Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Energy - Oil & Gas and Utilities

Field Support for New Workers with Mobile video Collaboration – Wherever They Are

Holding onto “Tribal Knowledge”

Recent data from the Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that approximately 60% of electric utility workers will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. The impending loss of the most skilled and knowledgeable workers in the industry has put many utility companies on red alert.  This potential workforce crisis means that companies have just a few years to transfer what’s often referred to as, “Tribal Knowledge” from those retiring to those who will have to fill their shoes.

Many utility workers hold positions within their companies for nearly 30 years, so one can easily imagine the amount of intangible knowledge and varying experiences that each worker has. What companies really need is a way to tap into the experienced worker’s knowledge while traveling in the field.  Better yet, they would like to find a way to limit travel in the field; traveling hundreds of miles to analyze and solve problems poses its own set of risks, from driving hazards to on the job injuries. When something goes wrong on the grid, lives are at risk.

Challenges in the Field

Much of the information and knowledge needed by today’s utility worker is stored in a computer or in the cloud, and is not accessible in the field by the organization’s workers. Because of this, institutional knowledge and expertise decreases. Many companies today are purchasing collaboration solutions, including web meeting software, video and Internet-based phone systems. This package is intended to upgrade collaboration across business units, address the issues of lost tribal knowledge, increase workforce effectiveness and manage company priorities arising from their aging workforce. Challenges faced include a slow, sub-optimal rollout plan, forced by lower company revenues. Analysis points to automation of capture and storage of knowledge, utilities could take advantage of their expert employee’s skills and leverage their knowledge for less experienced workers in the field, thereby giving a good return on investment for early deployment of mobile collaboration.

There are three immediate problems to resolve: access to Tribal Knowledge, better utilization of experts for training, and improving safety for the mobile workforce traveling in the field.  Companies remind us on a regular basis that training a utility lineman can take 10 years or more – and the average age of the current power lineman workforce is 47-years-old.  Utilities are also focusing on retention of younger employees, who are generally more technologically savvy and who expect work access to tools they use outside the workplace, like smart phones and other wireless technologies.  In fact, new or younger workers prefer to work in an area with new technology. Mobile devices such as smart phones and ruggedized tablets can be especially useful in the field where workers can get access to advice from experts in real-time or even start a meeting – all to create increase access to institutional knowledge.

One component of Cisco’s solution is expert locator software. Employees such as line workers and technicians would have the ability to be connected anytime or anywhere via a five-product Enterprise Collaboration solution: Expert Locator, IP call control with video IP phones, web meeting (Webex), an immersive video solution (TelePresence) and ruggedized mobile video (Librestream Onsight).

New technology can change the way utilities conduct business

Workers would use mobile video in the field to show details of problems to experts throughout the company, senior workers could provide advice and support for repair of damaged equipment in the field without having to travel to the field. Experts can also quickly convene and escalate meetings to resolve a problem via the web and Telepresence. If a worker is on-site and there are challenges with a device, the worker can start a meeting, have the ability to share and give/get advice in real-time. Because of this, repair times go down while safety goes up.

How can Cisco help your organization support new collaboration and create a mobile workforce? Find out more by visiting our solutions page and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fast IT Top Insights Part 1: IT Transformation and Innovation

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, CIOs face a maze of challenges — along with a wealth of opportunities.

But for the IT organization to fully realize those opportunities — and become a source of organizational agility and a true partner for innovation in the business — a wholly new IT operating model is required. We call that model Fast IT.

Fast IT is the IT operating model for the IoE era. It is what the CIO needs to do to drive true business transformation.

 

To better understand the current state of IT — and the opportunity for IT transformation amid a dynamic time of change — Cisco undertook a comprehensive global survey and research study.

We surveyed more than 1,400 senior IT leaders in Brazil, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We interviewed leading industry analysts, authors, academics, IT executives, and IT practitioners. And finally, we compared this data with conclusions from numerous customer engagements.

