Girls and careers in information communications technology (ICT). A contradiction?
Unfortunately that is the case in so many classrooms and companies around the world. Teenage girls use computers and the Internet similar to boys -- they text, they take pictures on their phones, yet they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career. In fact, in the OECD countries, women account for less than 20% of ICT specialists. Today, on International Girls in ICT Day, I’m wondering how we can reverse that trend.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Fairmont Heights High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland. I had the privilege of talking to dozens of young women who are passionate about technology and are getting trained and certified in IT skills through Cisco’s Networking Academy program. I also met Ashley Covington, a Networking Academy graduate who is currently a systems administrator for the City of Baltimore public schools. Ashley told us that she loves her job and “I take pride in my data center.” That is music to my ears.
Virtual meetings have become an increasingly important part of the workday. Companies rely on technology such as video and web conferencing to help geographically distributed teams collaborate and be more productive.
The common denominator in all of these virtual meetings is the conference call. It’s a fact that the quality of the audio usually dictates the quality of the meeting. Think about how many times people complain about the audio breaking up, being too loud or too soft, or simply asking to repeat questions or points discussed because the voice quality is just not good enough?
New Cisco Unified IP Conference Phone 8831
The new Cisco Unified IP Conference Phone 8831 – a new phone purpose-built for the conference room – solves many of these audio challenges. Now, each user joining a meeting can expect the best possible meeting experience, with high quality audio that is akin to being in the room itself. The traditional definition of a meeting has changed, and with it, the tools needed to have a successful meeting experience must evolve as well.
As anyone who has led a meeting knows, the key to a successful meeting is engagement. But employees won’t speak up and engage if they’re frustrated by the meeting experience – if they can’t hear others or aren’t being heard if they speak up themselves. Large meetings can sometimes suffer from a lack of productivity and results because of this lack of participation.
Great challenges can bring great opportunities to any business, and with the inevitability of cloud on the horizon, IT organizations will need to embrace this change. Taking the first, second or even third step can be scary, but the return on taking such risks will pay off so long as the IT organization champions the deployment.
Cisco itself has also had to face these risks of deploying cloud, and has already embarked on the private cloud (IaaS) journey —all the way from virtualizing the compute, network, and storage resources to integrating change management, and metering services for “pay as you use”.
Some of the challenges that we encountered typical that other IT organizations could face in cloud adoption were:
• Ensuring security. Each cloud solution has to be matched to appropriate security capabilities. The new capabilities may include centralized management (vs. trying to manage firewalls on ever-changing edges or trying to manage security on each endpoint), scalable multi-tenant architectures, real-time threat analysis and dynamic mitigation delivery.
• Navigating the required steps. Even the public cloud model is never one-size-fits-all. A successful cloud initiative requires several best practice steps, which occur in three phases:
Plan, including aligning the business and architecture strategies, planning and design, and security.
Build, including staging, testing, and implementing solutions and systems integration.
Manage, including network assurance, remote monitoring/diagnostics/alerts, optimization, and support.
• Establishing the business justification. Calculate the projected and actual ROI from cloud project expenses for equipment and services.
It’s very rare for any IT organization to already have all the in-house expertise and experience that’s required for a cloud project. This will eventually happen, but IT organizations can fast-track their cloud initiatives by partnering with a company that understands the cloud journey.
Cisco Services has a proven methodology for implementing private clouds that can help ensure your agency makes a smooth and effective transition to cloud. It starts with the Cisco Domain TenSM discussion to identify where you need to focus among ten crucial areas:
New cloud platforms are rapidly transforming government IT—just as client/server and mainframe/terminal platforms did in decades past.
If you embark on the cloud journey, you’re committing to an exciting and long-term opportunity. And when you step out your door to head to work each day, you’ll be an agent of change for your organization and your career.
I’m curious, what do you see as the biggest challenges to a government entity adopting a cloud model?
Stay tuned to view upcoming installations of the Cloud for Local Government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
Today’s world is characterized by what I call the “mobile explosion”—an environment defined by mobile cloud becoming a platform for delivering everything. It is a world of heterogeneous networks, licensed macro small cell networks, and unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi for example), all seamlessly combined. In this world, however, I believe we are facing a mobile paradox: on the one hand, there is a staggering demand for data from our smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices; on the other hand, the telecommunications industry is grappling with business and monetization challenges around profitability, how to build up these networks fast enough, and competition from over-the-top (OTT) operators. But, operators are struggling with building the business case and understanding how to make Wi-Fi pay.
The much quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. In parallel, the use of unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi) for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications. And they most certainly never saw any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.
In the “Business Models and Monetization Video” in Big Thinkers in Small Cells, my colleagues and I discuss revenue opportunities and challenges mobile operators face today with small cells, both licensed and unlicensed. Mobile operators Read More »
Thanks to everyone who attended the Social Media for Savvy Marketers conference last week – in person or virtually. We received some questions about the slides that were displayed in the Social Media Training simulation area. The examples shown in the rotation were mini stories from around Cisco, ranging from integrating social media into the lead funnel to engaging senior leadership. In case you’d like to see them again, here are the mini cases: