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Making New Connections In Russia: First-Ever Mobile CCIE Lab Opens in Kazan

The Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to drive network demands and, parallel to this, international needs for skilled networking professionals are on the rise. World Bank Studies estimate that over the next ten years there will be two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally. To connect the unconnected, it is estimated that 220,000 new engineers are required every year between 2014 and 2022. To meet these growing requirements, Learning@Cisco is constantly on the lookout for ways to partner with higher education institutions and governments worldwide to provide training and certification for in-demand skills. Our CCIE Mobile Labs are one facet of this strategy.

Learning@Cisco recently opened a Mobile CCIE Lab in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan (one of Russia’s dozens of regions.) This represents the first CCIE Mobile Lab to ever be offered outside of Cisco premises. It marks the first time the mobile labs have reached Russia’s regions, outside previous operations in Moscow and select locations across the globe.CCIE certifications are of the highest level of achievement for network professionals, which will help Russian IT pros further their careers while also providing Russia with a workforce of highly skilled networking professionals who have the capabilities to help usher in IoE.

The launch and operation of the CCIE Lab will support the additional objective of transforming Kazan into a “smart and safe city.” The President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is moving rapidly toward his goal of making Kazan the smartest city in Russia and one of the five smartest cities in the world. His strategy is to create a city platform to enhance the interaction between government and citizens by sourcing local solutions by citizens, for citizens. Cisco has partnered with President Minnikhanov, the Mayor of Kazan and the Kazan Federal University in recently opening an Innovation Hub at the University to turn this goal into a reality.

Certification exams will be offered in Kazan for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Collaboration and CCIE Data Center (recently added). These one-day exams offered for five days on a quarterly basis provide students greater access to lab testing than they would otherwise have. The fully equipped, eight-hour lab exam provides CCIE students with greater access to lab equipment while also testing their ability to configure actual equipment and get the network running in a timed-test scenario.

In the first mobile lab, held at the beginning of September, we were able to test 12 IT specialists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Republic of Tatarstan, and Uzbekistan. The successful launch of the testing lab lends great momentum to the global expansion of our CCIE program and to our focus on improving access to Mobile CCIE Labs. These labs provide a convenient and cost-effective method for students to test for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider and CCIE Data Center in areas that do not have permanent lab locations. The Mobile CCIE Lab reduces the need for costly travel; hotel, passport and visa fees; and the need to leave the country to take the CCIE Lab exam. As a result of the successful launch, we will be testing in the mobile lab regularly.

In further support of these initiatives, Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief Globalization Officer, recently kicked off the University’s first Hackathon in which, after 48 hours of non-stop effort, the nine teams involved created innovative solutions for the city, ranging from Smart Lighting to Smart Bicycle alarm systems to Smart Shop queues. He also addressed 300 eager undergraduates at the Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan on the IoE.

These popular events demonstrated again great interest by the local youth in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and IoE. That’s good news, because Russia will need a skilled workforce in order to take advantage of IoE’s opportunities. Our studies show that IoE can drive $273 billion of economic benefit over the next decade in Russia. The depth of engineering talent in Russia places them, as a country, in a very strong position to capitalize on this value – and quickly. If other countries want to enjoy their share of IoE’s potential, they would do well to follow Russia’s proactive, right-now example of reskilling current workers and preparing future workers for our interconnected world.

A Digital India is A Possibility Today

Our digitising India vision is one of the most exciting initiatives the country has embraced to leapfrog us to the 21st century. What was once a visionary notion is now the new normal: technology is really as essential as the three utilities: water, gas, and electricity. Our government leaders have made it clear that broadband highways are as important as national highways. Through the government’s Digital India program, infrastructure will be offered as a utility to every citizen, governance and services will be on demand and citizens will be digitally empowered. It is this Digital India vision that inspired us to unveil our Cisco Smart City.

As part of the inauguration of the Cisco Smart City, we demonstrated the possibilities of the government’s Digital India program where infrastructure would be offered as a utility to every citizen, governance and services would be on demand and citizens would be digitally empowered. Over 150 partners and customers joined us at the launch as we showcased how our 2.6 million square foot campus-as-a-city, powered by the Internet of Everything, enables thousands of Cisco employees to work, play and learn with the physical network infrastructure securely connected to devices such as sensors, information access points and mobile devices.  We showcased our latest solutions in such as Smart Buildings, Remote Expert, Connected Learning, Smart Parking and Smart Work Spaces.

