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Roaming Data Plans: Culture Shock, maybe, but Bill Shock no more!

There is immense parental pride in seeing your child receive her University diploma. As I watched my daughter walk across the stage on the campus quad last year, bittersweet thoughts floated by – she’ll be leaving the family nest, striking out on her own, facing the challenges of finding a job, moving into her own apartment, paying bills. It was sad to think of innocence lost, and the real world barking at her door. With these thoughts I embraced her, and then she said “Dad, guess what, I’ve decided that I’m gonna do a gap year in New Zealand and Australia!”

A “gap year” is a way to defer all those serious milestones I was imagining for my daughter by taking a year off to travel and do fun things. Oh, and could I also take care of her cat, her car, and start making her college loan payments while she was gone? Oh well, I was actually very happy – and envious – about her quest for self-discovery.

So we shifted focus to new challenges, like getting travel medical insurance, selecting the right backpack, managing money needs, where to find jobs along the way, getting temporary work visas. And what about keeping in touch? I looked at my mobile operator’s roaming rates, and saw that Read More »

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Winning Stories Bring Networking to Life: VNI Service Awards

Last week we notified the five winners of our inaugural VNI Service Awards competition.  When we launched this program on March 26, 2013 our goal was to inspire others about the human aspect of what it means to be connected. We wanted to learn how various communication technologies were being used. How does having access to the Internet and mobile services impact the daily lives of people and their community? This is how we want to measure the value of being connected, and having access to reliable communication channels.

VNI Service Awards

The final scores were based on a combination of the judge’s scores, and a ranking assigned to the number of comments per story. It was difficult selecting the top five stories as there were many tied scores. We had to go to two decimal points to get the final list. The point spread between the five winners was only 0.75 out of a max of 5.00 points. Read More »

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Summary: Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction

I recently kicked off a series about security and the Internet of Everything, a pivotal topic that starts with the roots of IoE, IoT and M2M, which I explore in more depth in the first post.

Machine-to-Machine connections make up a huge portion of the Internet of Things, both general concepts for the network infrastructures that link physical and virtual objects. These abstractions come together on IoE, making it possible for devices to orchestrate and manage the world we live in, as they become connected entities themselves.

But to fully discuss security on the Internet of Everything, we must first go back to the roots of IoE itself. The technology innovations that employ M2M and IoT were actually spun off from military and industrial supply chain applications. As IP became a more common communication protocol, IoT gained more traction, helped even more by the creation of IPv6 and other advancements in wireless technology. As ever-increasing data is captured and distributed on these networks, more intelligence is generated.

Read my full “Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction” blog post to learn more about this embedded intelligence that is a core architectural component of IoT, and how it informs the security for the Internet of Everything itself. And stay tuned! I have more for you to come in this series, including a look into IoE security framework.

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Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction

Towards developing a Secure Architecture for the Internet of Everything, I plan to kick off a series of blogs around this pivotal topic.

In discussing security and the Internet of Everything, the first question that comes to mind is, “Which segment of “everything” is one referring to?”. A reasonable approach has been to understand the common attributes that crosses vertical segments such as Intelligent Transportation, Smart Utilities, Industrial Automation and so on. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) are general abstractions for the network infrastructure that links physical and virtual objects. In Cisco, we now refer to these abstractions as the Internet of Everything, IoE. The IoE describes a world where billions of objects have sensors to detect, measure and assess their status; all connected over public or private networks using standard and proprietary protocols.

Until a point in time around 2008/2009, there were more human beings in the world than devices connected to the Internet. That is no longer the case.  Read More »

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Empowering Women, One SMS at a Time

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist.

What’s the best way to accelerate economic development in the developing world? One answer is to do more to empower women. According to a 2012 World Bank report, women now make up 40 percent of the global labor force, but face major gaps in education, access to technology and economic opportunity compared to men. World Bank analysts estimate that closing those gaps could make a big difference, increasing labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries.

There are many strategies for empowering women in developing countries, but one of the most practical is to provide more access to education, especially for women business-owners. Educational content provider ChangeCorp is dedicated to doing just that by capitalizing on growing access to mobile phones. I spoke with ChangeCorp’s CEO, Louise M. Guido, about some of the company’s efforts. Read More »

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