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Transforming Education with the Internet of Everything at San Jose State

December 15, 2014 at 9:05 am PST

Forward-thinking faculty members and staff at San Jose State University are using Internet of Everything technologies in innovative ways to transform education:

Project Assistant Quyen Grant is using Cisco collaboration technologies to expand learning across international borders, working with students and universities in Vietnam through the Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP); Advertising Professor John Delacruz is using Cisco TelePresence for his students to deliver final presentations to potential advertising clients who may be in remote locations. Julia Curry-Rodriguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, uses Cisco Lecture Capture to help non-native English speaking students improve their language skills.

These are just a few of the examples we learned about on December 10, 2014 at San Jose State University as they hosted global media, analysts, social media influencers, and Cisco for a series of roundtables that addressed how the Internet of Everything is impacting industries including education and the public and private sectors. Read More »

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The Future of Work: The Partnership Between HR and IT

The workplace is forever evolving.

With the widespread use of collaboration technology and the addition of Gen Y and Gen X employees, it’s knowledge workers who are driving changes in the workplace.

The emerging mantra is: Work is something you do, it is no longer someplace you go. (And if you do go to a traditional office, culture is a determining factor keeping employees happy and engaged!)

As such the definition of a workday is more flexible than ever before and employees are seeking work/life integration instead of work/life balance.

As these dynamics shift and the proliferations of new technology becomes more pervasive, creating a successful environment for the future of work will depend on a strong relationship between IT and HR at the executive level.

This creates an opportunity for HR and IT leaders along with the CIO to evolve from technology administrators to strategic business partners.

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Future of IT podcast with SAP’s Brigette McInnis-Day to discuss how IT and HR leaders could work together in this Future of Work landscape.

Read More »

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When Partner Ecosystem Marketing Feels A Lot Like Walking a Tightrope

In my blog, Six “Must-Do”s for Successful Ecosystem Marketing, I talked about the challenge of maintaining harmony in the ecosystem. Ecosystem marketing manages a difficult balance between touting the virtues of the whole ecosystem and showing the value of individual partner relationships. It’s a tightrope and often somebody feels slighted if you are not careful in your approach.

Several different strategies exist when managing the ecosystem.  What works for one company, might not work for another. To stay balanced on that tightrope, have a game plan and make sure expectations are set properly with the partners. Determine which partner will be offered which marketing opportunities and why. The impact of the strategy can be far-reaching.  It will affect not only marketing program execution but can also impact partner relationships. Whether it’s web presence, content development, or even a partner pavilion at a tradeshow, partners will be sensitive to how they are positioned vis-a-vis other partners who are often their competitors.

At Cisco we have great deal of respect for our partner relationships. This is why we put a lot of thought into how to engage and involve our partners in programs. We want to make sure we are optimizing both Cisco’s and the partner’s investment of time, money and resources.

Besides knowing the ecosystem landscape, a key to developing the approach is to know the audience and objectives for the program.  In many cases, determining which partners will be most relevant to the intended audience naturally unfolds. Here are a few approaches: Read More »

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Key Considerations for Threat-Based Security Programs

As we often say at Cisco, every business is a security business. That’s been true ever since widespread online presence led to widespread cyber threats. It became even more applicable as those threats became more sophisticated and less detectable. And now, with the Internet of Everything (IoE), that phrase is more relevant than ever before.

Cisco estimates that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected, whether you know it or not. Other advances in technology, such as mobility and cloud computing, will require a new way of thinking about network security. In today’s world of IoE, security must be top of mind as the number and type of attack vectors continues to increase, as does the amount of data that needs to be protected. Take a look at three key considerations for building your security program.

First, it’s essential to understand what kinds of threats are coming at you, as well the motivation behind them. You cannot protect against what you cannot see. Second, you need application visibility and control; a real-time, accurate picture of devices, data, and the relationships among them that helps make sense of billions of devices, applications, and their associated information. And third, you need an adaptable, flexible security posture supported by some of today’s biggest innovations and brightest minds.

The IoE is creating a host of new security challenges. A risk mitigation strategy based on these key tenets is essential to securing your information assets. Please let me know your thoughts, experiences and strategies regarding this complex issue in the comments section.

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Future of the Grid Series – Part One: What Does the Future of the Grid Look Like?

This is the first of a three part series on the Future of the Grid and the transformation of legacy models.