Read More »

Tags: , , ,

Enabling Data Center Services with RISE : Remote Integrated Services Engine

Data Centers are becoming increasingly smart, intelligent and elastic. With the advancement in cloud and virtualization technologies, customers demand dynamic workload management, efficient and optimal use of their resources. In addition the configuration and administration of Data Center solutions is complex and is going to become increasingly so.RISE

With these requirements and architectures in mind we have a industry first solution called Remote Integrated Service Engine (RISE).  RISE is a technology that simplifies provisioning, out of box management of service appliances like load balancers, firewalls, network analysis modules. It makes data center and campus networks dynamic, flexible, easy to configure and maintain.

RISE can dynamically provision network resources for any type of service appliance (physical and virtual form factors). External appliances can now operate as integrated service modules with Nexus Series of switches without burning a  slot in a switch . This technology provides robust application delivery capabilities that accelerate the application performance manifold.

RISE is supported on all Nexus Series switches with services like Citrix NetScaler MPX, VPX, SDX and Cisco Prime NAM with many more in the pipeline.

Advantages & Features

  1. Simplified Out-of-Box experience : reduces the administrator’s manual configuration steps from 30 to 8 steps !!
  2. Supported on Citrix NetScaler MPX, SDX, VPX, and Nexus 1KV with VPX
  3. Supported on Cisco Prime Network Analyzer Module
  4. Automatic Policy Based Routing – Eliminates need for SNAT or Manual PBR
  5. Direct and Indirect Attach mode integration
  6. Show module for RISE
  7. Attach module for RISE
  8. Auto Attach – Zero touch configuration of RISE
  9. Health Monitoring of appliance
  10. Appliance HA and VPC supported
  11.  Nexus 5K/6K support (EFT available)
  12. IPV6 support (EFT available)
  13. DCNM support
  14. Order of magnitude OPEX savings: reduction in configuration, and ease of deployment
  15. Order of magnitude CAPEX savings: Wiring, Power Rackspace and Cost savings

For more information, schedule an EFT or POC Contact us at nxos-rise@cisco.com

Resources

RISE press release on Wall Street Journal : http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140408-905573.html
RISE At A Glance white paper: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/switches/nexus-7000-series-switches/at-a-glance-c45-731306.pdf
RISE Video at Interop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HQkew4EE2g
Cisco RISE page: www.cisco.com/go/rise
Gartner blog on RISE: “Cisco and Citrix RISE to the Occasion”: http://blogs.gartner.com/andrew-lerner/2014/03/31/cisco-and-citrix-rise-to-the-adc-occasion/

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Announcing Finalists for the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge!

IoT Innovation GC Finalist IconsWhen the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge was announced in April 2014, I was a little concerned and apprehensive about the number and quality of submissions the contest would attract.  But looking back now at the overwhelming response and the fantastic submissions, I can honestly say the IoT Challenge was a tremendous success.  And it is not over yet!

The journey started in April, 2014 with only a few contest members, but it grew to a community of over 8,400 people. More than 800 submissions were received from startups all over the world and nineteen semi-finalists were announced August 1st.  The nineteen semi-finalists were given an assignment to complete.  The requirement was for each semi-finalist to submit a business plan along with a short video pitching their idea or solution.  The judging was even more difficult this round, but our six finalists have been selected!

Announcing the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge Finalists!

I am pleased to announce the six IoT Innovation Grand Challenge Finalists: Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Next Great Idea? It Could Come from the Guy with the Mop

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, innovation is the name of the game.

IoE demands constant innovation and to keep pace companies must access creativity wherever it may arise. According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 34 percent of today’s workforce comes from outside our organization, and their fresh perspective can support innovation. Indeed, cross-pollination of industries is a key to innovation.

This scenario was illustrated in the below story shared by physicist David Matheson last week at the Frost & Sullivan’s GIL 2014: Silicon Valley conference, which I was honored to attend as a presenter.

A Futurist Perspective from Joseph M Bradley

 

Decades ago, a group of engineers were working late in the research lab run by their Silicon Valley employer when they noticed a cleaning man doodling his way through a dinner break. But these weren’t just ordinary doodles. The man had enormous artistic talent. Just the sort of talent the engineers — and the company — needed to depict their technology solutions on the printed page.

Excited at their discovery, the engineers rushed to their bosses the next day Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,