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Leverage Your Existing Wireless Infra to Manage iBeacons

Wikipedia defines iBeacon as the trademark for an indoor positioning system that Apple, Inc. calls “a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS devices of their presence”. The beacons themselves are small, cheap Bluetooth transmitters. Apps installed on your iPhone listen for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone detects them.

Imagine the fans at a stadium with their ticket and seat number automatically pulled up as they walk inside an arena. Imagine the passengers at an airport heading towards the ticket gate with an automatic notification popup that pulls up their mobile boarding pass ticket ready for inspection.

We believe that iBeacon technology is a big step forward towards better, cheaper indoor location services such as real time alerts, context-based rewards, mobile payments, etc.

A couple of months ago, Read More »

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E-rate Modernization: It Just Goes to Show…

November 20, 2014 at 9:04 am PST

…what we can do as a nation to solve what appear to be some of the most insurmountable problems in the world, such as access to the Internet for students in schools across the county.  Astoundingly, 68% of all school districts (73% of rural districts) say that not a single school in their district can meet high-speed connectivity targets today.  And yet, the FCC’s E-rate Modernization Program is making great strides to successful addressing this problem today.

For an additional $1.90 per phone line subscriber per year, up 16 cents from 99 cents per phone line per month, we will be able to deliver Wi-Fi to an additional 10 million students.  This is less than the cost of a medium soda, and certainly less than the cost of a latte, and this is per year.  As a nation, less than $2 per year can provide what many of us take for granted, access to the Internet.

Yesterday’s announcement of a draft plan by FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler  to increase the E-rate fund by $1.5B annually is welcome news for schools struggling to provide access to students.  If approved, this means that the overall E-rate cap will increase from $2.4B to $3.9B, and it will include a series of targeted policy changes to enhance options available for schools and libraries to purchase affordable high-speed broadband.

Our chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, said in a statement yesterday, “This proposal, if adopted, will breathe new life into the program and will help our children and grandchildren prepare for an ‘Internet of Everything’ future where technology is integrated into all aspects of work, life, and education.”

In total, the program improvements will target an additional $5B for Wi-Fi over the next five years, which is sufficient to expand Wi-Fi networks in all schools and libraries. The effort will potentially provide a 75% increase in Wi-Fi funding for rural schools over the next five years and a 60 percent increase for urban schools, delivering Wi-Fi to an additional 10 million students in 2015 alone.

It just goes to show that, together, we can make a difference.  We can provide access, and we can prepare our students for the future.

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Partner Voices: Cloud, Data Security, and Business Continuity with Cisco Cloud-Powered Solutions from TekLinks

November 20, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

Well we’re deep into football season, so I decided what better time to chat with David Powell, TekLinks Vice President of Managed & Cloud Services, than when his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide are fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. (Meanwhile, my Wake Forest Demon Deacons are mired in their sixth straight losing season.)

In short, I thought a little distraction for David would be good for him, and he agreed to give me some insight into how TekLinks is ramping up data protection for their customers using Cisco Cloud-Powered Solutions.

Natural Threats

With all of the malware attacks in the world today, sometimes Mother Nature is still the biggest threat to data security. When a deadly tornado outbreak in April 2011 occurred, Peoples Bank of Cullman, AL, experienced firsthand how important it is to have a backup data center location for their core infrastructure. The TekLinks’ networking team was already watching the tornado’s activity via Skycam when they were alerted that the connectivity at all of the Peoples Banks in Cullman had gone out simultaneously.

The team’s suspicions were confirmed when they received word that the bank’s entire second floor was gone. However, the bank’s primary servers were still intact. Early the next morning, the bank’s CTO and technical staff transported the servers to one of TekLinks’ Birmingham data centers, where an entire team of TekLinks engineers were waiting to get their core servers re-cabled, properly powered up, and reconnected to the network. The TekLinks team worked around the clock with the bank’s IT staff to get the bank’s environment and online customer services back up in less than 36 hours after the incident. Read More »

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So you’ve got a cloud strategy? Sorry. What you need is a roadmap.

November 20, 2014 at 7:29 am PST

Like many IT organisations, yours probably knitted a “cloud strategy” some years ago. But do you have a clear roadmap to execute the required changes at all levels (people, processes, technology, services) in a stepwise approach? If not, your strategy is likely to remain just that -- a “strategy” -- for a long time. And you might miss all the benefits brought by cloud.
Cisco’s Strategic IT Roadmap (or SITR, introduced in my earlier post) is a 3-phased methodology destined to help you make this transformation. Here below, I am sharing an example of what the third (and last) phase usually looks like -- a detailed roadmap built around a number of key IT programmes, each composed by specific projects.

Strategic IT Roadmap

Read More »

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Now’s the Time to Deploy Wireless in the Factory

tony shakib connected factory banner pic

Since manufacturers around the globe constantly have to adapt to ever shifting market conditions, any technology that lends a competitive advantage can be a game changer. Implementing wireless on the factory floor can be just that. And our announcement with Rockwell Automation this week at Automation Fair, will make this a no-brainer. The announcement covered enhancements to our joint architecture with Rockwell Automation called the Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE). The Cisco branded version, called Connected Factory, is a portfolio of validated, proven architectures, capabilities and market-leading technologies and services for industrial markets. Factory Wireless is the latest solution offering in this portfolio and delivers unified wireless for industrial applications. Read More »

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