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Bringing Gaming to the Classroom


By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

As I’ve been reading about technology in education, one of the most interesting trends that keeps popping up is gaming. As a casual gamer myself, I’ve heard the arguments about how gaming improves hand-eye coordination and problem solving and all the rest. (In fact I tried many of them with my mom when I was 12 years old)

But the arguments for gaming in education today are far more advanced and compelling than I’ve realized. A lot of very smart people are working on this subject, and a lot of innovative educators are putting it into practice.

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Going Green with Virtualized Networks

More than 1,100 gaming establishments worldwide come to Global Cash Access  (GCA) for ideas and innovation. GCA is a global leader in providing tightly integrated solutions to the gaming industry by optimizing cash access processes. These services allow gamblers to access cash through ATM withdrawals, credit card and debit card transactions, check verification, and money transfers. When 60%-70% of the money on a casino floor comes from these devices, a reliable network infrastructure is imperative. In 2011, GCA processed more than 90 million transactions and dispensed more than $19 billion in cash. In this industry, minutes of down time translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in missed transactions.

With over 8000 patron touch points around the world, GCA needed a data center infrastructure that could support their current needs but scale to be the foundation for future growth. GCA engaged Nexus IS, a Cisco Gold Certified partner with Master specializations in Security and Unified communications, to help them design a data center architecture  flexible enough to add new devices and enable new services for GCA to provide to their customers.

Watch as Scott Betts, CEO of GCA, and Jim King, Vice President of IT at GCA, discuss how Nexus was able to provide a strong foundation of one unified IP-based infrastructure to help GCA meet the uptime and reliability necessary to their business.


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Retail Lessons from Las Vegas Vacation Part 1 of 3 – Use of Video

Over the Christmas holidays I spent 5 days in Las Vegas visiting friends and ring in the new year in the city that never sleeps.  Over the years Las Vegas continues to transform itself to keep itself relevant from the original sin city and gambling capital to the modern convention/vacation destination.

I spent new year’s eve with 320,000 visitors which is an impressive number by any standards, plus  I managed to do some shopping and visiting a few attractions between visiting friends.

I thought I’d share my observations on how Las Vegas continues to delight visitors in a series of blogs and what retailers can learn from it.

Today’s I’d like to focus on the use of video technology for customers in Las Vegas

One of my stops is at the new Cosmopolitan casino and hotel and their use of video walls in the registration lobby

One of the first impression when you walk in is that it doesn’t look like a video screen but backlit wall panels.  Only when the images start moving do you realize it is a video wall.  As you can see from the video Read More »

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Cisco Global Events Wants to Know, Do You Game?

Day 1 at the Social Media Summit: Social Media Best Practices for Communicators conference has been a real learning experience. What’s really intrigued me about this year’s agenda and general buzz among conference attendees, is the amount of focus around mobile strategies. It’s interesting to watch how quickly the social media, the gamification, and the mobile technology landscapes are changing as smartphones continue to rise in popularity.

Today, there are 1.08 billion smartphones. In 2014, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage (more than 50% of all “local” searches are done from a mobile device today).*

In my opinion, it’s how we use smartphone and social media technology that will make a difference in the success of marketing in the future. It’s time to embrace mobile as a main vehicle in our social media and traditional marketing strategies. Here is an example of an innovative way to accomplish this initiative and connect more directly with customers, partners, and peers.

Our Global Events organization, with the great technology expertise of DoubleDutch , created a first of its kind hybrid mobile app called Cisco Events mobile app. As different Cisco proprietary and third-party activities take place, they are included in the mobile app. Participants only have to download the free app one time and can use it year-round.

And as part of the larger Cisco marketing communications best practices, the mobile app and social media efforts integrate into the overall program goals, traditional marketing channels, and centralized online websites or communities.

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Speed Limit 100Gbps – Cisco CRS-3 and Altibox Powers World’s Fastest Computer Party

Norway's The Gathering and Cisco 100GWhat do you get when you combine 5000+ gamers, a 100GE uplink to the Internet, a lot of espresso machines, and no parents to tell them to shut down the noise or go to bed early? A whole lot of fun!

The Gathering (“TG”), is Norway’s largest computer party and kicked off today for its 20th time since 1992. It’s grown so large now that it is held at one of the venues used for the 1994 Winter Olympics. TG continues to attract growing interest to the gaming, computer, and entertainment event, both nationally and internationally and is organized by the non-profit organization KANDU (Kreativ Aktiv Norsk DataUngdom/Creative Active Norwegian Computer Youth). This year it’s powered at record speed by a Cisco CRS-3 router connected to The Gathering’s Internet provider, Altibox at 100 Gbps, along with technical support provided by several of Cisco Norway’s engineers, Merete Asak and Bjornar Forthun.

This isn’t the first time the CRS has played a key role in a Scandinavian gaming conference. The Swedes used our 40G technology in 2007 at their Dreamhack event as we discussed (and video here), but now this has raised the performance bar.

Although they probably won’t be playing Cisco’s award winning myPlanNet game, they’ll still enjoy others such as StarCraft, Quake, and Heroes of Newerth. Participants also participate in creative competitions in programming, graphics, and music.

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