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NERV: The Brain Behind Networked Disaster Response at Cisco

Hurricane season is upon us, and storms have already begun to harass the Gulf Coast with torrential rains and violent winds. The threat of such a storm doesn’t cross my mind as I sit in my cubicle in San Jose, enjoying the comforts of an air-conditioned office and a hot cup of coffee on my desk. But behind building J on Cisco’s San Jose campus, Rakesh Bharania and the Cisco Tactical Operations (TacOps) team are on 24/7 alert, ready to respond the moment an earthquake strikes or a tornado touches down anywhere in the world.

I had the privilege of visiting Rakesh and his team this week, getting a behind-the-scenes look at Cisco’s investment in using networking technology to help those in need when disaster hits.

After disaster strikes, the TacOps team can deploy within 72 hours – the most critical stage of a response.  When a disaster cripples communications systems, the TacOps team can establish satellite-based communications  so first responders, government agencies, and relief organizations can coordinate relief efforts and speed delivery of food, water, shelter, and medical care to those affected.

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Collaboration Notes from Cisco Live: Tuesday Recap

May 21, 2014 at 12:51 am PST

There’s an advantage to having events in different buildings of the Moscone Center. You get to go outside and enjoy the great weather. Just watch out for the birds in Yerba Buena Gardens once things quiet down a bit – I got dive-bombed by an avian aviator. 

Enough about me. What was up with Collaboration on Tuesday? Plenty.

Rowan Trollope and Hans Hwang closed out the afternoon sessions with the Collaboration Technology Keynote, providing a closer look at the new desktop collaboration experiences, including the DX80, DX70, and Collaboration Meeting Rooms. Wearing bright red Converse high-tops, Rowan promised a continued focus on simplicity: “Everything you see going forward is going to be easy to use.” The laminated “how to use this device” cards are history.

The DX80 demo highlighted the simplicity, clean industrial design, and the directional “what you see is what you hear” microphones (read: no more barking dogs or noisy office neighbors in the background of calls). You know the design is new and different when the room applauds after a quick tour of the back of the unit – or the “other front” as the designers call it.

In the Collaboration Meeting Room demo, Rowan showed how easily callers on all sorts of different platforms and devices can connect to a video conference call just by connecting via the host’s meeting-room URL: three-screen immersive telepresence, laptop with a web browser, PC with Lync, and a DX80 all joined the call.

Earlier in the day, the technology keynote kicked off with a great video about the Bay Bridge, which also happens to be the world’s largest LED sculpture – and supported by a Cisco network infrastructure. Read More »

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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep9 Cisco TACOPS

#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists, hosted by Cisco’s Amy Lewis (@CommsNinja). This week we’re talking about Cisco TACOPS (@CiscoTACOPS) which connects the unconnected in the middle of crisis, anywhere in the world.

Listen to the Podcastcisco_champions BADGE_200x200

Cisco Subject Matter Expert: Rakesh Bharania, Network Consulting Engineer on TACOPS Team (@densaer)
Cisco Champion: Jonathan Davis, Network Planning Analyst (@subnetwork)

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Congratulations SF Giants, 2012 World Series Champions!

November 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm PST

I had the opportunity to take a day off to celebrate the San Francisco Giants victory of the 2012 World Series this year.  The City of San Francisco scheduled the victory parade on Halloween.  It’s the perfect day as the colors for the Giants team are black and orange.  I saw the victory parade on TV in 2010 and decided I needed to feel the excitement this year and be there in person.

There were a lot of Giants fans on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).  We decided to meet at the Civic Center in downtown San Francisco, where the parade route ends and the team will speak.  Upon my exit off the BART station, I saw our very own Cisco NERV vehicle, supporting the City of San Francisco Giants Parade. Read More »

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