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Aironet 1850 Series APs Help Education World

AN39409The Chartwell School in Seaside, CA and the Namibia University of Science and Technology might be on opposite sides of the world, but both schools know that Cisco Aironet 1850 Series Access Points (AP) are the best products to deploy a wireless network. An 802.11ac Wave 2-based access point, the Aironet 1850 is the most cutting-edge AP on the market today. Both schools had the same goal: each wanted to make sure that their wireless networks were ready for the onslaught of 802.11ac Wave 2 devices that will be heading their way in the coming years.

The staff at the Chartwell School needed to upgrade its Wi-Fi network to better support its students who have language-based learning differences. Chartwell turned to Cisco and not only deployed the Cisco Aironet 1850 access points but also Cisco Mobility Express to bring support to its modernized learning environment.

Mobility Express easily handles the bandwidth increase and supports wireless multitasking both at school and at students’ homes. The school’s network is now better equipped to handle high-bandwidth learning tools, multi-device connectivity and newer cloud-based teaching solutions.

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From Career Connection to Collaborative Knowledge: How Cisco Built a New Breed of Knowledge, Learning, and Productivity Solution

In Part 1 of this blog post, I described the circumstances that led to the creation and roll out of the Career Connection pilot and the formation of the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge digital workplace platform. Now I want to share more about the evolution of how all of this transpired.

Career Connection, as you may recall, is a learning platform for Cisco Service employees. It was developed after months of employee engagement, user testing, surveys, interviews, and executive input. The Career Connection platform offered employees a new way to collaborate and learn:

  • The Learning Plan provided an overview of learning opportunities scheduled by the employee and their manager, as well as an overview of progress toward learning goals.
  • Community offered social learning opportunities among employees and experts.
  • The Training Catalog offered a single portal through which employees could access training courses to support reskilling and upskilling.
  • Career Universe presented Career Playbooks, organized by job category or job family. These playbooks were created by management teams to provide employees with tracks they could follow to meet requirements for jobs they wanted to attain.

These technologies represented key foundational capabilities — knowledge sharing, formal and social learning – critical to the creation of Cisco Collaborative Knowledge. The proof-of-concept pilot for Career Connection went live in 2014, and it proved to be a breakthrough for Cisco Services, which until that time, relied heavily on formal learning programs. Once employees took to the solution, employees and managers benefited in a myriad of ways.

Career Connection as a learning and knowledge sharing solution, surpassed expectations for reskilling and up-skilling the workforce. Employees embraced the technology, too. Here’s how they responded:

  • 89 percent agreed or strongly agreed that learning from leaders via blogs about strategic direction and career development was important to how they create their own development path.
  • 76 percent agreed or strongly agreed that being able to share information through discussion forums was important to their professional development.
  • 82 percent agreed or strongly agreed that visibility into information for all jobs (Career Universe) helped them plan their career goals.
  • 79 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the intent and mission of the platform. Moreover, employees felt engaged on important business topics and empowered to share professional knowledge.

With such positive feedback to Career Connection, Learning@Cisco executives began asking: Could Cisco customers benefit from a similar platform to transform their own companies? To determine if there was an unmet need in the marketplace, Learning@Cisco connected with hundreds of customers to discuss their challenges and potential learning opportunities.

Armed with customer feedback, and the proof-of-concept pilot validated by more than 14,000 Cisco Services employees, Career Connection evolved from an internal learning offering into a fully integrated, cloud-based knowledge and learning digital workplace solution appropriately named Cisco Collaborative Knowledge.

To learn more about Cisco Collaborative Knowledge, visit our the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge site.

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Announcing Cisco IoT Pathfinder: New Initiative for Diversifying the IoT Workforce

A key discussion point I keep hearing again and again this week during the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai is that the success of IoT depends greatly on developing the right workforce with the right skills.

I was honored to host a panel here called Transforming the Workforce to Unleash the Value of IoT that focused on how diversity can lead to greater innovation. It was here that we announced an initiative in expanding gender diversity throughout the industry — Cisco IoT Pathfinder.

Sponsored by Cisco and brought to you by Global Knowledge, an IoT Talent Consortium partner, IoT Pathfinder is a series of free 60-minute training webinars designed for women, men, and students interested in expanding their skills for the growing IoT economy.

