Something exciting is happening in the city by the lake. The Mayor, Government Officials, enterprises, developers and residents are banding together to propel Chicago to the forefront of the global economy – to reclaim its position as a beacon for talent, the choice for commerce, and the premiere city where people go to work, live, learn and play. Last week, I took part in a series of activities to usher in a new era of prosperity for this great city as Mayor Rahm Emanuel rolled out his Master Plan for economic growth. Education, job creation, revitalization and technology -- are at the heart of this transformational plan.
Preparing the next-generation of technology innovators is critical to an economy that relies increasingly on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a press conference to unveil a new STEM program with a very unique approach. In five schools around the city, students will acquire critical ICT skills seamlessly in a learning environment that integrates high school, college and the workplace. The curriculum is developed jointly by the schools, principals, teachers and corporate sponsor companies, of which Cisco is one. Bottom line: the students learn relevant, real-world skills in high school, emerge with an Associate’s Degree, and have first choice at interviewing for jobs with companies around the city – all without incurring a student loan debt. This is truly out of the box thinking. But this is just the first step. At Cisco, we are also looking at the delivery model and how technology can improve the experience – make learning fun again. Can we do this virtually? Is there a collaborative way of doing this? Can we learn from schools around the world? What if you made a correlation between the student’s favorite sport – using technology to measure the body’s algorithms and then used that to teach the math courses? We’ve already introduced a STEM program in the United Kingdom that applies this approach to learning, and it’s working!
If you caught Secretary Arne Duncan on the Jon Stewart show back on February 16th, the Secretary reiterated an education theme that has been common over the years for the Obama administration. When pressed by Stewart on how the U.S. Department of Education can help drive innovation in our schools, Duncan answered, the real creative breakthroughs “…need to spring from the local district, superintendents & principals themselves … and not the Washington bureaucracy.”
Enter Itasca Schools — in the very rural outstretches of northeast Minnesota. It’s another example, along with Mooresville Schools in North Carolina, of how local schools and school districts are doing exactly that.
You are probably thinking that CITEIS is a typo – but it’s not. In fact, CITEIS stands for Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services and it’s the name that Cisco’s IT department coined for our internal private cloud.
You can read more about CITEIS here, including an explanation of the two options: CITEIS “Express” for on-demand access to virtual compute resources from a shared pool of resources; and CITEIS “VDC” (Virtual Data Center) to provision your own virtual data center with a reserved pool of compute, storage, and network capacity.
We recently recorded a brief demo video of the Express version so you can see how it works:
Cisco has partnered with several outsourced vendors over the years for initial handling of many front-line calls and general information inquiries. Connecting these vendor environments into a single Cisco customer contact environment is critical for good customer care, but costly and not always easy. However, early this year we made a change: we’re using SIP trunking and Cisco Unified Border Element to bring us much closer together, and save money into the bargain.