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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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A Major IT Shift – Delivering Business Outcomes

During geek-fests like CiscoLive, it’s easy to become hypnotized by all the amazing technology. So many smart people are innovating in so many amazing ways. When the party’s over, though, we all need to get back to business. Not just CIO’s and CTO’s – everyone in IT needs to focus on business outcomes – now more than ever. Here’s why.

IT is under increasing pressure to innovate and help deliver business results, as evidenced by several new data points in our industry. Understanding these trends and next steps can help IT, business, and operations teams all work better together to deliver more value from technology.

Read More »

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Connected Justice Solutions for Correctional Facilities

Two of the biggest problems that prison staff must face every day are security and cost. From visitation to healthcare to education, cost-efficient technology solutions can make the lives of inmates safer and better.

Cisco® Connected Justice™ and Renovo Software have partnered to integrate Renovo’s expertise in inmate visitation management and Cisco’s open communications infrastructure. This combination provides prisons and courts with the ability to offer telecommunications services that improve lives and uphold public safety standards while cutting costs.

A great example of this theory in practice is Muskegon County Jail. The Michigan jail will leverage Renovo’s videoconferencing technologies to facilitate visitation for inmates and their families, as well as streamline communication with courtrooms and lawyers. Televisitation allows inmates to maintain frequent face-to-face contact with their legal counsel and visitors without the concerns of physical safety and contraband. This technology alleviates a burden on prison personnel and eases the physiological impact of visiting a prison for families of inmates, especially children. Video visitation is not new, but Muskegon County is a pioneer in fully adopting the practice and planning for its future use. Read More »

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When Minutes Matter, You Can’t Afford to be Lost in Translation

On a recent visit to my doctor’s office, I observed something that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in the past:  When a nurse called the next patient back for her appointment, a young girl also stood up and explained that her mother didn’t speak English well and asked to accompany her to interpret.

I live right outside of Washington, D.C., which is fortunately a culturally diverse area so I am used to hearing different languages on a day-to-day basis.  I guess I never really considered the impact of not speaking English when it comes to seeking medical care.  Luckily, the example above, seemed like a routine office visit, but it got me thinking about what would happen in an emergency situation where seconds count.

Paras and Associates know this scenario all too well as they provide real-time language interpreters for healthcare environments using video collaboration. PAA’s service ensures that patients anywhere in the country, who speak any language, can gain access to high quality medical interpretation in an instant. Video communications has played a significant role in their practice and has significantly reduced “lost in translation” errors by allowing doctor, patient and interpreter to see each other’s faces. The power of video overcomes language barriers that can often be misinterpreted over the phone … and herein lies my passion.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melinda Paras, PAA’s president and CEO.  Melinda is a veteran of the medical industry and saw a need to deliver a better “business outcome” to patients and medical staff.  In this case, the business outcome could mean the difference between life and death.

Video communications can Read More »

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What, Why, Where, When, How: The New FCC Ruling Around 5 GHz

You don’t need me to tell you to know that we are in the midst of a technology revolution.  It’s mobilizing the internet.  And it’s transforming the way billions of people around the globe collaborate, communicate, and connect to the internet.

•           The education customers I work with are incorporating video and mobile applications into their curriculum with up to a 100 students in an auditorium accessing the Wi-Fi network simultaneously.

•           Healthcare customers are relying on Wi-Fi to connect patients, devices and provide nurses instant access to medical records.

•           Manufacturing customers are increasingly using Wi-Fi to enable workers on the factory floor to have real-time video conversations with experts anywhere in the globe.

What do these things have in common?  They all depend on Wi-Fi for connectivity.  In these areas, and so many more, Wi-Fi has become a central way that people access the Internet.

The FCC released a historic decision on April 1, 2014 (adopted March 31)with regards to the use of 5 GHz spectrum. Although there were many technical aspects included within this decision, one of the most interesting was making the 5150-5250 MHz U-NII 1 band available for outdoor WLAN use. Read More »

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