Happy New Year! We’re kicking off the year strong with this very special international episode of Engineers Unplugged. Matthew Yeager (@mpyeager) and Juan Manuel Rey (@reypo) discuss cloud adoption in Europe and how the terms get lost in translation, but maintain a key focus: customers.
**The next shoot is last week of January at Cisco Live in Milan! If you want to be internet-famous, contact me ASAP to talk about being on the show.**
This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
As I wander through the world of broadband, I frequently worry that for every step forward, we take one step back. As I’ve written about previously, we seem to be at an inflection point where we see the potential value of broadband, but putting it into reality seems to be more ephemeral.
Especially here in the U.S., we seem to be “talking the talk” more than we’re “walking the walk.” The confluence of certain events recently has underscored my ongoing concern even more recently.
Info in the ‘cloud’ can help when stranded …or planning ahead
Many of us dream about getting away from it all while on vacation. But those days may be long gone as more of us pack our smartphone when we hit the road. Add a tablet or two to your carry on and you’d rather lose your underwear than this bag.
So despite any desire to unplug, stay connected for all the cool travel apps that may make the difference between seeing George Clooney’s villa on Lake Como from a travel brochure or in person by finding it say on Trip Advisor’s mobile app.
Actor George Clooney’s Villa on Lake Como
Smartphone apps are great for having information (literally) at your fingertips. Apps like Kayak and Hotel Tonight often have hotel rates cheaper than you’d find on web sites – certainly on a hotel’s web site — and this you have to love: They display the rates for international hotels in U.S dollars.
Best Western Venice
Best Western Venice on Kayak
Of course you need to be on the Internet to access many apps, but some like Trip Advisor’s offline city guides you can download while on Wi-Fi and use later when you’re not online.
One of the best things to come along for the international traveler is an app called Viber that uses VoIP technology so you escape high roaming charges. You get FREE text messaging and phone calls …but anyone you communicate with must also have Viber.
When you are connected to the Internet, travel apps work so well because they reside in the cloud where content is updated dynamically in real time, giving you access to the latest information. My Facebook friend and Cisco colleague Guido Jouret used this to his advantage when his long flight to SFO was diverted recently after a European vacation.
Once on the ground, try some of these:
Peek isn’t an app yet but a very new web-based travel guide with great ideas for activities in various cities, and even includes live chat with a travel expert.
AroundMe tells you all the points of interest located near you. It detects your current location, and lets you select from categories like bars, cafés, hospitals, and hotels to find what you like.
Orient gives you a compass view of certain locations nearby. If you’re doing a walking tour of a city, Orient shows you the directions and distance to of your destinations.
World Lens is for both iphones and android phones and lets you point your smartphone’s video camera at a word on a sign and watch as it’s translated from one language to another.
Expensify keeps track of your purchases and transactions by syncing with your credit cards and bank accounts. It also acts as a receipt scanner by using your phone’s camera. After your trip, you’re sent a PDF report of all your spending.
For news on my friend Guido’s trip home from Europe, I turned to my smartphone’s Facebook app …and there he was, almost home.
Please send me your comments and how you use the Internet during your summer travels so I can use them on my next vacation.
Grid4EU is a four-year, multi-national project that comprises six smart grid projects by utilities in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Together these projects cover more than half of Europe’s electricity supply. With an ecosystem of 27-partners, the project is focusing on smart grid solutions for renewable energy integration, grid automation and energy efficiency. This will effectively lay the groundwork for future electrical grids, while empowering consumers as marketplace participants. Ultimately, improving consumption management and cost-effectively achieving greater network reliability, flexibility, and resiliency.
According to Marco Cotti, Head of Smart Grids Development at Enel,
“The GRID4EU project represents the first important step in the implementation of the European Electricity Grid Initiative roadmap and we are convinced that it will become a reference for the development of Smart Grids in Europe and beyond”
Cisco is supporting two major project demos in Italy and the Czech Republic. Read More »
CIOs around the world are at the center of technology trends such as cloud, social media, consumerization of IT, and mobility. This is the third blog in a four-part series (Read Part I)(Read Part II) exploring and sharing how CIOs around the world are responding to these trends and creating new ways to innovate, grow, and deliver superior customer experience.
Back in 2006, Gartner Research predicted that no company would be able to build or sustain a competitive advantage over the next few years unless it capitalized on the combined power of individualized workers and social dynamics. The “Future Worker of 2015,” Gartner said, would collaborate more, work alone less in order to be successful. Read More »