Cisco’s Telepresence – Welcome to the Human Network !!

Cisco’s Telepresence …Being a part of a Business Discussion and Sharing Conference Tables from Miles Away..!!!

Telepresence ushers in a new era of improved communications and collaboration. Having seen a Telepresence meeting in action, I am both deeply impressed and astonished at the new marvel of connecting people anytime and anywhere in the world. Telepresence isn’t the future of technology …rather I’d like to call it the new reality of doing business in an intricately networked and globalized economy thus allowing us to efficiently and meaningfully collaborate with our peers, customers, partners, and suppliers situated in any corner of the world, across a multitude of organizational functions and supply chains. At best, to me it’s a technology that brings people and information together real-time to foster innovation and minimize decision times.

Let’s begin this blog post by defining what Cisco’s telepresence is all about. According to John Chambers, Cisco® TelePresence1 is a new conferencing technology that creates a unique, “in-person “experience over the network by combining innovative video, audio, and interactive elements. Telepresence fosters a collaboration that allows us to share a conference table and your ideas—when in reality, you’re a continent away. The video proved this point beautifully as it showed us how people from Tokyo, London, Bangalore and San Jose were sitting across a conference table and having a meaningful business discussion even though they were in different continents miles away.

In most large companies like GE, Nortel, Verizon and Deloitte to name a few, Telepresence is used by their managers for connecting with their dispersed teams scattered in far flung places and different parts of the world. In HR specifically, some of these companies are using the Telepresence feature in their overseas recruitment and interviewing processes, training solutions as well as for other talent management initiatives. A potential avenue for using this technology in my previous company could be for initiating the significant Group wide Organization Health Survey – an annual CEO initiative wherein feedback is given by each management cadre employee across the 23 different countries across the globe on the organization culture and work ethics. Therefore some of the potential benefits that come to my mind would be:

● Accelerate our decision making: Whether in Talent Management initiatives or Employment Forums, the tool has the ability to bring talents, resources, and decision makers dispersed throughout different geographic regions and organizational areas together to synchronize and commit on business objectives and relevant execution blueprints.

● Bring Innovation across the value chain: There are numerous occasions wherein we seek the insights and feedback of our customers and suppliers to make improvements and innovations within our value chain. The interactive nature of this technology allows us to communicate effectively to transform our business processes and benefit from heightened levels of customer satisfaction and innovation.

● Scale up resources: As recruiters, we face a talent – skill shortage. With Telepresence, regardless of where the right talent is available, we are in a position to leverage their productivity to the optimum extent and also in a cost effective manner.

● Integrate with other collaboration applications: In a world characterized by Unified Computing, we need to have superlative integration with our own existing video conferencing technologies, Web 2.0 technologies.

While I could continue effortless with this article singing peons of how great Cisco® TelePresence is, I’d just like to conclude by saying that it is leading the way for business collaboration in world sans boundaries.

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Workers of the World, Go Remote!! The shift is happening now…

This concept has fascinated me since the last decade as most Corporates started embracing it in new and innovative ways ever imaged. Without an iota of doubt, the internet and its web 2.0 technologies have changed how we work …but more interestingly it has altered where we work – sometimes in the comfort of our homes and sometimes with our associates in their offices around the globe. With Telecommuting we are finding new innovative ways of doing business anytime, anywhere around the world. The Internatonal  Teleworkers Association Council tells us that 26 million Americans work from home at least 1 day a month and nearly 25 million once a week. In fact in an article posted in TIME magazine I read that the swelling ranks of stay-at- homers include management consultants, stockbrokers, newsletter publishers, advertising directors, energy engineers, urban planners and graphic designers. The number of home professionals, which now totals 9 million, according to the Manhattan-based Link Resources research firm, has been growing at a rate of more than 15% a year and is expected to hit 13 million by 1990, or 11.4% of the U.S. work force.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…What’s the Future of Work for Us All..??

