The concept of global reach took on added meaning this week at Cisco.Cisco President and CEO John Chambers went to the White House where Pres. George W. Bush announced that Chambers would help direct a U.S.-Lebanon Partnership Fund to assist in that country’s reconstruction. From there, he traveled Central and Eastern Europe, where he announced a $275 million investment in Turkey.The U.S.-Lebanon Partnership Fund will be headed by Chambers and Craig Barrett, Chairman, Intel Corporation; Yousif Ghafari, Chairman, GHAFARI, Inc.; and Dr. Ray Irani, Chairman, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum Corporation. They will lead the fund in an effort to raise money to complement the more than $230 million in aid to Lebanon already pledged by the U.S. government.Members of the delegation recently returned from a trip to the region in which they surveyed the relief and reconstruction efforts, met with Lebanese officials and business leaders to address the devastation and assess where U.S. donor assistance is most needed.”The situation in Lebanon is of great concern to us, and it is our goal to support the reconstruction effort in Lebanon and in turn help provide greater access to education and economic opportunity,” Chambers said.”By focusing on long-term solutions, we hope to contribute to a better future for this region.” For more information about the fund and contributing to the effort, visit www.lebanonpartnership.orgFrom Washington, Chambers traveled to Central and Eastern Europe. In Ankara, Turkey, he discussed investment plans with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focusing on enabling Turkey to better compete globally through the adoption of information communications technology and improved education.”Technology is able to drive the productivity and standard of living for communities and countries on a global basis, and Turkey understands the critical importance and transformative impact technology can have on businesses, governments, societies and the overall economic growth of the country,” said Chambers. Among the initiatives Cisco will support, is the establishment of 200 new Networking Academies in the country over the next five years to provide enhanced technical programs in concert with leading local universities. There are currently 47 Networking Academies across Turkey.
Blogging the Digital Video RevolutionA look back at Cisco’s participation in the Telluride Film Festival earlier this month shows the company’s focus on the digital video revolution hit a cord that reverberated through the blogosphere.Cisco’s panel discussion, called “The New Media Future: The Impact of Broadband on the Creative Process and Content Distribution,” included Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, Josh Goldman from Akimbo Systems, Yair Landau, President of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, director Kevin MacDonald (Touching the Void, Last King of Scotland) and Dan Scheinman, SVP of Corporate Development for Cisco Systems.Alex Williams’s feedia blog pointed to the important issues at stake as broadband changes the entertainment equation.”I am listening to a News@Cisco podcast. And it’s pretty good. Why? It’s a great discussion from the Telluride Film Festival about the movie business, the long tail, You Tube, machinima and all the impacts that people are having all over the world as they continue to get online and make stuff.Kim Voynor, in her Cinematical blog, chimed in:”I was about as happy as a film-geek girl could be after meeting Nair and seeing a great film, but there was more to come. After the film, we headed over to Chair 8 where Anne Thompson from The Hollywood Reporter was moderating a panel- This was a lively panel with a full crowd, with lots of interesting things to say about digital media, the impact of YOU TUBE, blogger versus journalists and more. The very nice Cisco folks told me the entire panel will be podcast on the Cisco site, so as soon as they send me the link, I’ll point you to it so you can check it out.”Anne Thompson, deputy editor of The Holoywood Reporter, blogged about the same panel discussion from her perspective as moderator.”œI missed the first screening of Little Children because I was prepping and then moderating a panel put together by the folks at Cisco on the digital broadband future-a topic I seem to come back to a lot. I bonded with Cisco exec Claudia Ceniceros on last year’s Telluride panel, and she signed me up for this one,” she wrote. “Cisco sr vp of development Dan Scheinman talked about creating set top boxes to intermediate between consumers and their TVs; Josh Goldman, CEO of 3-year-old Akimbo, also believes that set top boxes act as curators for audiences who need someone to point them where to choose in a long tail digital world. “Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, described how the internet dissemination of little music files has been followed by little YouTube video clips and now short TV shows,” Thomspon added. “Long movies will take more time, he said. Sony Digital president Yair Landau said that audiences crave stylized animation in a world where it’s difficult to suspend disbelief when everyone knows too much about movie stars. Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (who arrived at the panel just after seeing the 130-minute Little Children) added that the flip side of Landau’s observation is that audiences are responding well to documentaries because they are so real. Macdonald, who filmed Last King of Scotland in 16 mm with a digital intermediate but is shooting his next on DV, also talked about a Nokia contest involving movies for mobile phones that are 15 seconds long.”There’s much more on News@Cisco on Telluride. Check out the following content:Audio Podcast -- The New Media Future: The impact of broadband on the creative process and content distribution Video -- The New Media Future: Panel highlights and 1:1 interviews with panelists: Video: -- Telluride Film Festival Attendees Address Digital Video Q&A with Dan Scheinman: Broadband is Revolutionizing the Film Industry
Diverse Teams For a Diverse WorldNoni Allwood, Cisco’s senior director of Human Resources, views the promotion of gender diversity in the workforce with the eminently rational view that diversity is in everyone’s best interest.”œI articulate the business case for gender diversity,” Allwood says in a Q&A with News@Cisco. “For example, we anticipate a reduction in the work force that will create a gap of 10 million workers by 2010. Cisco will be competing for the best employees, so if we keep searching for candidates in a narrow segment of the population, we’re not going to get the top talent. I also emphasize something we know: that the best teams are the most diverse teams. They bring creativity and innovation, factors which we depend on heavily for our future success. Finally, Cisco serves very diverse markets, and we want to reflect the needs of those markets. The only way to do that is to have an employee population that understands those diverse needs.”To address diversity, Allwood and her colleagues created a gender diversity council to develop plans and drive communications and sponsorship. They introduced a gender diversity balance score card.Concrete plans are underway.”We’re working at three levels,” Allwood says.”The first is visibility: internally and externally, we want our female leadership to be visible. Number two is strengthening our women’s networks around the world. We have 33 networks that contribute to the success of the business in their local offices; contribute to the community; work to develop themselves; and make sure that they build sustainable, growing networks. The third focus is building a culture of mentoring, in which rising talented women can get support from role models.”Allwood says that ultimately the efficacy of gender diversity should become an ingrained part of the working environment.”At the end of the day, I’d like diversity to become so embedded in our culture that we don’t even have to think about it specifically. In other words, I’d like to work myself out of a job.”
