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Telegraph vs. Internet: Which Had Greater Impact?

2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  You may remember just two things about this period from your high school history class.  First, in an act of ignominy for the Americans, the British burned down the capital.  Second, the war ended with the resounding defeat of the British by the heroic General Andrew Jackson in January 1815, in what was the war’s only set-piece battle between the opposing sides.  Jackson eventually rode this victory into the Presidency.

There is only one problem with this battle.  It took place after the war was over.  The previous month, in Europe, the two sides had agreed to peace.  But in those days, communications was so slow that word of the peace didn’t reach New Orleans until February 1815.

Fast forward, approximately forty-eight years later, to the Civil War.  In the period between these two wars, in 1831, Morse thought up the idea for the electronic telegraph.  The Union Army had mastered its quick deployment, so that in 1863 while sitting in Washington, President Lincoln could read almost real time reports from the battlefields many miles away.

book cover

This was a dramatic increase in the speed of communications.  Not all that many decades later, telegraph lines and cables would unite the world.  Yet this did not fundamentally change the way people worked or lived or governed themselves.

So consider 2011, when the US Navy Seals got Osama Bin Laden.  There was a tweet about helicopters within several minutes, but the author didn’t know why the helicopters were nearby.  The first tweet with some confirmation came about forty-five minutes before President Obama made his announcement.

Now think back about forty-eight years before to November 22, 1963 and the assassination of President John Kennedy.  The news was out quickly all over television and radio and newspapers.  Walter Cronkite famously told the viewers of CBS News that the President had died thirty-eight minutes before.

Unlike the 19th century examples, there was no dramatic speed up in the reporting of these two more recent events separated by roughly forty-eight years.  While we may have more sources of information in more places now than in 1963, word doesn’t get out all that much faster.  You could argue that the Telegraph had a greater impact on communications than the Internet.

Yet many of us have the feeling that our world has been changed by this communications.  Why is that?

I think it has to do with the changing nature of the work we do.  In the mid-19th century, more than three quarters of Americans made things or grew food.  In 2011, less than a quarter do so and the rest of us provide services — and increasingly intangible services, including ideas, knowledge, entertainment and the like which is delivered digitally.  Because better digital communications directly speeds up the delivery of these services, we see the impact more.  It’s the increasing availability of high quality communications, in conjunction with these significant socio-economic trends, which will continue to change our lives.

Please share with us how you’ve seen the confluence of these two trends? Reply here and visit the Cisco Public Sector Customer Connection Community.

[picture credit for Battle of New Orleans http://www.frenchcreoles.com/battnozz.jpg]

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USDA Grants Help Rural Communities Connect

A recent study from the U.K. Department of Health finds that using remote monitoring technology to keep tabs on patients’ blood sugar and cardiopulmonary disease can reduce the risk of patient mortality by up to 45 percent. With statistics like this, hospitals and medical clinics can’t afford not to embrace telehealth technologies. Not to mention, telehealth is quickly becoming a competitive differentiator in some markets around the U.S. According to Mark Probst, CIO for Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, “I don’t see how the hospital CEO can ignore telemedicine.”

While tech-savvy patients in urban areas will likely begin to demand more user-friendly access to healthcare, therefore driving the adoption of telehealth in metropolitan-area hospitals, the technology is more than just a convenience for residents in rural areas; it can be the difference between life and death. Read More »

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year: 12 Highlights and 12 Predictions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As 2011 draws to a close, I am enjoying the holidays, reflecting on 2011, and wondering what 2012 will bring in the New Year. 

12 Highlights for 2011

  • Cisco Partner Highlights 2011 
  • IACP Community Policing Committee Visits Cisco 

  • Citrix Synergy 2011 

  • Cloud Computing World Forum London
  • Chambers Keynote at Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) 

  • CiscoLive! 2011 
  • Connected Justice
  • Telework Initiative
  • IACP Community Policing Awards Reception  

  • Public Services Summit
  • National Town Hall
  • Santa Brings High Tech Holiday Cheer

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Highlights from the National Town Hall for the Next Generation Workspace: Public Sector Edition

In case you missed it, you can still watch the National Town Hall for the Next Generation Workplace online

This 90-minute TeleWebcast features public sector customer best practices from federal, state and local government, and education organizations hosted via Cisco TelePresence in Atlanta, Herndon, Los Angeles, Richardson, San Jose, and Seattle.

Moderator: Steve LeSueur  
Contributing Editor, 1105 Government Information Group

Shane Milam
Director, Systems and Networks, Mercer University

 Paulette Robinson
Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, iCollege, National Defense University

Josh Sawislak 
Senior Fellow, Telework ExchangeSenior Fellow, Telework Exchange

Jac Fagundo
Chief Technology Officer for Internal Services Department, LA County

Brooks Moore 
Manager of Technology Services, Dallas County Public Schools – Aledo

Matt Byers
Senior Systems Administrator, Seattle University

Chris Westphal
Senior Manager for Desktop Solutions Marketing, VMware

Tony Paikeday
Senior Marketing Manager for Desktop Virtualization, Cisco

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Public Sector Experts Weigh In on Virtual Desktops and the New Virtual Workspace

Have you ever sat in on a TelePresence meeting? It really makes you think about how technology can make distance disappear, and bring together people across a wide geography for the purpose of collaborating and sharing ideas.  Such is the case with the National Townhall on Desktop Virtualization I participated in recently, along with VMware.

Seven industry experts from seven US cities, discussing the impact or key learnings of implementing desktop virtualization in government, healthcare and education.  I was joined by my colleague Chris Westphal of VMware, and our panelists, bringing firsthand experiences of their journey to desktop virtualization.  If you want to attend the interactive webcast of this event, please click here – I think you’ll find it incrementally valuable if you’re on the verge of a pilot, proof of concept or just researching your options.

This experience reminded me of something important regarding the transformation of the user desktop as we know it. Immersive business video is increasingly becoming a modality of enterprise collaboration that workers will depend on to be productive.  Consider the fact that ten people had meaningful discourse in this session, without any of them having to board a plane.  IP telephony is the same – we can’t imagine a day without access to our phone.  So when we talk about using virtual desktops making people more productive, and making business more agile, it makes total sense that we expect by extension of that premise, voice, video and virtual desktops to converge in a single workspace that’s accessible on any device, anywhere.  We depend on all of these modalities to be effective, not just one.

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