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Network Security Surfaces as Mainstream Media issue

The New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth filed an alarming account of government and corporate network vulnerabilities that comes across like a briefing dossier read by James Bond aboard a Heathrow-Beijing flight. But it does the good work of putting a critical technology issue before a broad audience.

Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery” (NYT, Feb. 10) details extraordinary counter-espionage precautions taken in China by prudent travelers and their organizations. Many now leave their usual notebooks, smartphones and tablets safe at home. Some say a device taken into China is never again permitted to touch their corporate network.

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Hidden Reserve Of Public Safety Skills

Jeff Frazier & Norman Jacknis, Cisco IBSG

Protection is a public service and one that can only effectively be carried out with the support and consent — and participation — of the people.  We’ve read stories about how Twitter played a key role in responding to wildfires or iPhone applications show a community map of registered sex offenders and crime areas.

But in public safety, especially, there is a unique source of participants – one that is especially important in these days of tighter state/local budgets. In California, for example, there are nearly 190,000 sworn active public safety officers (police and fire).  However, there are nearly a million retired and former officers.  This represents, on average, nearly 15 million years of skills and experience walking the streets.  This population of people never lost their purpose or their desire to contribute — they just ran out of time!

How can we harness this trusted population? A local government could create an “opt-in” network of these experienced citizens.  Typically, public safety training records are centralized through a central state body.  A database comparison of the records can be matched against the ‘opt-in’ application.

Once accepted, the officer will receive instantaneous alerts on his cell phone, based on its GPS location, about reported problems.  When a problem is reported, the public safety dispatcher would have the ability to examine a geo-spatial screen and discover how many people are in a particular area and who best to solicit or notify.

Governments across the country should enable this skilled population to support public safety problem-solving, in order to identify, recognize, and address problems much faster.

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Telehealth In Action: Remote Care for Veterans

February 20, 2012 at 5:11 am PST

The victim of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, Joseph “Jay” Briseno Jr. came home from his 2003 tour of duty in Iraq to an entirely different life—one that requires extensive ongoing care.

To make necessary healthcare services more accessible to Jay, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. (DCVAMC) worked with Cisco TelePresence to tailor a telehealth solution specifically to Jay’s needs. Jay can communicate with his doctors through the telehealth device installed in his family home, 30 miles away from the hospital, and avoid the ambulance ride he would otherwise have to take every time he had an appointment.

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Is Your Network Ready for a Mobile Workforce?

February 17, 2012 at 8:49 am PST

Ready or not, governments, healthcare providers, and schools are going mobile. If your workforce isn’t mobile yet, it soon will be: by 2013, 80 percent of businesses will support a mobile workforce (one that specifically relies on tablet technology), according to Gartner.

As I mentioned before, mobile employees will depend on telepresence and video collaboration tools to optimize their work experiences: these technologies do a wonderful job of filling the gap in personal interaction that can occur when an entire office works outside of the actual office.

But telepresence and video are only as good as the networks that support them.

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Innovation in Government? Collaborative Research is Critical to Fuel Breakthroughs

This week I had the opportunity to meet with a research group from the University of Tokyo visiting California to explore the role of technology for intelligent cities of the future.   I prepared for this meeting with a discussion with colleage Dr. Norm Jacknis concerning his collaboration with government leaders and university researchers who are delving deeply into the impact of the Internet on government, politics, and society. 

Three takeaways were clear from these conversations:

1. Critical importance of collaborative research across expertise domains, geographies, and public and private sectors

2. Capability to harness the explosion of information or big data deluge that is being fueled by mobile devices connected to the intelligent network

3. An optimistic point of view about potential for research applications, and I’m an optimist!

Next month, Cisco is hosting a live webcast with Dr. Martin Chalfie, 2008 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry Fueling Innovation:  How Research is Really Done (February 29, 2012 at 9:00 am Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time). 

This webcast will explore how the fruits of basic research are critical to fueling applications. Dr. Chalfie will give examples from his own research developing Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a biological marker, as well as from work by others, to demonstrate that the application of basic research into fundamental problems in biology is important for its own sake and, fuels the development of various new applications.

While research is typically focused on one industry, great discoveries generally provide value for multiple industries. 

Dr. Chalfie is a Professor of Biological Sciences and former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. In 2008 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Tsien for his introduction of GFP as a biological marker.

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