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Connectivity Is Like Air – It Changes Everything

As I stood in London today in the O2, one of the 2012 London Olympic venues and one of the great arenas of the world, I was in the middle of the Cisco Sports & Entertainment Global Innovation Summit, the third annual gathering of hundreds of sports and entertainment executives from around the globe.

Executives from teams such as Real Madrid, venues like Eden Park (that have managed global events like the Rugby World Cup) and Wembley Stadium, arena/stadium management groups like AEG, and so many more were here to discuss, share and plan how technology will shape the future of sports, and most importantly how it will impact their interactions with their ecosystem: media, sponsors, advertisers, and at the heart of it all “the fans.”

A central aspect of those discussions was about live connectivity. It is the starting point, the origination, the alpha moment, also considered AIR for a fan. This animated video explains simplistically how connectivity changes everything.

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London 2012 – Leaving a Lasting Legacy for Science and Math

On Monday morning, I was at Claremont High School, in Harrow, London, watching as one of the architects responsible for building the Olympic stadium kept a class of 13 year olds enthralled about the design and engineering challenges involved.

Jo Smith from the firm Buro Happold was taking a lesson from Cisco’s  Out of the Blocks StemNet programme bringing real world examples of how lessons about chemical structure; mathematics and physics were all very much challenges the stadium designers and builders has to overcome when designing the stadium and other venues for this summer’s Olympics.

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Bringing the Olympics to life

When one is fortunate enough to work on as exciting and mammoth a project as the London 2012 Games, it is easy to forget that while it might take over your life, for others it’s a distant and somewhat unattainable dream.

Certainly LOCOG are working hard to try and expand the reach of the Games beyond London and make sure other parts of the country benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity the Games coming to the UK brings. The torch relay alone will ensure that 95% of the UK population will be within a one-hour journey of the Olympic Flame, and that will certainly help.

But just this week the impact we, as Olympic and Paralympic Partners can have on people’s experiences and perception of the Games, was brought very much to life via feedback we had from our partner Pearson -- who are working with Cisco on the Out of the Blocks StemNet programme. This programme was launched in January, using London 2012 as a catalyst to encourage children aged 11-14 to get excited about learning maths and science. So far over 4,000 UK secondary schools have received a set of free Key Stage 4 activity books.

Our colleague visiting a remote school in Lincolnshire was delighted to see the teachers using the Out of the Blocks books and how the children were excited not only about science and maths, but also for the Games themselves. As one teacher said:  “We’re in an out-of-the-way area.  The children have never seen a major event, and there aren’t any children in my class going to the Olympics – this Series brings it to life for them.”

Another said: “Endlessly kids say, ‘when am I ever going to use this Maths in my life?’  Well, this book shows you where and how…  The diving lesson sticks in my mind.  The kids are intrigued by the formulas – it makes them think how they’re useful in real life.”

Nice – now we have a chance of a lasting legacy!

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The Right ‘Rights’ – Lessons from the Cisco London 2012 Olympics Sponsorship

Correctly conceived and creatively executed sponsorship is a powerful marketing tool.  Why else would the Fortune 500, along with millions of other businesses big and small, invest precious marketing dollars in the discipline?  As mentioned in my previous blog post, the first step in successful sponsorship is having clear objectives, whether those are aimed at brand building, commercial gain or stakeholder engagement.  Clearly articulated SMART objectives are a pre-requisite for achieving the second most important aspect of successful sponsorship – securing the right ‘rights’. Read More »

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Collaboration – a Catalyst for Change at the 2012 Olympic Games

As the nights draw in, next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games might seem a world away, but things change fast in the business world. So how prepared are you? Is technology helping businesses benefit when the Games end?

For even the most Games-ready business, the predicted absenteeism (28% during Sydney) and deluge of holiday requests (27% of staff requesting annual leave) is a headache-inducing cocktail for HR teams.

At Cisco, we’ve been involved with the Games for a while, so we’ve been busy putting plans in place. Like being flexible and agile during the Games, which sits well with our big push to be a more collaborative business. You’d expect us to demonstrate best practice, because we’re already supporting the Games with network technology. Plus, video, collaboration and business applications are at the heart of everything we do.

Flying less – our major departure

Some time ago, we cut internal travel by 90%, which radically altered attitudes to flying to business meetings, remote working and business mobility.

From this transformation sprung The Loop – an innovative, interactive, online forum for the UK and Ireland. This live Cisco TV show is now attended by 2,000 employees.

Globally, our use of Telepresence and WebEx has exploded. Now available across 1,010 rooms in 241 cities in 59 countries, one million Telepresence meetings have saved 191,000 trips and a staggering $817 million. Every month 700,000 WebEx meetings take place – 68% more than a year ago.

What works on the web, works for us

By sharing knowledge readily and richer interaction, we’re more productive.

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