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My IoE World: Starting the Day Fit and Connected

Introduction

It’s mind-boggling to see the speed at which people, process, data, and things are becoming more and more connected. The Internet of Everything (IoE) world is already happening.  But what does that world really look and feel like in our daily lives?  How are our everyday experiences changing as a result? How is it helping us attain our goals and desired outcomes?

To answer these questions, we need to take a step back to understand a few critical elements.  First, IoE is coming at us like a freight train, but it may not be evident because it’s happening in silos and with very specific technologies and applications.  To appreciate how much activity is going on in this space, it’s critical to begin looking at the IoE landscape in specific segments. Here are two things that can help:

  1. A video of an interview I conducted with Rick Smolan, author of “The Human Face of Big Data,” in which Rick provides some great insights and examples of life in a connected world.
  2. This mind-bending chart that details different horizontals, verticals, and building blocks to help you explore and examine the evolution of IoE.

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Ecosystem for Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Tackles Application Agility

November 8, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

Yesterday, Nov 6, Cisco unveiled details of the Application Centric Infrastructure with an ecosystem of partners that share our common view -- IT is in need of a transformation to create the Application Economy.   Some key technology leaders spoke about the application lifecycle impact of an open and centralized policy model for complete infrastructure automation, including configuration, operation, monitoring, and optimization.  I’d like to recap a few of those comments here today.

During the ACI announcement, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Windows Server and System Center Group (WSSC), said that

virtualization has unshackled applications from the hardware in the past.  But now with ACI we can do much more.  So first of all, we can have the applications be able to describe their needs for more rapid provisioningSo with the view we can get across physical and virtual, we can see what is happening with the application, we can optimize the infrastructure for the application, and do more rapid troubleshooting.

…the integration with Microsoft cloud OS and UCS is really remarkable.  Literally you have a common way to automate everything from the application, down to the operating system, down to all of the hardware level components.  But ACI gives us the ability to do some really remarkable things..

Imagine how Exchange, Sharepoint and Linc -- being able to be shipped with ACI policies that now describe out how exactly the network should be configured, how it should be optimized, and automatically be provisioned across physical and virtual in a holistic way.  That’s the kind of value we are going to be able to deliver together.

On The Official Microsoft Blog,  Satya Nadella, EVP, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft,  blogged:

“…These new solutions are designed to improve business agility and reduce cost by driving infrastructure automation in support of core business processes and applications. This next-generation infrastructure will deliver increased application performance, resource pooling, visibility, automation and mobility through:

· Converged ACI stacks that include fully integrated versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server, Exchange and SharePoint

I introduced the IT challenge posed by apps that behave differently in my earlier ACI post so now I want to point out that the new converged ACI stacks will fully integrate the operating system, orchestration, applications, server and network infrastructure to provide an enterprise customer with the application agility to rapidly deploy Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, scale and upgrade them, and also to decommission them.

Many next generation distributed cloud applications are being written on open source platforms.  For a view on what ACI means to a leading open source cloud platform, OpenStack, let me quote what Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO of Red Hat, said at the launch:

…there’s a whole set of functionality that is required to run a portfolio of true production applications and be able to run a diverse set of applications and to make sure that you can actually guarantee the performance levels that you need. The great thing about ACI is it provides that really differentiated functionality that enterprises need, even on open platforms, but at the same time, it does it with open standards, open APIs, and an open ecosystem so that customers get the benefit without being locked in and maintain the flexibility they are looking for going forward.

For more on Openstack and ACI, see this video – Application Policy and OpenStack – which explains how the DevOps community can extend agile processes to network infrastructure.

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Customers Gather in NYC to Talk Data Virtualization

This year Cisco held Data Virtualization Day 2013 at the New York Palace in New York City. With 350 attendees from more than 130 organizations, it marked the largest event to date and showcased data virtualization is top of mind for organizations as they try to extract more value out of their data.

Data Virtualization -- Different points of view

During the event, customers, analyst and Cisco executives gathered to share best practices, discuss trends driving data virtualization and provide insight into Cisco’s go-forward strategy to expand and accelerate data virtualization offers.  Some highlights included:

  • Customers such as Goldman Sachs, BMO and British Sky Broadcasting shared insider’s views of their implementations, also explaining the significant profitability, agility, and risk management benefits their enterprises have achieved.

