Cisco To Offer Certification For TelePresence Deployments

The two new certifications are Cisco TelePresence Solutions Specialist and Cisco TelePresence Installations Specialist. The former is for voice specialists or networking engineers wanting to specialize in design, implementation and maintenance of TelePresence, while the latter is a technician certification for physical installation and construction of Cisco TelePresence Systems in the 500, 1000, 1100 and 1300 series.

Cisco will begin offering its TelePresence courses and service exams starting in late January 2010.

"Cisco has been pretty conservative about TelePresence deployments. We had to make sure the quality of the experience was maximal, and based on that, Cisco was very protective," said Fred Weiler, director of marketing for Learning@Cisco. "We brought in a few partners some time ago, but we definitely took for that solution a slow pace. Now that we're moving increasingly to single-screen deployments, it makes sense for scaling."

Weiler said Cisco waited on doing a TelePresence certification program earlier because the company needed to develop best practices and examine market needs. Before, he said, TelePresence deployments were mostly confined to big boardrooms, but the smaller, single-screen versions have broadened the audience.

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"At the technician level, for example, you don't have to be an expert in networking," he said. "We've been doing a lot more qualitative analysis on this, I would say, than quantitative analysis."

"We are seeing explosive growth in demand for the Cisco TelePresence solution and we foresee enormous growth potential for these types of advanced collaboration technologies," said Irene Kinoshita, president of Ascolta, an Irvine, Calif.-based technical training specialist and Cisco Learning Partner. "Right now, we're seeing increased demand from companies that want to deploy their own solutions and want people on site who know how to install and deploy TelePresence solutions. We're glad to see that the technology has matured and is now in reach of a larger audience as the single-screen deployment is becoming rapidly popular."

In addition to the TelePresence certifications, Cisco is also launching the Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Voice, a new education track to help users prepare for Cisco's CCIE Voice Lab Exam.

"We did that for routing and switching a year ago," Weiler said, "and individuals who go through the program have a three times higher pass rate than those who don't. It's helpful for them to take the time to get the skills needed, and as we started with routing and switching and saw a demand in volume from customers, we asked those customers what the next track should be. They said voice."

The Learning Program for CCIE Voice will be available through Cisco's Authorized Learning Partners starting Dec. 7.