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BC Hydro Powers up with Digitization

Here’s the latest Cisco case study on BC Hydro. Sure, I wrote about BC Hydro a while ago here: BC Hydro, Cisco and Itron – a Powerhouse in Canada.What’s new? Well, now I can give you some ‘Where are they now’ facts – it’s a real business success for BC Hydro, their customers, and for Cisco and our partners.

Companies like BC Hydro are in the lead when it comes to embracing digital business to deliver reliable, high quality services for customers and to enable remote automation and monitoring to keep the service levels high. As the main British Columbia electric distributor, BC Hydro now provides 1.9 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers with energy. The hydro utility has now transformed to a digital business with Cisco connected networking, security, and smart grid solutions.

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The power utilities industry is all about customer service, whilst maintaining safety and security within a strong regulatory environment. Sol Lancashire, senior telecom architect at BC Hydro, is quoted in the case study as stating “We needed a flexible, open architecture to support our evolving smart grid. Cisco provided an architecture, the necessary infrastructure, and ongoing support to bring the diverse elements together. The Connected Grid products are optimized for the electric utility industry and give us a reliable telecommunications foundation to be able to support increasingly challenging energy delivery requirements.”

BC Hydro Pic#1 compressedWell, enough of the Cisco selling (though where would we be without it?!). What about results? Well, one of the key benefits has been the ability to restore power faster in an outage. This actually improves safety for customers (imagine the dangers at nighttime od unexpected lights out). The important thing is that the system not only detects outages and enables faster response, but isolates the outage to a smaller geographic area – so less customers are affected.

There are cost savings too. Meters now automatically send hourly interval usage data twice a day (the old manual system meant the majority of meter data was sent once every two months!). Customers get better usage visibility, and they too can lower their bills by looking at their own consumption and making economies.

BC Hydro has used Cisco security solutions for years, where Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is used to secure the Wi-Fi in all offices, stations, remote substations, and line trucks in the field. The new integrated approach includes other parts of the infrastructure as Lancashire says:

“Now, using International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61850-based digital relays, Cisco Ethernet switches, and fibre optic cables we can achieve high-speed fault protection, allowing us to significantly improve the power quality and reliability to the residents of the City of Vancouver,” says Lancashire.

The transformation to a digital business is a journey. BC Hydro plans to enhance and expand its Cisco RF mesh network to accommodate additional distribution automation devices. Other services under consideration or being planned include automated demand response, smart street lighting, and insightful analytics. “We’re laying the foundation for a common, secure network infrastructure to enable grid automation applications that will improve the safety and reliability of the power system for our customers,” says Lancashire.

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New Berlin Innovation Center Accelerates ‘Network Multiplier’

Berlin Innovation Center Blog Pic

Not your typical Cisco office: openBerlin is ready to innovate with the best startups and accelerators.

At yesterday’s inauguration of Cisco’s ninth Innovation Center in the world, Berlin’s smartest new facility was abuzz with startup-like excitement for the possibilities of what the new digital world can deliver. I mingled with Cisco colleagues, customers, partners, app developers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and the media in our latest showcase working lab, embedded with more than 10,000 sensors and all the networking hardware and software needed to co-innovate industrial solutions around the Internet of Things (IoT).

Indeed, the world is increasingly more connected. Some 13 billion devices are now connected through the Internet. And now, openBerlin, a Cisco® Innovation Center will link with an inter-connected network of eight other Innovation Centers in major cities around the world, sharing local expertise to support development of the latest outcome-based solutions that can be scaled and replicated globally. Read More »

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The Future of Smart Cities

In the future, all cities will be smart cities. With more than one-half of the world’s population living in cities innovative new IoT solutions, such as smart parking, connected waste, and traffic management, hold great promise for combatting the major challenges of rapid urbanization. We are unlikely to see many Jetson-like smart cities of the future appearing overnight. However, like in the past with the adoption of revolutionary technologies such as sewers, electricity, traffic lights, and the Internet, mayors will slowly implement IoT solutions to save money, shape the future and make their cities better places to live.

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The Internet of Things offers cities the unique opportunity to generate new revenue, save costs, improve efficiencies and increase the overall value and experience for its citizens. Solutions like smart lighting can greatly reduce a city’s expenditure on electricity and operations, while at the same time improving the safety and security of the inhabitants. Smart parking not only allows people to spend less time in their car searching for an open parking spot, it actually creates new sources of revenue for the city. Parking can now be priced on a variable, demand-driven basis, rather than a fix fee irrespective of the time of day. Such pricing flexibility allows rush-hour spots to generate much higher revenues than those available on a Sunday morning. Security cameras and traffic management solutions not only make citizens safer and save them time, but they allow police and emergency forces to be much more efficient and responsive to potential incidents.

All of these exciting and innovative solutions will truly deliver real value to the city and its inhabitants. I think that the next big source of innovation will be Read More »

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It’s What Hotel Guests Want: Mobile. Personalized. Seamless.

I consider myself an experienced traveler and the nature of my job requires me to remain connected wherever I go. As a road warrior, I not only rely on my mobile devices to keep me connected with my team, but to get valuable information and services. These services include real-time travel updates, navigation, translation, dining recommendations, and streaming entertainment. As a hotel guest, the same relevant information and services can also be delivered directly to my mobile device. In fact, according to Forrester Research 90% of hotel guests say Wi-Fi is among their top sought hotel amenities. To support this growing demand, many hotels have cobbled together disparate systems. However, delivering a truly engaging experience requires a new approach and more innovative hotels are thinking beyond basic connectivity to engaging with their guests through a personalized mobile experience.

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The Internet of Things: Why Now?

The time is ripe for an IoT explosion. The number of connected “things” in the world has skyrocketed from about a million in the early 1990s to 13 billion today. As the Internet of Everything (IoE) gains momentum—digitizing business processes in every industry—we expect to see 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The technology connecting all these devices has become affordable and easy to integrate. But that is not the primary reason for this explosion in connected devices. I believe we are entering a “golden age” of digitization because of the confluence of the following factors:

Business Relevance: Lines of business (LOBs) are emerging as a key buying center for technology. The executives running plants, oil fields, or logistics systems have realized that technology solutions can deliver business outcomes critical to their business success —beginning with improved productivity, increased uptime, and reduced costs. It used to be that LOBs would work only with specialized integrators for specific, customized solutions. Today, business leaders want to change the way they consume technology. They are looking for technology providers who, together with a comprehensive ecosystem of partners, can pull together business-relevant solutions based on open standards and architectures. To meet these needs, technology companies such as Cisco are changing how we operate and how we go to market. Cisco has invested heavily in developing vertical solutions based on horizontal capabilities. We have built deep services practices and vertical go-to-market capabilities, and have invested in a comprehensive ecosystem of partners with whom we deliver not just great technology, but solid business outcomes.

MaciejKBlogIoTWhyNow

IoT adoption is being driven by the move to open standards and IT/OT convergence, helping to power better business outcomes across industries.

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