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Three Ways We Can Impact the Future of Society and the Planet

This blog is also featured on Huffington Post ImpactX.

As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Cisco is committed to creating and implementing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. In partnership with other global leaders, we’re tackling new issues every year, from closing the IT skills gap to creating new economic opportunities for individuals worldwide.

This year, nonprofit leaders, influential CEOs, and diplomats will come together at the CGI Annual Meeting under the theme of “The Future of Impact,” where they’ll collaborate to turn inspiring ideas into real-world results.

Together, CGI members have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries. Through countless public-private partnerships, we are preparing people around the world with the skills, technologies, and resources they’ll need to thrive in a connected world.

Through both our CGI commitments and our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, we’ve learned what works to speed the pace of social change in communities worldwide:

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The Internet of Food – Improving Lives

A sense of great pride came over me as I entered the Expo in Milan­ to attend the Cisco Internet of Food international press event. This event is where Cisco brings food and digital technologies together in a world of apps, services and technologies that are changing the way food is produced, distributed, consumed and depicted. My home town hosted this significant conference that focused on two of the most important factors that make our lives better: food and the Internet. What better place than Italy? This country is the world’s food voilà and has one of the highest number of mobile phones and Facebook users – to talk about building bridges between technology and food.

While there, I met with a group of international press and together with a few colleagues and industry luminaries, we discussed the Internet of Food, a natural offshoot of the Internet of Everything.

Cisco and THNK.ORG  have been working for the last 12 months to reimagine how the Internet of Everything changes the way we grow, manufacture, distribute and consume our food. Read More »

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Manage Assets on the Move – Even At Sea

The transition to the Internet of Everything represents one of the greatest disruptions the world has ever seen. It is expected to be the one of the most influential catalysts for industrial change. We are seeing entire industries evolve, mature ecosystems break apart, and competition rising to entirely new dimensions.

These exciting changes are just the beginning. For Cisco, IoE is a new way of doing business, a new way of reaching customers and a new way of using technology to build value. For any industry going through the process of digitization, the ability to successfully navigate our IoE-enabled world will ultimately determine its future.

The story “Sea Change” is a great example of what Cisco is doing differently to help our customers control their destinies. We identified a real and significant problem. Then we solved it with an end-to-end solution to deliver a business outcome that will have a lasting effect on our customer’s core business value.

In the “Sea Change” yacht-racing story, Mobile Asset Management is illustrated through a vivid maritime example. A team of Cisco employees visited the customer site to install and connect onboard sensors and begin extracting data from the yacht. We created a dashboard so the crew could see the data visually.  The sailing team utilized analytics to optimize the ship’s equipment and shave seconds off their race time, which is their key measure of success.

To connect sensors to onboard computers at sea, we used technologies and products from the recently launched Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) System. This broad portfolio enables our customers to monitor, manage, and control previously unconnected devices.

All of this was done while securing the data communications path and providing access controls. Yeah, it was a pretty cool venue, but it was also rewarding and provided valuable insight that we have since applied to other mobile segments. In fact, we are using the same solutions approach, and many of the same solutions elements, to deliver new value for utility trucks, trains, buses, logistics vehicles and first responders today.

I’m sure each of you can think of ways that information from your mobile assets could help you optimize your operations. Do you have other ideas on how mobile assets can be used to achieve remarkable outcomes for your customers? Comment and share below.

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Summary: Five Keys to Success Leading Digital Business Transformation

mriegelHere’s a summary of Mike Riegel’s latest blog on the IoE Blog site that reaches out to all those in the energy industry, both oil & gas and power utilities:

“As we explored in my previous blog, today’s rampant pace of innovation can be likened to a Digital Vortex, where ideas, technologies, and even entire industries are swept to the center of the Vortex — recombining and merging into disruptive new business models.”

In Mike’s blog he talks about how digital business transformation is critical for all industries. However, Cisco’s Digital Vortex research revealed, 45 percent of companies don’t consider digital disruption a board-level concern. That’s worrying. Mike goes on to talk about the level of complacency, and how organizations had better watch out – there’s a disrupter increasingly in your industry!

The blog elucidates of five key areas which, if adopted, can enable success for those wanting to thrive in the new digital business environment:

  • Lead from the top down
  • Create the Workforce of the future
  • Merge Business Processes and Technology
  • Ideate and innovate FAST (FAST IT)
  • Cultivate the Partner Ecosystem

So, the blog concludes, it is the incumbents that can thrive as the agile disrupters if they play their cards right in this business digitization arena. Singular point-digitization is not enough. Comprehensive digitization is the way forward, involving people, process, data, and things. Find out more about the Digital Vortex  by clicking on the link (the subject of Mike’s next blog).

Refinery factory at the Port of Los Angeles, California, USA

Refinery factory at the Port of Los Angeles, California, USA


What do you think – are you ready to be a disruptor in the Energy Industry, or be disrupted?

My take: The good news is that the utilities companies are at lower risk than others, and oil and gas companies even less, according to the report. Those organizations have embraced digitization and recognize the disruption will most likely come from within, probably owing to the large barrier to entry for outsiders (unlike Amazon taking on retail for example).

Still, don’t be complacent – your competitors are waiting to take further digital business steps, and take market share. You can find out more about cisco digital solutions for oil and gas and power utilities by clicking on the links.

Let me know what you think!


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IoT Innovation: Accelerating Rapidly and Exponentially

Co-Innovation. Hyper-Collaboration. Sharing Economy.

Whatever you call it, it’s clear to me that the global community of innovators around the Internet of Things (IoT) keeps accelerating — rapidly and exponentially. I have personally experienced this disruptive growth in just the past three months, especially in how co-innovators are focusing more and more on solutions for the public and private sectors.

I wrote here three months ago that I anticipated greater participation in Cisco’s 2nd annual Innovation Grand Challenge, which we launched on June 22nd. I was expecting solid, steady growth of entries in key industry markets, such as Manufacturing, Smart Cities and Energy/Utilities.

But we were completely overwhelmed by the response!

Alex Internet of ThingsBy the time entries were closed two weeks ago (Sept. 7), we had received more than 3,000 entries in more than 100 countries from startups, incubators, entrepreneurs and independent developers. That’s three times the number of submissions as the first year of the competition and more than all four of our annual Grand Challenges combined. The top 10 countries with the most entries reflect the geographic scope and diversity of IoT innovation: United States, India, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Mexico, the Russia, and Indonesia.

In the past three months, we Read More »

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