About five months ago I migrated to the area the world synonymously calls  ‘The Technology Capital of the World’ – The Silicon Valley, United States of America. I worked in India and the UK for 5 yrs within the HR Systems and Technology field and was termed tech savvy by most professionals..but that was till I landed in the Silicon Valley. From being termed fairly techno savvy, I soon began to realize that I was a technology novice in this part of the world – oblivious of the wikis, twitters, zoho systems my fellow classmates at Berkeley were so familiar with.
Last week, while sipping coffee, I decided to take a break from the daily humdrum of everyday life  to  do  some crystal ball gaze  into the future. Reading articles and cover stories enumerating  a shattered employment landscape, I mustered the optimism and enthusiasm to regard impending  obstacles as opportunities for some interesting scenic detours.
To begin on a positive note on how our workplace has been rapidly changing …think about the massive popularity of facebook and twitter which didn’t exist 10 yrs before. Ten years before that, we didn’t have the Web. So who knows what the future would bring for us  in a decade from now?
The TIME magazine cover story captioned ‘Future of Work’ written by Steven Gottlieb / Getty and Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s article on ‘Deloitte & Touche (B): Changing the Workplace’ is perhaps most apt for this crystal ball gazing exercise. I was most influenced by 3 emerging trends  elaborated by the 2 thought leaders.
The first trend which highlighted a probable scenario in which we will see a more flexible, more freelance, more collaborative and far less secure work world.  The second trend states with a certain degree of conviction that  the organizations of tomorrow would be run by a generation with new values , ethics— and women will increasingly be at the controls. Last but not the least, success would tilt towards  potentially lucrative positions other than Wall Street that prize young minds who are both technological savvy and have an analytical bent of mind.
Although I have briefly touched these trends in this article, this article was meant to give a heads-up on some of the trends I would be elaborating on in my future blog spots.
1. Future of Work: Steven Gottlieb / Getty, TIME Magazine, May 25, 2009
2. Deloitte & Touche (B): Changing the Workplace:Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Jane Roessner, Sep 28, 1999

Sans Frontiers – Welcome to Virtual Reality!!

Look! Up on the screen! It’s a galaxy! A new reality sans physical frontiers…Welcome to the world of Virtual Reality!!

It seems like a Sci-fi movie straight out of Hollywood, but within the confines of homes, offices..big and small and the world in general, the winds of change are blowing that threaten to unleash a significant and powerful revolution. This revolution is regarded as the first step towards man’s mastery over machine intelligence. A revolution that is not only changing our ideas but also our relationships with each other.  It’s what we’ve commonly heard as ‘Virtual Reality’. In a series of posts on this topic, we will see how this new reality defies physical boundaries of space and time, shatters our image of a stereo-typical workplace, and lays out new rules for business, marketing and communication in general.

Often described as a computer based simulated environment wherein the user interacts with the use of character or avatars. Some posts describe this new reality as a portrayal of some of our most innate fantasies as essayed in the post ‘Second Life & Ur Alter Ego’ while the other posts are restricted to the changing dynamics of our work-worlds.

We see Virtual Reality in most companies and in practically every aspect of our lives. The Computer Gaming industry attributes its success to it, airline pilots use it in their simulation software, B-schools and Universities use it in their curriculum to teach business strategy and entrepreneurship to their students and Fortune 500 Companies like Dell use it as a part of their famed ‘Direct Marketing’ strategy.  As an HR professional in a Fortune 500 companies, we’ve used   Cisco’s Telepresence and WebEx tool for connecting with our people all over the world.

Admit it…we may not like to applaud its existence but we know there’s no hiding away from it.  VR everywhere!!

Hail Technology..!!!

Imagine a world in which no microwaves, Twitter, Facebook, Gadgets and GPSs exist…Seems like a nightmare or a hallucination !!! Well, have we ever stopped and wondered how technology is a part of every second of our daily lives.

Many of us wake up, wander into the kitchen and zap our breakfast in a microwave , ignoring yesterday’s techno-dinosaurs like the gas stove, oven, or even the toaster. Then we relax while sipping coffee that was brewed ahead of time and check our cell phone or laptop to help us get through the day. As we head off to work in our cars, we are glued onto the instructions given by out GPS and use our cell phones for every conceivable purpose we can ever imagine. And that’s just our morning! It’s a rapidly changing dynamic world, where technology leads us in perhaps the most fascinating and thrilling ways we can ever imagine. Well, this blog is a tribute to technology and how it has transformed our everyday life – both professional and personal.

Finally its not the Sillicon Valley czars who are tracking the happenings in the Technology space…its the world at large that is watching and waiting for the future of technology and therefore its implications on the future of work.

New World of Work: Implications for HR