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Getting Value from Professional Organizations

As a Cisco team member, I’m convinced that the value of professional organizations cannot be understated. It’s understood that employees across various industries have a lot on their plate these days. Data centers, SDN’s or large solutions that help a manufacturing plant to become more “connected” are more than enough projects to keep us busy. However, employees often forget the value of professional organizations that are relevant within each industry. Whether an employee belongs to a professional organization or not, employees must realize the value that these organizations have: professional credibility, influence messaging on a ground level and increasing visibility for Cisco are some of the most important aspects that being involved with professional organizations can bring about.

Professional Credibility

Professional organizations are a place where I can network, learn and help deliver Cisco messaging as well as educate, engage and contact customers through community involvement.  When I first joined Cisco 15 years ago, I regularly attended and presented at monthly users group meetings, but over the years, Cisco’s participation at these meetings has waned and appears to be trending down. Often, I think we take for granted the value of professional organizations, but they provide a standard for professional credibility and give Cisco a broader visibility. As a member of an industry professional organization, specifically the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), I get tremendous value through education and networking.  I know my colleague Rick Geiger, who is on the Gridwise Alliance Board of Directors, would agree. At the local and state level, large impacts are possible as professional association members are able to drive professional credibility, influence agendas and position topics to society members who work or interact with our customer base.

For example, several months ago I received a monthly newsletter promoting a seminar on Software Defined Networking (SDN). One line stated “Software Defined Networking has got Cisco shaking in their boots because it just might completely transform what types of equipment are needed to build a network.  Do I have your attention now?”  Needless to say, I registered and attended -- member discount to boot.

Education of members was the primary purpose of the seminar, meaning attendees expected the delivery of neutral, fair and technically accurate presentation on the future of software defined networks.  As I saw it, the presentation on SDN was focused on a Google approach to SDN architecture for data centers, and included a good amount of Cisco bashing. Nonetheless, the seminar provided an opportunity to influence the messaging at ground level and the topics discussed seemed to be informative and beneficial for all those in attendance.

Influence Messaging and Topics at Ground Level

Understanding the messaging and positioning of the local technical mavens presents a golden opportunity to counter and influence at street level. The bottom line, secure all forums to get Cisco’s messaging to our end users.  The IEEE meeting provided a good opportunity to secure a date and timeslot to present Cisco’s SDN and Application-Centric Infrastructure strategies as well as an opportunity to counter any negative perception the audience picked.  As Mike Robinson, Practice Architect states:

“As a member of UTC’s Smart Network Council, I get to collaborate with leading utilities in the United States who are dealing with the industry’s pressing issues. This is hugely valuable. It offers a direct path to decision makers, a seat at the table as they develop their strategies, and it builds trust as a colleague (as opposed to coming across just as a vendor). Also, through UTC I get the opportunity to speak at conventions, periodic forums, and regional meetings.”

Broader Visibility for Cisco

Cisco will also have an opportunity to drive thought leadership to influencers -- Mavens and Sales specialists who will attend the upcoming session I secured. Account managers, engineers and other members of the sales team should make it a priority to get engaged with professional organizations, user groups and other community influencers.

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DistribuTECH, Cisco, Business and Technical (IT and OT) Solutions. See them all in San Diego February 3rd-4th

January 23, 2015 at 10:29 am PST

DistribuTECH #1

Once again Cisco will be taking part at DistribuTECH this year, and we look forward to welcoming you onto our Booth 3413 (map below). The event is being held at the San Diego Convention Center is southern California from the 3rd to the 5th February You’ll learn how utilities worldwide are working with Cisco, together with our partners, to lower costs and deliver more services on a single, intelligent, secure platform. 

HAK22620 - for webWe at Cisco get a lot of requests from customers to meet up and discuss their special problems whether to do with IT or Operational Technologies (OT), business process issues or industry-related concerns such as regulations, security or compliance. After a short discussion we often find that they are not alone. Many of the challenges they have are similar to those other organizations in the industry. That’s where our expertise comes in. We can show you where we’ve helped customers in the utility sector already.

As a result, I’m happy to tell you that there will be opportunities to meet up with industry experts and technology specialists at our booth to discuss your most pressing concerns and how Cisco and and our partners can help. Here’s how: to schedule a booth tour or customer/partner meeting, contact Samantha Bullock. Sandra will help make it happen.