The electric system in the United States is in the initial stages of a major transformation.  This transformation completely changes the legacy model of central generation, transmission and distribution to a highly diverse and distributed model with substantial amounts of renewable energy, customer-owned generation, and smart, price-responsive loads.

The present regulatory framework does not serve the needs of this transformation.  If current regulatory requirements -- such as net metering -- were carried forward to a world of large numbers of customer-owned generation, the result would be the much written about “death spiral” for the utility industry.  This means utilities would remain responsible for reliability and the supplier of last resort while being deprived of much of their revenue.

Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Deliver and Energy Reliability (DOE OE) and the Gridwise Alliance have undertaken a Grid Visioning Initiative and facilitated a series of four regional workshops across the country to aggregate stakeholder views on ways that grid operations, business models, and regulatory models must evolve.

The regional workshops were held in four locations:

  • Western Workshop, December 11, 2013, Seattle, WA
  • Central Workshop, February 4, 2014, Dallas, TX
  • Southeast Workshop, April 8, 2014, Durham, NC
  • Northeast Workshop, May 13, 2014, New York, NY

Attendees included consumer advocates, public service commissioners, manufacturers, renewables developers, state energy officials, utility executives, and state and federal legislators and staff.

Future of the Grid National Summit

The Future of the Grid Summit held June 26, 2014 in Washington, DC, was the culmination of these workshops.  Panel sessions were held to discuss each of the elements of the framework and engage attendees with questions and discussions. The participants discussed the key themes that emerged from the regional workshops and discussed the framework developed by the Gridwise Alliance based on data gathered from the regional workshops. Cisco provided sponsorship for the National Summit, adding Cisco to the list of those providing support and leadership to the Department of Energy and the Electric utility industry.

Keynote speakers at the summit were:

  • Bob Shapard, Chair of Gridwise Alliance and CEO of Oncor
  • Eric Lightner, Director, Smart Grid Task Force, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
  • Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S. Department of Energy

As Secretary Moniz conveyed in his remarks, the Department of Energy is engaged in conducting their Quadrennial Energy Review. The collaboration and leadership provided by the Gridwise Alliance is critical to the future of the industry and a sustainable energy future.

Becky Harrison, CEO of Gridwise Alliance, framed the discussion with an overview of the findings from the regional workshops, and the framework developed as a result.

A New Grid Framework

The framework begins with the Evolution of Grid Operations.  Grid modernization is not only updating the grid infrastructure for resilience and reliability, it is also fundamentally changing the operating model of the grid from a focus on central generation and delivery to a highly distributed and dynamic multidirectional flow of power from diverse resources.

The next step is the Evolution of Business Models.  With more and more power coming from renewable resources and distributed generation owned by customers, the business model of the industry must change to one that fairly values and fairly compensates all participants and customers.

The Evolution of Regulatory Models immediately follows as there is very little flexibility in the existing legacy regulatory framework of the industry that is embedded in a mix of Federal and state legislation, regulation, and jurisdiction.  Does the “natural monopoly” of the grid persist when growing amounts of power are produced by customer-owned assets?

The fourth element of the framework is Transitioning to the Future Grid.  The enormity of the grid requires that this transformation take place over time.  It is completely impossible to renovate the grid as we might renovate a building -- you can’t shut it down, undertake a huge construction project, and open it with a ribbon cutting ceremony at some point in the future.

The framework is iterative as each portion changes to accommodate changes in the other elements.  This in itself is a dramatic departure from the largely static regulatory and business model that has existed for more than 70 years.

Why is this important for Cisco?

Cisco has been a longtime member of the Gridwise Alliance (GWA) with both Laura Ipsen and now Rick Geiger, serving as board members.  GWA holds a unique voice in the industry as an organization and a forum for discussion and collaboration across the entire ecosystem of stakeholders in this critical industry.  Cisco is able to hear and understand diverse points of view as well as provide input and thought leadership on issues that are shaping the future.

As we engage utility customers in discussions of their strategic objectives and the priorities and business outcomes they seek, the work of Gridwise Alliance and the role of Cisco provide tangible credibility of our commitment to the industry.

If you’d like to know more about Gridwise Alliance, please contact me by commenting on this blog. Also, watch out for parts 2 and 3, where I’ll break down the DOE’s final summary report and the vision of the nation’s future electricity grid.