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  • Top data virtualization analysts at Forrester and R20 Consultancy discussed data virtualization adoption acceleration as well as the business and technology trends behind it.
  • Looking ahead, Noel Yuahanna of Forrester described global information fabrics powered by data virtualization that integrate enterprise, partner, marketplace, social and line of business information fabrics to provide connected data anytime, anywhere. Rick van der Lans, R20 Consultancy, discussed how data virtualization along with powerful networks – which will allow data to stay where it is collected – will become the dominant data integration method.

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  •  Mike Flannagan, General Manager of Cisco’s Integration Brokerage Technology Group,discussed why Cisco chose to enter the data virtualization business and noted that the big data, cloud computing and “Internet of Everything” eras were making data virtualization a must have for Cisco’s customers.
  • Jim Green, General Manager of Cisco’s Data Virtualization Business Unit, presented his vision for data virtualization’s next generation and that achieving massive scale was the next frontier for data virtualization technology. He also discussed Cisco’s strategy to innovate using a unique mix of data virtualization, networking, and compute assets to meet this scale challenge.

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Highlights from these presentations will soon be posted to our Data Virtualization Day resources page and the Cisco data virtualization offering page.  So stay tuned.

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6 Tips for High Density Network Design

The guys from No Strings Attached Show just published their podcast we sponsored featuring Jim Florwick yesterday and already the verdict is in: Jim Florwick is awesome.

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to download the podcast yet (What are you waiting for?! Download  podcast) or you have a few extra minutes to scan a short blog to decide whether or not you want to download the podcast, I asked Jim what his key takeaways are when it comes to high density design.

Here are Jim Florwick’s 6 tips for HD network design (for the REAL meat, tune into the podcast):

  1. High density client environments are quite common with today’s users being very connected – today’s users are always connected.  With planning, this can be managed quite successfully.  Understand the limitations, be aware of how legacy requirements will affect the outcome, and set expectations accordingly. Efficiency is key and removing some of the blockers (legacy) first is essential.
  2. 802.11ac represents another quantum leap forward in technology and will eventually allow a much richer user experience.   It is a transition that must be managed and balanced against your current mission requirements.  Evaluate channel/bandwidth requirements carefully.  Monitor the mix of client devices operating in your environment and update frequently. Read More »

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Public Safety Blog Series – Connecting the Unconnected is Smart Law Enforcement

Smart law enforcement and smart policing means using people, processes, intelligence and information sharing in innovative ways, including new tools and technologies. Of course, every technology brings new challenges as well as new innovations. For example, the increasing theft of smartphones and tablets worldwide, led to the ability to secure the IPhone 5S with fingerprint biometrics.   Imagine a future where your personal information was protected from unauthorized access, and products could easily become inoperable very quickly if they were stolen.  Theft and crime around such devices would go down, because it would fail to pay off for the perpetrators.  As a result, businesses, communities and public safety would have more economic resources –including time and personnel -- to address other more important challenges.

In my last blog “Connecting the Unconnected in Public Safety Response”,  I highlighted three examples of how The Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are new tools being used today for public safety that are making communities safer.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technology transition where devices will allow us to sense and control the physical world by making objects smarter and connecting them through an intelligent network.  IoT is all about Connecting the Unconnected.   So let’s talk about a few more recent public safety challenges and use cases and how IoT technologies are already helping and going to help a lot more as they become more widely used.

Gangs, Crime, Flash Mobs:   Let’s take a quick look at recent stories about impact of social media in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The recent story about Los Angeles highlights significant challenges for public safety with gangs, and the use of social media and provides insights to the tools that are helping.   ABC local news featured a story about the recent flash mob of 30 to 40 people who used social media to organize a group who ran through Hollywood Boulevard stealing pursues and mobile phones.   Bullet points from the article, by Cmdr. Andrew Smith with the LAPD provide key insights:

  • “The problem is when these flash mobs are used to commit mayhem and chaos,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith with the LAPD.
  • “It really overwhelms the police resources for a short period of time and it’s awful tough to catch them too and predict where they’re going to be unless somebody tips us off,” said Smith.
  • “Each of our geographic area has someone that is designated as the person to monitor the social media in the area,” said Smith.

