Today’s law enforcement and government agencies are leveraging mobility to enable efficiency and ensure greater safety and security for the public these agencies serve.
In recent years, law enforcement agencies have turned to mobile technology to enhance wireless networks to deliver mission critical information. Other agencies have turned to software to help analyze citizen-driven information on mobile devices and crime in real-time.
IT decision makers in the public sector will face several challenges as they look for solutions in this growing mobile landscape that will help those in the line of duty. With that in mind it’s important for those decision makers to continue to support the case for innovative mobility solutions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) technology trend is moving faster forward than anyone anticipated. This was evident at the IoT World Forum held in Barcelona, October 29th through 31st. Thought leaders from around the globe converged to discuss wide ranging topics on the IoT, including: standards development, technology ecosystems, connecting the unconnected, data analytics, and a number of different concept-to-reality, real world implementations of the IoT in action.
[What's the Difference Between IoT and IoE? Two Minutes To Find Out!]
Even though the IoT technology phenomenon is rapidly growing, it’s still new for many of us. What does it mean for my industry? Where do I get started? Who do I turn to for help? Indeed, there are many of us staying up at night asking those questions! Read More »
The British Innovation Gateway (BIG) is a great Cisco-led initiative to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK. A great part of my work on BIG involves the support of IDEALondon – Cisco’s innovation centre -- and its start-ups. And I have to say I’m always impressed with the enthusiasm and determination of companies to think outside the box, and challenge the status quo. It’s a fantastically exciting space to work in. In my role of helping companies monetise their innovation, I thought I’d share a few tips on how not to fall into the traps that I’ve seen many start-ups fall into.
1. I can’t see the wood for the trees
It’s so easy when you live and breathe your idea that you think everyone understands what your unique value is and why it’s so much better than anything else. And all those words that make so much sense to you must make sense to everyone else? Sadly – that’s not always the case! Remember the customer that loves your idea – and has told you that he wants to buy it -- probably doesn’t own the budget. He or she will have to go to their bosses, explain your proposition, and convince them to invest. So think long and hard about this one. Can a lay person understand what you do, why it’s important and the value they would derive from buying your product?
2. My product is unique, no one comes close
And this may be the case, but in the vast majority of cases you’ll have competitors. They may have a slightly different approach, a slightly different focus, but in the eyes of the customer, you are in the same bucket! Make sure you know your competitors, and make sure that you can clearly articulate what sets you apart. You don’t have to overtly declare your competitors, but rest assured, your customers may well get courted by those very same companies that compete with you, and you’ll be surprised how many times you’ll hear the phrase “so what makes you so different from these guys?”
3. Avoid the elephants – if you possibly can
Everyone has heard the phrase about eating an elephant, and the resulting indigestion that can result. Whilst a big company with a big brand, may seem like an ideal first customer for a small start-up, treat these opportunities with caution. Big companies are complicated things and you can easily find yourself jumping through hoops to impress them with your boundless agility and flexibility. However, before long, your product starts to look very different from how it looked at the start – it’s likely to have been highly customised, and you’ll have spent a disproportionate amount of time winning a piece of business that at the end is very unprofitable. Follow the 80/20 rule – make the majority of your business repeatable and predictable so that you know what your cost model looks like, and keep the big customised engagements under tight control. Don’t be afraid to walk away from bad business; trust your gut feelings – they are often remarkably good at sniffing out good business!
4. Show me the money
There comes a time when all those early direct sales have been completed, and it’s time to build a sales channel. Follow a very simple two step rule. Firstly, make sure that your partner is equipped with everything they need to make a sale, but don’t expect them to be as good as you -- they never will be. They will always need support, so focus on creating tools and processes to enable them to become as self-sufficient as possible. Secondly, make sure that they clearly understand the money that they can make from selling your solution. Profit margins are king. Make sure you really understand the impact of selling your product on their business and the investment they will make to sell it. A well executing Sales Channel is worth its weight in gold.
5. Grow slow – partnerships versus payroll
This is one of those tips that is so obvious, that it’s often ignored. In the changing and fast paced world of innovation, building an eco-system of partners and suppliers will become an increasingly important facet of any business. But remember that this is always about Core vs. Context. Now that you have developed the ‘most amazing, never been seen, everyone will want to buy one’ product, you will likely need to grow your team. In the early days it was all about people whose expertise represented the core of what you did. Everyone was irreplaceable, and everyone was critical to the company’s success. But once you start growing, you need people that perhaps aren’t core to the business – they are facilitators or executors of your strategy. Hire with caution, and if possible, partner with other companies to deliver these contextual services. Project Managers, Sales Administrators, Support staff can all be outsourced to partners initially. Over time you can cherry pick the best to join your growing company. By partnering you can define very tight deliverables and performance metrics so you know what you are getting for every pound you spend. And when things don’t work out, you can walk away!
