Let’s face it. Teleportation is probably not going to happen in my lifetime. Well at least the kind of dematerialization/rematerialization that you see on Star Trek where I say “Beam me up, Scottie,” then find myself back on the Starship after visiting a strange and distant world not less than two seconds earlier. Nonetheless the technology exists today that allows me to touch a button and join a meeting “in person” in California at 9 a.m. Thirty minutes later I can jump into a pow-wow in New York City, and 10 minutes after that I can connect with colleagues in Chicago.

No, this is not science fiction. I do it every day using Cisco WebEx Collaboration Meeting Rooms. I have my own personal virtual room that I invite other coworkers, customers and partners to join. Once in my personal room we can see each other using HD-quality video, share content and collaborate face-to-face.

Even though this technology exists today I still get invited to a high percentage of audio-only calls in which you feel disconnected or not engaged. You never know if people are listening or paying attention to you.

Worst of all is being asked to fly to another city for a one-hour meeting because they want that “in-person” touch.

So I’ve set out (selfishly) to convert as many people as possible to use Cisco WebEx CMR.

What I find in many cases is that even though a corporation may have purchased WebEx CMR, many users end up not using it.  The chief complaint: “It’s too hard to setup a WebEx CMR meeting because I need a plugin on my Outlook” or “I have to log in to WebEx.” Well I’m here to tell you that is no longer the case.

Now, to set up a meeting you only need to add @WebEx to my location field on Outlook, and my exchange and CMR site magically talk to each other in the background and fill out the meeting information when I send my invite.

This is possible via Calendar Connector, which acts like a broker between the cloud and your on-premises Microsoft Exchange or O365. On behalf of the users, the connector acts similarly to the way a client application would access a user’s calendar information. The connector acts like an impersonator that uses Exchange Web Services to:

  • Auto-discover where users are homed
  • Listen for notifications on a user’s calendar
  • Retrieve information on a user’s calendar
  • Populate meeting invitations with details of WebEx Collaboration Meeting Rooms

Here is what it looks like:

picture1

As you can see, you populate an invite as you normally would.  Add the people you want to meet with; set a subject, date and time; and then on the location field enter @webex.

There is no need to remember the information or any client-side plugins. After you press send, it automatically fills out the WebEx information for you. All of the magic is done by your network administrator.

It is now much easier to schedule a WebEx CMR. Notice how it includes the web address to join the meeting via a browser, the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) address to join the meeting via a telepresence video device and lastly the audio conference information.

Scheduling a WebEx meeting has never been easier. You can’t physically teleport yourself to distant cities yet, but you can create a virtual in-person experience by using Cisco WebEx CMR.

Give it a try today.  Beam me up, WebEx.

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