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Medianet at Cisco Live London

Last week, Cisco hosted another fantastic Cisco Live Europe in London. Over 6000 people were in attendance during the event this time around and this was very visible in the crowds in the world of solutions as well as the class rooms.

Also very visible, was the growing impact of video not only in the lives of the people attending but also the networks that they are building and caring for. I talked to a very passionate video conferencing administrator that proudly described how video conferencing technology has been saving lives on offshore oil platforms by connecting nurses with medical specialists. The network quality and transmission is critical in these cases and the case for video (for a variety of applications) is driving a re-evaluation of how the network could be designed and optimized. The next day I talked with a network operator that was struggling to deliver on a mandate from management to provide video conferencing and town hall type meetings to an already stretched thin network.

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Telegraph vs. Internet: Which Had Greater Impact?

2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  You may remember just two things about this period from your high school history class.  First, in an act of ignominy for the Americans, the British burned down the capital.  Second, the war ended with the resounding defeat of the British by the heroic General Andrew Jackson in January 1815, in what was the war’s only set-piece battle between the opposing sides.  Jackson eventually rode this victory into the Presidency.

There is only one problem with this battle.  It took place after the war was over.  The previous month, in Europe, the two sides had agreed to peace.  But in those days, communications was so slow that word of the peace didn’t reach New Orleans until February 1815.

Fast forward, approximately forty-eight years later, to the Civil War.  In the period between these two wars, in 1831, Morse thought up the idea for the electronic telegraph.  The Union Army had mastered its quick deployment, so that in 1863 while sitting in Washington, President Lincoln could read almost real time reports from the battlefields many miles away.

book cover

This was a dramatic increase in the speed of communications.  Not all that many decades later, telegraph lines and cables would unite the world.  Yet this did not fundamentally change the way people worked or lived or governed themselves.

So consider 2011, when the US Navy Seals got Osama Bin Laden.  There was a tweet about helicopters within several minutes, but the author didn’t know why the helicopters were nearby.  The first tweet with some confirmation came about forty-five minutes before President Obama made his announcement.

Now think back about forty-eight years before to November 22, 1963 and the assassination of President John Kennedy.  The news was out quickly all over television and radio and newspapers.  Walter Cronkite famously told the viewers of CBS News that the President had died thirty-eight minutes before.

Unlike the 19th century examples, there was no dramatic speed up in the reporting of these two more recent events separated by roughly forty-eight years.  While we may have more sources of information in more places now than in 1963, word doesn’t get out all that much faster.  You could argue that the Telegraph had a greater impact on communications than the Internet.

Yet many of us have the feeling that our world has been changed by this communications.  Why is that?

I think it has to do with the changing nature of the work we do.  In the mid-19th century, more than three quarters of Americans made things or grew food.  In 2011, less than a quarter do so and the rest of us provide services — and increasingly intangible services, including ideas, knowledge, entertainment and the like which is delivered digitally.  Because better digital communications directly speeds up the delivery of these services, we see the impact more.  It’s the increasing availability of high quality communications, in conjunction with these significant socio-economic trends, which will continue to change our lives.

Please share with us how you’ve seen the confluence of these two trends? Reply here and visit the Cisco Public Sector Customer Connection Community.

[picture credit for Battle of New Orleans http://www.frenchcreoles.com/battnozz.jpg]

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No Ride for Revere with the Right Network

We saw what happened when William Wallace upgraded to the Right Network, but how about Paul Revere? Equipped with a Cisco Cius tablet and a reliable wireless connection, Paul can quickly communicate the impending British invasion to fellow Patriots. There’s no need for a midnight ride when you’ve got the Right Network.

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10 Technology Trends for 2012

Hollywood’s once high-tech future fantasies are not far off. Much of the technology depicted in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey is now reality, and smart houses like Eureka’s  S.A.R.A.H. might be sooner than we think.  But what will we see this year? Here are my top ten best guesses:

1. Old technology being used in a new way

This year will be about going back and using technology we already have in new ways. For instance, the new Ford Escape is reducing wind noise with pre-WWII technology.   Many items that showed up at CES like the Nest, used old technology (thermostat) and applied new technology (internet connectivity and new interface) to create a gadget that has flown off the shelves.

2. Internet-capable features dominating the television market

With the popularity of devices like Roku and Apple TV, this will put more pressure on innovation in the world of television manufacturers. The next natural step will be for simplifying the connectivity for smarter and easier connected entertainment.

3. Near instantaneous media streaming

Current “4G” is considerably faster than 3G and is making headway towards the low-bandwidth, high-information capability of ITU’s official 4G standards.

4. Second Screen Experiences- a household term

With our attachment to mobile devices and The Sundance Film Festival’s introduction of “The New Frontier Story Lab” last year, it is likely we will see more films made for the second screen experience.

5. Cloud-based networking expansion

Cloud is not just for businesses anymore as seen this year at CES. Many companies are switching to cloud-based networks for accessibility and safety. To help pave the way, Cisco is delivering powerful innovations in its switching portfolio.

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Tips on Maintaining a Productive Telework Environment

Do you work from home or on the road often? Do you love “work from home Fridays” where you can drink your coffee in your sweats while responding to emails? So do we. Working remotely saves hours of time on the road that can be better spent getting the kids ready for school or taking that early morning conference call and then immediately hopping on your laptop to work. We also know that teleworking can be great for a more flexible lifestyle but it can also present some challenges if managers do not set expectations of what is expected and if teleworkers don’t create productive work habits.  

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