are discussed, and few decisions are made.

Maya Design, a design consultancy and technology research lab, and a customer of Cisco Partner General Dynamics, faced this situation time and again, and decided to do something to step up productivity. The company started using TelePresence units during meetings, enabling participants to really engage with one another. Unlike web-based collaboration tools, TelePresence allows teams to interact, face-to-face, in high-definition.

But the company didn’t just employ TelePresence: They set out to customize it to suit their needs.

How did they do that?

General Dynamics incorporated the use of a touchscreen display that provides a view into a collaboration space shared by everyone in the TelePresence session.

The display, embedded into the table at which participants sit during a TelePresence session, is essentially a giant whiteboard—participants can write and draw on the whiteboard, just as they would on a regular whiteboard, while working face to face. An added bonus: Diagrams, photos, and Microsoft Office documents can all be pulled in to the display. Built-in “supplies” that can also be pulled in include sticky notes and graph paper. Users can move these things wherever they want, and participants can write, draw, and collaborate in real-time.

When a meeting is done, all the material that participants accumulated and collaborated on doesn’t disappear—the documents and notes can be exported and saved. You can also drag materials back onto the whiteboard and pick up where you left off last time.

As Mickey McManus, Maya Design’s CEO notes, using TelePresence in conjunction with a customized electronic whiteboard enables his company to have meetings that are “more efficient than if we were sitting around a table together. It’s perfect for anyone tired of wasting time in meetings—there are no hurdles, and no learning curves, just jump right in.”

Sounds good to us—unproductive meetings be gone! We also think this is also a great example of one way that a Cisco Partner has helped enable collaboration using core Cisco technologies: Pretty cool.

Are you helping your customers use TelePresence and other Cisco technologies in new and interesting ways? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it. You could be featured in an upcoming video or post on the Channels blog.




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  1. Leave us a comment here on the blog if you’re interested in learning more about this product and how General Dynamics built this solution.

  2. This is a fantastic product. We have had great interest in this tool.