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I like my telephone.

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Cisco Employee

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_yv_aHQ3ZcOU/TPaK9t0X_9I/AAAAAAAAAkI/sht2PIQDPBw/s1600/TeamMtg2010.pngI "grew up" in the IT world working on Lucent G3si PBX technology, with ATM and Frame Relay circuits, and I even purchased a Montage M8000 MCU and a slew of Picturetel Concorde 4500 video systems way "back in the day".  Back then, I heard repeatedly that video was just a "nice to have", that the telephone was good enough and I tended to agree... in 1996. 

When I think of how the world has changed in 15 years, I am stunned.  Aren't you?  It is natural for us to embrace what we know, to stay within the confines of comfortable communications systems. It is also a fact, that we must move on at some point. 

My AHA moment came when I began to use video every day, for meetings with customers as well as with internal team meetings.  I realized that how I looked and sounded were not really substantially different from meetings "in the office/face to face" except that they were a lot cheaper and less time intrusive on my video system.  No travel time, costs.. ability to work from my desk, with all of my stuff.   It was like injecting 2-3 hours of additional time into every day.

True:

  • I had to figure out how to share data and screens effectively.. (I used webex and now Cisco Jabber religiously)
  • I had to have decent lighting.. (problem solved with an $8 extra lamp for my desk.. bought at Target)
  • I learned how to do multipoint meetings using my MeetMe conference bridge.. adhoc, internal & external.. awesome.
  • Audio works great as long as I didn't go too far across the room. Not a big problem.
  • Others' audio and video weren't perfect.. but seeing their smiles, smirks, and eyebrows "raise" added a huge dimension to my remote relationships.
  • I turned OFF the PIP showing my self view. This changed everything as I could now focus solely on the people on the video screen.

I still like my telephone.  There is something about holding the handset, or putting on the headset and checking voicemail that makes me feel comfortable. I have however moved into the 21st century and I LOVE my video capabilities and collaboration connections.  I do plenty of telephone calls these days and will for years I'm sure.. but in each one, I find myself thinking..

I would really like to SEE what they think about what I just said.

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