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Drones: Just Buzz or Real Business?

“Why Cisco?” I was asked repeatedly after speaking on a panel about drones. “Why not Cisco?” was my passionate response.

Drone 1The occasion was the recent NASA UTM Convention at Silicon Valley’s historic Moffett Field to explore creative traffic management solutions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), popularly known as drones. At Cisco, we see a full spectrum of public, enterprise and consumer opportunities, as well as an amazing ecosystem of partners evolving around “connected” drones. This isn’t just buzz, but a real business opportunity.

After all, drones capture and transmit “ungodly amounts of data,” as Cisco’s Helder Antunes noted during his keynote session and CNBC interview. Cisco’s network backbone, solutions and applications enable the Internet of Everything (IoE) – the connection of people, processes, data and things – and drones represent important, mobile, data-rich nodes on the network. Please also read Helder’s blog on drones and the IoE here.

drone 2When it comes to drones and many other remotely connected and mobile devices, it’s really all about Collaboration, Cloud, Fog Computing – and Analytics, whether at the edge, across the network or in the cloud. To seamlessly transform raw data from sensors and images into actionable insights, an end-to-end platform is needed to optimally capture, store, share and process data most anywhere.

For example, one of the biggest challenges for drone operations today is to efficiently collect and effectively transfer colossal amounts of data over weak or non-existent network links in remote areas. Many times, these processes take days or weeks before the collected data can be processed and meaningful insights can be derived.

High-value crops such as grapes may suffer significant business losses due to such time-lagged decisions. Again, what’s needed is the connection to a reliable, high-speed platform. Cisco’s hardware and software technologies enable virtually real-time decision making without experts having to physically download and tackle the data deluge challenge on-site.

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Precision Agriculture, Safety & Security and Field Asset Inspection are some verticals that could immensely benefit by leveraging unmanned aircrafts due to their unique abilities to navigate in complex remote environments.

At the NASA event, Angelo Fienga of Cisco Italy and I demonstrated an interesting use case of how one can utilize Cisco’s collaboration infrastructure to unleash “remote expert” capabilities using drones. We successfully exhibited that by relaying the live camera feed of the drone over to WebEx and TelePresence infrastructure, allowing an agronomist thousands of miles away across the globe to precisely observe, guide and control data collection operation in the field.

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So all this and more is why “Cisco and drones” make a lot of sense. I’m excited about the possibilities here, and will share some more ideas during my keynote address at the upcoming InterDrone conference in Las Vegas from Sep 9-11, 2015.  I hope to see you there.

Meantime, what applications do you think are better suited for a drone business?

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Drones and the Internet of Everything: Where Does Cisco Fit?

Earlier this summer I was privileged to be the closing keynote speaker at the UTM Convention, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Silicon Valley chapter. The convention took place at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and focused on the unmanned-vehicle traffic management (UTM) aspect of drones.

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July.  Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July. Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

You might be thinking, “Cisco is a networking company, why would you be involved in a drone conference?” Well, drones have to be connected, and that’s what Cisco does. They transmit massive amounts of data that must be collected, sorted, and analyzed. This is exactly where Cisco should be playing. Read More »

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Safer Communities and Countries in the Digital Era

Keeping citizens, communities, and countries safer 

Around the world, countries are under increasing pressure to better serve their citizens, protect critical resources, and ensure safe communities and nations. In response to these pressing challenges, governments are seeking innovative solutions to address these challenges. In the era of digital disruption, communities and countries are looking to digital solutions and intelligent connections with the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Next week I travel to London to support the newly launched Cisco and Intel Communications Zone at DSEI.  Together with our partners, we will showcase and demonstrate innovative ways to deliver mission-critical, secure communications and digitally-enabled capabilities with the Internet of Everything.






Demonstrations will include:

  • Cisco Mission Fabric Communications
  • Digital Defense Capabilities for Smart+Connected Base
  • Mission Adaptive Capabilities
  • Unified Computing on the Mission Edge
  • Premium Mobile Broadband (PMB)
  • Secure and Reliable Cisco Embedded Networks
  • Partner sessions in our presentation theatre

Read More »

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Appointment Day with the CIO

Citizen-centric Services in the Digital Era

Governments today face a challenging and rapidly changing environment. Ambitious reforms and revenue generating operations are taking precedence, even while a trend of cost cutting and budget tightening is taking effect. This is presenting a re-envisioned opportunity to truly bring public service to the 21st century. And these transformative efforts are coalescing around governments embracing the digital age.

The oncoming future of citizen services is less and less in the hands of governments alone. The onslaught of digital technologies has empowered the evolution of long-held government practices. The move to citizen-centered services that have been redesigned around the needs of the community user is upon us.

Read More »

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Making the Right Connections Opens New Doors to Digital Business Success

Making the Right Connections Opens New Doors to Digital Business Success

The digital transformation of business isn’t just about the connection of things, though those connections are certainly important.  Industrial or IT automation can take many forms, whether it’s connections between people, the connections between people and things or, perhaps most importantly, the processes that that enable connections of all kinds to happen quickly and intelligently. Without order, digital business transformation runs the risk of becoming digital chaos.   What’s most essential in every case is creating the desired business outcome.

Hyper-Distribution: Billions of Connections Shouldn’t Mean Billions of Headaches

But connecting all these things isn’t easy.  50 billion things are projected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. Along with this hyper-distribution of things also comes the hyper-distribution of data.  No longer is data only found in large centralized warehouses – it is being dynamically captured and acted upon at the edge of the network to respond to events in real time.

Organizations are struggling with the management of business processes in this expanding, hyperconnected world. Value chains are increasingly global, yet the decisions that need to be made are becoming increasingly local — and they need to be made in real-time.  Hyper-distribution is fragmenting traditional business processes. Dealing with this growing complexity was identified as the number one IoT management challenge in a 2014 business study.

Not surprisingly, companies are being forced to re-imagine their processes and many are turning to software to turn what is being imagined into business reality.  And they are calling upon new forms of automation and analytics to do it. Real business transformation will only occur when things connect with both people and process to turn information into actionable intelligence.  Automation facilitates the new connections.  Analysis gives the connections new meaning. Da Vinci instructs us, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Finding ways to make the increasingly complex world of hyperconnectivity both simple to understand and simple to implement is the ultimate challenge for the networking industry.

What do I mean by hyper-distributed business process? Let’s take a look Read More »

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