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We don’t need ‘The Rock’ to save the day, we just need to ‘Get Social’!

Mobile applications and sensors are commonly used to monitor traffic, health & wellness and incidents such as road traffic accidents.  But what about the threat of catastrophic disasters such as earthquakes where the loss of life can be unprecedented?

The sun drenched, Californian city of Pasadena is known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl Football game.  It is also located near the infamous San Andreas Fault (SAF).  If you paid attention in geography class at school or if you’ve seen the latest Hollywood blockbuster, ‘San Andreas’  starring ‘The Rock’, you’ll know that this means the city is at risk from earthquakes.

The Rock

Can ‘The Rock’ save the day?

It is suspected that one day California will be hit by The ‘Big One’.  This is a hypothetical earthquake of a magnitude ~8 or greater that is expected to happen along the SAF. Such an earthquake will result in devastation to human civilization within about 50-100 miles of the fault in urban areas such as Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco. No one knows when ‘The Big One’ will happen because scientists cannot predict earthquakes with any precision.  However, technology is providing them with data that in time will give Californian residents a fighting chance of survival.

Seismometers are highly sensitive instruments that detect seismic activity that occur before earthquakes strike. Unfortunately, due to their cost, the number of seismometers in California are limited.  The Southern California Seismic Network operates just 350 seismic stations and the Northern California Seismic Network has a further 412.

With the threat of ‘The Big One’ forever looming, The Caltec Institute in Pasedena embarked on a project to determine how they could provide a blanket of cheap Seismometers across the state.

Their answer? Smartphones! Yes, really!

Research conducted proved that accelerometers found in most smartphones are sensitive enough to detect large earthquakes.

Creating the ‘Community Seismic Network’ – Caltech is encouraging residents to opt-in to turn their smart phones into mobile seismometers by simply downloading an application called ‘Crowdshake’ onto their android device.

Caltec have said: “if only 1 percent of users in the area opted into the scheme, that few hundred seismometers would be augmented by several hundred thousand additional sensors giving sufficient intelligent processing”.

So how does it work?

Upon downloading the mobile application an algorithm executes in the background of the mobile device.  Algorithms are monitored and when seismic motion is detected by the accelerometer, a message is sent to a Cloud Fusion Center which includes the time, location, and estimated amplitude of the data that triggered the message.

Mobile seisomemetres

The benefit of the Community Seismic Network is huge.  A dense, city-wide seismic network could be used to detect earthquakes rapidly after they start and measure the strength of shaking accurately as it unfolds.

What would this mean to Californian residents? Well, it will enable immediate action to be taken to prevent damage, such as stopping trains and elevators, stabilizing the power grid, and deploying emergency teams.

This is an astounding example of the Internet of Everything! People, data, process and things coming together to save lives in real-time!

Whilst the application is currently a research prototype and not yet fully deployed for public use, Caltech anticipate that the capability of real-time early warning may convince users to download and install the application when it is readily available.

So quite simply, it pays to ‘get social’ especially on those days when ‘The Rock’ isn’t around the save the day!




The Next Big One: Detecting Earthquakes and other Rare Events from Community-based Sensors.

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Buckle up! It’s time to take off for Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego (#CLUS)

Cisco Live provides a rich lineup of education, with over 700 sessions to increase your knowledge and propel your career.  You can also network with likeminded professionals and industry thought leaders providing additional value from your involvement long after the conference ends.

To help you get the most from your Cisco Live experience, be sure to take advantage of these social media opportunities:

  • Expand your professional network – Cisco Live offers multiple opportunities to enrich and broaden your network.  Start with the arrival tweetup on Sunday night at 5:30 – 7:30 pm in the Social Media Lounge.  Meet new friends and connect with Cisco Live veterans over food and drink while you plan your exciting week ahead.
  • Join the conversation – Start engaging on Twitter and join the #CLUS conversation while meeting other attendees.  Share #CLUS content and you might be our first Yellow Cape winner awarded Sunday night.  But don’t stop there! Download the mobile app and check out a list of gaming opportunities to enhance your Cisco Live experience and win prizes along the way.
  • Start scavenging – Cisco Live’s popular Scavenger Hunt launches on Monday. Take photos from the scavenger hunt list in various locations and post them on Twitter or Instagram with #CLUS and #CLScavenger hashtags for points towards a daily and grand prize. You could win a daily prize of a $500 Amazon gift card for the most retweeted photo or a $100 Amazon gift card for the most creative and fun photos. The grand prize is a $1,500 Amazon gift card!
  • Get the picture – Receive your personalized digital photo from John Chambers, Chuck Robbins, Aerosmith, and Mike Rowe.  Starting Monday, June 8, request your personalized photo here, beginning with John Chambers.  It’s John’s last year at Cisco Live as CEO.  You don’t want to miss this!
  • Participate in a #CiscoChat – At this year’s Cisco Live, #CiscoChat is bringing you conversations right from the event floor. With topics ranging from digital transformation to women in technology, each social chat will feature experts who will pose and answer questions and engage with participants. This is a great way to be involved whether you are attending the conference in person or joining from home. A complete #CiscoChat schedule can be found here.
  • Follow the hat – Have some fun following @TheCiscoHat, as an anonymous attendee chronicles the Cisco Live’s 2014 Customer Appreciation Hat’s journey to Cisco Live and the discovery of the 2015 hat.

