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The Race to Build the Smartest Cities

Smart cities has been a hot topic for governments around the world for several years as climate concerns, rising urbanization trends and increasingly technology-savvy citizens is driving demand for connected and sustainable cities. The race to build smart cities will only intensify as competitive pressures build up amongst cities to attract the best talent and investment, says Dr Steve Hodgkinson, research director for Ovum, the analyst and consulting company.


Dr Hodgkinson, based in Melbourne, Australia, was speaking to press from around the Asia Pacific region  over TelePresence and WebEx about a new report which he authored: “Is your city smart enough?”. The report cements the role of ICT as an important factor in designing, building and operating smart cities sustainably.

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Building Cities in the Clouds in Asia

Imagine being able to download services such as an e-learning course, health check-ups or a high-definition video conference session with your friends, family or business associates anywhere in the world from your smart phone or network-enabled TV at home.

Need to tweak your energy usage up or down? Check on your little one in kindergarten? Or ask your city council to help with some bulky refuse? Just a few taps on your smart phone or remote control gets the job done.

Just as we today download apps for our iPhone or Android devices, citizens in Busan Metropolitan City, at the heart Korea’s second largest mega city region, will soon be able to request for services or download applications for their everyday needs.

Busan may only have a population of around 3.7 million but it’s the world’s fifth largest port, and also a leading producer of semi-conductors, automobiles and iron and steel. The city is clearly aiming higher and working with private sector companies like Cisco to achieve its ambitions to be a smart city.

This bold vision took the first step towards reality with the opening of an innovation center, called the Busan Mobile Application Center (BMAC), which will provide developers with an environment to create and test these applications and services.

Launch of the Busan Mobile Application Center.

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Technology, Kids and a Guinness World Record

On October 2, 2010, the day after Singapore celebrated Children’s Day, close to two thousand children and Cisco volunteers led by Edzard Overbeek, President of Cisco’s Asia Pacific and Japan theaters, created a little piece of history by attending the World’s Largest Art Lesson across 12 countries and 33 locations around the globe.

Sitting in Cisco’s Singapore office, Peter Draw, a gifted young artist with a passion to bring joy to the lives of underprivileged children through art, achieved his dream of reaching out to hundreds of children simultaneously thanks to Cisco’s technologies including TelePresence and WebEx.

The event was recognized by Guinness as a new world record but the real rewards lay in the squeals of laughter from the children who came from different backgrounds, different cultures and different nations; united for those few hours through a combination of technology and good old fashioned drawing.

Roll video…


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Cisco Live Bahrain 2011: The Biggest IT Event in the Middle East for our Customers and Partners in the UAE

Each year, tens of thousands of IT and communications professionals attend Cisco Live events held around world. Cisco Live offers an unparalleled combination of education and training on the latest technologies and trends; testing and certification on Cisco products; and the opportunity for attendees to extend their professional networks by forging new connections with like-minded colleagues.

Fortunately for us IT professionals in the UAE, Cisco Live is taking place for the second year in our neighboring country, Bahrain.

The first-ever Networkers Bahrain 2010 in the Middle East region was a huge success for Cisco in the Middle East where the event attracted more than 4000 attendees live and online from over 75 different countries.

This year, and under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and developed in collaboration with the government of Bahrain, Cisco is bringing an even bigger networking forum to Bahrain at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, from 10th to 13th April 2011.

Cisco Live Bahrain 2011 is a great opportunity for our customers and partners from the UAE to network and connect with more than 3,000 key technical and business decision makers among their peers from across Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Visitors will gain insights into the new and emerging technologies and trends that will transform how companies  do business and maintain competitiveness  in the current economic climate. Moreover, visitors  will have the opportunity to attend networking, technical seminars, service provider and IT management programs and more than 280 technical sessions across the event delivered by world-class Cisco and Cisco partner experts.

Cisco Live Bahrain is the biggest IT event in the Middle East for our customers and partners in the UAE and I look forward to see you in Bahrain!

Poetry, Technology and Education Across the Ocean

The TelePresence room at Cisco’s Sofia office in Bulgaria was converted into a virtual classroom where ten students from the American College in Sofia, attended a Poetry Master Class with Dr. Linda Gregerson, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

Professor Gregerson, whose fourth book of poems, Magnetic North, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award, discussed her poems with the students over a distance of 8,100 kilometers and across seven time zones.

We really felt we were sitting across the same table and could interact with Dr. Gregerson as if she was here with us in Sofia

“Video makes such a huge difference. We all use video over the internet, but the quality of this session was amazing. We really felt we were sitting across the same table and could interact with Dr. Gregerson as if she was here with us in Sofia. This technology opens up new horizons in education, I can bring my students in touch with the best teachers from around the globe, without the need for physical travel. This will not only help them learn in new ways, but they will develop the skill of communicating and collaborating with other people, a skill which is very valuable in today’s globalizing economy” said Paul Johnson, President of the American College of Sofia.

The American College hopes to continue this relationship with Dr. Gregerson and the University of Michigan and is also planning to build closer ties to different educational institutions across the globe using TelePresence technology.