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Cisco #SmartConnectedCity Series Kick-Off: Re-Defining the Citizen Experience through Technology and IoE

With the annual New Cities Summit coming up in Dallas, Texas, June 17-19,  we’re kicking off a new thought leadership blog series to explore the transformation of cities through the power of technology and the Internet of Everything (IoE). The series will feature posts with an in-depth look at the juncture of innovation in cities and how technology can help transform the citizen experience and drive economic growth and sustainability.

I’m thrilled to be able to kick off this series and am looking forward to following the conversations that ensue. Given my focus on local government, I am particularly passionate about the issues facing cities and local government leadership, and feel that technology can be a very formidable force when it comes to enabling positive change to enhance and improve our communities.

Cities around the world face an increasing array of challenges: traffic congestion, parking, safety and security, waste and water management, and access to education and healthcare. Mayors and city managers are looking to technology to solve these challenges, while also finding efficient ways to provide better services, enhance livability, reduce the municipality’s carbon footprint, as well as expand the ability of its leadership to be more accessible to its constituents.

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Mobile Public Safety: Connections on the Job

Public safety agencies continually strive to improve their effectiveness and responsiveness to incidents in their jurisdictions. With increased attention on homeland security programs, these agencies demand better interdepartmental and interagency communications with important personnel, including police officers and first responders in the field.

Mobile applications supporting police, fire, and medical response units have transitioned from simple text and voice to rich multimedia applications. Real-time video, maps with satellite imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, and global database searches are now available in handheld devices that first responders carry with them in the field. In today’s technological sphere, public safety agencies are leveraging these new capabilities and extending their existing applications in order to enhance the efficiency and delivery of high-quality services. Read More »

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Less Issues with Traffic, More Safety

Located in the heart of the oil and gas-rich Permian Basin, Midland, Texas started to go through an exponential growth phase in 2005 due to the increasing demand for energy. The city was feeling the impact of that growth, and in 2007,  its major arterial year-over-year traffic volume increased by 17 percent causing traffic management to become a critical imperative. Finding a solution to this traffic congestion was important not only in terms of efficiency of transportation, but also in terms of public safety.

In response to this, the head of the Midland Transportation Department, Gary Saunders, recommended the IP wireless Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS). The solution runs on a Cisco wireless network with more than 1,500 wireless access points and monitors traffic and provides notification to various departments about the status of 70 pedestrian crosswalk flashers and 119 networked traffic signals. This instantaneous data collection and reporting mechanism has allowed officials to respond with intelligence and swiftness.

The cost savings and benefits are paying off too. The following are some of the key results: 27 percent reduction in total delays per vehicle, 18 percent reduction in total stops per vehicle, and 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption. On four major arterials alone with average vehicular volume, this equates to $1.2 million in annual savings. Additionally, by implementing vehicle detection cameras, replacing wires embedded within the road’s surface and installing cameras, Midland seeks to further enhance its traffic management system. The Traffic Management Center receives real-time video from the cameras enabling the ability to assess or monitor current traffic conditions.

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Harford County Unveils Countywide Broadband Network (HMAN)

On May 22, Harford County, Maryland held a press conference to announce its high-speed fiber optic based network, which will connect government buildings, schools, and libraries while reducing costs. The fiber optic cable, known as HMAN, or Harford Metro Area Network will allow greater broadband access to residents. According to Ted Pilbil, director of the county’s ICT department, the HMAN will “upgrade the county’s computer network and serve as a communications backbone” for Harford.

Since its conceptualization five years ago, HMAN has grown both from the efforts of the Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN) – a consortium of six Maryland counties – and a federal grant under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).HMAN press conference

As part of the fiber optics solution, Cisco helped guide the County into a design that was within its budget and met all its technical needs. More than 100 miles of fiber optic has connected approximately 100 institutions around the county. The design included a Metro Ethernet solution based on the ASR9K platform, which has allowed the County to replace its expensive leased lines with a wholly owned fiber optic network managed by the county. The network has the ability to add Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DMDW) optical technology to further expand the network capacity by a factor of 40x with additional equipment. Cisco’s flexible design allowed the County to reduce costs while providing high-speed connectivity to local schools, libraries, public safety offices, and economic development zones.

The HMAN has great potential to provide economic opportunities and bring business into Harford County. One such opportunity is the presence of “dark fiber.” In essence, dark fiber is when cables are not activated, which can allow a company to create its own private network. Furthermore, business that could not previously access broadband service from traditional carriers – whether due to location or cost – can now buy into a cost-effective, high-speed network. The data will move faster and with greater reliability and flexibility.

Alongside businesses, city and county government will also be linked on the broadband highway, offering endless possibilities for teleconferencing, data sharing, and video communications. Furthermore, HMAN will open opportunities for additional infrastructure for primary, secondary, and higher education.

By providing high-speed access to video, voice, and data for county organizations and residents, the HMAN will catapult Harford County into a technology center of the future.

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Ciscolive! 25 Years of Networkers

CiscoLiveCisco hosted our first Networkers customer event, now Ciscolive!, 25 years ago.  Our first event was small with around 200 attendees focused on multiprotocal routing technologies.  This year more than 25,000 Cisco customers, partners, press, and analysts attended live in San Francisco, with over 200,000 participating online  with topics ranging from Intercloud, Collaboration, Security, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to Connected Cities with Smart Parking, Traffic Management and  Public Safety, Connected Transportation, and Connected Government driving mission success to protect, educate, and serve.

I attended my first Cisco Networkers event 20 years ago in San Francisco and have worked on many exciting initiatives during my career the past 2 decades.  The role of networking technology as a platform for the Internet of Everything continues to evolve and accelerate more quickly being adopted and deployed in countries and communities around the world.

The week kicked off with keynotes and demonstrations highlighting the advances in technology as well as the potential for transformation in business and public sector.

KeynoteHighlights included:

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