Don’t wait until you arrive in San Diego. Start networking today. Add yourself to @Networkingnerd’s Twitter list and participate in the conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. The benefits of #CLUS can start today.

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Join our live #CiscoChat events at Cisco Live!

Cisco Live! is less than a week away, and we’re excited to announce that #CiscoChat is bringing you conversations right from the event floor. Whether you’re onsite or at home, you can participate in any and all of our social chats.

From collaboration to cloud and women being fearless in their professional and personal lives to the impact of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the #CiscoChat program’s consistent schedule and discussion of timely technology trends have generated powerful conversations between Cisco and our social community. We can’t wait to carry the discussions into Cisco Live! this year.

CiscoChat CLUS


During Cisco Live! (June 7 – 11) almost a dozen #CiscoChat sessions will be taking place. Security, simplified teamwork, a special Cisco CSR Student Career Day session and how women can impact technology are just a few topics on the schedule. One I personally can’t wait to participate in is Read More »

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I want to start a mindfulness revolution. Are you with me?

You’re sitting at your desk reading your emails and you read one, just one email that makes your blood boil.  It could be from your boss giving you an unrealistic deadline, or from a colleague dropping a large piece of work on you (that they should have completed) before they go on vacation.

Ever felt like this?

Your natural reaction is to declare war on the sender and make them see how unfair or unreasonable their request is upon you.  Your juices are pumping.  You’re fuelled with rage. Before you know it, you’ve fired off a curt email that makes you feel satisfied.  “That sure told her” you think as you relax back into your chair.  As the rage subsides and the adrenaline fuelling your fight stops pumping through your veins, the ensuing result of your action dawns on you.  “Why didn’t I just take a moment to breathe, calm down and think about my reply?” you’ll probably think to yourself.  Sound familiar?

We are all guilty of it and we’ve all been there.  The worst part is, we’ve heard a thousand times that the best way to respond to conflict is to think about it for a while.  We make hundreds of decisions everyday about how to react to situations.  Notice I said “decisions”?  Yes, you decide how to react and respond.  Ultimately no one makes you feel any emotion – you choose how to feel.  You can choose to feel angry about an email and decide to reply aggressively, or, you can choose to think about why the sender has used their tone and reply in an upbeat manner thus preventing a war of words.

The act of taking a moment to breathe, think and respond is referred to as ‘mindfulness’.  It is a practice that has been used by Buddhists for many years and has recently received publicity for its use in helping aid children’s behaviour.

As the world is digitised, practising mindfulness is critical.  A tweet sent in anger can be very damaging to both your personal and professional brand – social media is powerful.  How often have you read about celebrities deleting tweets because they’ve realised that what they have written is damaging to their brand?

I had the pleasure of meeting Psychiatrist and author, Jeff Brantley recently who is the Founder and Director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine.  He is also the author of the popular book Calming Your Anxious MindJeff spoke about using mindfulness techniques in the workplace.  As business professionals, we can learn a lot from the techniques used by Buddhists and now children.  We lead busy professional and personal lives and these can take their toll on our minds resulting in us becoming tired, stressed and anxious.  The pressure of trying to be the best that we can be in all aspects of our lives can sometimes lead us to be that irrational person that sends that email or tweet in anger.

Mindfulness is about being, not doing and I’m encouraging my team to be mindful.  To take the time to practice mindfulness techniques which I hope will not only aid them in their personal lives but also when they’re interacting in the office.  Indeed, even as teams we can make choices together to do things differently. In this fast paced world, taking the time and space to reflect and think about what we are doing can help us to achieve better outcomes too. Being mindful presents us with opportunities to make choices upon how we react to situations.  Why react the same way when you can choose to react differently? I want to start a mindfulness revolution.  Are you with me?

be mindful

Don’t Be Arrogant

The problem of the digital age for economy and society is not so much about the digitization of everything it’s the exponential speed of the change. We human beings are not used to such a speed in all of our history.

Companies who understand that, don’t feel comfortable at all anymore and act.

So did my employer ZEISS, a world famous brand in optical based in Germany – and mechanical technologies since 170 years. I was challenged to find a job shadow position in one of the major digital brands in Silicon Valley, U.S.A., to experience the pace of change at its origin.

Thanks to Gerry McGovern, a leading Internet evangelist and Martin Hardee from Cisco,  I found such a unique shadow opportunity. Thanks to even more people from my network, I was able to reach out to Managers, Directors and VPs from Apple, Google, Facebook, Adobe and Marketo to share knowledge and experiences while in Silicon Valley. (Can drive the 101 w/o a GPS meanwhile) Read More »