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Life Saving Drones Aid First Responders

Guardian Center drone training exercise - cmprssd

Model of Guardian Centers training facility

Emergency readiness is one of the most frequently practiced and probably one of the least frequently exercised drills. However, when it counts on saving human lives, it really counts.

One such massive effort in emergency preparedness took place during the week of Sep 28 at the Guardian Centers in Atlanta, Georgia area.  Guardian Centers is an 830-acre training facility containing 75 acres of multi-story cityscapes that hosts up to 7000 participants for a variety of tactical trainings.

Guardian test site from drone1_cmprssd

Actual photo of test site

Guardian Test Site from drone2_cmprssd

Drone produced 3-D model of test site

I participated in the disaster preparedness drill, along with my colleague, Nico Darrow, on behalf of Cisco involvement with DreamHammer, which leverages drones to carry out CONOPS.  this exercise was a clear example of how innovation and the Internet of Things is having an impact on the world today.

A number of organizations, including the New York Fire Department, FEMA, CNN, AIG Insurance, law enforcement agencies, and drone startups also joined this collaborative exercise.  A simple drone flight around the affected structure generated a rich and realistic 3-D model of the area, which was invaluable to first responders, media outlets and insurance agencies in particular.

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Server Load balancing with NAT, using Nexus switches: ITD

Server load balancer (SLB) has become very common in network deployments, as the data & video traffic are expanding at rapid rate. There are various modes of SLB deployments today. Application load balancing with network address translation (NAT) has become a necessity for various benefits.

Cisco Intelligent Traffic Director (ITD) is a hardware based multi-terabit layer 4 load-balancing and traffic steering solution on the Nexus 5k/6k/7k/9k series of switches.

With our latest NX-OS Software 7.2(1)D1(1) (also known as Gibraltar MR), ITD supports SLB NAT on Nexus 7k series of switches.

In SLB-NAT deployment, client can send traffic to a virtual IP address, and need not know about the IP of the underlying servers. NAT provides additional security in hiding the real server IP from the outside world. In the case of Virtualized server environments, this NAT capability provides increased flexibility in moving the real servers across the different server pools with out being noticed by the their clients. With respect health monitoring and traffic reassignment, SLB NAT helps applications to work seamlessly without client being aware of any IP change.

ITD won the Best of Interop 2015 in Data Center Category.


ITD provides :

  1. Zero latency load-balancing.
  2. CAPEX savings : No service module or external L3/L4 load-balancer needed. Every Nexus port can be used as load-balancer.
  3. IP-stickiness
  4. Resilient (like resilient ECMP), Consistent hash
  5. Bi-directional flow-coherency. Traffic from A–>B and B–>A goes to same node.
  6. Monitoring the health of servers/appliances.
  7. Handles unlimited number of flows.

Documentation, slides, videos:

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No More Bankers’ Hours: Join the Live Chat

“Bankers’ hours” started disappearing with the advent of ATMs in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, online and mobile access has made the transactional side of banking a 24/7, anytime, any place proposition. And that’s just the beginning. Innovative financial institutions and startups are also bringing disruptive new business models to deliver higher value banking interactions, such as financial advice and wealth management. The drive to the branch has been replaced by the drive to digital.

How can financial institutions stay ahead of this wave of disruption? I hope you’ll join me @pdjameson on the upcoming #CiscoChat to tackle that question next Tuesday, November 3rd at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST. Together, we’ll consider such questions as:

  • In an age of commoditized transactions, how can banks differentiate themselves?
  • Where should banks focus as they seek to evolve their current business models?
  • What kinds of on-demand services do customers want?
  • What’s the key to winning wallet share of the digital customer?

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Cisco SX10 Gains New Video Fans

When a product does exactly what it promises and more, it can develop almost a cult following. Think iPhone, 3 Series, red soles. You almost don’t need the company brand to know what I’m talking about.

OK, so maybe the Cisco SX10 doesn’t quite stir the same emotions as a sleek BMW or a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. But I can tell you that people are buying into the promise we made when we launched this entry-level video conferencing solution:  “High quality, simplicity, and affordability come together to create a practical and powerful business class solution for video ubiquity – all at about the price of a PC.”

Over the past 18 months since we launched the SX10, customers have validated our product positioning with their wallets and their feedback. But we know we’ve hit a home run when some of our toughest critics also agree. Take for example, the recent independent review from Wainhouse Research: Evaluation of the Cisco TelePresence SX10 Quick Set Group Conferencing System.” It is testament to the strength of our design and engineering teams that the review aligns with our product promise. Read More »

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Create an All-channel Retail Shopping Experience

I always feel the rush of excitement when it comes to shopping. Whether it’s that something special to enhance my home’s interior. Or my annual vacation package. Or a pair of custom designer shoes that will add a perfect dash of sophistication to my business suit. Yes it’s true. Nothing to beat bespoke products and services tailored to suit my lifestyle. I get to craft my vacation itinerary. I can design my own shoes online with personal designs, pictures, or logos. How cool is that?

The good thing is I don’t need to rush to the store to search or understand more about what I am looking for. This is the new reality. And I am fast adapting to it. I no longer see a distinction between searching online and hanging out in a mall. The incredible choice and power I have now helps me make the right decisions about my purchases.  I find what I need at the best price, whether through a virtual storefront or in a physical shop. Instant gratification!

The Changing Face of Retail
I know I am not alone. Millions of people enjoy the convenience, breadth of choice, and enticing mix of deals through a variety of channels.

According to eMarketer, retail products and services purchased on the internet will rise to 8.8% of the total retail market globally by 2018, up from 5.9% in 2014. Read More »

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