It’s no surprise that student safety is the upmost priority to educators, administration, and parents. I would know because I have two daughters in K-12. The topic of safety in K-12 schools strikes particularly close to home since one of my daughters has already been in a lockdown due to police activity in the area. A lockdown is where children are placed in the corners of the classrooms, away from windows and clear from the classroom door windows: lights off, doors locked, and no chatter. My daughter took it in stride since she thought it was a game. I, on the other hand, was extremely uneasy when I received the email bearing the news and was not relieved until I received the “clear” email notification.
Given some of the latest developments that Cisco has been working on with location-based analytics using wireless technologies, it didn’t take long for us to start talking about how Wi-Fi could be used to help in the case of public safety in K-12 schools. The intersection of K-12 public safety and Wi-Fi technologies stirred up such a discussion amongst ourselves that we wanted to open up the discussion with an external webinar. I hope you can join me for the discussion on May 22nd (Click to register), but just in case you need some convincing, here’s a teaser. Read More »
Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.
Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.
It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.
Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.
All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.
Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless
Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:
Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.
Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt purposeful..as in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.
Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.
If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.
McAllen Independent School District (ISD) is a great example of a school district utilizing Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education. With nearly 3300 employees and over 25,000 students in 33 campuses, McAllen ISD was challenged with a slow server and an overtaxed network. The bandwidth limitations and made it extremely difficult for the school to embrace the BYOD trend, let alone creating an enriched learning environment leveraging mobile devices. Read More »
Cisco published earlier this week the 2013 Cisco Global IT Impact Survey, exploring the relationship between IT and the business goals of the companies they support. Among other things, 42 percent of those interviewed responded that they know about the Internet of Things, “as well as I know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.” In other words, beyond a passing knowledge of e=mc2, the relevance of the Internet of Things to IT is about as illuminated as a black hole.
Does that really matter at this point? you might ask. Isn’t the Internet of Things about Nike FuelBands and talking toasters? In fact, a lot of what we call “industrial automation” or “safety and security” is the leading edge of the Internet of Things. It’s already here today, called into the service of greater efficiency, productivity, and safety. This is “operational technology” instead of “information technology”: in other words, technology that directly monitors or controls physical objects and processes, such as assembly lines on a factory floor.
This has enormous implications for IT:
1. Security threats go from the merely cyber to the cyber-physical. Gartner summed it up nicely in the WSJ last week. And let’s not even talk about Shodan.
2. Beyond BYOD. The consumerization of personal electronic devices transformed the enterprise networking landscape. IT adapted to the new security threats posed, figured out how to associate multiple devices to a single user, etc. Now imagine “bring your own programmable logic controller.”
3. Redefining networking scalability and data management. And we thought video was a huge driver of traffic on the network. SAP and Harris Interactive recently estimated that 4 billion terabytes of data will be generated this year alone. (For some idea of the scale, take a single IoT use case — smart meters. Jack Danahy estimated 400MB of data per year. Not much, you say? Multiply that by, say, 1 million households, and you get 400 terabytes already. For a single use case. In one city.)
IT has much to offer, and should. As proprietary connectivity networks converge onto TCP/IP, IT can bring its expertise in securing IP-based networks. With experience in deploying cloud services, IT can bring in network management best practices. And with expertise in software-defined networking, IT can help re-architect networks to support immense scale, real-time requirements, analytics at the edge, and more.
From the outside-in, the Internet of Things may seem like a fast-moving train that’s zooming by too fast to board. But if you’re in IT, get on board: you’ll experience relativity and relevance.
Usually at shows like Interop Las Vegas 2013, attendees wander around the show floor looking at all the new products that are coming out from vendors. Now it is always exciting to see the latest and greatest technology coming out, but very often there is so much information to consume it is difficult to envision how these new products will solve problems that IT organizations are facing today.
Cisco is taking a different approach at Interop this year. In the Cisco booth there are a number of demo stations including the traditional new product demos, ask the experts stations, trivia games and many more, but in addition there are two unique demos the “Your NOC Your Way” Demo and the Unified Access Experience Demo that take a solution perspective to addressing top IT concerns.
1. The “Your NOC Your Way” Demo
This unique demo focuses on how Cisco solutions can aid in addressing the top concerns of network operations managers. Read More »