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Reflections from the Floor at NRF 2013

panoramaAfter a long day of showing the Cisco BYOD Smart Solution and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solutions at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show, I am waiting for a colleague to meet me for a well-deserved dinner. I had many, and yes there were MANY, conversations with Retail IT professionals,  and nearly every conversation I had seemed to revolve around the same two problems:

  1. How do I allow employees and / or customers to access the network when I don’t have dedicated local IT support?
  2. How do I give up the control and make sure my security and compliance requirements are met?

We know almost all organizations are struggling with BYOD, but it’s now clear that the lack of local IT support adds a new dimension to the problem. With the increased adoption of mobility, there’s also the added complexity of security and compliance, and with all the connected consumers walking around, it’s becoming a growing concern in the retail space. Retail organizations want to take advantage of the promise that leveraging Wi-Fi access to engage with employees and customers, but fear the management and security of such services.

Fortunately, Cisco is addressing both these issues with its mobility solutions.

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Inside One Asian City’s Strategy

Busan is at the forefront of something big.

As South Korea’s second-largest metropolitan city, Busan boasts a population of about 3.6 million, and is home to a slew of major companies, government agencies, universities, annual festivals, and conferences. Busan is the country’s largest container-handling port, and the fifth- largest in the world. Like other metropolitan areas, the city struggles with managing terrible traffic congestion and the attendant high logistical costs; maintaining job-creation momentum for the 60,000 high-quality and high-skill job seekers who graduate from area universities each year; and meeting the demand for an innovative city operations system that helps ensure global competitiveness.

Cisco IBSG has been working with Busan’s Metropolitan Government to develop plans for a “u-City.” U, in this case, stands for “ubiquitous,” which also describes the city’s broadband penetration. Busan’s “smart and connected” urban communities use the network as a platform—on top of which it can deploy innovative urban-planning solutions and city management services. The city uses the network to connect, process, and share information efficiently, and in real time. Read More »

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Creative Financing for Broadband Infrastructure

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

One of the challenging issues about deploying broadband – so they say – is the cost. Access rights. Construction. Lawsuits. All have an effect on time and resources. That’s why it was particularly startling when I started finding references to communities that had found ways to deploy broadband using creative financing and cost structures.

For instance, as noted in Laying Fiber: Creative Broadband Installations, the city of Santa Monica used federal stimulus funds and then partnered with other telecommunications companies. As Broadband Communities’ article Santa Monica City Net: How to Grow a Network notes, the city leased a fiber network from a local cable TV operator.

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Real-World M2M—and a Real-World Mobile Data Challenge

In the months since I attended the Smart Cities event organized by Qualcomm and CommNexus in San Diego, the buzz about “Smart Cities” and the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless technologies has only grown louder and more intense. Which Smart City-relevant innovations are under development inside Qualcomm?

Known primarily for mobile chipset technologies, Qualcomm is working to optimize wireless networks and sensors that support M2M solutions and, ultimately, Smart Cities of the future. An often-overlooked part of this initiative is the company’s work in preparing the wireless industry for the imminent tsunami of data that will come when countless “things” equipped with M2M wireless sensors—part of the “Internet of Everything”—hit wireless networks. Qualcomm calls it the 1000x Challenge, referring to wireless industry predictions about a 1000x increase in mobile data usage between 2010 and 2020.

Last month, Qualcomm Executive Vice President and CTO Matt Grob presented at Meeting of the Minds 2012 in San Francisco. His presentation, “Next Big Innovation: The Mobile Internet Transformation—Meeting Network Capacity Needs of Cities,” showed how wireless connectivity is revolutionizing the way people live and interact with each other in cities.

A few examples of Qualcomm tech in this arena:

  • From Qualcomm’s perspective, a “smarter grid“ employs digital wireless technologies that allow utility companies to safely and securely deliver prepaid electric services that save homes and businesses money through real-time monitoring of power usage over existing cell networks, thus reducing deployment costs for the utility and saving energy for the planet. At the same time, smarter grids enable customers to better manage their own energy usage.
  • One recent Smart Grid example is Qualcomm’s work with Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States. The success of this collaboration has enabled Duke Energy to install hundreds of thousands of communications nodes, which interface with electric and gas meters, line sensors, transformers, and other end points, meters, sensors, and distribution automation equipment, and optimize energy usage in five states.
  • Working with ECOtality, a maker of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Qualcomm participated in The EV Project, the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charge infrastructure in history. The project, now in nine states plus the District of Columbia, leverages cellular technology incorporated into charging stations, enabling EV car drivers to easily find charging stations with their smartphones. Moreover, the solution allows users to reserve stations as well as receive alerts users when the charge is finished or if it the charge has been interrupted.
  • Another exciting development, also involving EVs, is Qualcomm Halo’s teaming with Renault and Delta Motorsport in London. Qualcomm Halo, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, produces wireless charging mats that enable EV drivers to simply drive up and park over the charging mat—no exact alignment necessary (e.g., you have to line up your electric toothbrush perfectly on the charger in order for it to charge). Initially, the benefit is no longer having to deal with tangled charging cables. But looking beyond that, Qualcomm Halo envisions embedded chargers in the roadway. Even further out is the idea that these mats could be built into the road and connected to the overall Smart Grid. Depending on the time of the day, more or less energy resources could be devoted to that specific roadway, effectively channeling energy to where it’s needed most.

Cisco IBSG is also engaged with the Internet of Everything in a variety of ways, such as through the Connected Vehicle.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how M2M connections—and the Internet of Everything—can enable Smart Cities of the future.

 

 

 

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Cisco Receives Frost & Sullivan 2012 Global Videoconferencing Infrastructure Market Share Leadership Award

I am excited to share that Cisco has received this year’s Frost & Sullivan Global Videoconferencing Infrastructure Market Share Leadership Award. According to Frost & Sullivan, the infrastructure market is growing at a blistering pace and is being reshaped by new opportunities and advancing technology. “Cisco has risen to the occasion to claim an undisputed ranking as the global videoconferencing infrastructure market-share leader.”

Why were we successful in the 2011 global videoconferencing infrastructure market? Among the key factors is Cisco’s ability to prove the value of:

  • A true end-to-end collaboration portfolio
  • Our leadership in all videoconferencing infrastructure segments of the market
  • Our ability to successfully expand the role of video in the enterprise
  • The continuous evolution of our videoconferencing solutions portfolio

Our introduction of new products including Cisco TelePresence Conductor and the Cisco TelePresence MCU 5300 is yet another step in defining our leadership role in videoconferencing offerings. Read More »

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