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The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

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Carving Out “Me” Time in the Internet of Everything Era

In a typical week, I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours on work-related matters. Another 50 percent is devoted to my family. Which leaves 20 percent for taking care of the household, and ….

Yes, that adds up to more that 100 percent. But there simply aren’t enough hours in a day for all that needs to be done — not to mention protecting that crucial time with loved ones.

So, thank you, multitasking! I can’t be the only one who has held a child while writing emails, taken conference calls from the supermarket, or had several online meetings running simultaneously.

All of this occurred to me as I struggled to find time for this blog. Writing forces me to shut off everything around me and reflect on the things that really matter — in a world that is rapidly changing, increasingly complex, and in which technology can sometimes seem a mixed blessing. When I do finally carve out an opportunity to write, it is precious time, which I cherish.

But writing is hard. Trust me, I’ve thought about creating a blog for years, and my past is riddled with failed attempts to start. Each time, I hesitated for too long, wondering whether people would really want to hear what I have to say. Like many writers, I have wondered if my compositions were too long, too short, too personal, too corporate, too banal, too deep ….

But as much as I appreciate your attention, dear reader, this time around I realize that I am writing the blog for me, the writer. Like many of us, I navigate a harried, high-pressure life. And this blog is my time, my space, to do something creative and expressive.

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Ciscolive! 25 Years of Networkers

CiscoLiveCisco hosted our first Networkers customer event, now Ciscolive!, 25 years ago.  Our first event was small with around 200 attendees focused on multiprotocal routing technologies.  This year more than 25,000 Cisco customers, partners, press, and analysts attended live in San Francisco, with over 200,000 participating online  with topics ranging from Intercloud, Collaboration, Security, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to Connected Cities with Smart Parking, Traffic Management and  Public Safety, Connected Transportation, and Connected Government driving mission success to protect, educate, and serve.

I attended my first Cisco Networkers event 20 years ago in San Francisco and have worked on many exciting initiatives during my career the past 2 decades.  The role of networking technology as a platform for the Internet of Everything continues to evolve and accelerate more quickly being adopted and deployed in countries and communities around the world.

The week kicked off with keynotes and demonstrations highlighting the advances in technology as well as the potential for transformation in business and public sector.

KeynoteHighlights included:

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Top 10 Ways Public Sector Organizations Are Capturing IoE Value Today

At Cisco, we have identified the Internet of Everything (IoE) as the next wave of the Internet, an explosion of connectivity among people, process, data, and things. We have estimated that these connections in the IoE offer a staggering $19 trillion in Value at Stake over the next decade for both private and public sectors. And now that IoE is here, it’s important to talk about how both enterprises and public-sector organizations can take full advantage of this market transition. To help, Cisco is offering two comprehensive pieces of thought leadership to illustrate a roadmap for IoE. A Fast IT strategy helps enterprises capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake. The Internet of Everything in the Public Sector research explores how IoE is transforming government to demonstrate how public-sector organizations can capture their share of the IoE Value at Stake.

By Joseph Bradley

What comes to mind when I say “government efficiency”? The public sector often gets a bad rap when it comes to technology; however, a closer look into government organizations reveals a much different picture.

Building on its’ groundbreaking public sector research, which showed the IoE value of stake over 10 years to be $4.6 trillion, Cisco and Cicero Group just completed an in-depth study of more than 40 leading government organizations worldwide.  The research examined real-world projects that are operational today and represent the cutting edge of IoE readiness and maturity.

Analyzing this research, Cisco Consulting Services gleaned the 10 key insights for how government organizations are capturing IoE value today. These insights are powerful for any company or organization wanting to thrive in a world where change and disruption caused by the convergence of cloud, mobile, social, and information, is the norm.

To whet your appetite, here are three of the Top 10 insights.

1. Public sector organizations are leading IoE innovators. The public sector is an excellent proving ground for IoE because of the size of many government institutions, the number of people they serve, and the difficult problems they must solve. The 40 jurisdictions we studied rival the best private-sector firms. The vision, scope, and execution of their IoE initiatives provide a model for both private and public sector organizations to follow.

My take is that in today’s increasingly connected world, public sector leaders know that change isn’t constant, it’s instant. And they are acting appropriately – they are leading the way.

2. Cities use comprehensive strategies to generate IoE value. Cities are well positioned to improve the quality of citizens’ lives through IoE because they provide (or source) many of the services upon which citizens rely, including transportation, law enforcement, education, water, and (sometimes) Internet connectivity.

The City of Amsterdam’s Smart City strategy typifies this approach. It includes 47 IoE projects, such as smart energy grid systems, street lighting, parking application, building management, and public Wi-Fi. Many of these projects span multiple city departments, and involve private sector stakeholders. At the center of Amsterdam’s IoE strategy is an open IT infrastructure that will provide a platform for IoE-based innovations for years to come.

My perspective is that Moore’s Law is alive and well in the public sector. Government leaders know that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. But, they also know to do it over the course of dinner, not a year.

3. IoE solutions must address people and process, not just data and things. Successful IoE initiatives are characterized by a focus on the process improvements that accompany technology innovations, and the many “people” issues that are critical to success. These issues include getting employees to embrace new roles and responsibilities, using training and recruiting to obtain needed skills, and, critically, getting the users of IoE systems to adopt them.

The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) is in charge of paving the way for the efficient, resource-friendly, and sustainable implementation of infrastructure projects in the Port of Hamburg. The HPA is the contact point for all kinds of questions concerning waterside and landside infrastructure, the navigational safety of vessel traffic, port railway facilities, port property management, and economic conditions within the port area..

Facing growing transportation volume, the HPA developed a strategy to extend its IT architecture, revamp its business processes, and scale its operations. Now, when a ship comes into the harbor, HPA’s systems indicate that it is approaching. This allows HPA to get real-time information to those who need it, including ship pilots, cargo handlers, environmental monitors, and so forth. People receive data at the right time so they can invoke the proper processes when needed.

As Dr. Sebastian Saxe, chief information officer, Hamburg Port Authority, describes it, “The Internet of Everything incorporates the technology, tries to build a control process, and includes people in this process in order to build more intelligent systems…If you try to approach this type of model and you leave out processes and people, you are going to be left with half-truths, or an incomplete solution.”

My view is that people are at the center of IoE. If people aren’t an integral part of the solution, whether it’s for the public or private sector, what’s the point?

To learn about the other insights and government initiatives go here. Also feel free to contact or follow me on Twitter at @JosephMBradley.

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Parking Gets IoE Smart

Ooh! That gal’s pulling out…Wait, Wait! If I can just get over 2 lanes…Ahhh, quit yer honking! NO WAY!!! That hotshot in the red convertible just stole my spot! Now I have to go around the block again…!

You know you’ve been through this and you’ve probably also been behind someone trying to get across 2 lanes to capture a spot and causing mayhem. It’s estimated that 30% of all traffic congestion in urban areas is caused by drivers circling and struggling to find a parking spot. With cities growing at an estimated 10,000 people per hour, the situation isn’t going to get any better unless we make some changes.

Solving the parking madness

Cities--perhaps yours--can now implement a new Internet of Everything solution — Cisco Smart+Connected City Parking — to help alleviate many of their parking (and resulting traffic) headaches. The solution not only serves spot-seeking drivers, but can also support traffic enforcement officers to locate violations more easily, generate more revenue from citations, and reduce vandalism and other safety issues via video surveillance. Finally, the solution provides date to city operations centers to improve planning and development decisions. Read More »

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