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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and Law Enforcement (Part One): U.K.’s Facewatch Service Benefits Police, Businesses, and Citizens

This is the first in a two-part blog series that examines the opportunities that cloud-based services offer to law enforcement agencies—along with the challenges of this fundamental shift in the way information resources are managed.

Police forces have a well-established culture of owning and managing systems directly founded on concerns about security and control of access to information. Three trends, however, make this position unsustainable:

  • Traditional models for acquiring and running systems, which slow the pace of innovation
  • Pressure to reduce costs
  • Increasing need to form partnerships with other police agencies, public-sector bodies, and the private sector. Partnership depends on information sharing and open approaches to developing systems.

One of the most radical—and successful—cloud-based public-safety and security services is Facewatch. Using a network-based model, Facewatch provides an online reporting tool that allows U.K. businesses and citizens to report crimes and attach video evidence. The service enables crime victims to cancel credit cards instantly through Facewatch’s partners; allows users to share images of wanted people; and provides a channel for feedback from the police on the outcomes of cases.

Facewatch offers immediate benefits to the public, businesses, and law enforcement:

  • Citizens: ease of reporting and rapid management of associated processes
  • Businesses: less time required to deal with incidents
  • Law enforcement: reduces or eliminates the need to interact directly with premises to recover video footage

For all users, there is greater transparency about processes and reporting on outcomes, as well as the ability for communities to share information about wanted persons and crime trends.

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Exploring Social Media with Caution

Today, we have never been so connected and accessible.  Information has never been that easy to get.  And we’ve never been spoiled with so many updates.

I used to remember sending snail mails (from Manila) to my grandma who was living in the U.S. back then.  That took a lot of time.  I remember my friends sharing with me that they stayed up late by writing excitedly in their diary.  And I remember spending time in the library to research on the works of Picasso or to learn more about the Renaissance Age.  How time has changed.

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Cisco Women and TechGirlsUK

A Twitter success story
Theresa Russell teaches Computing to teenagers in Lancashire, England.  We found each other on Twitter.  I was looking to better understand the newest trends in #EdTech.  She needed a female mentor for an international competition she had talked five students into joining.  We soon formed a team of teachers, mentors, and more importantly, students: TechGirlsUK.  With the energetic support of the inimitable Heidi Rhodes, the girls made it to London.

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The Rolling Stones and Social Media

Live music is a very social experience. And, social media enables concerts to be experienced outside of the four walls of the concert hall.

I went to see the Rolling Stones in San Jose earlier this week. “How was the concert?” people asked me. My Response: “The most rocking concert put on by 70-year old rockers in the history of rock.”  This is a true statement, but it also belittles the staying power of the greatest rock and roll band of all time. (You can disagree or agree with me on the “greatest band” point in the comments section).

Rolling Stones: 1962 – present
Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger – born 1943
Keith Richards – born 1943
Ronald David “Ronnie” Wood – born 1947
Charles Robert “Charlie” Watts – born 1941
(a combined 200 years of rocking)

As I work in technology, I noticed a lot of technology during the concert.  There was a sea of people with smart phones taking photos or video of the concert (link to photo below) as well as people posting to Facebook and Twitter or texting during the concert. Yes, I was guilty of some of this as well.

It made me to think about the shared experience of live music. I had a blast at the concert, but if it were just me and the Rolling Stones it wouldn’t have been as much fun – actually, that’s not true, that would be awesome, but stay with me here…we just want to share our experience with friends.  If they are right beside us, great. If they are half a state, a country or world away then that’s fine too – social media allows us to do this.

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5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer

Where do you go to find social media tips, statistics, trends, and best practices? I recently attended the Social Media for Savvy Marketers event hosted by Cisco featuring speakers from Twitter, SAP, Adobe, BuzzFeed, Salesforce.com, Percolate, and more. The two-day event brought candid conversations, interactive panel sessions, and an engaging way to learn how B2B and B2C brands are using social. When else can you hear from industry experts on the hottest trends in social media and learn best practices to leverage for your next social media campaign? If you missed out on this thought provoking event, below are my takeaways from the event.

savvy event picture 2        savvy event picture 1

5 Tips to Becoming a “Savvy” Social Media Marketer:

Tip #1: A Social Business Starts with your Executives: According to a social media statistic from eMarketer, “82% of employees say they trust a company more when CEO and leadership teams are involved in social.” Jeanette Gibson, Senior Director, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared that Cisco placed a monitor including a Twitter feed outside of CEO John Chamber’s office, showing the importance of the customer conversation. This was the first step Cisco made in transforming to a social business.  Additionally, Gibson noted, “Help your business to be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Scalable, Open, Consistent, Intuitive, Active, and Limitless”, showcasing the social conversation highlights of what is being said about your brand. The conversation is happening across channels and brands shouldn’t miss out.

Tip #2: Listening is the First Step of a Social Strategy: At each stage of a social media strategy, listening is critical. Before jumping into any conversation, we must pay attention to what is being said and then engage accordingly with that particular audience.  LaSandra Brill, Manager, Global Social Media Marketing at Cisco, shared the significance of listening as she discussed the importance of Social CRM. Brill noted that “85% of Tech buyers engage in some form of social activity.” Listening to what your customers are saying and are interested in allows for targeted offers to be sent to customers increasing the propensity to buy. Note: be sure to be clever vs. creepy with the targeted offers.

Tip #3: Content is King and Distribution is Queen: Creating good “snackable” content is critical to increasing the reach of the conversation. Video is quickly becoming the next generation of content as it is fun and engaging.  Matt Rozen, Group Manager Corporate Social Media of Adobe, shared his thoughts, “the best part of video is the measurable traffic. Video was just 10% of impressions, but drove 50% of site visits.” Content can engage an audience and keep them active in the conversation. On day two of the event, James Gross, Co-Founder of Percolate, advised “If we reshape how we create content, we will shift from renting audience to owning it.” Ultimately, I think Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development at Buzzfeed, summed up the idea of content most eloquently, “Content is King and distribution is queen.” Create great content and then let your fans share it. Once you have this great content, don’t forget to integrate search: include keywords, hashtags, and tagging!

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