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An Impromptu Meeting With A TechWomen Delegation

Not to long ago I was at the Cisco Executive Briefing Center (EBC) presenting to a customer with a co-worker of mine named Bob. It’s not uncommon for us to present together and I enjoy the dual role of going back and forth as I think it makes for a much better experience with customers combining the story of collaboration with real world examples of video. This EBC presentation was the last of the day and on our way out we came across a group of women by the fishbowl. The fishbowl (so aptly named) is a large, round room with glass walls that houses the demonstrations.

We stopped to chat and came to learn that this was a delegation of women working in IT as part of the TechWomen (http://www.techwomen.org) program. TechWomen is a professional mentorship and exchange program developed in response to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. We spent a few minutes asking questions and learning about the program, where everybody was from, and what their interests were in the area of technology.
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Healthcare for all?

As we all just witnessed the presidential debates last Wednesday, the hot topic was Obamacare.  I knew this act was aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of healthcare.  These high level goals sounded great until I bumped into an article this week that some popular casual dining establishments will no longer offer full time work schedules to employees starting in 2014 aimed to help address the cost implications health care reform will have on their business.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare was signed into law back in March 2010 with multiple provisions to be enacted over a 10 year period. A provision starting January 2014 states that companies with over 50 employees will be required to provide health insurance to employees working over 30 hours a week.  There is a punishment of $3,000 per each uncovered employee for companies who do not follow the law. Read More »

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Government At Your Service, Anytime, Anywhere – Securely

President Obama is taking the US government mobile.

Recently, the President issued an executive order memorandum to his department and agency heads calling on them to embrace mobile technology to deliver more data, more efficiently. The order requests agencies to follow a new technology strategy called the “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” which includes the request for a road-map for responding to the technology transformations of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile device proliferation.

Many organizations are already embracing mobile devices with over 95% of them allowing employee-owned mobile devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace according to recent research sponsored by Cisco. Not only do we expect our employers to allow us to use our personal devices, we want to gain access to new products and services—from the private and public sector organizations. So, yes Mr. President, “Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” And –nice timing on this order, welcome to Silicon Valley-high tech land—I saw you fly in two week ago from the Saratoga hills!

Cisco shares this same sentiment of allowing people to use any device their way without compromising the organization. Cisco announced their answer to the BYOD (bring your own device)—with BYOD Smart Solution which starts with Cisco validated designs and professional services that can guide you from planning and design through day-to-day operations. It combines array of products starting with the core tenants of access points, security, controllers and network management. To address a key concern of the mobile experience, security, Cisco uniquely offers unified policy for secure access – Identity Services Engine (ISE) and next generation remote access, AnyConnect—for always on secure remote access. And most recently, Cisco also spoke to a “Your Way” mobile experience which includes the core components and then some –which allows for more efficiencies and collaboration resulting in more productivity. Mr. President and US citizens this is very achievable!

Citizens of US –I would like to hear your thoughts on gaining Federal services from your mobile device –which services would be a priority for you? Why? Do you have any concerns? What is your number one concern?

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State of the Union Challenge: Teaching Skills that Lead to Jobs

As I listened to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, my ears perked up when I heard these words “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job”. While I agree that this is” inexcusable”, I couldn’t help but feel gratified that President Obama called attention to our deficiency in 21st century skills-based education.

Although unemployment continues to be a challenge in this country, the demand for technology specialists is on the rise. Projected to grow by 10, 20 and in some cases 50 percent in coming years, jobs like Computer Support Specialist, Analysts and Systems Administrators are in high demand. Read More »

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Tiny Mooresville Grabs White House Stage

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, Office of Science & Technology, leads a Digital Promise panel of educators and technologists.

“So Dr. Edwards, can you explain to the audience what’s behind the success you’ve had at Mooresville, in implementing technology that has so changed students lives?” The question was posed by Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology. Kalil was moderating a panel of distinguished educators and technologists – and the venue? A White House conference called on creating more access for technology in US K-12 schools.

I was not at all surprised to see Dr. Edwards on the White House stage on this beautiful fall day. In fact I saw all this coming when I first visited the tiny hamlet of Mooresville, North Carolina, back in April of this year. The more classrooms I was pulled into, the more kids I saw “leaning in”, the more the “buzz” reflected off the cinder hallway walls…the more I figured there was to the Mooresville story.

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