We’ll have an exciting set of demonstrations available, showing Field Area Networks, Industrial Cyber-security (THE hot topic these days), Collaborative Solutions, Substation gridblock, and Fog computing in the form of Cisco IOx and partners. More about them in our next Energy Industry Blog! Read More »

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Summary: Cloud Computing Coming to an Oil and Gas Company Near You

January 16, 2015 at 12:35 pm PST
brabecht

Director of Cisco Canada’s Oil and Gas vertical business, Brad Bechtold

Brad Bechtold started a series of Oil and Gas discussions on our Cisco Canadian Blog which I know our readers would be interested  in here.

As Director of Cisco Canada’s Oil and Gas vertical business, Brad starts by saying that for many in the Oil and Gas industry cloud computing might seem like a confusing IT buzzword with very little substance.

Trying to wade through the complexities of all its offshoots (public, private, on-premise cloud) without understanding the base concept probably just makes things worse.

So is this just technology for technology’s sake or are there some real benefits to cloud computing for Oil and Gas?

He goes on to describe that the term isn’t really so new after all, how history is actually repeating itself, and how a new paradigm, or business model, is being embraced in the oil and gas industry.

Read his part one here:

Cloud Computing, Coming to an Oil and Gas Company Near You

In the second part of the discussion, Brad goes on to  explore why cloud computing will be adopted in the Oil and Gas sector and discuss its specific benefits to the industry.

Read his part two here: Read More »

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Welcome René Pluis to the Cisco Energy Blog

Please join me in welcoming René Pluis to the Cisco Energy Blog. René is a member of my global energy team and has vast experience of Cisco architectures and technologies and how they can be applied to our customer’s business and technical challenges to create positive business outcomes.

Rene Pluis

Rene Pluis

René has been working in the industrial network domain for several years now.  His focus has been on enabling business imperatives through the deployment of communication networks, connectivity and collaboration.

His main focus is the Oil & Gas Industry, both onshore as well as offshore. Deployment of wireless technologies to connect sensors (IoT – Internet of Things) and enabling mobile wireless clients (track & trace) in hazardous areas and pipeline operations are just two of his focus areas in this industrial network domain. He is also very familiar with other areas of the energy industry such as utilities and energy management.

He combines both a technology and a business view on the solutions at hand. He has spoken at several events and conferences and is considered a consultative subject matter expert by many industry and customer groups:

Please welcome René!

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Cisco Shows Oil and Gas Cost-Saving Technologies at Automation Fair

January 13, 2015 at 12:48 pm PST

Cisco has been a prominent supporter of the Rockwell Automation Fair for a number of years. The relationship has grown over time to one where both Rockwell and Cisco collaborate on developing software, solutions and products for a wide range of both IT and OT (Operational Technologies) functions within industrial and other customers.

Recently Cisco showed off some of the technologies in the oil and gas space, and Ahmed Farrag, Business Development Director from Cisco, talks about Cisco’s presence at the show in the following video.

Ahmed talks about Oil and Gas as one of Cisco’s key focus industries. He mentions the huge demand increases we’ve seen over the past few years.

That’s all changing right now.

The price of oil has plummeted to half what it was only a few months ago. With China slowing, parts of Europe close to another downturn, and oil now gushing following the huge investments that have been made in fracking and tar sands in the US, some say we have too much oil right now. Some companies are going to be worried about margins and future investments. So what’s the future?

The show’s title gives us a clue. Just as automation has helped ‘onshore’ manufacturing back to the US in many cases, automation will reduce costs over the longer term. And many processes and practices in the oil and gas industries are ripe for Automation. Blair Christie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cisco, showed a chart at a recent press review (The Internet of Everything Changes Everything -- The Future of Work) that highlights that the oil and gas industry is, perhaps, the most likely industry to benefit from the Internet of Everything and automation (slide 12):

Nearly half manual processes could be automated.

Nearly half manual processes could be automated in most industries, with Oil and Gas the most.

That chart holds the key to the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

With the advances that have already been made (and those yet to come) in the field of automation, along with rapid progress in collaboration and communications  technologies between workers and companies, one of the keys to profits will be enabling lower costs and higher efficiencies. Cisco and it’s partners are leading the charge.

You can read more about Cisco in oil and gas here: Cisco Industry Solutions: Oil and Gas. there you’ll find: Read More »

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