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The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

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Carving Out “Me” Time in the Internet of Everything Era

In a typical week, I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours on work-related matters. Another 50 percent is devoted to my family. Which leaves 20 percent for taking care of the household, and ….

Yes, that adds up to more that 100 percent. But there simply aren’t enough hours in a day for all that needs to be done — not to mention protecting that crucial time with loved ones.

So, thank you, multitasking! I can’t be the only one who has held a child while writing emails, taken conference calls from the supermarket, or had several online meetings running simultaneously.

All of this occurred to me as I struggled to find time for this blog. Writing forces me to shut off everything around me and reflect on the things that really matter — in a world that is rapidly changing, increasingly complex, and in which technology can sometimes seem a mixed blessing. When I do finally carve out an opportunity to write, it is precious time, which I cherish.

But writing is hard. Trust me, I’ve thought about creating a blog for years, and my past is riddled with failed attempts to start. Each time, I hesitated for too long, wondering whether people would really want to hear what I have to say. Like many writers, I have wondered if my compositions were too long, too short, too personal, too corporate, too banal, too deep ….

But as much as I appreciate your attention, dear reader, this time around I realize that I am writing the blog for me, the writer. Like many of us, I navigate a harried, high-pressure life. And this blog is my time, my space, to do something creative and expressive.

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Lessons from LEGO To Drive “Out-of-the-Box” Thinking

Are your Master Builders free to create? Are your Ordinary Builders helping them to execute? And more to the point, are you acting like the evil President Business, hindering innovation, placing talent in silos, and keeping your organization frozen in the past?

If so, you may find an unlikely role model in Emmet Brickowski.

OK, Emmet may be an animated character made of plastic blocks, but don’t dismiss him so easily. If you are a manager looking to ensure your team is the best it can be, you may want to check out Emmet’s starring role in “The LEGO Movie.” I believe there is deep wisdom in what this little character has to say.

One of the key themes of the film is that many organizations adhere too strongly to their legacy traditions. Though such traditions may have served them well in the past, they can also sow stagnation and put a brake on agility and adaptability. This is especially true in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, as a massive wave of network connectivity and innovation upends organizations, business models, and entire industries. In the process, longstanding assumptions around strategy and success are falling by the wayside.

Emmet lives in a world run by President Business, the head of a successful corporation that fears any change to the status quo. President Business will even resort to supergluing LEGO pieces to keep them in their rightful places. President Business divides the world into two kinds of people: Ordinary Builders and Master Builders. He rewards Ordinary Builders who follow the rules, building from their LEGO Kits; he disapproves of the “anarchic” creativity of the Master Builders, who like to improvise from a pile of blocks, and he is determined to capture all of them.

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Digital Guayaquil

At Cisco, we have identified the Internet of Everything (IoE) as the next wave of the Internet, an explosion of connectivity among people, process, data, and things. We have estimated that these connections in the IoE offer a staggering $19 trillion in Value at Stake over the next decade for both private and public sectors. And now that IoE is here, it’s important to talk about how both enterprises and public-sector organizations can take full advantage of this market transition. To help, Cisco is offering two comprehensive pieces of thought leadership to illustrate a roadmap for IoE. A Fast IT strategy helps enterprises capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake. The Internet of Everything in the Public Sector research explores how IoE is transforming government to demonstrate how public-sector organizations can capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake.

By Jordi Botifoll

Recently I had the opportunity to participate at the Mayoral Innovation Summit in Miami where I had the chance to meet several mayors from Latin America and other global cities like Miami and Barcelona to discuss how they are transforming their communities into “smart cities” through the power of innovative technology. We exchanged ideas on best practices to improve the citizen quality of life, strengthen government efficiency in urban centers, while fostering sustainable economic growth.

As part of the smart cities movement happening around the world, Cisco is releasing new study this week on the Internet of Everything value at stake for public sector that provides top 10 insights for how jurisdictions can capture IoE value. Cisco identified and profiled more than 40 public sector jurisdictions that are putting IoE in action and producing positive results. One of those jurisdictions is Guayaquil, in Ecuador.

Guayaquil is a city of 2.5 million and is visited by up to 300,000 travelers on a daily basis.   The city also experiences some educational and poverty challenges like most Latin American cities. In Guayaquil, only 44 percent of citizens have internet access through the local telecommunications companies, but its forward-thinking govermnent is investing in technology and connectivity to make Guayaquil one of the first metropolitan areas in South America to be a digital city. With help from Cisco Emerging Advisory Services, the city is expanding its public Internet access for citizens, connecting hospitals and clinics, providing e-government solutions, and investing in computers, tablets, and Internet access for public schools and universities. Guayaquil is becoming a reference for other Latin American cities. Let me summarize some of the innovations the city is pursuing to become a digital city:

The city has developed digital kiosks, public Wi-Fi areas, a telemedicine program, and an Internet education campaign to help residents of Guayaquil get the most out of all that the Internet has to offer.

The mayor of Guayaquil has a stated that his goal is to help every resident of the city become a “digital citizen,” with the intent of providing education in technology skills and encouraging entrepreneurial investment in the technology sector.

The mayor recently announced plans to develop full Internet coverage for the city in the next five years. To assist in helping increase Internet connectivity and usage, the city government is also providing tablets and laptops to students and desktops to schools.

