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How the Journey of Data Can Transform Cities

In the modern world, terms like “big data”and “open data”are making their way from tech industry forums and into local innovation initiatives across cities.

And Kansas City, MO., is no exception. Earlier this year, Think Big Partners– based in the City of Fountains and aspiring to be one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the United States –began a new collaboration with Cisco to architect a new open data portal that will be complete with some of the city’s public data sets, and eventually data from participants in this broader initiative. The goal of this portal is to help the entrepreneurial community gain easy access to relevant data in order to cull and develop their own creative Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

This new portal is one component of a larger effort for Think Big Partners, Cisco and other innovative companies to work together to manage a Kansas City “living lab” for entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over the country to tap into. The lab is designed to incubate an open ecosystem for these entrepreneurs, innovation partners and other members of the start-up community to develop new applications and technologies to address some of Kansas City’s biggest challenges. The opportunity to deploy these emerging technologies onto a larger scale, industrial platform and test them will accelerate IoT innovation through a unique commercialization model.

During the Global Editors Conference this week, where I virtually participated in a media roundtable hosted at San Jose State University on how the Internet of Everything is impacting public sector, I spoke about how Think Big Partners and Cisco are helping to create a new journey for data and IoT innovation using the new data portal as the vessel for this journey.

This new open data portal will serve as an intersection for entrepreneurs to not only have easy access to the data available, but to help the data continue on its journey to the community through the form of new apps.

Applications that have already emerged as near term, high potential candidates include smart parking, using video as a sensor, and sensors that improve delivery of municipal services especially in the area of water.

Think Big has a history of working as an innovation partner for large companies and will use the living lab, along with our Internet of Things Innovation Lab, to short circuit proof of concept challenges for entrepreneurs while testing new technologies using actual use cases. The combination of data, devices and expertise will yield powerful results at a fraction of the historical costs of commercialization technology.

As we approach 2015, I look forward to seeing this data and applications continue on its journey as the Internet of Things entrepreneur community continues to innovate and create new apps that will enhance the lives of Kansas City residents and in turn, transform cities.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with @ThinkBigKC and #CiscoGEC

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Cisco and Streetline Innovate for Smart Parking: Introducing Camera Based Detection and an Integrated Streetline IOT Gateway with Cisco WiFi

Parking is one of those universal challenges most people can relate to. Parking causes congestion on our city streets, contributes to pollution, and causes motorist frustration in most cities around the globe. As we look at ways to apply technology to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our cities today, parking is ripe for innovation. Here are a few interesting facts:

  • 20 minutes is the average time spent looking for a parking space globally
  • 30% of city traffic consists of people looking for parking
  • 60% of drivers have given up on an activity recently due to the difficulty of finding parking
  • Parking is usually the second or third largest source of revenue in a city, however, it is exceedingly difficult to manage due to a lack of granular or continuous data on demand and behavior

Since December 2012 Streetline and Cisco have embarked on a journey to bring together the best of Cisco networking technology with the domain expertise of Streetline to deliver new “connected city” solutions to customers. Streetline has a deep history in sensing technology and award-winning applications that both capture and share real time parking data with city officials, consumers and other stakeholders. Read More »

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Why partner with Russia?

Last month I attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, along with our CEO John Chambers. Together we participated in the Skolkovo Foundation Council Meeting (held quarterly) where we discussed strategies for increased momentum for Skolkovo. During the forum, John reiterated Cisco’s long-term approach to the country and highlighted the growth and potential of Russia within the context of tough economic times elsewhere in the world – a tremendous opportunity both for Cisco and for Russia.

Two years ago we made a commitment to support the Russian Government’s modernization agenda. Since then we have achieved visible progress in promoting a close partnership with the Russian Government by:

  • Aligning our activities in Russia with the country’s government course
  • Supporting Russia’s intention to modernize its economy and infrastructure, building upon the legacy of innovation that is a part of Cisco’s DNA
  • Offering technology and knowledge to help Russia achieve its national goals
  • Putting our positive stance on public-private partnerships and collaboration into action

A global company like Cisco is involved in public-private partnerships in innovating and renewing communities in many countries of the world. In Paredes, Portugal, Cisco is collaborating with Living PlanIT to develop PlanIT Valley, a sustainable community built on technology that transforms the area into a connected community running on next generation technology. Another example is Cisco’s work with McCaffery Interests in redeveloping the Chicago waterfront to revitalize the area.

I often get asked though, why partner with Russia? I wanted to share some of our thinking with you.

At Cisco, we view Skolkovo as a platform for future growth and innovation of new and emerging technologies. Russia is home to world-class talent in basic and applied sciences, offers a great education system that creates a workforce that has the ability to think differently, and a tenacious and persistent work ethic. These qualities in addition to Russia’s rich history and tradition of discoveries in science and research that has extended for centuries, makes it a perfect choice for Cisco’s innovation incubation efforts.

Cisco is invested in the success of Skolkovo. Earlier this year we outlined our Research and Development plans with the Skolkovo Foundation and are already executing on them. We are now beginning to hire our first engineering team in Russia focused on developing new emerging technologies.

Our plans at Skolkovo don’t stop at software development. As a key partner of the Foundation, we are actively involved in many important areas. For innovation to thrive, the right creative environment is required for the free flow of ideas and capital. Later this year, Cisco will support startups with funding through the launch of our second Skolkovo Innovation Award, focused on discovering and rewarding new promising startups in the areas of Healthcare and Education. We will provide technology and tools to all participants and reward the best startups with seed funding. The support for entrepreneurs through venture capital funding is in line with Cisco’s strategy to nurture innovation from talented people all over the world, as our work with the Almaz/Cisco Venture Capital Fund shows. To date, the Almaz/Cisco Fund has invested in 12 companies, of which 2 have residency in Skolkovo, and another 3 are in the process of applying for residency.

In the area of education, we will launch Cisco’s Entrepreneur Institute at Skolkovo Technopark, which will train Skolkovo Residents on how to develop and grow successful IT businesses. Beyond Skolkovo, we plan to partner with Russian educational institutions on joint technology development and research projects for emerging technologies. This will allow graduate students and researchers to co-develop technologies with Cisco engineers and validate their research against the needs of the marketplace. This extends our education investment in Cisco. Another example is our Networking Academy program in Russia, which was refined a year ago when Cisco announced its intention to triple the number of academies in this country, from 217 to 650, enabling 16,000 Russians to be trained each year by 2015. We are well on our way to meeting this goal.

In closing, we believe there is tremendous opportunity in Russia and we applaud the country for investing in its future and its people by spurring innovation, job creation and economic growth.

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San Francisco Bay Area’s Pioneers—Linking Technology and Public Policy

One of the best things about my job at CISCO is the opportunity to work with innovators in government, business, the independent sector, and nonprofits and examine the problems of urban communities in new ways.

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of supporting the launch of a new civic presence in our hometown of San Jose that does this very well: the San Jose office of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, SPUR San Jose. Read More »

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