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Cloud – Technology Nirvana or Buzz Word?

Cloud computing is ubiquitous – directly or indirectly, enterprise organizations, governments and consumers have been actively using or engaging with hosted application platforms for some time and will continue to do so for many years to come.  Lately we have been bombarded by cloud conversations, market analysis on whether cloud is greener, more secure, more cost effective or if it’s here to stay. The din of these conversations sometimes dulls out the reality that cloud is simply a necessary and expected evolution of the way we consume, access, and deliver information over the network. Click here to learn how some private sector organizations are already realizing the benefits of cloud.

With the proliferation of mobile devices, applications and social networks, consumers’ behaviors are changing and access to information anytime, anywhere and over any platform has become a norm. As devices become more relevant, more intelligent and more embedded into our day-to-day lives, we begin to expect that same seamless connected experience across the services we receive from our cities, governments, schools, etc.  Cloud enables these connected devices to go beyond the limitations of our 1:1 interactions and extends our access to services and information. With cloud computing, governments and industries can deploy more dynamic services to grow cities, deliver faster, more reliable services to citizens, and ensure greater access to a global market of opportunities and experiences.

Cloud is really about economies of scale.  Tangible upfront cost savings are difficult to measure, but if you look at cloud as a means to achieving organizational agility through efficient virtualization processes, then the savings are more quantifiable. Cloud computing won’t solve all our IT problems, but it gives us an opportunity to look beyond a siloed approach to IT and information sharing and experience the next generation of collaboration that is dynamic and reliable enough to evolve the way we currently deliver services and operate.

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SBA for Government? – Yes, there’s an App for that!

June 9, 2011 at 9:22 am PST

It seems that every time I talk to customers and partners lately they want to know more about Smart Business Architectures.

I think we all agree that Networking has become quite complicated these days with many choices to be made.  Since most organizations rely on the network for every aspect of their business today, they need to provide an infrastructure that allows for anytime, anywhere, anything and anyone connectivity in a secure, reliable, and seamless fashion.

Poor choices can be extremely costly, and I’ve seen recent examples of customers having deployed the wrong technology (like GPON in a Campus environment) only to find that they were unable to provide the necessary Network services to support the applications that their customers demand.  This is not good for one’s career, nor the organizations budget when a forklift replacement of the network must be done.

Building and maintaining a network is complicated problem that can only be addressed properly with “a plan” or in network terminology, an “Architecture”.

The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch.  Cisco has already done much of the baseline work for you with a number of very well written documents on the Smart Business Architecture (SBA) site.  Cisco has made a healthy investment in SBA to ensure our customers and partners are successful.

The SBA guides are very prescriptive and based on use cases from customers and partners and have been assembled and tested in our lab.  The target level of expertise is the CCNA/CCNP level engineer so you don’t have to keep a staff of CCIE’s to run your network, especially in the mid-size business environment where this is not a very cost effective approach.

If you’d like more detail, check out my talk on the subject recently at the Government Solutions Forum.

And oh by the way, yes there’s no an App on the Apple Store for “Cisco SBA”.  All you need is your CCO password to access all of the documents that are currently available.

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Mitigating poor health literacy with telepresence

June 7, 2011 at 6:19 am PST

I’ve talked on the telepresence blog about how telepresence can help bring healthcare to those who would otherwise go without. But the technology can also play an important role with those people who do receive treatment: it can help teach them to manage their care at home and prevent return trips to the hospital.

According to a recent Washington Post article, the U.S. Department of Education conducted a study that revealed that 36 percent of adults have only rudimentary literacy skills for understanding health material. An estimated 14 percent of these adults struggle with complete illiteracy. Another 52 percent of the total adult population has intermediate skills, meaning they can interpret and follow basic drug administration directions, while only 12 percent of the population has attained proficiency in reading, understanding, and following what the doctor or pharmacist says.

The nation’s limited health literacy costs us as much as $238 billion each year in hospital re-admissions and treating avoidable complications, the article said. To remedy these problems, hospitals and health plans have begun to implement technology to help identify and simplify confusing medical jargon that finds its way into written patient instructions.

But what about the 14 percent who can’t read at all? The Post noted that some healthcare providers have started giving patients instructional videos or picture-filled handouts. While these are great tools for patients to have, telepresence provides even more: the visual of the videos, the detail of the pictures, and the human connection.

With telepresence a patient can talk to a provider in real time, ask personal questions, demonstrate for the doctor how they plan to take their medicine … the list goes on. I have to think catching up with patients here and there via telepresence would cost less—in dollars and hours—than readmitting, retesting, retreating, and re-instructing someone in the emergency room. Not to mention the decrease in anxiety for doctors and patients that would come with knowing people are properly managing their care.

Increased knowledge for patients, less frustration and repeat care for providers—sounds like a win-win to me.

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Cisco TelePresence Turns Cities “Smart”

June 2, 2011 at 8:54 am PST

A trip to the DMV -- a thought that causes mild apprehension and dread -- can require a lofty time investment. By lofty, I mean that if you go on your lunch break, don’t count on being home for dinner. It’s just one of those necessary hassles we’ve come to grudgingly accept.

But behold the DMV in the energy efficient city of the future, and behold it from your living room couch: a Cisco TelePresence connection that lets you renew your license in your PJs. No emissions from the drive to the office. No lines once you get there, which helps to conserve your energy -- and sanity.

It’s all part of the development of Smart Cities —energy efficient urban centers of the not-so-distant future. With telepresence, Cisco is on the cutting edge of these cities’ evolution.

Witness Songdo, South Korea, a new city built with the “greenest” of standards. Cisco is working with Songdo’s developers to put telepresence technology in every home, with the aim of reducing energy consumption. At the GigaOm GreenNet conference in April, Cisco’s Marthin De Beer discussed telepresence’s role in Songdo and 100 other urban development projects, including a retrofit of Charlotte, North Carolina. In Charlotte, Cisco partners with the city and its utility to decrease building energy use by 20 percent.

De Beer noted in his remarks that telepresence has saved Cisco $800 million in travel expenses during the last five years, writes Greentech Grid’s Eric Wesoff. Translate those savings into municipal dollars, and you find more money for education, infrastructure, and countless social services. Cities adopting Cisco TelePresence technology stand to not only curb energy consumption, but also to enrich the lives of their residents (and DMV employees) in many ways.

I don’t know about you, but the grass sure is looking greener on the smarter side of town.

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Secure desktop virtualization and more highlights from Citrix Synergy

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco.   The conference was buzzing with the latest innovations for desktop virtualization, data center and cloud.   

Secure desktop virtualization infrastructure is compelling for government agencies seeking strategies to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and provide control and security of centralized desktops and mobile multi-media clients. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLnmpbc-Pi4

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