BIG supports and nurtures tech entrepreneurship across the whole country, to help ensure the UK is at the forefront of innovation. Through mentoring, business acceleration, financial and business support and much more BIG is enabling the technology companies of tomorrow, today.
Author. Ged Fitton, Senior Business Development Manager, Technology & Solutions Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland
The world’s rail transportation systems are going places. From passenger trains that move people city to city at ever increasing speeds to freight trains that do the heavy lifting of global commerce, rail continues to power modern life. Cisco is thrilled to be a part of this dynamic industry and we enjoyed spotlighting Cisco Connected Rail solutions at a recent media event on Nov. 18-19 in New York City.
The convergence of information and networking technologies – often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – is giving the rail industry a boost and will change the way railroads design and manage their networks to improve system safety, efficiency and to enhance the passenger experience. Cisco is leading this technology evolution to help empower the Internet of Things with industrial-grade networking technologies that drive machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. This unleashes many new capabilities, drives new business models and allows operators to offer more value added services to passengers. This boosts their revenue and improves customer service.
Most rail communication systems today were built over 20 years ago. These aging and typically proprietary networks require specialized technical teams to keep them running. As many engineers and technicians needed to maintain older systems near retirement, rail operators need to adopt smart technology strategies now to remain competitive throughout the 21st century.
Cisco’s vision for the future is built with the Internet of Things in mind – or what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), which encompasses virtually every industry and is poised to generate trillions of dollars in value.
And, we’re already helping to transform almost every aspect of the rail industry – on board trains, in stations and at trackside, improving communications from the locomotive to Central Train Control centers and beyond.
Cisco Connected Trackside replaces older proprietary SCADA networks with secure, highly flexible IP networks to reduce complexity, lower costs, and improve safety with communications networks for train control systems. The network can connect sensors to facilitate asset management, train controls, surveillance and other services.
We’re also transforming the riding experience with Cisco Connected Train solutions that provide passengers with on-board Wi-Fi, video, and mobile applications that deliver entertainment, advertising, and scheduling information. Train stations are getting an overhaul too, thanks to Cisco’s Connected Stations that support new services like “wayfinding” touch-screen kiosks to help travelers plan trips, check schedules and take advantage of special offers.
Sharing a Vision: New York City Media Event, Nov. 18-19
On November 19th, I led a Connected Rail Roundtable discussion that focused on where the rail industry is heading, both in commercial freight and mass transit Intercity rail. Top experts from Cisco and our industry partners discussed how Cisco’s Connected Rail solutions are being deployed in rail systems and how the Internet of Everything is creating business value across different industries.
As rail enters the (IoE) revolution, there will be new services and experiences for the passenger, boosting revenues and profits for operators. IoE will deliver quantum leaps in performance. Operators will see a 1% efficiency savings in passage and cargo train operations, equating to savings of 1.8 billion dollars a year. This will all happen when we bring connectivity to the trains, tracksides and stations.
Lastly, we saw a Cisco interactive passenger kiosk in action during our two-day media event in New York City. These kiosks are deployed in New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) stations, which serves 15.1 million people.
Last night we received the news that Cisco UCS Director (formerly Cloupia) won the product of the year award in the category of virtualization management by the SVC Awards. Each year SVC rewards the top products, projects, companies and teams operating in the cloud, virtualization and storage sectors.
This SVC award provides validation of the leading data center infrastructure management capabilities of Cisco UCS Diector for both virtual as well as physical resources. Cisco UCS Director is unique in the industry because it offers the ability to manage compute, network and storage elements — to configure the storage volume, setup the SAN and IP networks, deploy the bare-metal server, and load a hypervisor or bare-metal operating system in a single operation — from a single pane of glass. As a result, the solution automates the time consuming manual as well as complex processes that burden IT organizations today.
Cisco UCS Director’s unified view to manage integrated infrastructure
Here are some of the reasons why Cisco UCS Director was nominated and won the award:
Open and flexible solution delivering multi-vendor IT infrastructure management
Turnkey solution, quick time-to-value via setup within an hour
Out-of-the-box support for the most widely deployed converged and integrated infrastructure systems: Vblock, FlexPod and VSPEX
Cisco’s unified management approach reduces deployment times from weeks to minutes — for either virtual or bare-metal environments
You can read about the award nomination here. To learn more about Cisco UCS Director watch this video.
Would like to see the product live? Attend a live technical demo or register for a 60-day evaluation, visit here.