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Federal Agencies and the Internet of Things

Earlier this week, Federal Computer Week ran an article – “Are agencies really ready for the Internet of Things?” – that discusses the potential challenges government agencies face when implementing the Internet of Things (IoT). The article’s author spoke to Gary Hall, chief technology officer for Federal Defense at Cisco, about these challenges, as well as why federal agencies can’t afford to ignore IoT any longer.

The biggest concern that all organizations have with IoT is the massive scope it involves – there is a huge volume of data being produced and a need to store and process it all. Even just the number of connected devices is expected to explode in the coming years, growing from around 16 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. “Humans can’t deal with the volume of data we’re producing,” Hall said.

All this data means more chances for security breaches as well, which is especially worrying for federal agencies. In this case, awareness is key, as Peter Romness, a business development manager Cisco, spoke about at a recent GovLoop seminar. Romness cautioned that there is no “silver bullet” defense, so agencies must prepare to deal with inevitable hacks. “It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked, it’s a matter of when,” he said.

Despite these concerns, IoT experts agree that federal agencies cannot avoid the issue any longer, and if they haven’t already started planning for IoT implementation, they’re behind. Cisco estimates that IoT will generate $4.6 trillion for the public sector over the next 10 years, and agencies that are too wary of potential security issues risk missing out on this value. “This is the next big disruption,” Hall said. “It’s important that we aren’t so afraid of the fear of attack that we don’t realize the value.”

For example, the General Services Administration (GSA) – which manages nearly 10,000 government-owned buildings around the county – is reaping the rewards of its IoT- building management initiative, GSALink. GSA collects almost 30 million data points from sensors throughout its buildings, constantly monitoring everything from light to humidity. Using this data, GSA is able to optimize conditions when workers are present and save on energy costs when buildings are empty. IoT can add significant value like this to all federal agencies – they just have to take advantage of it!

Read more about how IoT can transform the public sector here, and check out more thoughts from Cisco’s experts like Gary Hall on our blog.

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Clouds, Things and Developers: The Next Wave of Intercloud Innovation

It’s been just over 15 months since Cisco set out to build the Intercloud, a globally connected network of clouds. This massive effort brings together partners from across the Cisco Partner Ecosystem to create the only true partner-led cloud effort in the industry. A strategy we believe will ultimately prove to be the winning cloud model.

  • Over the past number of months, the Intercloud Partner ecosystem has been steadily and strategically building momentum, and today we are proud to count an increasing number of Intercloud Providers as part of the ecosystem – 65 partners, 350 data centers, spanning 50 countries.
  • This past year, Cisco has also partnered with some the world’s leading service providers like Telstra and DT on our public cloud footprint, the Cisco Intercloud Service. The Intercloud Alliance partners deliver the foundation for how we will be delivering Cisco Cloud solutions like Cisco Spark and Energywise.
  • We’re delivering all of our Intercloud services with our channel partners—Cisco’s extended sales force that drives 80% of our corporate revenue— extending Cisco’s and our Intercloud Providers’ reach into the global enterprise. We’re working with our channel partners to build Intercloud-ready private clouds for our enterprise customers and resell cloud services from Cisco and our partners.  .

There is no other company on the planet that can take on the challenge of orchestrating such a robust partner ecosystem—bringing together the worlds largest providers, partners, and technologists to deliver on this vision of a globally connected, partner-led federation of enterprise cloud services

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50 Billion Things, Coming to a Cloud Near You

Today at Cisco Live we announced an expansion of our Intercloud strategy. We added new features and capabilities for our hybrid cloud software, Cisco Intercloud Fabric, along with the addition of 35 independent software vendors committed to developing Intercloud-enabled services for customers.  Together these developments will give customers more choice, compliance and control in the hybrid cloud world.

But there is a bigger opportunity that goes beyond hybrid cloud. We’re not just developing a new cloud platform and connecting the world of many clouds. We’re preparing for a much larger hybrid IT-enabled future where billions of digital services, applications and intelligent devices will need a control point. We believe that control point is our Intercloud platform.

The next wave of the Internet

Every hour 300,000 new things connect to the Internet; translating into more than 50 million things a week. And this rate of connectivity is increasing. We estimate that by 2020, 50 billion things and five billion people will be connected.

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Each thing will be connected to the Internet. It isn’t necessary for everything to have onboard intelligence, or to be connected full time to the Internet. Intelligence and engagement can be abstracted away from the things themselves to the clouds. We can already see this today. Many of us have several cloud connected things already in our own home – the home thermostat, smoke detector, file backup and smart phone to name a few.  And it’s not just in the home – the explosion includes cloud connected cars like the Tesla and connected smart cities.

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Game Theory and the Power of Innovating as an Industry

The recent passing of John Forbes Nash made me wonder how his ingenious game theory can be applied to technology innovation.

Very simply put, Nash’s theory of equilibrium puts forth that outcomes are more attainable for all parties when they work cooperatively toward a goal rather than against each other in isolation. Knowing each other’s mindset and working together gives each party a better chance at achieving his or her objective than working on their own.

This theory has been used to analyze everything from wars and sports to evolutionary biology and games of skill. Read More »

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Cisco Software Accelerates the Journey to Digitization

Today we are seeing a step change in the applications and data infrastructure. No longer do we rely only on large centralized repositories. Instead, hyper-distributed infrastructure is hosting apps and data at any location, resulting in a growing network of “centers of data.” These centers of data are small computing hubs used by people and processes within an organization. As ecosystem dependencies increase, businesses are not only dependent on these centers of data inside their organization, but also on those outside their organizations. This paradigm unites information from sources that had never been connected before to produce new insights, new processes across value chains, new contextual experiences and people engagement. Read More »

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