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The Power of Connectivity

Recently I had the remarkable opportunity to meet President Kikwete of Tanzania and hear his vision for the future of his country. I was struck by how passionate he was about technology being the key for his developing country to leap-frog into the 21st century. He spoke with excitement of the promise that the subsea fibre-optic cable SEACOM (now live!) will bring by connecting the people of Tanzania to the rest of the world; and how broadband will help his country overcome an acute shortage of teachers and doctors.It’s pretty amazing when you think about how far we’ve come in a mere 150 years. During the industrial revolution, railroads and steam engines connected farmers and merchants with distant markets. Today, connecting the world involves broadband instead of boats, cable instead of coal, and spectrum instead of steam.jyrkaxue4bPresident Kikwete clearly understands the transformational power of connectivity. Connectivity is the enabler for the world to grow and help solve each other’s problems. Just like the railroad in the 1800s, the network has transformed how people connect. But it has gone even further by transforming how we communicate and collaborate; from both an innovation and sustainability perspective. Read More »

Smart Grids: Dept of Energy Report & Cisco Thoughts, Part 1

The Dept of Energy has released in July 2009 its Smart Grid System Report. While many industry observers and experts have provided observations and predictions about Smart Grid adoption, this report offers an excellent 20 point summary of both current penetration of various Smart Grid components and predictions on trending for them looking forward.In Part 1 of this blog series, I’ll focus on those areas rated Moderate today and/or have a Moderate to High trend rating. (Note: the 20 Smart Grid components are grouped into categories of Coordination Regimes, Distributed Energy Technologies, and Transmission/Distribution Infrastructure) Read More »

EU and US Rapprochement on Climate Change

I have just returned from Washington D.C., and it is refreshing to see an era of closer cooperation between the U.S. and Europe, not to mention the rest of the world, on climate change. As the U.S. delayed meaningful action on climate change for the past 15 years, the EU has set an ambitious target to reduce member states’ CO2 emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 — the so-called 20/20/20 initiative. The EU also created the European Trading System (ETS), the world’s first platform for trading of carbon credits. By placing climate change high on his domestic and foreign policy agendas, President Obama has changed the dynamics of climate discussions with the EU and in global climate negotiations, generally. His administration is fully re-engaged in UN negotiations and, along with Congress, is moving forward with domestic cap-and-trade legislation. Domestic legislation would impose mandatory caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and set a target to cut emissions by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The recent economic stimulus package includes $15bn for alternative energy development, more fuel efficient cars and a “smart grid” to bring them together. The US and European are taking different approaches to solving global warming. While the Obama Administration presents reducing greenhouse gas emissions in terms of opportunities through the power of technology and the creation of a green economy, the EU is mainly focused on shorter-term opportunities to conserve, reining in electricity consumption and using less fuel by driving less and using more fuel-efficient, smaller cars, etc.There is, however, a convergence of EU and U.S. long-term goals on climate change, and this is good news. Read More »

A 10 percentage-point increase in broadband results in a 1.3 % increase in economic growth

For every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points.This is one of the conclusions from the World Bank report “Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact” just published last week. The report takes an in-depth look at how ICT impacts economic growth in developing countries. The findings are forceful and I see them as an urgent call for action. The reports also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.Broadband networks and ICT are a critical foundational element for the information economy and countries’ ability to compete. Countries that take wise and forceful steps to create a competitive ICT market will be able to bring the benefits of the information economy to their citizens. Read More »

US Should Lead in Climate Change Policy

Late last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed comprehensive energy and climate change legislation that would set our country on a path to reduce its emissions to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050, among other things. If it becomes law, this bill will mark an historic milestone for U.S. climate change policy; one that will help pave the way for the Obama Administration to take a lead role in the upcoming global climate change negotiations this December in Copenhagen, Denmark. Cisco supported the passage of the American Clean Energy & Security Act. We firmly believe that innovation and technological advancement will transform how the world manages its energy and environmental challenges. This bill will help ensure enhanced investment in clean tech and energy innovation, helping solidify American leadership in this expanding market, and fast-tracking important technologies that will secure our energy and environmental future. This is vital for U.S. companies and U.S. investment. Read More »