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The Winds of Change: How Cisco is Helping First Wind to Connect and Secure Its Assets

First Wind, an independent energy company focused on utility-scale wind projects in the U.S., is using communications technology to more efficiently manage their operations and produce wind power.  First Wind has deployed a unified Cisco network throughout various parts of its operations to support data, video and voice communications for lowered costs and greater reliability. And today at AWEA Windpower 2011, Cisco and GE announced a collaboration that will provide wireless connectivity to the First Wind’s site in Milford, Utah.

Why is this important? Wind power is a small, but rapidly growing, source of energy. Wind accounted for just 1.3 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2008, but over the past decade, wind turbine use has increased more than 25 percent per year and experts forecast it will be able to generate one-third of the world’s electricity by 2050.   How is that possible?

While the concept of generating power from wind is fairly easy to understand, the actual operation of a wind farm is more complex. One of the major challenges is wind turbines tend be built in areas like shorelines, on top of hills and in open plains. These areas are remote, and the turbines themselves are often spread over a wide range, making them difficult to access. For example, First Wind’s Milford site is a four-hour drive from the nearest airport and the wind turbines are spread over 42 square miles.

This is where a unified IP-based wireless network can create efficiencies. The GE/First Wind deployment at Milford provides up-tower and down-tower wireless to all 39 GE turbines.  The network also supports voice, video and data communications. This enables technicians to collaborate with GE and share data on the operations, leading to less downtime and increased production.  Information from the turbines, including high-def images, can also be shared with utility companies as well.

Another major challenge wind farms face is security. Energy producers in the U.S. commonly face security threats like vandalism and theft.  Cisco’s Physical Security solution running over First Wind’s IP-based network helps control physical access to sites and allows central management of security from any of its six locations nationwide. Via the network, First Wind can also monitor assets with real-time video surveillance, and because the physical security systems are IP-based, the video can be integrated with physical access controls for comprehensive security and control.

For First Wind, and for wind power globally, this is just the beginning. Technological innovations will continue to push the envelope for what energy producers can achieve, including cutting costs, security, customer interaction, meeting regulatory demands, and environmental sustainability. It’s an exciting business and social opportunity, and we’re only just seeing the tip of the wind turbine!

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The Cisco Containerized Data Center: A complete “whole solution”

While traditional brick and mortar data centers meet the requirements of many IT organizations, there are some customers that require a different solution.
As the Senior Vice President, Global Government Solutions Group,  I am happy to announce today the Cisco Containerized Data Center offering for government and commercial customers.

“Containerized,” or modular data centers, offer a flexible option for organizations that need to quickly deploy new data capacity. Built into weatherized ISO containers, these solutions consist of a complete Cisco unified data center, built as a self-contained, pre-integrated environment. In response to changing, mission-critical operations, the entire container can be transported wherever it is needed.

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News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: April 18-22

You know the drill…check out our top news stories of the week and what to look forward to next week.

1.)  Talk2Cisco: The Future of Video in the Enterprise

Yesterday Guido Jouret, Cisco’s VP/GM of the Enterprise Video Group and CTO of the Emerging Technologies Group joined Talk2Cisco for an interactive discussion about pervasive video. Jouret explained what the big buzz around video in the enterprise is all about and how enterprise organizations are harnessing video technologies to support their overall business. Miss the broadcast? Watch the replay above!

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Cisco ‘Walks the Walk’ – Showcasing in Their Second Data Center in Allen, Texas

April 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm PST

On April 15th Cisco will be opening a second data center in Allen, Texas.  This is not just any data center ladies and gents, this state-of-the-art data center demonstrates Cisco’s architectural vision and strategy by incorporation their latest innovations; Unified Computing System (UCS), Nexus switch portfolios, and the latest green technologies.

What degree of green are we talking about? LED lighting – naturally, solar power -- absolutely,  water-efficient landscaping – by all means, use of recycled building materials – affirmative. But to take it up a notch, Cisco used LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) when building the data center.   LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance metrics such as energy saving, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reductions, etc.  

You can listen to a live broadcast on April 15that 3:30pm, ET with CIO Rebecca Jacoby and VP of IT John Manville.   They will discuss in more detail about how it was built to be “ultra green” and how this data center fits into Cisco’s overall data center and cloud strategy: www.ustream.tv/ciscotv.   

It is exciting to see what was first a vision of a data center strategy, that developed into products to grow with that strategy.  Makes me ponder what will the 3rddata center be comprised of?  Walk that walk Cisco (with a carbon-free footprint of course).

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Moving into the Cloud: Cisco Partner Shares Success Story

January 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm PST

Over on the MSP Mentor site, blogger and Editorial Director Joe Panettieri’s FastChat series features quick interviews on a variety of tech topics.

In a recent episode, Cisco partner ePlus Inc. made an appearance. The company’s Director of Managed Services Tarun Sondhi talks about his role in helping ePlus to move from managed services into the cloud services market.

Watch the video interview below to find out the details.

ePlus has also received its Gold Partner, Master Unified Communications Specialization, Master Security Specialization, and Managed Services Master Certification so the company is poised to help customers on a number of levels.

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