Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Government

#SmartConnectedCity Series: Accessing Remote Experts for Government Services

June 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm PST

Following last week’s New Cities Summit, I have renewed interest in some of the technologies being implemented to improve citizen services. For example, as a citizen of the Dallas metroplex, I was intrigued by many of the solutions and applications the City of Dallas has put into place on its quest to become a smart and connected city.

With so many cities being pressured with the need to spend less yet meet growing citizen needs, we are seeing a growing interest in solutions such as the Remote Expert Smart Solution for Government Services (REGS). Many of us don’t have frequent need to engage with a city expert or professional, but when I have, the experience has been less than stellar. Too often, citizens end up in lines, waiting, having to take off work and in the worst case scenario – leaving without the information we needed.

Let’s say my grandfather needed to renew his driver’s license. With the REGS solution, the city could place a REGS units (or POD) inside a REGS_podlocal commercial complex, within the public library or even the local bank. My grandfather wouldn’t have to go all the way to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  He could simply go to the local POD location, enter the POD, be greeted and start a virtual face-to-face consultation immediately with an expert who would walk him through the process. The expert and my grandfather could see one another and the expert could share a browser or document and even print off any forms my grandfather needs before he leaves.

REGS_howitworksAs Cecile Willems wrote yesterday, citizen engagement is critical to making our cities better. With solutions that make services easier to access, easier to use, and more effective for both the citizen and the city, we may just see that  an engaged citizen is a happy citizen.

 

Is your city taking steps to improve citizen services? (check out what they are doing with REGS in Brisbane, Australia, by the way)

Interested in learning more about Smart+Connected Solutions such as REGS? 

To learn more about what cities are doing to create new possibilities for improved citizen engagement and a better citizen experience, register  for the entire #SmartConnectedCity blog series, or visit Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities page and Government page on Cisco.com.

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco achieves first Foundation Grade certified IPsec VPN gateway

June 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm PST

Today, We bring good news from the Cisco U.K. team, and author Mark Jackson.

Cisco achieves first Foundation Grade certified IPsec VPN gateway which supports CESG PRIME encryption

Cisco is pleased to announce that the Cisco ASA 5500 and 5500-X series security appliances have successfully completed evaluation against the IPsec security gateway security characteristic and are now certified at Foundation Grade. This award represents the first Foundation Grade IPsec VPN product capable of supporting both the CESG interim and PRIME cipher suites, enabling public sector customers to take full advantage of the very latest cryptographic algorithms.

 

In April 2014, the UK Government reformed the way in which information assets are classified, moving from a six tier protective marking scheme to a new three tier classification scheme: OFFICIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET.  The motivation for the change was driven by an overall civil service reform agenda; supporting a greater level of personal accountability over information, enabling a modern workspace and ensuring that security is applied in a proportionate manner.

 

At an ICT level, the reform is designed to allow Government departments to exploit a wider range of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies at the OFFICIAL tier where the vast majority of Government business operates.

 

As part of this transition and the wider adoption of COTS technologies, there remains a need for risk owners to have a degree of assurance that the technologies they choose are fit for purpose. CESG, the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, have updated and improved the product assurance model to meet Government needs. This model includes two grades of assurance; Foundation Grade and High Grade. Foundation Grade products are COTS products designed to provide protection against threats to information classified as OFFICIAL and certification is achieved through the completion of either a Common Criteria or Commercial Product Assurance (CPA) evaluation.

 

The certification covers both site-to-site and remote-access VPN deployment options and coupled with the Cisco AnyConnect client (currently in CPA evaluation), will enable Government customers to deploy a scalable, assured secure mobility solution for a range of operating systems.

 

Rod Halstead, Managing Director of Cisco’s UK Public Sector organisation said “Cisco has a long history of working with the UK public sector and over the past few years has contributed extensively to the G-Cloud and PSN programmes, especially in the area of security and information assurance. Achieving Foundation Grade certification on the ASA platform further demonstrates Cisco’s commitment and provides the foundation for enabling public sector employees to adopt commercial grade technology to support their remote and mobile.”

 

A spokesman for CESG said: ‘We congratulate Cisco on their latest achievement and are pleased to add their latest products to CESG’s expanding range of certified Foundation Grade products. By choosing a VPN which has been evaluated against CESG’s standards, customers can have confidence that the product will perform correctly and will protect their data and information from compromise.”

 

#SmartConnectedCity Series: Dallas, Big Smart Things Happen Here

NewCitiesSummit2014If Dallas only brings images of football games and TV soap operas to mind, it’s time to re-consider this southern city.

A year ago, Dallas faced some challenges adopting comprehensive sustainability programs. But since then, the city has not stagnated in its journey to become smart and connected. Recently, Dallas has caught the attention of large technology companies, won grants, and been selected to hold thought leadership events.

This week, Dallas hosted the annual New Cities Summit, joining past host cities and world capitals Paris and São Paulo. The summit sponsor, New Cities Foundation, founded by Cisco and Ericsson, strives to incubate, promote, and scale urban innovations. The selection of Dallas as the summit’s 2014 location indicates its position as a city well on its way to becoming a technology hub. Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

#SmartConnectedCity Series: A Smart City is a Safer City: Look to the Internet of Everything

Safety is a prerequisite for a healthy city economy. Businesses and families move to safer cities. Tourists think about it when deciding where to go for vacation. Events organizers heavily weigh safety when selecting venues.

