Expectations are set high with Cisco Telepresence. You have to use one of their offices, so its a managed environment. Quality of service is a given. As chair of SAP’s Sustainability Stakeholder Panel I was recently invited to Cisco’s offices in London to attend a meeting with the Panel, and SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann-Snabe. You can imagine my disappointment when the system just didn’t work. Even worse – and how is this for unfortunate? – one of the panel members flew from their location to SAP’s Philadelphia office for the TelePresence meeting. Ah yes – sustainability and telepresence… Suffice to say the outcome was pretty embarrassing. Maybe Tim can make something funny out of it. TelePresence is utterly amazing- it really is like being in the room with the other folks on the call- when it works properly. And yes this was nothing but a configuraton issue. I am on the record as being bullish about Cisco’s Video Revolution.
In contrast see the zero expectations Skype Video, which saved us a lot of pain and money recently. You see- I was one of the organisers of the NoSQL EU show, which was scheduled bang smack in the middle of the Ash Cloud. We were worried about what to do – refunds, or whatever, given that some of our speakers wouldn’t be able to get here from the USA. Someone (it could well have been me) suggested we use Skype Video for the presentations. Feedback was uniformly positive, although special props go out to Amazon CTO Werner Vogels for making it to London via Reykjavik and Glasgow!!! All Things Distributed… including Werner! I would have enjoyed a keynote from Eyjafjallajokull though…
I know Skype Video can work for presentations because we have used it at HomeCamp, where Tom Raftery presented from Seville to a room full of UK geeks… and his session was highest rated as a call to action by the group.
I was just taken by the old High vs Low, Enterprise vs Consumer, Top Down vs Peer to Peer balance here.
Talking about balance how about work/life – you want the truth? The first time I used Skype Video to talk to my son I misted up. I just kept thinking:
“I can see my son from California. And this darned service is free.”
If you travel and have kids make sure you use it.
My point here is really not about technology so much as expectation management. It seems to me that if Skype gets its act together around the business model its Video product could be a runaway success (and by runaway I mean enterprisey revenues). Cisco evidently knows it needs to nail a “lower” end space – thus its acquisition of Tandberg. But Skype Video brings the barrier to participation down to one question- do you have a web cam? Greenmonk even uses Skype Video to record video interviews with Smart Grid Heavy Hitters.
SureMute may be a joke on 30Rock but its not funny when you can’t see the guys in the other room.
disclosure Cisco is a client. HP and Skype are not.