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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Smart Connections

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest economy in the Middle East, is universally recognized as the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum. In recent years, however, it has emerged as a visionary leader in leveraging networked technology, especially in developing a number of Smart City projects to attract business while controlling sprawl and congestion.

Cisco Consulting Services estimates that KSA alone can gain about $84 billion of total economic value from the Internet of Everything, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things. Nearly $16 billion of this is in the public sector, with profitability, cost savings and enhanced experiences coming from urban services such as smart street lighting, smart traffic management, mobile collaboration, chronic disease control, connected learning and healthcare, to name a few.

Globally, Cisco sees a total $19 trillion opportunity for both the public and private sectors. 

Last week, I revisited Saudi Arabia for the 16th time in five years and saw first-hand its progress in developing Smart Cities, or what we at Cisco call, Smart + Connected Communities. I had the honor of participating in the Cityquest KAEC Forum, jointly organized by the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and New Cities Foundation, which assembled global thought leaders in some of the most advanced Smart City projects.

I had the pleasure of participating in an enthusiastic panel discussion on local and global urban innovations made possible by “Connecting Through Technology,” moderated by Andrew Sewer, journalist and former managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

As reported in The Arab News, Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), kicked off the conference by emphasizing that public sector investments to diversify the economy are “… the most promising and significant in terms of job creation, technology transfer and exports development,” pointing to KAEC as a prime example.

“Digital native” cities such as KAEC have the benefit of starting from the ground up to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the master planning process. Here, it is recognized that technology is the fourth essential infrastructure for cities, along with water, gas and electricity.

I had the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing progress KAEC has made since it was announced in the summer of 2008 with Cisco’s partnership as the ICT master planner. In addition to its urban planning foresight, KAEC represents a global model of how government, its people and investors worldwide can create a smarter and more sustainable community.

I also visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city, where a tremendous transformation is under way to build one of the largest rapid transit projects in the region, Riyadh Metro. Built on the strong vision of Riyadh Governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah, in combination with the strategic plan of Arriyadh Development Authority as well as all the hard work being done by Riyadh Municipality, Riyadh Metro is expected to be the beginning of a modern 21st century digital city.

My take-away is that public and private sector leaders throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognize the power and potential of the Internet of Everything. They are diversifying their petroleum-based economy by embracing the digital era, focusing intently now on Smart City projects.

 

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Transforming Education with the Internet of Everything at San Jose State

December 15, 2014 at 9:05 am PST

Forward-thinking faculty members and staff at San Jose State University are using Internet of Everything technologies in innovative ways to transform education:

Project Assistant Quyen Grant is using Cisco collaboration technologies to expand learning across international borders, working with students and universities in Vietnam through the Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP); Advertising Professor John Delacruz is using Cisco TelePresence for his students to deliver final presentations to potential advertising clients who may be in remote locations. Julia Curry-Rodriguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, uses Cisco Lecture Capture to help non-native English speaking students improve their language skills.

These are just a few of the examples we learned about on December 10, 2014 at San Jose State University as they hosted global media, analysts, social media influencers, and Cisco for a series of roundtables that addressed how the Internet of Everything is impacting industries including education and the public and private sectors. Read More »

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How the Journey of Data Can Transform Cities

In the modern world, terms like “big data”and “open data”are making their way from tech industry forums and into local innovation initiatives across cities.

And Kansas City, MO., is no exception. Earlier this year, Think Big Partners– based in the City of Fountains and aspiring to be one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the United States –began a new collaboration with Cisco to architect a new open data portal that will be complete with some of the city’s public data sets, and eventually data from participants in this broader initiative. The goal of this portal is to help the entrepreneurial community gain easy access to relevant data in order to cull and develop their own creative Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

This new portal is one component of a larger effort for Think Big Partners, Cisco and other innovative companies to work together to manage a Kansas City “living lab” for entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over the country to tap into. The lab is designed to incubate an open ecosystem for these entrepreneurs, innovation partners and other members of the start-up community to develop new applications and technologies to address some of Kansas City’s biggest challenges. The opportunity to deploy these emerging technologies onto a larger scale, industrial platform and test them will accelerate IoT innovation through a unique commercialization model.

During the Global Editors Conference this week, where I virtually participated in a media roundtable hosted at San Jose State University on how the Internet of Everything is impacting public sector, I spoke about how Think Big Partners and Cisco are helping to create a new journey for data and IoT innovation using the new data portal as the vessel for this journey.

This new open data portal will serve as an intersection for entrepreneurs to not only have easy access to the data available, but to help the data continue on its journey to the community through the form of new apps.

Applications that have already emerged as near term, high potential candidates include smart parking, using video as a sensor, and sensors that improve delivery of municipal services especially in the area of water.

Think Big has a history of working as an innovation partner for large companies and will use the living lab, along with our Internet of Things Innovation Lab, to short circuit proof of concept challenges for entrepreneurs while testing new technologies using actual use cases. The combination of data, devices and expertise will yield powerful results at a fraction of the historical costs of commercialization technology.

As we approach 2015, I look forward to seeing this data and applications continue on its journey as the Internet of Things entrepreneur community continues to innovate and create new apps that will enhance the lives of Kansas City residents and in turn, transform cities.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with @ThinkBigKC and #CiscoGEC

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Children’s National Health System Improves Medical Services With the Internet of Everything

Most parents share a common fear – that something might happen to their child, and they won’t be able to help or make them better. No parent wants to jump in the car with a sick child for a trip to the emergency room. But if that fever just won’t break or the cough is only getting worse, most parents know the hospital is often the best bet. But what happens if the local hospital isn’t local at all, and is instead hours away? Or, if the one specialist in the area isn’t due to visit until next week? For remote areas both in the U.S. and globally, this can be an everyday reality.

Thanks to technology advancements in the past few decades – of which the Internet of Everything has powered most – distance doesn’t have to play a factor anymore. Doctors and hospitals can be on call for all parents whenever needed, not just for parents in the local neighborhood. Read More »

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Privacy v. Productivity: The CIOs Role in Shaping Future of Work Policies

According to Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report, the future of work will be more flexible and collaborative than ever before. In this two-part blog series, Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, explores how the IT and business landscape is changing based on this new research and how organizations can prepare. Read the first blog in the series, The Future of Work & Collaboration, here.

We are facing a generation of knowledge workers who have essentially grown-up online. Most of the future workforce will have an online presence from the day they are born – being online is as natural as breathing and its fundamental to their social and work lives. These “digital natives” also don’t see a tradeoff between security and privacy: they want the access they want when they want it.

This changing tide in the workforce means that CIOs must empower the next generation of workers with the latest applications to enable them to work how they want to personally – whether that’s on a corporate-owned device or not. Workers need access to the right collaboration tools at the right time; and if they don’t have those tools, they’ll find them on their own – outside the structure and purview of the enterprise.

For organizations to succeed in this future work environment, Read More »

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