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Enterprise Networks

With power, comes responsibility. You’ve heard this before, but it is even more critical when we’re all armed with the tools that can influence or impact others. Most recently, this came to a head with Twittering about Swine Flu. With the unfiltered nature of the ‘tweet’, fact and rumor, the correct and incorrect, are immediately available to ‘followers.’ It is almost like mob rule for news. Twitter is just the latest example of our sometime misplaced demand for the latest information … a nation developing an acute case of ADD and grabbing disparate pieces of information on the fly …. without any centralized analysis based on vetted data. Imagine if you managed your IT infrastructure that way. Reacting to individual situations as isolated problems; troubleshooting based on rumors or hearsay; operating in a vacuum, without analysis and without the bird’s eye view. Not the most strategic or efficient way to manage your business. And certainly not an approach you can sustain over the longer term. Caveat emptor, magnified a thousand-fold. In this day and age, when stocks can soar or crash with the suggestion that the health of a certain technology CEO is not optimal, we owe it to ourselves to use power wisely. Yes, we need to be able to turn on a dime and seize opportunities. But action without measure or knowledge is simply reaction and that never gets you very far. One of the industry’s biggest technology conferences is coming up soon—Interop. I’m looking forward to it this year because I think now, more than ever, we’re all searching for ways to use information and the network more wisely. We’ve been given the gift of Prometheus. Let’s be smart about it and learn how we can use this powerful tool to reignite the business without burning down the house.Cisco will be at booth 1719. Stop by and say hello if you’re there.

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The Platform

About six months ago, I installed solar panels at my house. Not that I expect to go ‘off the grid,’ but its impact is already showing as the days grow longer. Being a tech-geek, I was naturally fascinated by the computerized electric meter that came with the installation. The built-in technology tracks my usage and diverts the energy as needed. So, if the sun is high, and my consumption is low, I am in fact sending electricity back into the grid. This got me thinking, and doing a bit of research-.Sending power back into the grid isn’t new. But it does open the whole discussion of smart metering, the ability to monitor and possibly adjust one’s electricity consumption, and leverage the network. We’re already seeing companies focused on helping industries manage peak utilization by cutting off or reducing non-essential loads; helping municipalities better manage their street lighting; and helping farmers better manage their irrigation based on weather patterns. But this is only the beginning.Soon, I’ll be able to log into the network and view my home’s energy utilization. In fact, at least one company in Silicon Valley already offers this as a service. I’ll be able to set policies to automatically reduce usage based on cost, or adjust it manually. But, what’s exciting is that this same capability can be extended to my security system. With an IP-enabled system, I’ll be able to see what’s happening in the house, and check on the heating or fridge (hey, who took the last yogurt?!) from anywhere in the world. Yes, this technology exists today. But only recently has the connectivity, either wireline or wireless --within the house and between the house and the Internet--been available. It’s moving beyond the early adopter and hobbyist to the mainstream. And mainstream folks are seeing a new use of the network infrastructure-tens of millions of endpoints, always on, always communicating. The IP network has really transformed how we communicate, but now we are seeing the potential of how it can transform our lives and help the environment.

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