A New Wireless Era BeginsWith the announcement that Cisco, IBM, Azulstar Networks, and Seakay have been tapped to build and operate Silicon Valley’s regional wireless network, the development of new uses for the network will soon follow.”œThe ability to stay connected to the network when you are outdoors also is a very, very powerful set of capabilities,” says Alan S. Cohen, senior director of mobility solutions at Cisco, in a Q@A on News@Cisco this week.”What we found while working with about 40 municipalities -- including our landmark win in Silicon Valley -- where we’ve deployed networks so far, is there are a range of municipal applications -- from video surveillance cameras, to information where people are actually working, and on to Wi-Fi parking meters. Think about that, you don’t have to run around with a quarter any more.”Silicon Valley Metro Connect, the name of the group of companies supplying the network, will offer up to 1Mb data speed for the free base service with protection of user privacy and will include digital divide programs for economically disadvantaged users. It will also offer premium fee-based services such as wireless Voice Over IP and video streaming. The Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force sponsoring this project includes Silicon Valley Heavyweights Russell Hancock, CEO and president, Joint Venture Silicon Valley; Seth Fearey, COO and VP, Joint Venture Silicon Valley; Eric Benhamou, chair of Smart Valley, 3COM Corp, and Palm, Inc.; Brian Moura, chairman, SAMCAT; Dan Fenton, president and CEO, San Jose Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau.To get a look at what it will look like on the ground in San Jose, see Tony Russomanno’s report on cbs5.com. Russomanno interviews local business owners and workers and gets interesting feedback on mesh.Municipalities are fast adopting mesh around the country as they see the low-costs and solid benefits involved, according to a report, “Mesh Comes of Age” this week on News@Cisco.
Cisco, IBM in group to provide wireless access over 1,500 square milesAn umbrella of wireless mesh networking will be opened soon over Silicon Valley, as a group of companies including Cisco and IBM has won a bid to serve the region’s 42 municipalities and 2.4 million residents. Silicon Valley Metro Connect, a group that also includes Azulstar Networks and Seakay, will provide wireless access to the public and support a broad range of uses by residential, small business, public sector and commercial users over nearly 1,500 square miles. “Silicon Valley is well known as a birthplace of innovation, and this is the kind of ambitious project for which our region is known,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network.”Silicon Valley Metro Connect impressed the team with a vision that breaks the mold for wireless cities. The Valley is becoming the epicenter for innovation in wireless technologies.” The coalition voting to approve the contract includes every city and county in both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties as well as the cities of Fremont and Newark in Alameda County and the City of Santa Cruz, according to Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, which is leading the effort through the Wireless Silicon Valley initiative, The San Jose Mercury News reported. “œSilicon Valley is well known as a birthplace of innovation, and this is the kind of ambitious project for which our region is known,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network.”Silicon Valley Metro Connect impressed the team with a vision that breaks the mold for wireless cities. The Valley is becoming the epicenter for innovation in wireless technologies.”The wireless network can provide an alternative communications medium to first responders-fire, police and emergency medical-when traditional communications systems may not interoperate. Healthcare workers will be able to access information wherever they are, and students can more easily engage in learning beyond the classroom.Silicon Valley Metro Connect will build the network based on the latest Cisco Systems mesh wireless infrastructure technology, with a dynamic technology upgrade program to ensure long-term network vitality and scalability. IBM will provide network design and integration services, as well as innovative technology applications for public agencies and local utilities including: intelligent traffic solutions to regulate traffic and reduce congestion, and automated wireless utility and traffic metering. Azulstar Networks will act as the network operator for service provisioning of the 802.11b/g base wireless network. SeaKay will work with municipal and public benefit agencies to customize the network to their needs, and will also spearhead outreach and digital inclusion programs to meet the economic development and social benefit objectives of the network.