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Chicago is Host City for 2014 Internet of Things World Forum!

IoT_logo_2linesThis week, Cisco is hosting over 70 companies and organizations for a second annual in-person Steering Committee meeting to plan the second  Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF).   The goal of the Steering Committee is to shape the eventual Forum’s agenda and ensure it addresses top market opportunities and challenges that will influence global, political and environmental issues.  

The committee itself consists of thought leaders from business, universities, and governments from across these 70 companies and groups.  It is further broken out into 12 horizontal and vertical working groups who will be meeting as a group this week and who will continue to meet at a set cadence over the next six months in lead-up to the second IoTWF.

The overall goal of the IoTWF – and why Cisco started it in the first place -- is address topics that will improve the lives of citizens and businesses across manufacturing, energy, health, education, innovation, transportation, retail and job creation and also address the gaps and challenges of IoT standards, security, GTM, and architecture. The Internet of Things is happening now, but we need to ensure we bring together those who will be shaping it’s evolution.

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Regenerating Neighborhoods around the Chicago Lakeside

Ed Woodbury has a vision of not only building a city for the 21st Century in South Chicago, but also connecting it to the surrounding neighborhoods. And his plans are starting to come to fruition as the development of a 500-acre site in the long under-served south side of Chicago gets underway. The McCaffery Interests‘ president believes the development could ultimately be even bigger than the Loop in downtown Chicago.

Artists impression of the Chicago Lakeside project (courtesy of SOM)

As part of the plan to support neighborhood development, a new venture from UK-based social innovation thinktank The Young Foundation is helping to use TelePresence to share ideas and shape a vision for the area that will identify and develop a strategy to promote the Social Life of the surrounding area.

At a recent press conference on the development site, Cisco EVP Wim Elfrink stressed the iconic nature of the project in Chicago, for which Cisco will help prepare and present the Master ICT Plan, working closely with stakeholders such as architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). Key considerations here will be a focus on the services provided back to the neighborhood and how to monetize the investments to help drive the economic, social and environment value of the project.

Cisco EVP Wim Elfrink

Sandi Jackson, long-time resident and Alderman of Chicago’s 7th Ward was enthusiastic about the potential of this collaborative approach coupled with the education initiative announced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. The plan is to drive the adoption of Science Technology, Engineering and Math Skills in five high schools located strategically throughout Chicago. Alderman Jackson rightly sees this as a critical foundation for the future of the area and the employability of its citizens.

John Pope, Alderman of the 10th District, whose father worked in the Steel Mills of the Southside, stressed that the project is now moving from concept into the implementation phase. The first visible sign of the new development is already appearing as construction of route 41 along the Lakeshore moves ahead. Not only will this help to accelerate the development of the project, but it will also have a tangible benefit for citizens in surrounding neighborhoods who have lacked decent transport links for the longest period of time.

A lot of great work in community revitalization is already being driven and recognised by LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), community leaders and organizations throughout Chicago. Susana Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director attended the press event and highlighted the imperative to harness innovative approaches to transforming the local economy. As she succintly put it the previous evening in introducing the 18th LISC Neighborhood Development Awards Dinner: “We can and must move forward from being the city of big shoulders to the city of big ideas.”

Alderman Sandi Jackson of 7th District

Further innovation is already coming to Chicago through 1871, the U.S.’s first Smart Work Center powered by Cisco technology. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn visited on Wednesday last week for a tour. This new downtown Chicago hub for tech startups which will open its doors on May 2nd is supported by Cisco and partners CDW, Comcast and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. Its guiding design principles are to promote entrepreneurship, collaboration and greater technology innovation throughout the city.

Following the successful model pioneered by Cisco in the Netherlands, France and Korea, entrepreneurs visiting 1871 will be will be able to rent desks on a month-to-month basis and will have the unique ability to engage a broad workgroup of other entrepreneurs, spawning a new paradigm for how work gets done and how innovation happens. For those of you wondering, 1871 was the year Chicago re-built itself after the great fire, becoming the inspirational city it remains today.

Aldermen Jackson and Pope

At the Lakeside event, Woodbury also stressed that all parties are looking into how the new IT infrastructure being put in place could benefit the neighborhood and act as a catalyst that could ultimately help to create new jobs. In addition to fostering smarter ways of working in the city, the project will be a showcase of environmental sustainability. Renewable sources such as wind, solar and waste-to-energy are all being considered as part of the mix to reduce the energy footprint of the development.

Cisco looks forward to partnering with these stakeholders to help shape opportunities for today’s and future generations of Chicagoans.

Read Wim Elfrink’s personal perspective on his visit to Chicago here.

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Creating Opportunity: Chicago As A 21st Century City

Something exciting is happening in the city by the lake. The Mayor, Government Officials, enterprises, developers and residents are banding together to propel Chicago to the forefront of the global economy – to reclaim its position as a beacon for talent, the choice for commerce, and the premiere city where people go to work, live, learn and play. Last week, I took part in a series of activities to usher in a new era of prosperity for this great city as Mayor Rahm Emanuel rolled out his Master Plan for economic growth. Education, job creation, revitalization and technology -- are at the heart of this transformational plan.

Preparing the next-generation of technology innovators is critical to an economy that relies increasingly on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a press conference to unveil a new STEM program with a very unique approach. In five schools around the city, students will acquire critical ICT skills seamlessly in a learning environment that integrates high school, college and the workplace.  The curriculum is developed jointly by the schools, principals, teachers and corporate sponsor companies, of which Cisco is one. Bottom line: the students learn relevant, real-world skills in high school, emerge with an Associate’s Degree, and have first choice at interviewing for jobs with companies around the city – all without incurring a student loan debt.  This is truly out of the box thinking. But this is just the first step. At Cisco, we are also looking at the delivery model and how technology can improve the experience – make learning fun again.  Can we do this virtually? Is there a collaborative way of doing this? Can we learn from schools around the world?  What if you made a correlation between the student’s favorite sport – using technology to measure the body’s algorithms and then used that to teach the math courses?  We’ve already introduced a STEM program in the United Kingdom that applies this approach to learning, and it’s working!

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Cisco at Rockwell Automation Fair – Plant and IT Converged Networking

February 23, 2012 at 9:46 am PST

Last Fall Cisco was a major exhibitor at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Chicago. Rockwell Automation have just published a video where Kevin Davenport from Cisco (Cisco is a Rockwell Automation Strategic Alliance Partner), talks about the company’s Industrial Ethernet switch technology for a secure Ethernet  enabled factory, developed in collaboration with Rockwell Automation.

Hear Kevin being interviewed by Theresa Houck, Editor of the Journal from Rockwell Automation Magazine, as Kevin talks about some of the jointly developed technologies that Cisco and Rockwell were previewing at the show. Read More »

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We’re not going to crash? Do I really want to know? TMI!

November 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm PST

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the fair. The Rockwell automation Fair that is.The Pilot comes on the intercom and says something like:

 “Hi, it’s the captain here. I want to tell you that we can’t get the flaps into the right position. We need number 15 and we can only get to 14.” (or he said something like that). “We’ve tried a few times and it doesn’t want to move.”

So we (the passengers) are all thinking: “What does that mean – are we going down?” Most of us don’t pilot planes so we don’t know how serious the situation is. We all agreed in our seating row that it was ‘TMI’ -- Too Much Information? I think he realized that, because he then said words to the effect of:

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