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Improving Military Operations with Smart and Connected Bases

As more people, process, devices and data become linked together through the Internet of Everything (IoE), the benefits from those connections become more widespread. While IoE is often discussed in terms of the future, it is already helping employees more effectively perform their jobs, turning cities into energy- and cost-saving urban centers and redefining how state and federal government agencies serve their constituents.

Both personally and professionally, connecting the unconnected is changing daily life. This is no different in the defense and intelligence community, where IoE technologies are improving military operations at home and around the world. In fact, one of the best examples of IoE’s influence can be seen through the creation of smart and connected bases.

Bases are the hub of everyday life for millions of military servicemen and women around the world. They function like small cities, with everything from residences, hospitals, office buildings, police stations and more. Bases are vital to the everyday operations of our military and require significant investment to maintain their infrastructure and functionality. IoE connected technologies are helping daily processes and life on a base run more efficiently. Smart and connected bases save money, reduce wasted time and free up personnel to perform more mission-critical tasks.

For example, RFID sensor systems can support security at base entrances. These sensors can read an RFID tag on approaching cars to identify active duty service members. The guard on duty will receive an automatic signal notifying him or her that those vehicles are approved for automated entry, allowing service members to be admitted onto the base at an automatic gate kiosk. This reduces required manpower at the gate, decreases wait times during rush hour and allows security forces to focus on unidentified and unregistered vehicles that may pose a threat or require entry assistance.

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On-Demand Video Can Transform the Way our Police Departments Train

While we most often think of the Internet of Everything (IoE) as transforming public safety forces out in the field, change can actually begin before an officer is even leaves the station. Classroom training for officers is crucial, enabling them to stay safe and perform at the highest level out in the field. Current events highlight just how important good training is, ensuring officers know how to act in all situations and act as good example of public safety in their communities. The problem is that police officers work on shift schedules, which makes it extremely difficult to get everyone in the same room at the same time for training.

How do police departments guarantee their officers are trained at the highest level despite this scheduling issue? Video training. Police departments and training officers can use video to produce high-quality educational training tools that can be viewed online at an officer’s convenience. On-demand video recording tools like Cisco’s WebEx are straightforward and easy to use, and allow educational materials to be accessed anywhere via the cloud. These on-demand video presentations help make sure everyone is receiving the same level of training, improving the way public safety agencies operate before anyone even steps foot in the field.

Here are four more benefits that stem from on-demand videos for classroom training:

1. Reduce the need for trainers to be physically present at all classroom trainings

It’s still extremely important for police departments to conduct live training exercises. But by replacing classroom sessions with video training, training officers’ time is freed up to focus more on live training exercises. This makes certain officers are still receiving the training they need while helping departments operate more efficiently.

2. Eliminate the burden of shift scheduling to accommodate training

Juggling day and night shifts with training schedules is a hassle. Agency leaders have to analyze staffing, pull people off regular shifts, fill those spots with other agents and often have to pay overtime to do so. It also involves paying trainers to be onsite for multiple days. Video training allows officers to stay on their regularly-scheduled shifts, preventing the confusion and difficulty of shifting schedules and allowing officers to access training videos at a time that is convenient for them.

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Data Center Day Shines in the Lone Star State

The third annual Cisco IT Data Center Day put a spotlight on the Internet of Everything (IoE) market transition and gains of deploying an Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Over 300 attendees, including 124 customers representing 85 different companies, attended the event held at our state-of-the-art data center in Allen, Texas.

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Evolving Millennial Connections Using Wearables

Don’t look now, but that guy’s app just measured his heartbeat when he saw you and we think it’s a match! Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s not.

In a very interesting (and possibly draining) year-long dating social experiment, a Newsweek contributor discovered that finding love has gone beyond reviewing online profiles, as some of the industry’s largest match-making companies are developing “wearables” and apps that are becoming the newest weapon in match-making. Utilizing everything from musical playlists to physiological reactions (like that racing heartbeat) the apps match daters in close vicinity with similar-minded interests. Not surprisingly, millennials are becoming some of the fastest adopters of the wearables movement.

In a recent survey, more than half of millennials revealed they were excited about the growth of the wearables market. And it’s no wonder, considering the fact that overall, millennials are an extremely connected and influential generation. They’ve grown up in a world where smartphones are the norm, social media apps are preferred communication platforms and an untold number of studies have been conducted on best practices for marketing to them. And the lens from which they view technology – as an expected day-to-day necessity – is part of the reason they’re the power behind the growing widespread adoption of wearable technology.

