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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Public-Private Partnership is King

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

Good for Citizens, Good for Government

Fast. Reliable. Easy to use. As a consumer, this is what I have come to expect from the technology that I use.

Many companies work hard to meet – and exceed – consumers’ technological demands. But in the new digital age in which we live, technology is advancing into all areas of our lives, from transportation to retail to healthcare, and forming a transcendent bond between our physical and digital worlds. As technology crosses into new realms, governments, cities, and countries are being digitized at an increasing pace, and citizens expect the same speed, reliability, and simplicity in these governmental technological advances.

Countries and communities around the world have a responsibility to meet the expectations of their citizens – but their digitization also provides a unique opportunity to position their nations for economic success. In fact, according to research conducted by McKinsey, “digitization of the public sector could free up to $1 trillion annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance.” But what does it mean for a country to ‘digitize’? Cisco defines the process as building a sophisticated technology ecosystem that will allow for greater connectivity, productivity, and security. Sounds like a fantastic idea, no? But how exactly can countries get to this higher ‘digitized’ state of being?

Unlock the Door to Digital Success

In this week’s post, our digital citizen is a renowned business leader tasked with fostering public-private sector partnership initiatives for country digitization efforts. Many countries are making impressive strides in this area. But two countries in particular stand out as the perfect locations for piloting the citizen’s program: France and Israel.

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Thank You to Our Veterans

Veterans, Thank you.

Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for the sacrifices you make for all of us. And thank you for our freedoms.

With all of you, past and present, we have an amazing country in which to live, liberties many others do not experience, and the opportunities many others are not afforded. You’ve made this great country possible from those that dreamed what it could be.

As a National Honoring, every November 11th at exactly 11am, a color guard comprised of a member from each of the military branches, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery salutes and honors our Veterans. It’s a beautiful ceremony and true dedication to our Veterans.

So today, I ask that we all take the 11 o’clock hour and stop checking off our ‘to do list’, hang up the phone, put down our computer and honor, thank, and support our Veterans any way you can.

It does not have to be big; the littlest of gestures often have a far greater impact. Buy a cup of coffee for a Veteran. Walk over to your fellow co-worker who happens to be a Veteran and thank them for their service. Maybe find a veteran cause such as Wounded Warriors or Operation HomeFront and make a donation.

And while I know many of you already keep our service men and women in mind and honor them daily, today is their day, like a birthday, so let’s make it special.

As a company, supporting Veterans is a key priority of our culture and employees. We are involved in and have many wonderful programs that focus on supporting our Veterans.

This November 19th (November 13th in San Jose), we are hosting a Veterans Career Transitioning Day across various Cisco locations: San Jose, CA, San Antonio, TX, Research Triangle Park, NC, Englewood, CO, and Washington DC. Local employee groups and some of our supporting Partners are holding this event to provide Veterans with information and resources to help them transition from service into civilian life.

Please join us for this amazing event in supporting our Veterans: Veterans Career Transitioning Day.

Thank you again to all of America’s Veterans.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: A Backpacker’s Guide to Digitization

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

Innovation at the Forefront of Everything

As the 2016 Rio Olympics draw nearer, the eyes of the world are turning to Brazil and South America. Latin American economies have historically been increasingly exposed to global uncertainty and economic volatility. However, the region has made significant progress in adopting technology innovations leading to economic development and initiatives to accelerate and stabilize growth. And as host to some of the world’s largest events, Latin America continues to attract industry leaders, economists, financial executives, technologists, and government innovators that are rallying behind the quest for change. Significant drivers of that change will be innovative technology adoption and digital transformation.

Along with the rest of the world, Latin America is witnessing that digital technologies are not only an essential building block of a society, but currently also the driving force behind social, economic, and political development. We are the fortunate ones to live through – and hold the responsibility to shape – an era in which ubiquitously connected information and communications have become the catalyst of human progress. We really have only scratched the surface of what is possible. And as we observe businesses, communities, and countries as they progress in their respective digital revolutions, we will only continue to deepen our understanding on how technology innovations transform our world.

The Latin America Backpacking Experience

This week, our digital citizen is feeling adventurous as ever. In deciding to take a break from the average workweek, our citizen planned a backpacking excursion throughout Latin America. Follow along as we learn and see first-hand how technology is transforming lives in the region, with new job skills, entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative services and stronger, digitally inclusive societies. Read More »

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Customer Spotlight: Alabama Dept. of Transportation Reduces Travel Expenses with Video Solution

One of the biggest issues state governments face in their day-to-day governing is the sheer size of the state itself. Even in average sized states, it can take quite some time to get from place to another, and it’s particularly burdensome for state government workers who live and work in cities far from the state capital. It can be difficult to effectively communicate with other employees in the capital and in other cities, and employees spent precious time and money traveling all across the state.

One such state with this issue is Alabama. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) manages all forms of transportation in the state, including one of the longest navigable inland waterways in the nation, six commercial airports and a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico. To ensure these multiple forms of transportation run smoothly, ALDOT has over 5,000 employees spread out across the state. Its large number of employees and their geographic sprawl, however, meant ALDOT was having trouble getting everyone to meet in one location for mandatory training sessions.

While training was the main issue, ALDOT generally needed a more sustainable way to host meetings with employees scattered across the state. Years ago, ALDOT division chiefs from distant corners of the state would have to drive to Montgomery, Alabama, every Monday to attend one meeting, which was not a productive use of time and incurred costly travel expenses. Clearly, it needed a cost-effective solution to make it easier for the department to host trainings and meetings for its far-flung department. Read More »

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Digital Public Safety in Action

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

A New Approach to Public Safety

Lately, constant news coverage has been shining a spotlight on the increasing amounts of pressure that public safety and justice agencies are enduring. Preventing crime is vital to developing vibrant and safe communities. The reality of shrinking budgets and resources in the midst of calls to modernize is creating a challenging paradox, and public safety officials are tasked to deliver mission value in new ways. For example, results from an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Major Cities Chiefs Association survey estimated 53 percent of counties in the United States are working with significantly fewer staff today compared to a decade ago. The fact is that law enforcement agencies can’t afford to put more officers on the street.

Public safety leaders are now are turning to digital technologies as force multipliers to compensate for recent reductions in staff, drastic budget cuts, and the evolving cyber and physical threat landscape. A number of emerging technology solutions are helping law enforcement, corrections departments, emergency responders, courts, and national security agencies modernize and cut government costs by streamlining operations while still producing mission-critical outcomes.

Technology on the Leading Edge

First, our digital citizen is honored to spend the week at the IACP annual conference. After attending this week’s sessions, the citizen has picked up on a few trending themes and important issues that our law enforcement officials face. Of particular importance throughout the conference was the focus on body-worn cameras in the forefront of today’s policing conversations. However, an officer cannot just simply slap on a body camera and call it a day. Secure and updated networks and the ability to move data storage to the cloud must first be in place if it isn’t already. One session in particular featured an estimate that body-worn cameras could result in about 1 terabyte of data per officer per year. Statistics seem to and will vary on a community-by-community basis, but it’s relatively easy to agree that with the vast amounts of video data, secure storage is a major technology issue that will need to be addressed. Here, cloud will be key. And not just for body-worn cameras, but for everything in the digital scope, from evidence management to video surveillance footage. Read More »

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