Increasing safety used to mean finding budget for additional personnel, vehicles, equipment, radio networks, and other traditional IT. But now mayors and police chiefs have another Smart Cities safety tool that works well—and costs less.   Daniel Stewart, Senior Justice Advisor, and Chief Bob Stanberry, Cisco business development manager for Cisco Connected Justice and Public Safety recently discussed some of the safety and security challenges and trends in public safety in a webcast called “Unlock the Power of Technology to Make Communities Safer“.  So how do we scale the same amount of funding and resource, achieve effective and secure collaboration and information sharing, and leverage new technologies -- Bring your own device, BYOD,Internet of Things, IoT, as part of a scalable architecture?

It’s called the “Internet of Everything.” The basic idea is to connect people, process, data, and things (like sensors) in new ways. Here are three examples.

New Zealand Police Officers Spend More Time in Community

About 6000 New Zealand Police officers now have about 30 extra minutes each day to spend in the community.

 

New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Ricard

New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard

 

The solution is deceptively simple. The officers were given iPhones and iPads so that they can communicate more directly, intuitively and gain access to information more easily.  They don’t have to drive to the station to access law-enforcement databases and submit forms. Instead, they just use a mobile app. They receive assignments from the dispatcher using the mobile app called Mobile Responder. To request assistance, they just click, and the dispatcher receives the exact location.

The only cost was for the mobile devices, approximately NZ$159

New Zealand Police Mobile Responder App

New Zealand Police Mobile Responder App

million. What’s striking here is that the department didn’t need come up with the funds to build a wireless network. Instead, Vodafone agreed to give priority to New Zealand Police wireless traffic over Vodafone’s existing, public 4G/LTE network. That’s possible thanks to the 3rd-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) multimedia priority service.

Giving priority to public safety agencies on public cellular networks is a major breakthrough. During emergencies, traffic spikes over cellular networks can impair quality or cause outages. Police and fire departments need priority over public networks. And with multimedia priority service, they can have it.

In a 2013 pilot with 100 officers, the mobile apps saved an average of 30 minutes each day. Multiplied by 6086 officers, the time savings amount to 325 full-time officers. The time goes toward frontline crime reduction.

Hurricane Sandy Responders Used Video for Situational Awareness

During Hurricane Sandy, traffic lights at a major intersection in Queens, New York, lost power. The resulting gridlock had become dangerous to residents trying to evacuate. A fire department chief put in an urgent request for police officers to direct traffic, but the request was buried among hundreds of others.

Hurricane Sandy, Lessons Learned

Hurricane Sandy, Lessons Learned

The fire chief was able to convey the urgency of the request using video cameras, part of the Internet of Everything. Nearby was a Cisco NERV (Network Emergency Response Vehicle). The chief aimed one of its Cisco video surveillance IP cameras at the intersection. Then he invited New York Police Department and Emergency Operations Center personnel to a WebEx session with audio and video. Seeing the gravity of the problem firsthand, commanders agreed to escalate the request. Just 15 minutes later, police officers arrived to direct traffic. The evacuation proceeded in an orderly way.

Accelerate Threat Awareness and Response

Problems like a flooded sewer system or downed power line hurt the local economy. Businesses have to close their doors, and people tend to stay home instead of shopping or downing.

Now utilities are finding out about safety problems sooner, using their existing network. A sensor in the sewer system, for example, can report a problem before residents do. And the dispatcher can find the closest person—from any agency—with the expertise to fix the problem.

Technuf-Aphelia-Powerline_Fallen_on_Tree_Job

Technuf Aphelia Mobile App

One of our partners, Technuf, has built a solution called Aphelia. It’s a mobile app that ties into Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration Solution (IPICS) and our Instant Connect push-to-talk (PTT) solution. The dispatcher receives alerts on a tablet, such as “70-foot redwood tree has fallen on 25-foot power line in residential zone.” The dispatcher taps a button to see nearby field workers with the required expertise. Another tap assigns them the task.

Field workers receive the assignment, including a map, on a smartphone or tablet. To collaborate with other experts, they just tap to start a video call. Another tap starts a PTT radio session from the smartphone.

Safer Cities, At Lower Cost

These are just a few examples of creative ways to use the Internet of Everything for safer cities. The payoff is a better quality of life, and an invigorated economy.

To learn more please visit:

 

Register for the blog series / follow us online:

  • You can register to receive the entire #SmartConnectedCity blog series.
  • Throughout the series, you can also follow the hashtags #SmartConnectedCity, #NCS2014, and #CiscoIoE on Twitter for updates.

# # #

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

#SmartConnectedCity Series: A Smart Move for City Transport

If we ask why we have traffic, we find that studies show roughly 30% of all traffic congestion in urban areas is caused by drivers circling and struggling to find a parking spot.

City4

With cities growing at an estimated 10,000 people per hour, the situation isn’t going to get any better unless cities make some critical changes to the way they handle parking and traffic.

Cities and local government leaders can now implement two new Cisco Internet of Everything solutions—Smart+Connected City Parking and Smart+Connected City Traffic— to help alleviate many of the parking and traffic-related headaches that crowded cities face today.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,