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The Anywhere Office

Long commutes and being in an office at a certain time with limited flexibility is gradually becoming a thing of the past. The future will see an increase in workplace mobility creating the “anywhere office,” a place where employees can work anytime from anywhere.

Which global region will lead the way in mobility by 2013? Click on our interactive infographic to find out.

In terms of sheer mass, the Asia-Pacific region will have the largest amount of mobile workers, topping out over 700 million people and making up for 62% of all the world’s mobile workers. In regards of being the leader in mobile penetration, the US will lead the world with Japan in tow with roughly three-fourths of all employees having workplace mobility options.

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Manufacturing: Be there while staying here

One of the challenges all of today’s manufacturing companies face is global operations that require increased attention from a diverse and oftentimes shrinking or aging workforce. Manufacturers and machine builders are faced with challenges every day in terms of getting the right engineer or expert from her office to the plant floor half the globe away. If the plant is down or operating inefficiently there are huge cost impacts to the manufacturer, huge support cost to the machine builder, and just tremendous impact to the value chain.

At Cisco we have shaved hundreds of millions of expense dollars from our budget by using a variety of collaboration tools. These start with Unified Communications but they include tools like WebEx, TelePresence, Video and Active Collaboration Rooms. These all add on to the existing capabilities of Borderless Networks. Many of our manufacturing customers already use these tools and are successfully stripping cost from their Operations every day.

Imagine the power of walking into a conference room, pressing a button on the phone and instantly seeing your assembly operations in China and Germany, being able to share data with the operations people from both plants with your staff in Michigan. Finishing that meeting you can capture the action items via your interactive whiteboard, set up follow-up calls via WebEx (all without printing, by the way! A Green feature!). Then you can get a cup of coffee and head back to your office and handle the call from Brazil about the packaging machine that wraps half the skid, then shuts down – and you do that from your phone, finding the design engineer that is at a customer site in Australia. And you did this all without having to fly anywhere, and you had visual contact with everyone. Read More »

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Evolution of Cisco’s Energy Strategy

Since 2009, when Cisco formally entered the “smart grid” market, we have made great progress in leveraging Internet Protocol (IP)-based technology to enable the transformation of the global energy industry. Through pilots, industry partnerships, acquisitions, and hiring key leaders from the energy industry, we’ve gained insights and are contributing innovative architectures and solutions to our customers.

As with every new business, we must be vigilant in applying lessons learned and willing to adapt our strategy to evolving conditions, be they economic, technological or policy-related.  So after several customer pilots, we are refining our strategy so we can most effectively apply our experience and expertise in IP-based communications to the electric, gas and water networks globally.

Over the past two years the home and building energy management markets have evolved in such a way that we believe we can provide more value to our customers and the industry by enabling interoperability through our core networking products and solutions (for example, EnergyWise) as part of our integrated architecture within the broader smart grid effort.

For building energy management, this means we are actively pursuing several strategic options for Cisco’s Network Building Mediator and Mediator Manager product line, with an emphasis on minimizing the impact on current customers, partners and employees.  For energy management in the home, we will transition our focus from creating premise energy management devices to using the network as the platform for supporting innovative applications and architectures that will improve our customers’ value proposition in the consumer energy management market.

By driving the network as the platform, leveraging our broader Cisco product portfolio and partner ecosystem, and by incorporating lessons learned into our Connected Grid Architecture, we can enable active customer participation in markets, grid operations, and service innovations.  We can also drive open standards-based solutions and interoperability between existing products. This decision will enable Cisco to best serve its global customers by giving them the flexibility they need to be responsive to market transitions and consumer desires.

Enabling collaboration among public and private stakeholders within the industry is also vital to the success of our customers and partners.  Cisco is hosting a Global Energy Summit on Tuesday, September 27th with John Chambers and thought leaders from the Energy industry including: former California Public Utilities Commissioner Dian Grueneich, former Commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Suedeen Kelly, President and CEO of Digital Energy for GE Bob Gilligan, Secretary General of Elia Group Pierre Bernard, President and COO Global Energy for Itron Philip Mezey, and many more distinguished guests.

Our commitment to the industry remains strong and our vision for energy management and Smart Grid has not changed – to transform energy production, distribution, consumption and management using an end-to-end IP platform.  By learning and adapting to changing market conditions, Cisco can better enable a 21st century model of energy management and the future global energy infrastructure.

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Smart Grid Progress in Russia

Earlier this month, Cisco and the Federal Grid Company of Russia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes a long-term collaboration to improve the reliability and efficiency of the country’s power grid.

This MOU is the latest concrete step that Cisco has taken to help transform Russia’s energy infrastructure. Just about a year ago, Cisco set the mark by announcing a $1 billion investment in Russia over the next decade to drive entrepreneurship, sustainable innovation and energy efficiency. The investment includes the development of a collaboration model with Russian business in verticals such as smart grid.

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Cloudy With a Chance of Data Center Savings

Ah, weather – one of life’s multi-purpose tools.  Conversation filler (“Quite the weather we’re having.”), alleged indicator of world’s end and source of inspiration for comic book writers to empower heroes and villains alike.

Weather can also be a Data Center’s best friend.  Solar energy can be harvested to help generate power, for instance, such as is happening at Cisco’s Data Center in Allen, Texas.  (Look for the 100 kW solar array on the right side of the Data Center’s roof.)  Wind energy as well.  Rainwater can even be collected for cooling system usage or to irrigate landscaping.

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