Guest Blogger: Jeff Johns
Jeff Johns is a Unified Communications Architect with over 20 years of experience in the Telecommunications, Collaboration, and Video Conferencing Industries. He is currently working in the Health Care industry, finding solutions to challenges, primarily by leveraging Cisco Collaboration Solutions. His current focus is supporting on-premise collaboration technologies as well as driving migration of those technologies to hosted platforms.
Imagine your daughter is away at college for the first time. Your family remaining at home misses her and she misses her family and her pets. You want to find a way to make her feel she’s at home…while she’s actually in her dorm room. What do you do?
This is the exact dilemma I was facing. My wife, Tricia, and I missed our daughter, Emilie, a lot when she moved to college in August. We initially used FaceTime to call her, but I soon realized that we needed something different. FaceTime entailed passing the phone around to each family member or crowding in closely together with the camera inches away from our faces. It also felt like we were talking to a screen, not having an in-person conversation.
I knew that there must be a better way for us to communicate, and I set Emilie up with a Webex Teams account. Webex Teams ended up being the perfect solution to help our family stay in touch. I was familiar with Webex Teams because I use it at work, and I knew that I could sign Emilie up for a free account which would enable us to connect via the same platform that I used in my work life.
I located a Cisco SX10 Telepresence device, cloud registered it, and then plugged into our living room TV so that I could connect with Emilie via Webex Teams right in our living room. Through this setup, I was able to seamlessly integrate communicating with Emilie into our family routine.
To surprise Tricia, I coordinated with Emilie to set up a call while Tricia was out of the house. I called Emilie via Webex Teams from my phone, and then synced it with the SX10 device in my living room. This allowed me to project the video of Emilie onto the TV. When Tricia walked in, I said, “Hey, look who’s on TV,” and Emilie started talking to her Mom. The moment was priceless. It felt like Emilie was in the same room as we talked and caught up on the news of the week.
With Webex Teams, I found a way to bring a solution from my work life—the ease of virtual communication via Webex collaboration software—to a challenge in my home life—staying in touch with my daughter while she is away at college. Now, our family looks forward to weekly Webex Teams calls.
Using Webex Teams with the SX10 device helped me to recreate face-to-face conversation and maintain a more personal connection.
Emilie writes that “using the Webex system instead of FaceTime made me feel at home, instead of like I was calling one of my friends. It’s nice to see my parents on the couch and my dog pacing the living room, and see how much the things on the coffee table have changed. Instead of being passed around to the family, I can see them and their reactions and faces all at once. It makes me feel like I’m actually at home, and not just sitting in my dorm room. I’m looking forward to when the whole family is at my house and I can chat with all of them at once.”
For our family, Webex checked all the boxes; it allows my wife and I to recreate the closeness and personal connection of a face-to-face conversation via video calling, while helping our daughter feel like she is at home with us in the living room. It has eased the transition of the first year of college for both Emilie and us as her parents.