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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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Highlights from AFCEA Homeland Security Conference: Remaining Ever-Vigilant

AFCEA Homeland SecurityLast week I had the opportunity to attend the AFCEA Homeland Security conference in Washington, D.C.

Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security was appointed leading to the combination of 22 different federal departments and agencies into a unified, integrated cabinet agency when it was established in 2002.

The Department has a vital mission to secure the U.S. from many threats with capabilities that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity to chemical facility inspections.

The three day conference focused on a number of important topics including:

  • Mobility and Interoperability
  • Information Sharing and Fusion Centers
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Role of Laboratories and Scientific Research in Homeland Security
  • Cybersecurity Education and Continuous Diagnostics and Monitoring

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Public Safety Blog Series-Connecting the Unconnected in Public Safety Response

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technology transition where devices will allow us to sense and control the physical world by making objects smarter and connecting them through an intelligent network.   IoT is about connecting the unconnected.  Here are three recent stories sharing insights of how IoT technologies are transforming public safety and making communities safer.

IoT Technologies used in Disaster Response

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Matt Runyan, Network Consulting Engineer from Cisco’s Tactical Operations team recently presented a session called Internet of Things (IoT) technologies used in Disaster Response. The session provided an overview of lessons learned from SuperStorm Sandy, as well as dozens of other national and global public safety emergencies where Cisco’s Network Emergency Response Vehicle (NERV), a mobile incident command vehicle, has been deployed.

NERV is a vehicle built with Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) enabled technologies such as Cisco IP Collaboration and Incident Response System (IPICS) technologies, Unified Communications, Cisco AnyConnect security for mobile devices,  and enhanced safety and security platform Cisco’s Hyper-scalable Video Surveillance Manager 7, and related LTE, radio, wireless, networking switching and routing technologies.

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How Cisco Trucks Help Establish Communications for First Responders

With the east coast reeling from the effects of hurricane Sandy, utilities are doing their best to restore power to millions who are still without power and other services. Cisco’s NERV truck has been deployed to help utilities and other emergency responders re-establish communications for incident management and service restoration.

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“What If” Could Be Now: Truly Mobile Healthcare

March 14, 2012 at 7:26 am PST

Once upon a time in the days of Opie and Andy, doctors made house calls. I’ve seen it on TV, so it must be true. Now, a doctor visit usually requires that you do the visiting to a clinic, office, or hospital. An initial appointment may result in referrals for tests or to specialists – more visits, parking lots, waiting rooms. Sometimes your information gets transferred along, sometimes it doesn’t.

Mobile devices are showing up everywhere, healthcare included. There’s even a new word: mHealth. (We had e-everything in the early 2000s, then came along iSomething, so let’s now move further into the alphabet with mWords.) Read More »

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