Opening Minds of the Future
I have worked at Cisco for 16 years and have seen us go through many transformations—in technology, in how we communicate, and in how we do business. My story is that of transformation; and not just what I have experienced over the years, but also the transformation of our younger generation as they enter their professional careers.
Last year I was given the opportunity to meet and share our technologies with some intelligent young people. Our intention was to open their eyes to how business is done in a dynamic environment; and hopefully get them on the road to success as our next generation leaders.
Working with two high school academies, one in North Carolina and the other in Texas, we devised a plan of bringing students together in a debate session across Cisco TelePresence Technology.
After selecting the rooms, equipment, judges and escorts, we managed to bring together 12 judges, 8 student debaters, and 4 moderators for their first formal Telepresence debate.
We wanted to show them that positive communication and successful/ healthy business (in this case debating) does not always need to be "face to face". Everyone was able to speak to and look directly at fellow participants, debating and judging as if separated by a few feet, rather than several hundred miles.
The impact of this activity was astounding. Empowering students several hundreds of miles apart showed how Cisco technology can connect the unconnected.
Just prior to the start of the debate, the students thought they had muted themselves and began candidly discussing their opponents' arguments, not knowing that they were broadcasting loud and clear in both locations. Once notified of their mistake, everyone laughed, the audio was muted, and the debate continued unhindered. It was certainly a humorous moment as everyone adjusted to the terrific technology.
Once the debate started, students fully engaged and felt as if they were sitting across the desk from one another.
Given the realistic nature of the debate, it even became a bit heated at times as the students immersed themselves in the activity. That's when we knew that we made the impossible, possible.
It was eye opening. As Cisco employees, we live this technology every day and it's easy to forget how technology can change the world.
I am proud to work at Cisco and to contribute to the technological advances and solutions we provide the world through innovation. And I'm proud to be part of a company that is able to offer such a transformative, mind-opening experience to these up-and-coming superstars.
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