Cisco's Virtual Office, Reducing Tech Support for Telecommuters

Cisco has a press release for its Virtual Office virtual office. We take for granted the solution needs to perform and be secure.

The Cisco Virtual Office addresses the growing trend among mid-sized and large enterprises that have increasingly distributed workforces who need access to collaborative business applications and services outside of their corporate offices. The networking solution packages routing, switching, security, wireless, IP telephony, and policy control technology into a centrally managed office-caliber solution that provides highly secure video, voice, data and wireless service. ( It is flexible, allowing employees to work in a variety of places with technology and services that are as advanced as if they were sitting at their desk in their office. This "extension" of an employee's collaborative office environment includes access to voice and video over IP communications, all protected within a highly secure networked environment.

What is different is they have included "zero-touch" setup/deployment, reducing the costs for supporting the remote workforce.

One of the solution's most valued features is its "zero-touch" setup. Automated, pre-configured setup offloads installation responsibilities from employees, most of whom are not qualified or knowledgeable enough to implement networking systems themselves. With the solution's zero-touch setup, businesses can extend their workforces to thousands of locations with the peace of mind that employee error and IT support will be minimal. As a whole, the Cisco Virtual Office consists of the following components:

    Remote site

    • Zero-touch setup of the new Cisco 881w Series Internet Services Router (ISR) and Cisco 7970G IP phone with color display. Once the Cisco 881w ISR is connected to the Internet, it "calls home" and automatically downloads a pre-defined configuration that syncs with headquarters. From there, employees can benefit from efficient, automated delivery of collaborative business applications and services. For example, wireless LAN connectivity is offered as an option to provide such features as mobile intelligent roaming.

Consider this capability as you green your data center as to how you support the remote work force as reducing travel many times will have a much larger carbon footprint impact than reducing electricity consumption.

One gallon of gas has 19 lbs of CO2. 10 kW-hr of electricity is 13.4 lbs.   You could easily save a gallon of gas in a commute, but saving 10 kW-hr is near impossible.