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Revising the Storyline – Senate Leadership & New Industry Cooperation for the 5.9 GHz Band

A letter from private sector businesses and organizations to the Federal Communications Commission, and Departments of Transportation and Commerce, agreeing on a single set of principles to examine use of the 5.9 GHz band by unlicensed devices, arrives like the fall weather – crisp, clear and a relief from the heat and humidity of summer.  This letter lays out a clear path forward for determining whether sharing in the 5.9 GHz band can take place without causing harmful interference.

And even more noteworthy, members of the Senate Commerce Committee had a strong hand in moving the parties into agreement – demonstrating once again that a bit of well-executed oversight can have a tremendously positive impact on issue resolution.

For a while now, we’ve been reading cringe-worthy news reports about different segments of the industry supporting violently different views of what the 5.9 GHz band should become. Because the 75 MHz of radio spectrum (5850-5925 MHz) sits adjacent to a large swath existing unlicensed spectrum, the notion is that in some way, it may be possible for unlicensed technologies (such as Wi-Fi) to utilize bits of the 5.9 GHz radio spectrum that incumbents (such as intelligent transportation systems) are not using.

But that simple idea has itself generated controversy – exactly how would that happen? And who decides? Based on what?   After all, the incumbent ITS uses are “safety of life” uses – designed by the Department of Transportation and auto industry to enable unimpaired drivers to avoid dangerous and even deadly accidents and road conditions.

Full disclosure: Cisco has been working on technology that would allow Wi-Fi to share the 5850-5895 MHz portion of the band while ensuring current and planned ITS uses could use the band undisturbed by radio interference. Cisco believes that we can listen, detect, and avoid ITS uses of the band, and that the benefits of using this spectrum – away from active roadways where ITS use would be prevalent – are huge. Cisco also offers solutions to the transportation sector that include ITS radios. As a result, Cisco is strongly interested in a “win-win” for the two radio communities of interest.

What’s to admire about this letter?

For starters, it embraces the view that regulators ought to consider having different systems share the same radio spectrum – provided that that there is an objective fact-based case to demonstrate that the systems with superior rights are protected from interference.

That’s good for consumers, because:

(1) it ensures driving will be safer ;

(2) it ensures we’re using radio spectrum resources as intensively as possible; and (3) if we can make Wi-Fi share effectively, that means more Wi-Fi channels will be available for broadband connectivity.

We also agree – the FCC, in close coordination with the DoT and other federal agencies – should take the lead to ensure that testing and modeling support a future decision to open the band for shared use. The FCC has the appropriate skills and expertise to understand how to evaluate the complexities of advanced radio sharing, while the DoT understands best what the ITS radios must be able to achieve from a performance standpoint when installed in cars and on roadways.

We also agree that the parties and agencies should utilize the FCC’s docketed proceeding to ensure relevant data and testing are available on the public record for any interested party to access. This is the best mechanism to ensure all sides are heard.

And we strongly agree that the process of evaluating new technologies for sharing should not be held to a simplistic deadline, after which the examination is abandoned in favor of some other approach.

When Wi-Fi embarked on an effort in 2002 to open up other sections of the 5 GHz band to unlicensed use, it took nearly four years before the FCC adopted final rules that permitted Wi-Fi to share the band with governmental radars.   The process of opening new spectrum to sharing is complex and contains unexpected twists and turns that cannot be anticipated.

Congratulations to the Senate Commerce Committee for aligning the parties around a path forward, and to the private party signatories for thinking through what they could agree on, instead of continuing to disagree.

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: The Strategic Value of the Cloud for State & Local Governments

Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet).  Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.

Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.

But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained.  This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.

Cost Savings

Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.

And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.

Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption

Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.

Read More »

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Why People Share, According to Facebook

Before we decide what to post, we must first understand what compels our fans to share. This understanding will allow us to create consistent, “viral” posts that will generate organic buzz. Thankfully, we have Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook, to explain these social behaviors that occur on Facebook, and in life, so we can actively create conversations and build relationships that will result in sharing of content.

Watch this video about why people share, presented at this year’s Facebook Marketing Conference or enjoy the brief synopsis below to better understand what drives our conversations and, in turn, sharing. (jump to the 3 minute mark to get straight to Paul)

Read More »

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Here’s the Best Way to Share via WebEx [video]

If you are using WebEx for your video conference, one of the things you may want to do is share information that’s on your computer.

Many people share their desktop – which means your attendees can see everything happening on your computer. This can present problems if you don’t remember to shut down other applications while you are sharing your desktop. But there are ways to limit what is visible by sharing a document or an application.

Here’s a quick look at your choices [watch video]. Read More »

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How to Share a Video via WebEx

We get many requests for help when sharing a video via WebEx during a meeting. We have made some improvements that make sharing quite easy. To help you do it, we’ve recorded a quick WebEx with the how-to!

Watch the recording now.

You don’t need anything special to watch the recording. Just Read More »

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