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Laying the groundwork for IoE in your city: Cisco and Semtech introduce the IR900 series

Cisco continues to push forward with our vision of an Internet of Everything. This “vision” is starting to become less of a futuristic dream world and more of a reality, which is why I am thrilled to show off a new platform and programmable Internet of Things gateway for Smart City applications – the Cisco IR900 Series.  Initially developed to meet the needs of Smart Cities in China, the Cisco IR910 Internet of Things (IoT) Gateway features an open platform design for Smart City applications like smart parking, street lighting, waste management, load sensing of bridges and structures, and signaling and traffic control. The ruggedized, modular gateway easily fits into any harsh environment to aggregate with wireless sensors, which will enable an IoE World.

The market in China presents a great opportunity given the government has identified IoT as a strategic investment, recently outlining plans to invest a trillion dollars on economic development for the Internet of Things by 2020. Cisco has developed a solution that aims to help address some of the IoT business models that will be needed to support the development of smarter cities and communities in China, and is also collaborating with Semtech to utilize its expertise to enhance the IR910’s capabilities. The Gateway uses Semtech’s LoRa chip to create a platform enabling easy deployment and rapid expansion of IoT sensors and end-devices.

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With this latest technology, the range of the Gateway is impressive. So how far can LoRa and the IR900 actually cover? To put it into perspective (for those of you familiar with the San Francisco Bay Area), a single gateway located in Milpitas will cover from San Francisco all the way to San Jose – a distance of over 40 miles! Imagine the impact this gateway can have on an entire urban city. One gateway alone can power all of the sensors on a city network, bringing real time, intelligent data that can be turned into actions. This one gateway can open up the possibilities of an IoE world.

Fog Computing Framework

Back in January, Cisco introduced IOx, our fog computing framework, and how this new type of network will be necessary for bringing value to the Internet of Things. The IR900 series demonstrates how Cisco’s fog computing architecture can execute distributed data processing at the network edge. This approach offloads data center computing usage and reduces IP backhaul bandwidth needs. Intelligent computing and storage capacity can be distributed and processed in real-time calculation of the local IP network edge sensor to the raw data.

Through transparent integration with ecosystem partners’ solutions and the fog computing framework, the Cisco and Semtech gateway will be ready for asset tracking, smart parking, smart metering and smart street lighting.

Today, network development has entered the era of things; large-scale application of wireless sensor technology connects every corner of the city. Cities can collect all types of data from sensors, measuring sound, temperature, light, energy, carbon dioxide concentration, and even traffic changes.

The Internet of Everything will continue to push cities to adopt the most impactful applications and services, catering to the citizens and improving the quality of life. The IR900 is the next step in setting up a network to bring IoE to life by connecting wireless sensor networks and IP networks to back-end cloud platform integration.

Just like the saying, “It takes a village to raise a family,” it will take a robust ecosystem to “raise” the Internet of Everything. IoE cannot come to be through Cisco’s work alone, so we are continuing to work with industry partners, such as Semtech, to provide innovative technology and solutions to help city managers further enhance citizen’s daily lives and operational efficiency. 

For more information on the IR900 Smart City Gateway, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/routers/900-series-industrial-routers/index.html

Check out our New Cisco Asia Pacific Blog for Australian and New Zealand Updates

If you’ve been enjoying the updates on Australian and New Zealand happenings, I hope that you’ll follow me to Cisco’s newest blog - the Asia Pacific blog - which was just launched a few weeks ago.

Asia Pacific’s an exciting part of the world with 45+ different languages and such tremendous growth that if you blink, you might be left behind!  Here are a few of the market trends that you can anticipate hearing more about on the Asia Pacific blog:

We look forward to continuing our dialogue with you on these challenges (and others) and the opportunities they present to our dynamic and diverse region.

Girls in Asia Pacific ICT Day 2014: A Wrap-up

IDC has reported that there will be a shortage of 400,000 jobs by 2016 in the Asia-Pacific region alone. Meanwhile, women are said to comprise less than a third of workers in the computer science, engineering and physics fields in the world’s emerging economies, according to a report by Women in Global Science & Technology. The logic is simple, we need to attract more women into IT, and importantly we need to equip these women with the support they need to have a successful career in IT.

Speaking as a female Cisco employee who majored in math in college, I can attest to the passion within the organisation to ensure females are no longer underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

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