For the last two years, Cisco has helped many CIOs and IT leaders achieve their objectives by using a business/IT architecture methodology called Transformative Networking, or TN. TN’s ultimate deliverable is the “Unique Architecture Roadmap” which aligns IT initiatives with the key business priorities. This puts the CIO in a strong position when defending the IT plan/budget towards the other C-level executives.
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.
New York City is already proactively bringing information to citizens through an integrated platform called City24x7. This offers local information on displays in obsolete spaces such as pay phone booths, and it is accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. Visitors can discover top-rated restaurants and attractions. Residents can learn about local programs and services, and receive safety alerts. Travelers can save time by accessing real-time data about public transit and roads. The platform has seen astounding results already; currently City 24x7 is in the process of building up to 250 city-approved display locations. Cisco IBSG’s white paper, “Transforming the City of New York,” reveals more about how City 24x7 informs, protects, and revitalizes cities. There is also a video, “A Smart City Transformation of the City of New York.”
Cloud has become a key enabler for those seeking to transform some core aspects of modern life. This includes how schools train the next generation of workers; how companies hire and encourage innovators; and how cities change their economies. ICT has changed the publishing, education, health care, retail, manufacturing, and financial services industries, and it can now address issues that are front and center for every city and government.
The bottom line is that ICT helps leaders to address key problems by helping them to improve government efficiency and strengthen city management. In the process, it provides new ways to encourage economic growth. Cloud, as a critical component of an integrated network of technologies, enables us to think outside the traditional analog box in our quest for solutions.
The benefits are clear, but where exactly to begin? Look for the next edition of this two-part blog for suggestions on next steps toward harnessing Smart City cloud management or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this two-part blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
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.
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 »
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.
No wonder moving services to a cloud model has become a top priority for government entities. Some have already progressed past the public cloud to implement private, hybrid, and multi-tenant (community) cloud models.
Check out this video that shows how deploying cloud-based infrastructure encourages young entrepreneurs and identify new growth engines for the economy:
Are you moving ahead efficiently on your cloud initiative, or encountering challenging obstacles? Let us know.
Finally, stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the “Cloud for Local Government” blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
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.
One example is an online application from a geospatial mapping company that applied trend analysis to help responders to Australia’s recent floods maximize the relevance of social media reporting. This web app shows how crowdsourced social intelligence provided by Ushahidi enables emergency social data to be integrated into crisis response in a meaningful way. The Australian flooding web app includes the ability to toggle layers from OpenStreetMap, satellite imagery, topography, and filter by time or report type. By adding structured social data, the web app provides valuable situational awareness that goes beyond standard reporting, including the locations of property damage, affected roads, hazards, evacuations, and power outages.
Ultimately, a better understanding of the way in which public services are consumed, mapped to population/demographic data, can enable a much more efficient service delivery ecosystem that reduces waste.
Perhaps the “killer app” for a government cloud is enabling a Big Data revolution. By its very nature, the computational and storage demands of most Big Data applications are volatile and therefore well suited to a cloud infrastructure, enabling multiple government departments to share a single scalable platform for analytics. Furthermore, it is essential to bring data together in a common format and a single view to unleash the maximum potential; a government cloud can fulfill the role of a “data federation” for the public sector. Finally the issue of trust can be managed through the creation of a secure private cloud infrastructure.
While a Big Data vision may seem a challenging stretch for some, the reality is that there already are isolated examples of governments bringing together data from multiple sources to make policy decisions. However, the “siloed” nature of these solutions makes them more expensive to build and challenging to maintain. As a result, governments now have an ideal opportunity to put Big Data at the heart of their discussions on government cloud.
Stay tuned to view upcoming installations of the Cloud for Local Government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.