As the Internet of Everything continues to evolve and connect more people, process, data and things, wearable technology is not only delivering more information to us – but also bringing us all closer together. Holidays like Valentine’s Day are the perfect reminder that connections matter and go to the heart of who we are as people. Considering our natural inclination to seek out meaningful connections and the technology we have on-hand, wearables are on trend to become an invaluable networking tool, empowering an entire new level of collaboration and opportunities between employees, clients and business leaders.

According to the Cisco 2014 Connected World Technology Report, millennials believe a wearable device will be an important part of workplace 2020. Indeed, it’s estimated more than 177 million wearable devices will be in use by 2018. With a smart phone in one hand, and perhaps a fitness tracker attached to their wrist, mobility is an essential part of the millennial lifestyle. In other words, they are data-driven and businesses the world over have taken a new look at everything from their recruiting practices (using Skype for interviews) to mobile-office options to recruit and keep millennial talent on board. Companies who have embraced a holistic approach to mobility are moving in the right direction, as the millennial workforce shuns the idea of carrying multiple devices to perform work-related tasks.

A couple of years ago, I talked about a connected workforce, focusing specifically on millennials and how their perspective, as the newest generation of workers, would alter the employment scene as we know it. I’m by no means a fortune teller, but myself and the entire industry have seen this become reality. Through the tools of the Internet of Everything – wearables among them – millennials are empowered to connect with people who they have never had the chance to meet and learn from. These connections and the cross-sharing of ideas, goals and common experiences are opening up a new world of opportunity as the world changes and our connections evolve.

What type of new experiences and opportunities for wearables do you hope to see in the future? Share your thoughts here and be sure to follow the discussion using #Internet of Everything.

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Cisco Demonstrating Solutions for a variety of utilities needs at DistribuTECH

The theme of Cisco during its 6th participation in Distributech will be “Providing powerful networks for the world’s most critical infrastructures”, and that is exactly what the demos in our booth will be…

Field Area Networks
The Cisco vision for the Field Area Network (FAN) is to help enable pervasive monitoring and control of energy distribution networks to enhance energy delivery and build a low carbon society. Addressing the need of multiple use cases such as advanced metering infrastructure, distribution automation, and remote workforce management, this demo will showcase some of the latest additions to the Connected Grid product portfolio including:
● Cisco IR 500 Series Distribution Automation Gateway
● PLC NAN modules
● WiMAX WAN modules for the Cisco 1000 Series Connected Grid Routers
● The Connected Grid Network Management System

Substation GridBlock
See how you can securely manage millions of endpoints over multivendor, multitechnology, multiservice utility communication networks with our connected grid network management solution. This solution provides enterprise-class visibility, as well as end to end monitoring and control across your network communications by supporting integration with application layer platforms.

Security
If some of your more pressing needs are around security, you will get a first-hand look at a better way to manage cyber-security risk in industrial control networks and critical infrastructure networks. The Secure Ops demo will showcase situational awareness and compliance dashboards that make it easier to manage assets and secure the perimeter between enterprise and operational networks. In the Industrial Cybersecurity demo we’ll demonstrate the security measures an organization can take to detect, prevent, and remediate cybersecurity incidents.

Collaborative Solutions
During hurricanes, ice storms, and other natural disasters, first responders need to be able to connect and collaborate with a common operating view. Come learn how our incident response and workforce enablement solutions unify command and control communications. Enhance safety and security operations. And deliver better situation awareness with mobility and rich media. So our heroes can connect and collaborate over any device, network, or media whether in the field, operations center, or a remote location.

Enabling Your Own Applications
Here we will be showcasing our Cisco IOx platform. In this demo area visitors will learn how they can develop their own smart applications to capitalize on the power of fog computing. Cisco IOS Software, the industry-leading networking operating system, comes together with Linux, the leading open source platform, to enable developers to create IoT applications such as data aggregation, control systems, and access control and have them run on edge network devices.

Visit us in booth # 3413 to see demonstrations of our expanded portfolio and continued commitment to helping utilities succeed in providing better and more reliable customer service, while helping workers stay safe and helping organizations lower costs.! Read More »

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