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Navigating the Journey to the Cloud

Over the years, cloud computing has been at the center of emerging trends including big data, mobility, security and Internet of Things (IoT). Today’s cloud hosting technology feature capabilities such as rapid elasticity, resource pooling and on-demand self-service. Cloud providers are offering customers the ability to consume theses services with flexible service level agreements. Across government, agencies are more empowered than ever to select, implement and utilize these capabilities to efficiently deliver citizen services and transform the business of government.

However, there are important questions about costs and capabilities that cloud adoptees must answer when creating their strategy and choosing their provider.

  1. What does it cost to deploy the services? What are the costs of the onboarding, and potentially, the off-boarding processes?
  2. Do the cloud service capabilities align with the problem that you’re trying to solve?
  3. Is the cloud provider capable of delivering the specific services and analytical tools your agency needs?

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Celebrating our Heroes on Veterans Day

We thank all of those serving or who have served in the U.S. military.

We live freely today because of your sacrifice. CSR_veterans_1114

The holiday season has always been a time for family and gratitude. And it is fitting that we thank and honor our Veterans at the beginning of this season. We are humbled by your loyalty and the sacrifices you have made for our liberties, and privileged to work alongside you. The legacy you leave in the wake of your service inspires us all.

Our veterans have helped shape this country’s past and they are the heroes who safeguard our future. And while expressions of gratitude are admirable and appreciated, we must all do more to support their transition back into civilian life.

 

Here are a few great ways you can support our veterans:

  • Green Beret Foundation – The Green Beret Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to Green Berets who are injured in the line of duty, to their families, and to the families of our fallen brothers.
  • Operation Homefront – Operation Homefront offers financial and food assistance, repairs, and help to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.
  • Wounded Warrior – The Wounded Warrior Project helps raise awareness and enlists public aid for the needs of injured service members. It also helps injured service members assist each other, and provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

We hope that you will take the time to research these organizations and find ways to become more involved. This season has only just begun; and in the midst of all our holidays and celebrations, let us think of those who have served this country. Here at Cisco, we encourage all our employees to pledge their support and donate to a mission—we hope you do the same.

To all the veterans, we remain forever indebted to your sacrifice and we honor your service. We will never forget your unwavering commitment and heroism.

Happy Veterans Day.

 

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Mobile Public Safety: Connections on the Job

Public safety agencies continually strive to improve their effectiveness and responsiveness to incidents in their jurisdictions. With increased attention on homeland security programs, these agencies demand better interdepartmental and interagency communications with important personnel, including police officers and first responders in the field.

Mobile applications supporting police, fire, and medical response units have transitioned from simple text and voice to rich multimedia applications. Real-time video, maps with satellite imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, and global database searches are now available in handheld devices that first responders carry with them in the field. In today’s technological sphere, public safety agencies are leveraging these new capabilities and extending their existing applications in order to enhance the efficiency and delivery of high-quality services. Read More »

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Harford County Unveils Countywide Broadband Network (HMAN)

On May 22, Harford County, Maryland held a press conference to announce its high-speed fiber optic based network, which will connect government buildings, schools, and libraries while reducing costs. The fiber optic cable, known as HMAN, or Harford Metro Area Network will allow greater broadband access to residents. According to Ted Pilbil, director of the county’s ICT department, the HMAN will “upgrade the county’s computer network and serve as a communications backbone” for Harford.

Since its conceptualization five years ago, HMAN has grown both from the efforts of the Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN) – a consortium of six Maryland counties – and a federal grant under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).HMAN press conference

As part of the fiber optics solution, Cisco helped guide the County into a design that was within its budget and met all its technical needs. More than 100 miles of fiber optic has connected approximately 100 institutions around the county. The design included a Metro Ethernet solution based on the ASR9K platform, which has allowed the County to replace its expensive leased lines with a wholly owned fiber optic network managed by the county. The network has the ability to add Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DMDW) optical technology to further expand the network capacity by a factor of 40x with additional equipment. Cisco’s flexible design allowed the County to reduce costs while providing high-speed connectivity to local schools, libraries, public safety offices, and economic development zones.

The HMAN has great potential to provide economic opportunities and bring business into Harford County. One such opportunity is the presence of “dark fiber.” In essence, dark fiber is when cables are not activated, which can allow a company to create its own private network. Furthermore, business that could not previously access broadband service from traditional carriers – whether due to location or cost – can now buy into a cost-effective, high-speed network. The data will move faster and with greater reliability and flexibility.

Alongside businesses, city and county government will also be linked on the broadband highway, offering endless possibilities for teleconferencing, data sharing, and video communications. Furthermore, HMAN will open opportunities for additional infrastructure for primary, secondary, and higher education.

By providing high-speed access to video, voice, and data for county organizations and residents, the HMAN will catapult Harford County into a technology center of the future.

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Fire Departments Improve Training with Telepresence

May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am PST

There are roughly 10,000 firefighters in Los Angeles County who are responsible for the lives of 9.8 million residents. Getting the proper training for all of the fire departments in the county is of the utmost importance in order to maintain a safe community.

Training difficulties

Mandatory classes for all L.A. County firefighters are held annually at one location to maximize the instructors’ time. The problem with this approach is that firefighters are spending several hours outside of their jurisdiction to attend the classes, which affects response times. To adequately staff stations during training, fire departments spend excess dollars for travel and replacement firefighters.

So, they began searching for a way to save money and enhance firefighter training programs during a period of government budget constraints. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association (LAAFCA) received grant funding from the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program to help to support their high-threat, high-density communities.

Virtual technology for enhanced training sessions

The LAAFCA decided to use the grant to invest in telepresence, or video conferencing, technology to help them meet their financial and training goals. Telepresence was scalable and could be manipulated to fit the needs of the different-sized fire departments in the county.

With HD cameras, microphones, speakers, and lighting, the video systems would allow one highly-qualified instructor to conduct trainings from one location to multiple departments throughout the county in real time.

Since the integration of telepresence, L.A. fire departments have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and travel costs, provided multiple virtual training sessions with the same level of high-quality emergency support, recorded previous course lectures for replay at any time, and improved firefighter response time.

“If there is a major emergency in the region, all of the county’s firefighters can respond with the same level of high-quality emergency support. Video conferencing offers these benefits to the trainees in the most efficient way possible.” -- Christopher Donovan, Fire Chief at Monrovia Fire Department, California.

If you would like to learn more, read the full case study, and let us know how technology is helping your local first responders.

We also invite you to join our upcoming live webcast on June 5 – our industry experts will cover everything you need to know to create a unified, interoperable public safety IT environment. Register Now

More to come! Be sure to check in for all our upcoming Friday blogs on the latest trends, challenges and technologies impacting public safety. Follow the hashtag #CiscoPublicSafety and @CiscoStateLocal and @CiscoGovt on Twitter for updates, and visit the Cisco Public Safety site for more information on solutions.

 

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