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Customer Spotlight: Idaho Transportation Department Creates Cohesive Communications Environment

While Idaho isn’t a very populous state, with only 1.5 million people, it stretches across 83,000 million square miles. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is responsible for all transportation-related efforts in that area, from highway construction to the Department of Motor Vehicles. But with only 1,800 employees, that can be a real challenge! As ITD employees crisscross the state to ensure all transportation is running smoothly, they rely on a host of communications tools to stay connected with the department headquarters in Boise and other workers on the road.

Despite the amount the customer relied on communications tools to function, the department didn’t actually have a unified communications environment. Instead, employees just used whatever communications tools were available, purchasing and deploying new tools as they needed them. The result was a hodgepodge of tools that didn’t all fit together well and made for both inefficient communication and negative financial repercussions.

To control costs and create an easy and cohesive communications infrastructure, ITD went looking for a unified communications (UC) environment to address the challenge. After an internal audit and careful research, ITD chose to deploy a suite of Cisco collaboration tools, which included voice, video, data communications, IP phones, a call management system, Cisco WebEx, and Cisco Jabber.

Now, all of ITD’s employees have a suite of communications tools that work together seamlessly, are user-friendly, and expand the opportunities for employees to collaborate. The UC environment has also reduced long-term IT costs for the department and given them a successful model of how to quickly and successfully roll-out new communications in the future.

To read more about how Idaho Transportation Department is reaping the rewards of their new UC environment, check out the full case study. You can also go here to learn more about how Cisco collaboration tools can help your agency.

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Schenectady Gets Smarter: Mayor Announces New Smart City Commission

The City of Schenectady, New York has long been on the forefront of the Smart Cities movement, utilizing new technology to help improve its municipal services and government operations. The city’s goal is to become a fully integrated, connected city by implementing a wireless network that takes advantage of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.

To work towards this goal, the city has rolled out numerous IoE-based projects designed to improve city life in a variety of areas based on an outdoor City-owned Wi-Fi network that can perform multiple simultaneous tasks. For example, the city has installed a smart LED lighting system in the downtown area, which will allow them to automatically brighten or dim the lights to help save on energy costs. The smart lighting system will automatically report on broken lights so they can be fixed faster, ensuring citizens feel safe downtown. The city is also testing out a smart parking system, which uses cameras to monitor open parking spots. The same cameras can help police fight crime and give citizens a live view of their streets to feel safer at night. These projects have allowed Schenectady to both save taxpayer money and increase the quality of services it is providing to its citizens, and the city continues to look to the future using technology to attract new business and startups.

This past week, Mayor Gary R. McCarthy announced the appointment of a Smart City commission, designed to help Schenectady further take advantage of new technology to improve the quality of life for its residents. The commission will work on a variety of technology and sustainability initiatives, focusing on the next generation of wireless communications and product development. This new commission will allow Schenectady to continue to grow and expand as a connected city, and will only bring more benefits to its citizens. As the new commission chairman Mark Little put it: “It’s all about making Schenectady the best place it can be to live and to work.”

Learn more about how Cisco’s Connected+Smart Cities solutions can help your city!

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IoE’s Promise for the Public Sector

Internet of Everything (IoE) is touted as the next big thing in 2014. Tech pundits, Silicon Valley executives, entrepreneurs and government officials predict that Internet of Everything will be a “multi-trillion dollar business,” which has the potential to transform our physical world with a variety of remotely operated objects. Cisco predicts some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020.

Within the public sector, IoE has the capacity to reveal new ways to manage infrastructure, reduce operational costs and improve the lives of citizens with innovative service offerings. This includes public safety initiatives involving first responders, physical  security and fleet management in municipalities. For example, IoE helps keep first responders in constant communication with dispatchers, traffic management systems, and other agencies.  It can also provide  greater situational awareness with onsite video surveillance access and other environmental sensors.   Similarly, IoE also provides greater safety and convenience for passengers and drivers with real-time monitoring of vehicles, GPS data mapped to schedules and interactive onboard services. Read More »

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