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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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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Fire Departments Improve Training with Telepresence

There are roughly 10,000 firefighters in Los Angeles County who are responsible for the lives of 9.8 million residents. Getting the proper training for all of the fire departments in the county is of the utmost importance in order to maintain a safe community.

Training difficulties

Mandatory classes for all L.A. County firefighters are held annually at one location to maximize the instructors’ time. The problem with this approach is that firefighters are spending several hours outside of their jurisdiction to attend the classes, which affects response times. To adequately staff stations during training, fire departments spend excess dollars for travel and replacement firefighters.

So, they began searching for a way to save money and enhance firefighter training programs during a period of government budget constraints. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association (LAAFCA) received grant funding from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program to help to support their high-threat, high-density communities.

Virtual technology for enhanced training sessions

The LAAFCA decided to use the grant to invest in telepresence, or video conferencing, technology to help them meet their financial and training goals. Telepresence was scalable and could be manipulated to fit the needs of the different-sized fire departments in the county.

With HD cameras, microphones, speakers, and lighting, the video systems would allow one highly-qualified instructor to conduct trainings from one location to multiple departments throughout the county in real time.

Since the integration of telepresence, L.A. fire departments have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and travel costs, provided multiple virtual training sessions with the same level of high-quality emergency support, recorded previous course lectures for replay at any time, and improved firefighter response time.

“If there is a major emergency in the region, all of the county’s firefighters can respond with the same level of high-quality emergency support. Video conferencing offers these benefits to the trainees in the most efficient way possible.” – Christopher Donovan, Fire Chief at Monrovia Fire Department, California.

If you would like to learn more, read the full case study, and let us know how technology is helping your local first responders.

We also invite you to join our upcoming live webcast on June 5 – our industry experts will cover everything you need to know to create a unified, interoperable public safety IT environment. Register Now

More to come! Be sure to check in for all our upcoming Friday blogs on the latest trends, challenges and technologies impacting public safety. Follow the hashtag #CiscoPublicSafety and @CiscoStateLocal and @CiscoGovt on Twitter for updates, and visit the Cisco Public Safety site for more information on solutions.

 

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California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) Shares the Power of IoE to Enhance Security at CiscoLive!

Today, the California Department of State Hospitals shared our story about the power of technology to deliver a safer work environment during a roundtable discussion at Cisco Live!

During the session, I discussed the unique security challenges our organization faces in balancing its charters to provide hope and support to adults with serious mental illness working toward achieving personal recovery, while also committing to providing a safe, secure, violence-free environment for patients, staff, visitors, and the community.
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Cisco and Streetline Innovate for Smart Parking: Introducing Camera Based Detection and an Integrated Streetline IOT Gateway with Cisco WiFi

Parking is one of those universal challenges most people can relate to. Parking causes congestion on our city streets, contributes to pollution, and causes motorist frustration in most cities around the globe. As we look at ways to apply technology to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our cities today, parking is ripe for innovation. Here are a few interesting facts:

  • 20 minutes is the average time spent looking for a parking space globally
  • 30% of city traffic consists of people looking for parking
  • 60% of drivers have given up on an activity recently due to the difficulty of finding parking
  • Parking is usually the second or third largest source of revenue in a city, however, it is exceedingly difficult to manage due to a lack of granular or continuous data on demand and behavior

Since December 2012 Streetline and Cisco have embarked on a journey to bring together the best of Cisco networking technology with the domain expertise of Streetline to deliver new “connected city” solutions to customers. Streetline has a deep history in sensing technology and award-winning applications that both capture and share real time parking data with city officials, consumers and other stakeholders. Read More »

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