The ability to communicate effectively is so important for business leaders that top MBA programs are now featuring courses that teach “soft skills,” like how to receive feedback well, speak respectfully to subordinates, and control emotional responses to conflict, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Although “hard skills” like finance and accounting are important and are included in most MBA programs, these skills become less relevant as employees climb the corporate ladder and start entering management positions. Managing a staff, handling disagreements, and decision making skills are abilities most will learn on the job and not the classroom – until now.

As companies invest in collaborative technology solutions that enhance communication, the need to be able to use them effectively is increased. Visual communication is on the rise, whether it be through video conferencing, Web conferencing, or streaming solutions. An effective communicator will use these solutions to his or her advantage to effectively manage teams remotely, negotiate with clients, and collaborate with remote members of the board or management teams. Business schools are recognizing what we in business are now increasingly experiencing – the value and necessity of being a skilled communicator.

For the fifth year running, IVCi is proud to announce that we have been recognized by Everything Channel’s CRN magazine as one of America’s top 500 integrators! Details to follow.

Live Now!

Bridging the Gaps Concert

Special TelePresence Event
Bridging the Gaps Concert
In association with the Urban Entertainment Institute
With a special appearance by Dr. Maya Angelou

Join us on May 6, 2011, at 11 am, U.S. Pacific Time, for a live broadcast of a TelePresence concert featuring students from Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Students will share their music, vocal, dance and spoken word talents with each other and the world and have the opportunity to interact with renowned poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou, acclaimed television and film producer, Norman Lear, and legendary casting director, Reuben Cannon. This concert will demonstrate how TelePresence can be used as a tool to bridge gaps in education, enable 21st century learning and preserve art programs in schools.

Participating schools include:

• DreamYard Preparatory School, New York City Department of Education
• Jordan High School and the Los Angeles High School for the Arts, Los Angeles Unified School District
• King College Prep High School, Chicago Public Schools

This event grew out of an innovative partnership between Cisco, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Urban Entertainment Institute, who collaborated to provide the first Cisco TelePresence systems in the LAUSD and demonstrated how education can be transformed by integrating the arts, academics and technology.

IVCi recently completed a large-scale video conferencing and audio visual integration project for a client located across the country from its corporate headquarters in Long Island, New York.  Although IVCi has offices throughout the US, members of the management team are headquartered at the New York location.

During the project the SVP of AV integration took several tours of the project while it was a work in progress – he did not, however, leave his Long Island headquarters.

How did the SVP accomplish this? VGo! VGo is a telepresence robot that is mobile – a remote control allows the user to control the robot’s movement. It comes equipped with a video screen that depicts the user’s face to the far end, and a camera that transmits the robot’s location back to the user’s computer screen.

The SVP took frequent tours of the client’s location using the VGo robot. As the robot traveled around, the SVP said hello to passersby, spoke with IVCi personnel at the installation site, and surveyed an LCD that had just been secured to a wall. The ability to move the robot around as if he were at the client’s location allowed the SVP to manage the project without actually walking around!

Want more information about VGo? Check out:

When the American public learned on Sunday that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by an elite unit of Navy SEALs, the country had much reason to celebrate. Since 9/11 our country has endured the high costs of terrorism that occurred on our soil. Not only did we lose thousands of lives, but New York’s economy lost millions of dollars in 2001 alone. The war on terror has created opportunity costs that are associated with any war – the funds that are allocated to military operations are dollars that are not spent elsewhere, such as on education or health care. Our government considers these opportunity costs when making decisions about our priorities and about which investments would benefit us the most.

In business, as in government, we must consider opportunity costs when we make decisions. When we invest in any area, such as in a new technology, we look at the return on investment (ROI), but we should also look at the opportunity costs that would be incurred should we not make the investment. For example, we know that meeting face-to-face is the preferred form of communication in most situations. When we see the other person we can gauge reactions and relate better to each other. When we must meet with other parties remotely, an audio call will simply not deliver the same quality of experience as an in-person meeting, and we are at a disadvantage. When a company has not invested in video conferencing, the opportunity costs of this decision are numerous – a reduction in efficiencies, decreased quality of communication and an increase in travel costs (compared to those organizations using video), and delayed product time to market, among others.

According to most trade reports the video conferencing market place is growing and will be at least a $5 billion industry in the coming year. The opportunity costs of not utilizing video when the competition is will be high.