Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet). Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.
Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.
But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained. This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.
Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.
And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.
Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption
Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.
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Tags: Cisco, cloud, Cloud Computing, collaboration, data, government, IBSG, internet, IT, local, Sharing, state
Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
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Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
By Uwe Lambrette, Director, IBSG Service Provider
Cloud adoption is accelerating at an impressive pace. To gain a deeper understanding of the current rate of change, and the dynamics of cloud’s evolution, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) engaged with wide-ranging groups of IT executives and decision makers—first in 2010, and then again in 2012. Our in-depth interviews focused on five industry verticals: government, manufacturing, financial services, professional services, and retail.
In our interviews, we encountered many examples of cloud implementation projects, which we call “adoption dynamics,” because they are nearly always part of the enterprise cloud adoption process. While there is no prescribed order, enterprises often begin with smaller, well-defined projects that fall into six categories:
- Consolidation of IT resources into cloud-based architectures for true cloud transformation
- Next-generation workspace
- Simple back-office business processes
- Software development
- Agile and scalable web presence
- Transformation of computer grids and analytics
Today: Different Industry Verticals Share Common Adoption Dynamics
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Tags: adoption, analytics, Cisco, cloud, cloud implementation, cloud transformation, cloud-based architectures, grids, IBSG, Internet Business Solutions Group, next-generation workspace, Service Provider, SP, vertical cloud adoption, vertical cloud providers, web presence
Wherever you go and whatever you do in the 21st century, you generate a data trail. Your credit and debit cards, mobile phone, laptop computer, tablet — not to mention retailers, banks, hospitals, hotel systems, and activity on social networks, blogs, and email — all generate data.
Yet, we are currently connecting less than 1 percent of the things, people, and machines that could be online, communicating and collaborating. As we create the Internet of Everything (IoE), the amount of data will rise exponentially, created by your car, clothes, medicines, food, e-books, and presence on video surveillance systems.
The mountain of data collected about people and things has led to a growing industry dealing with high-volume, high-variety, high-velocity, virtual data sets (“the 4Vs”, according to Gartner) — often called “Big Data.” The growth of Big Data is an inevitable reality of a digitally connected world. Read More »
Tags: Big Data, Cisco, data in motion, dynamic care, dynamic data, healthcare, Hospital at Night, IBSG, Nottingham University Hospital, patient experience, real-time data
Governments around the world understand the importance of a national ICT infrastructure and the role it can play in the economic and social development of a country.
However, there is a significant industry trend called Big Data that, I believe, presents a major opportunity for governments to deliver more targeted services to citizens and businesses.
Three key aspects of Big Data are already impacting governments around the world:
- Volume: Each interaction with a government entity creates digital records, network traffic, and storage requirements. The compound annual growth rates of global consumer and business data are expected to climb by 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2015.
- Velocity: Data is being collected at greater and greater speeds. One example of the new velocity of data is the U.K. government’s transition to real-time tax reporting, where employers submit earnings and taxation information on a monthly rather than annual basis.
- Variety: In addition to traditional documents and forms, governments now must deal with torrents of less-structured data such as video from public safety and security systems, along with social media feedback. The multiple channels through which people now interact with government have also created a challenge.
It is not the data itself that creates innovative opportunities for governments, but the potential for analytics and insight around this vast array of information across many formats. Big Data could enable governments to shorten the daily commute for citizens by developing predictive analytics on traffic flows and actual traffic data affecting traffic signaling in real time. Or perhaps governments could help with rapid identification and control of disease outbreaks—from flu, to infectious diseases, to food contaminants.
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Tags: Big Data, Cisco, cloud, government, IBSG, public services