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Bringing the Olympics to life

When one is fortunate enough to work on as exciting and mammoth a project as the London 2012 Games, it is easy to forget that while it might take over your life, for others it’s a distant and somewhat unattainable dream.

Certainly LOCOG are working hard to try and expand the reach of the Games beyond London and make sure other parts of the country benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity the Games coming to the UK brings. The torch relay alone will ensure that 95% of the UK population will be within a one-hour journey of the Olympic Flame, and that will certainly help.

But just this week the impact we, as Olympic and Paralympic Partners can have on people’s experiences and perception of the Games, was brought very much to life via feedback we had from our partner Pearson – who are working with Cisco on the Out of the Blocks StemNet programme. This programme was launched in January, using London 2012 as a catalyst to encourage children aged 11-14 to get excited about learning maths and science. So far over 4,000 UK secondary schools have received a set of free Key Stage 4 activity books.

Our colleague visiting a remote school in Lincolnshire was delighted to see the teachers using the Out of the Blocks books and how the children were excited not only about science and maths, but also for the Games themselves. As one teacher said:  “We’re in an out-of-the-way area.  The children have never seen a major event, and there aren’t any children in my class going to the Olympics – this Series brings it to life for them.”

Another said: “Endlessly kids say, ‘when am I ever going to use this Maths in my life?’  Well, this book shows you where and how…  The diving lesson sticks in my mind.  The kids are intrigued by the formulas – it makes them think how they’re useful in real life.”

Nice – now we have a chance of a lasting legacy!

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A Customer’s Perspective On Cloud

It has been three months since we launched the most complete end-to-end cloud solution in the industry with Cisco CloudVerse, and so far it has been a huge success. The data center has finally been unified, and now it is connected to the intelligent network to deliver applications and services anywhere, and at any time.

2012 marks the beginning of an explosion in cloud traffic. Cloud services, combined with the shift towards mobile consumption and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), are driving IP traffic at an unprecedented rate. Just look at these statistics from Cisco’s Global Cloud Index: Read More »

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Regenerating Neighborhoods around the Chicago Lakeside

Ed Woodbury has a vision of not only building a city for the 21st Century in South Chicago, but also connecting it to the surrounding neighborhoods. And his plans are starting to come to fruition as the development of a 500-acre site in the long under-served south side of Chicago gets underway. The McCaffery Interests‘ president believes the development could ultimately be even bigger than the Loop in downtown Chicago.

Artists impression of the Chicago Lakeside project (courtesy of SOM)

As part of the plan to support neighborhood development, a new venture from UK-based social innovation thinktank The Young Foundation is helping to use TelePresence to share ideas and shape a vision for the area that will identify and develop a strategy to promote the Social Life of the surrounding area.

At a recent press conference on the development site, Cisco EVP Wim Elfrink stressed the iconic nature of the project in Chicago, for which Cisco will help prepare and present the Master ICT Plan, working closely with stakeholders such as architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). Key considerations here will be a focus on the services provided back to the neighborhood and how to monetize the investments to help drive the economic, social and environment value of the project.

Cisco EVP Wim Elfrink

Sandi Jackson, long-time resident and Alderman of Chicago’s 7th Ward was enthusiastic about the potential of this collaborative approach coupled with the education initiative announced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. The plan is to drive the adoption of Science Technology, Engineering and Math Skills in five high schools located strategically throughout Chicago. Alderman Jackson rightly sees this as a critical foundation for the future of the area and the employability of its citizens.

John Pope, Alderman of the 10th District, whose father worked in the Steel Mills of the Southside, stressed that the project is now moving from concept into the implementation phase. The first visible sign of the new development is already appearing as construction of route 41 along the Lakeshore moves ahead. Not only will this help to accelerate the development of the project, but it will also have a tangible benefit for citizens in surrounding neighborhoods who have lacked decent transport links for the longest period of time.

A lot of great work in community revitalization is already being driven and recognised by LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), community leaders and organizations throughout Chicago. Susana Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director attended the press event and highlighted the imperative to harness innovative approaches to transforming the local economy. As she succintly put it the previous evening in introducing the 18th LISC Neighborhood Development Awards Dinner: “We can and must move forward from being the city of big shoulders to the city of big ideas.”

Alderman Sandi Jackson of 7th District

Further innovation is already coming to Chicago through 1871, the U.S.’s first Smart Work Center powered by Cisco technology. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn visited on Wednesday last week for a tour. This new downtown Chicago hub for tech startups which will open its doors on May 2nd is supported by Cisco and partners CDW, Comcast and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. Its guiding design principles are to promote entrepreneurship, collaboration and greater technology innovation throughout the city.

Following the successful model pioneered by Cisco in the Netherlands, France and Korea, entrepreneurs visiting 1871 will be will be able to rent desks on a month-to-month basis and will have the unique ability to engage a broad workgroup of other entrepreneurs, spawning a new paradigm for how work gets done and how innovation happens. For those of you wondering, 1871 was the year Chicago re-built itself after the great fire, becoming the inspirational city it remains today.

Aldermen Jackson and Pope

At the Lakeside event, Woodbury also stressed that all parties are looking into how the new IT infrastructure being put in place could benefit the neighborhood and act as a catalyst that could ultimately help to create new jobs. In addition to fostering smarter ways of working in the city, the project will be a showcase of environmental sustainability. Renewable sources such as wind, solar and waste-to-energy are all being considered as part of the mix to reduce the energy footprint of the development.

Cisco looks forward to partnering with these stakeholders to help shape opportunities for today’s and future generations of Chicagoans.

Read Wim Elfrink’s personal perspective on his visit to Chicago here.

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Can Cloud Cost You Your Job? (Pitfall 2: Force Fitting Cloud into Your Current Security Model)

In a previous blog, I posted the first of three pitfalls of  hitching your wagon to the cloud . Today, let’s cover the second pitfall of force fitting cloud into your current security model.

Recently, I had an opportunity to listen to the CIO of a Fortune 100 company talk about top business care-abouts for IT. We have all heard about cloud and virtualization as technology care-abouts, but this CIO boiled it all  down to two things that matter for IT: Productivity and Risk. Read More »

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Cisco Live Australia On Now! Watch out for Cisco Industrial Automation!

Cisco Live Australia follows on from Cisco Live UK where we’ll be showing an array of Industrial Network products, ideal for manufacturers of all sizes.

It’s Still not too late to turn up – go to this link to see the exciting Show, Conference and Exhibition. You can click on the logo on the right too!

The exhibitor list is on this link at the World of Solutions, and make sure you don’t miss out on:

  • Cisco Booths, including  ‘Cisco Industrial Automation’ where you’ll see the latest in factory networking that’s compatible with Cisco and other IT infrastructure and the basis of what many manufacturers are now seeing as the only way to converge IT and Plant networks safely, securely and with productivity and cost benefits.
  • Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks and the installation and certification of the fibre and copper foundation of those networks.
  • Panduit – a Cisco Partner that is a leading global supplier of complete end-to-end solutions for data centres and enterprise networks. The Panduit solution portfolio encompasses products, software and services based on the principles of a Unified Physical Infrastructure approach. Read More »

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