From the article:  “But while technology can present challenges, it can also help solve crimes. The LAPD is turning to its surveillance cameras stationed on several street corners in Hollywood to help them identify others who took part in Tuesday’s crime spree.”

  • “Surveillance cameras are a terrific asset for us when it comes to solving these crimes,” said Smith.

On September 17th, 2013, Ben Austen wrote a story called Public Enemies: Social Media Is Fueling Gang Wars in Chicago .  The story highlighted the challenges of Gangs and Social Media for the City of Chicago, where more than 500 people were murdered last year, with an estimated 70,000 gang members, in 850 cliques.   The article focuses on efforts and insights about understanding this problem, lessons learned, and insights toward building a safer and better community. With the average economic cost of a murder reported at $17.5M, per homicide, in this study by The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 500 homicides, per year, represents $8,750,000,000 of economic value, per year, for the United States as a nation, the neighboring communities and the city of Chicago.

Multivendor LTE / P25 Public Safety Communications Interoperability

Like many public safety agencies -  state, and local government, federal, and ministries of defense -- Orange County, FL. public safety network faced significant with challenges of not being able to easily “Connect To, Communicate with, and Interoperate with” other multi-vendor P25 and non-P25 radio networks and/or LTE networks, using a complete suite of open standards-based P25 public safety interoperable communications with their existing P25 radio system. They needed P25 Public Safety communications capabilities and they also needed a way to easily communicate to other law enforcement agencies using P25 networks and other radio systems networks.  The IoT solution to solve this problem is Cisco’s IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) that provides a  P25 ISSI/CSSI/DFSI P25 open standards based solution, together with industry leading partner Etherstack, who provides open standards-based P25 protocol support.  Mark Gonsalves from the Cisco team gives a brief overview of the P25 ISSI network capabilities used by Orange County Public Safety in this short video from Cisco Live in Orlando.

Cisco IPICS was also used to help provide capabilities for the world’s first use of multi-vendor public safety LTE interoperable communications  network used in a National Special Security Event to enable voice, video and data for public safety and was supported by consortium comprised of Cisco, Raytheon, Nokia Siemens Networks, Reality Mobile and Amdocs who successfully deployed the nation’s first demonstrated multi-vendor interoperable Public Safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network during the Republican National Convention (Convention).     A brief video story called “Changing the Game at a National Security Event”  was developed to highlight the outcomes and benefits for public safety.

Changing The Game

Changing The Game! -- Click to learn more.

Unlike traditional approaches, by using IoT technologies to “connect the unconnected” to provide multi-vendor interoperable public safety communications capabilities with P25 / LTE and other networks, communities are able to cost effectively improve public safety capabilities and keep communities safer.

Integrated Video Surveillance, used as a law enforcement force multiplier

Integrated video surveillance tools can also help cities, parks, city areas of business, parking and  transportation systems become much safer, provide an effective force multiplier for the law enforcement problem.  By connecting audio communications to video surveillance, for example, law enforcement can much more easily communicate directly to citizens at the right time, to support safe civic activities and support public safety more effectively and efficiently.

Law enforcement can  change the behavior of people who may be entering city parks unlawfully, after hours or in restricted or hazardous areas by having the ability to “instantly” and “immediately” communicate to citizens in real time, -- this can change people’s behavior, and thus create a safer community.  The smart device or sensor in this case is camera, but now it is has the ability to communicate under the officer’s control and can help stop crime and while saving valuable law enforcement resources.  The camera is now a smart endpoint on the network  (a sensor on the network) also has the ability to analyze, sense, listen and communicate with people, when needed.  Cisco Instant Connect, for example, allows secure mobile devices to talk directly to cameras, and listen to microphones attached to cameras.  Cisco’s Smart endpoints i.e. IP Video cameras also now support other analytics applications, for example, the ability to detect “glass breaking”, “shots being fired”,  and other acoustic patterns, with applications that can be added to cameras, as needed.  In a technology demonstration (not a yet shipping product) of what is possible in the future, in this brief video from  “Rick the Radio Guy” from Cisco shows the ability of Cisco Instant Connect to talk to and listen to IP Cameras directly from an Android mobile device.

Gangs, the rise of crime, the use of social media, and new technologies have created new challenges for communities and public safety.    By using new IoT enabled technologies,  public safety -- through people, processes, intelligence and information sharing --  can more effectively and efficiently keep communities safer.