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Gaining a Competitive Edge with Innovative Services

It’s been a few months since I took on the role of Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Cisco Services. In that time, I’ve been inspired by the senior technical talent on our team and by the amazing ways we are helping customers.

Every day, our 30 excellent Distinguished Services Engineers (DSEs), Principal Engineers, and Principal Architects are embedded on the ground, on the road, supporting our account teams and building lasting customer relationships. Our Services Senior Technical Community does it all, from delivering integral pre-sales support to serving as virtual Chief Technology Officers.

It’s clear that technology is changing our world as everyone and everything becomes more digitized. And when it comes to our technologists, they are the “final frontier” for serious issues, instrumental to our success—and that’s just their “day jobs”!

Beyond the day to day, our senior technologists participate in community-sponsored programs that deliver high value in and out of Cisco. For example, Cisco Services has a Distinguished Discussions program, where our technologists present internally to our engineering community. While this program has been around for some time, it is now being leveraged externally as part of the Technical Knowledge Library’s biweekly educational seminar series offered to customers to further their success. Read More »

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IoT World Forum

I just recently returned from the Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) in Dubai. This was the third annual IoTWF, which has quickly become the premiere event showcasing innovations and opportunities made possible by the Internet of Things. I was dazzled and a bit dizzied by all the activities at this exciting three-day event.

Tony Shakib IOTWF Blog_1217The agenda was chock-full of breakout sessions, case studies and expert talks on how IoT is changing the way companies and cities do business. In addition to networking and connecting with peers, partners, and customers, the Forum provided a great opportunity to join the world’s leading technology researchers to discuss new frontiers of IoT research. A fitting end to this incredible event was a closing keynote delivered by Executive Chairman John Chambers, who provided invaluable insights, observations, and a vision for IoT.

With 2400 attendees, the guest list included industry titans such as 3M, IBM, Intel, GE, Rockwell, Accenture, Siemens and many others, as well as startups and other significant IoT stakeholders.

The theme of the Forum was “A New World,” with day one focused on Awakening; day two focused on Activating; and day three focused on Accelerating. For a limited time, you can view many of the keynote presentations on the IoTWF website. Read More »

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The Internet of Things: Hype or Reality?

Having spent several days last week at the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai, I am more convinced than ever that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not some hyped-up futuristic vision of what could be, but a present-day reality that is transforming businesses and industries here and now.

In this blog series over the past six months, I have touched on many of the technology and business factors to consider while planning an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment—from access technologies to emerging standards and the convergence of IT and organizational technology (OT) . I spent three blogs discussing fog computing, analytics, and applications, and was happy to be part of the announcement of the OpenFog Consortium last month. All of this focus on IoT culminated last week, when the IoT World Forum highlighted both well-established IoT solutions and numerous IoT startups that are gearing up to change the future.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

Read More »

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Reconnecting refugees with loved ones thanks to the Cisco Disaster Response Team

Last month, I had the privilege, as part of my job, to go to Greece to deploy emergency communications infrastructure. Cisco was asked by partner NGOs to support the influx of people passing through the Greek islands due to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population, more than 11 million people, have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece, hoping to find a better future in Europe—and unfortunately not all of them make it across. Those who do, then face steep challenges from strained resources and minimal services due to the enormity of the situation.

This is why they need our help. The majority of the refugee community in Greece is Syrian and the rest are Iraqi and Afghans, trying to escape wars there. The current humanitarian aid effort is led by UN agencies working with the national governments and a multitude of NGO aid organisations. The overall response has been humbling to see, people providing shelter and power to sites, and the local support offered by Greek citizens in welcoming the refugees has been inspiring.

Copy of _SOS0827-PanoTen of us (from Cisco, a partner NGO and other corporate disaster response teams) have just returned from the region. We went there with one aim in mind; to install secure Wi-Fi zones and charging stations so that the refugees could contact their loved ones and families back home. For many, they had been out of touch with those that mattered for so long and this was the first opportunity they had to let them know they were safe and ok.

When we first arrived on Greek shores, most of the refugee sites had no communications infrastructure in place at all. The Disaster Response Team had been tasked to bring connectivity to various points along the migration routes, starting in the Greek islands. The importance of this was brought home, as we learned that one of the first questions refugees ask when they get rescued out of their boats is, “Do you have Wi-Fi?”

For people arriving from these boats with very few possessions, little money, and certainly no local currency, the chance to just let people know they were ok had a hugely positive effect. We often forget how much we rely on digital communications in our day-to-day lives. Once we’d set up the networks, people were immediately able to Read More »

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Announcing Cisco IoT Pathfinder: New Initiative for Diversifying the IoT Workforce

A key discussion point I keep hearing again and again this week during the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai is that the success of IoT depends greatly on developing the right workforce with the right skills.

I was honored to host a panel here called Transforming the Workforce to Unleash the Value of IoT that focused on how diversity can lead to greater innovation. It was here that we announced an initiative in expanding gender diversity throughout the industry — Cisco IoT Pathfinder.

Sponsored by Cisco and brought to you by Global Knowledge, an IoT Talent Consortium partner, IoT Pathfinder is a series of free 60-minute training webinars designed for women, men, and students interested in expanding their skills for the growing IoT economy.

Gartner estimates that IoT suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020, leading to an ever increasing need for specialized talent. The coming digital age requires a broader set of both technical and non-technical skills than the information age and we want to make it easier to develop those skills.

IoT Pathfinder Read More »

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