Gartner estimates that IoT suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020, leading to an ever increasing need for specialized talent. The coming digital age requires a broader set of both technical and non-technical skills than the information age and we want to make it easier to develop those skills.

IoT Pathfinder Read More »

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Creating a New Skills Framework for the Digital Economy

In today’s hyper-connected economy, every company is a digital business. Technology professionals play an integral role in driving business outcomes, and that requires a new skills framework. There are new demands for IT expertise in a changing technology environment. For the individual, rapid change is driving the need for continuous skills refresh. For the enterprise, technology expertise must link to business outcomes. For the industry, a new skills framework is needed to develop cross-technology and cross-functional leaders.

The IT jobs of the future are being defined now, but many organizations and individuals are being left in the lurch. In fact, a report from the MIT Center for Digital Business Research found that nearly 80 percent of companies consider missing digital skills to be the key hurdle to digital business transformation.

To overcome this hurdle and stay ahead of disruption, a broader perspective is required – one that goes beyond the traditional infrastructure model. It’s a view not limited to just a network topology or architecture discussion, but rather, one that looks to the opportunities made available through evolving technologies. Additionally, organizations must be able to use these emerging technology trends to drive business outcomes.

Raising the Bar

That’s why Cisco is evolving its certification program to ensure that candidates are prepared for new and changing job roles that unfold with emerging technologies.

Core technology expertise is essential, of course, but practical IT expertise in a single, siloed technology area is no longer a differentiator. IT professionals also must have a clear understanding of the evolving and disruptive technologies that are fueling innovation.

With this evolution of the career certification program, Cisco is ensuring IT professionals are equipped with the skills and education needed for evolving technologies such as Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and network programmability. Read More »

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Connecting Schools and Students Via Smart Policy

Around the world, over 57 million children of primary school age do not have access to quality education and over 250 million children cannot read or write by the time they reach grade four. In addition, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of the United Nations estimates that over 4 billion people have yet to connect to the Internet and the positive economic and social benefits that it enables. With dedicated effort, national policy programs can tackle these twin social challenges simultaneously.

Highlighting a path forward, today Cisco is launching a new report, School Connectivity for the 21st Century, which explores the various national initiatives of five countries that have achieved near universal school Internet connectivity. The report assesses the different government policies and programs that have been successful in extending Internet connectivity to primary and secondary schools in Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay, and the United States. Collectively, the case studies demonstrate that broadband Internet connectivity, as a complement to educational programs, improves outcomes and equips students with the skills necessary to live, work, and thrive in our increasingly digital world.

Most countries around the world have some sort of school connectivity program. Unfortunately, though, connection speeds are often slow and connectivity rarely extends past the front office and into classrooms. While some countries may be connecting schools, they may not be connecting teachers and students to the global learning community.

Effective implementation of public policy not only connects more students to the Internet, but also facilitates real improvements to educational outcomes. The report finds that:

  • Broadband technology is an essential component in the iterative process of enhancing student achievement;
  • Dedicated national school connectivity programs can successfully extend Internet access to the majority of a country’s schools within only four or five years;
  • A range of funding mechanisms can be utilized to support school connectivity, from universal service funds to public-private partnership models; and
  • The amount of connectivity within a school (i.e., the local area networks, LAN) is just as important as the amount of connectivity provided to the school.

Given these findings, we recommend that policy leaders focus on broadband Internet and ICT adoption within schools to accelerate the positive impact of technology on education. The report highlights ‘good practices’ in comprehensive national school connectivity programs. These include: a high level vision; a detailed plan with targets; secure and recurring funding; a comprehensive focus on technology requirements; an emphasis on the development and integration of relevant educational content tailored to the learning environment; concurrent training for educators; and regular monitoring and evaluation of the program.

Process

Several technological aspects of school connectivity programs work in concert to ensure that a
robust system is available for students and educators, namely: bandwidth to the school, within-school connectivity, district-wide access, and complementary hardware and software. The experience of the programs reviewed here demonstrates that, over time, per-student bandwidth needs are regularly updated and
that local area networks (LANs), which provide connectivity within schools, are essential not only to extend connectivity throughout the campus, but also to achieve real outcomes by supporting collaboration and access to resources for every student and educator.

As Horace Mann, a pioneer in education reform in the 19th century, once said, “education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men – the balance wheel of the social machinery.” Today, nearly two centuries later, let us apply the lessons of history to lingering global challenges by extending educational opportunities – as well as Internet access – to all.

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