Cisco has been instrumental in assisting Guayaquil to develop its digital kiosk system.  The kiosks provide general information about the city, as well as provide remote access to city government services so residents can conduct city business, such as pay for utility service or apply for a land-use permit.

Cisco has also been a key participant in assisting Guayaquil to develop the city’s telemedicine program involving networking the major local hospitals that are located closer to residential areas.  The network provides video conference and patient diagnostic capabilities that allow doctors to diagnose, monitor, and consult with patients who are visiting clinics located near their homes, saving travel time, improving patient access and medical monitoring capabilities.

The city has also established over 50 public Wi-Fi spots located throughout Guayaquil.  Most of these are located in educational environments, with the goal of helping students take advantage of the educational opportunities available online.  The city is also actively working to integrate technological skills into the education curriculum by providing tablets to students.

The city’s technology efforts have been extremely well received by the public in Guayaquil. The public Wi-Fi and tablets are popular among the younger generation, while the telemedicine program has been very well received by those who lack both economic and physical mobility.

I am confident several other cities in Latin America will follow Guayaquil’s example and we are working closely with big and small cities through the region to help them implement Internet of Everything strategies.

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Top 10 Ways Public Sector Organizations Are Capturing IoE Value Today

At Cisco, we have identified the Internet of Everything (IoE) as the next wave of the Internet, an explosion of connectivity among people, process, data, and things. We have estimated that these connections in the IoE offer a staggering $19 trillion in Value at Stake over the next decade for both private and public sectors. And now that IoE is here, it’s important to talk about how both enterprises and public-sector organizations can take full advantage of this market transition. To help, Cisco is offering two comprehensive pieces of thought leadership to illustrate a roadmap for IoE. A Fast IT strategy helps enterprises capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake. The Internet of Everything in the Public Sector research explores how IoE is transforming government to demonstrate how public-sector organizations can capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake.

By Joseph Bradley

What comes to mind when I say “government efficiency”? The public sector often gets a bad rap when it comes to technology; however, a closer look into government organizations reveals a much different picture.

Building on its’ groundbreaking public sector research, which showed the IoE value of stake over 10 years to be $4.6 trillion, Cisco and Cicero Group just completed an in-depth study of more than 40 leading government organizations worldwide.  The research examined real-world projects that are operational today and represent the cutting edge of IoE readiness and maturity.

Analyzing this research, Cisco Consulting Services gleaned the 10 key insights for how government organizations are capturing IoE value today. These insights are powerful for any company or organization wanting to thrive in a world where change and disruption caused by the convergence of cloud, mobile, social, and information, is the norm.

To whet your appetite, here are three of the Top 10 insights.

1. Public sector organizations are leading IoE innovators. The public sector is an excellent proving ground for IoE because of the size of many government institutions, the number of people they serve, and the difficult problems they must solve. The 40 jurisdictions we studied rival the best private-sector firms. The vision, scope, and execution of their IoE initiatives provide a model for both private and public sector organizations to follow.

My take is that in today’s increasingly connected world, public sector leaders know that change isn’t constant, it’s instant. And they are acting appropriately – they are leading the way.

2. Cities use comprehensive strategies to generate IoE value. Cities are well positioned to improve the quality of citizens’ lives through IoE because they provide (or source) many of the services upon which citizens rely, including transportation, law enforcement, education, water, and (sometimes) Internet connectivity.

The City of Amsterdam’s Smart City strategy typifies this approach. It includes 47 IoE projects, such as smart energy grid systems, street lighting, parking application, building management, and public Wi-Fi. Many of these projects span multiple city departments, and involve private sector stakeholders. At the center of Amsterdam’s IoE strategy is an open IT infrastructure that will provide a platform for IoE-based innovations for years to come.

My perspective is that Moore’s Law is alive and well in the public sector. Government leaders know that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. But, they also know to do it over the course of dinner, not a year.

3. IoE solutions must address people and process, not just data and things. Successful IoE initiatives are characterized by a focus on the process improvements that accompany technology innovations, and the many “people” issues that are critical to success. These issues include getting employees to embrace new roles and responsibilities, using training and recruiting to obtain needed skills, and, critically, getting the users of IoE systems to adopt them.

The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) is in charge of paving the way for the efficient, resource-friendly, and sustainable implementation of infrastructure projects in the Port of Hamburg. The HPA is the contact point for all kinds of questions concerning waterside and landside infrastructure, the navigational safety of vessel traffic, port railway facilities, port property management, and economic conditions within the port area..

Facing growing transportation volume, the HPA developed a strategy to extend its IT architecture, revamp its business processes, and scale its operations. Now, when a ship comes into the harbor, HPA’s systems indicate that it is approaching. This allows HPA to get real-time information to those who need it, including ship pilots, cargo handlers, environmental monitors, and so forth. People receive data at the right time so they can invoke the proper processes when needed.

As Dr. Sebastian Saxe, chief information officer, Hamburg Port Authority, describes it, “The Internet of Everything incorporates the technology, tries to build a control process, and includes people in this process in order to build more intelligent systems…If you try to approach this type of model and you leave out processes and people, you are going to be left with half-truths, or an incomplete solution.”

My view is that people are at the center of IoE. If people aren’t an integral part of the solution, whether it’s for the public or private sector, what’s the point?

To learn about the other insights and government initiatives go here. Also feel free to contact or follow me on Twitter at @JosephMBradley.

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