Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
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Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
There are so many things that make me proud of Cisco and its employees, but one of the most gratifying is the work we do to support our nation’s heroes – our warfighters and veterans. This week, nearly 400 of those heroes will take to the slopes, ride snowmobiles, try scuba diving, and enjoy rock climbing and other activities at the 27th annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colo. from March 31-April 5.
Snowmobiling at the 2012 Winter Sports Clinic
The Clinic provides adaptive winter sports instruction for U.S. military veterans and active duty service men and women with disabilities. It is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and supported by other sponsors, including Cisco.
I look forward to this event every year. It is truly inspiring to share these experiences with such great men and women, hear their stories and see them take on new challenges. Personally, my favorite activity is snowmobiling, although I enjoy skiing as well. But by far the best thing about the Clinic is the opportunity to give something back to, and show our appreciation for, our nation’s finest. Read More »
Tags: DAV, disabled veterans, federal, VA, veterans, Veterans Affairs
When I stepped outside this morning, new clouds were forming by the second.
By the time I reached my car, they had transformed a static blue sky into a pulsing network of dynamic gray structures. It was so fast it seemed like a magic trick.
Transforming existing government IT services into cloud services is absolutely not magic.
It’s a process, a series of phased steps. It’s a journey that requires smarter security, integration with legacy systems and processes, and substantial expertise and experience.
Feeling the pressure
Cloud computing is shifting from an option to must-have. If you’re an IT professional working in local, state/province, or national government, the pressure you’re feeling to move to the cloud is palpable, and growing by the week.
You face increasing pressure to reduce costs—and concurrently expand services, data sharing, and information access. Simultaneously, rising security challenges demand that you use new approaches for securing data and compliance.
There’s also mounting pressure to deploy applications more quickly and consistently, and downsize your data centers and environmental footprint.
A cloud model can relieve all these pressures. Cloud computing presents you with a huge opportunity—for your organization and your career—to transform the way that people access and use data, and the way that you store and secure it.
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Governments around the world understand the importance of a national ICT infrastructure and the role it can play in the economic and social development of a country.
However, there is a significant industry trend called Big Data that, I believe, presents a major opportunity for governments to deliver more targeted services to citizens and businesses.
Three key aspects of Big Data are already impacting governments around the world:
- Volume: Each interaction with a government entity creates digital records, network traffic, and storage requirements. The compound annual growth rates of global consumer and business data are expected to climb by 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2015.
- Velocity: Data is being collected at greater and greater speeds. One example of the new velocity of data is the U.K. government’s transition to real-time tax reporting, where employers submit earnings and taxation information on a monthly rather than annual basis.
- Variety: In addition to traditional documents and forms, governments now must deal with torrents of less-structured data such as video from public safety and security systems, along with social media feedback. The multiple channels through which people now interact with government have also created a challenge.
It is not the data itself that creates innovative opportunities for governments, but the potential for analytics and insight around this vast array of information across many formats. Big Data could enable governments to shorten the daily commute for citizens by developing predictive analytics on traffic flows and actual traffic data affecting traffic signaling in real time. Or perhaps governments could help with rapid identification and control of disease outbreaks—from flu, to infectious diseases, to food contaminants.
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Tags: Big Data, Cisco, cloud, government, IBSG, public services
There’s an increasing drumbeat of news about the “Internet of Everything” (IoE)— the confluence of people, process, data, and things that makes networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.
IoE comprises the ubiquitous ways that billions of people and numerous devices on the Internet communicate and report on their status and location. This covers everything from the location of your smartphone, to where a package might be, to the rate of your pulse or your arrival on a street corner, to the condition of a highway.
The Internet of Everything isn’t way off in the future. Today, the number of physical devices connected to the Internet is already six times the number of people on the Internet, even though there are 2 billion of those people. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices.
These devices will come to dominate the “cloud.” Of course, the complexity of a global system that connects all these devices and people is mind-boggling. This global system has the potential for unpredictable and perhaps disastrous behavior. That alone should get the attention of public leaders.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, Connected, devices, IBSG, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things (IoT), IoE, local government, state government