In a few months, thousands of athletes will face the biggest tests of their careers at the Olympics. But, before all that, they need to qualify. It’s the final hurdle before all the years of dedication and hard work are put to the test. It’s also crunch time for us at Cisco, as we go through the final preparations for the Olympics. And there’s a fair amount of pressure on us to get it right too. The IT systems for London 2012 will process 30% more information than any other games in history and Cisco networking is at the heart of it. We’ve supported BT and Atos on a Games Network that connects all competition and event-critical sites.
30% more information than any other games doesn’t really give you an idea of the scale, but hopefully a few quick numbers will. Our borderless network infrastructure will run at 94 sites. We’ve set up 1,800 wireless access points and installed 16,500 IP telephones. That’s not to mention the 65,000 active connections and 80,000 data ports. And it all needs to be tested. We need to make sure that, come the Games, we perform to the best of our ability because the network infrastructure is behind everything from big screens at the live sites to information for organisers, competitors and fans. Critically, it’s also behind the results process. It makes sure the venue results system feeds into central information systems and the Internet.
You can see why the IOC mandates two full technical rehearsals. Information is at the heart of the Games.
Last week during Interop Las Vegas, I was able to witness and participate in all sorts of conversations about virtualization, and its effect on the way we deploy, deliver and consume applications and services.
Virtualization itself is not a new topic, but given the way our environment has been shaping lately, it is becoming more and more relevant. In this new world we all carry multiple devices, we are always on the move, and the definition whether the app we are using is running from the cloud or from our devices is increasingly irrelevant.
Users do not care about the technology, or the role of virtualization or cloud, as long as they have access to the applications and data they need, whenever they need it. We sometimes think the users should care, but in reality, it is IT that should care, and not the users. And that is a big distinction.
This of course is not a surprise, but I perceived a sense of impatience and even annoyance from some of the users that I was able to question about this matter. I got a really clear message that whatever is the future of the desktop--or the workspace as more and more people refer to it, should be delivered to them soon.
As for the important characteristics of this workspace, from the users’ perspective:
Access to it has to be transparent. They must have an ‘on-demand’ connectivity environment that allows them to have secure access to the data and/or applications they need to complete the tasks at hand, without worrying about authenticating every time, on the device of their choice. Solutions such as Cisco AnyConnect and the Cisco Identity Services Engine provide these capabilities, and clearly there is pent up demand for such a solution deployed broadly across the enterprise.
There has rightfully been much emphasis placed on student achievement to justify technology investments in higher education. California Baptist University is focusing in on students as a primary driver for their collaboration architecture, but something else interesting popped out for me in this recent case study – how it is affecting instructors.
Clearly there is a business case for extending the reach of a university that has limited “brick-and-mortar space to grow in. According to Dr. David Poole, Vice President, Online and Professional Studies, “I can now offer face-to-face instruction in real time to Chinese students at the bachelors and masters level. My ROI is tremendous because I am not sending faculty over there to spend months and months over there.” I believe that while some US-based instructors may enjoy an occasional trip to China, an extended stay could be an obstacle from a personal perspective.
The rapid evolution of mobile technology has changed many things, from how we work to how we communicate with our families and friends. From how we play to how we learn.
Webcast: The Network Built for the Mobile Experience
It started with the simple convenience that came from the portability of mobile phones and has escalated to smartphones and tablets that weigh less than two pounds, yet give us access to nearly anyone or any piece of information we might need, nearly anywhere. We customize them inside and out, from the cases we put on them to the information we put in them. We organize our applications, contacts, photos, videos, music, calendars, e-mail, and information exactly to fit how we find things best. It’s a device, yet it’s all very personal.
As these devices work their way toward ubiquity in our consumer lives, they’ve become prevalent in the workplace as well. It’s not just that people have their own phones and tablets, but they want to bring their own devices into their work lives. Read More »
When we were kids, my little brother and I collaborated only when absolutely necessary and only when there was mutual benefit in the end result. Eating broccoli, for instance. We grew up in a “we serve it, you eat it” house. Little brother, being a renegade in many ways from the start, preferred the broccoli stems to the flowers. I preferred the flowers. A simple collaboration and we both accomplished the task necessary to be excused from the table. When it came to eating liver, however, there was no such deal to strike. And, as little brother discovered, climbing a tree to avoid eating liver was not a solution. And cold liver? Worse.
Come to think of it, that’s not too different from business organizations. Read More »