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5,6,7,8… Cisco Step Challenge – encouraging UK employees to get involved in the Olympics

Two weeks ago I shared my interview with Sue Hunt, Director of Strategic Programmes at London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games on the subject of Inclusion and Diversity – what Inclusion and Diversity means to LOCOG and how they encourage it while faced with the challenge of an immovable deadline.

As part of our role as proud supporter and network infrastructure provider of London 2012, Cisco UK is involved in a couple of internal activities to encourage its employees to get involved in the Games. One of these activities is the Cisco Step Challenge, a 4-week challenge to encourage people to take the internationally recommended 10,000 steps per day. Providing you walked the minimum 70,000 steps per week, you were put into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to see a Paralympic Games event.

Employees across the UK joined together to formed teams and participated in the challenge. It wasn’t about fundraising or getting sweaty and struggling to find time to fit in extra exercise. It was about participation, improving your health and well being, team work and above all, having fun. A Facebook page and internal community was set up for participants to share words of encouragement and “top tips” for their fellow steppers such as park further away from your office building, use the stairs and not the lift, dancing burns more calories than walking and if you walk with children you walk more steps as you have to go back to get them every 200 yards!

The Step Challenge was very successful in engaging a large number of employees across the UK to participate in a sports challenge and raising awareness about how far you have to walk to achieve the recommended average of 10,000 steps. And one of the great things about it was that you could participate regardless of your age, gender, fitness levels, ethnicity, religion and belief or sexual orientation.

Inclusion and Diversity is a key component of Cisco’s culture and we believe that a truly inclusive and diverse workforce is critical to the success of our company and our people. The Step Challenge was advertised as “a challenge for everyone” and strongly encourage that everyone who wished to attend did so. Unfortunately we did not have anyone with a visual disability participate in the challenge and the team intends to look into this as a key area of focus for us next year. I think this is a real lesson for us all, that it’s not enough to open an opportunity to everyone – we need to actively encourage Inclusion and Diversity and incorporate it into our strategy for success.

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Brian Dickinson Brings Tech to Mt Everest and Shares His Harrowing Story

Brian Dickinson is an engineer at Cisco.

For many of us, we consider him a friend. When he decided he was going to climb Mt Everest as part of his personal mission to climb the Seven Summits, we collectively gasped. The danger involved was daunting and while we knew he was a tough ex-Navy guy, he’s also a husband and father and good friend!

Brian wanted to document his progress and allowed us to talk with him over a series of three WebEx events. When things started, we all had no idea the challenges he would face during his actual climb. We started out talking to him at sea-level from his home in Snoqualmie, WA. He shared his motivation, hopes and dreams about the climb.

Being a “Cisco guy” he also had a tech strategy for his trip. Read More »

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Is the new Wembley in Kansas?

Robb Heinemann, the CEO of Sporting Club in Kansas City certainly thinks so.  He joined Cisco’s David Holland this week to launch the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park stadium on Tuesday ahead of Sporting Club’s first home game of the season tonight (Thur June 9 at 7pm PT, 9pm CT, 10pm ET on ESPN2).

Cisco’s Sports and Entertainment Solutions Group has been working to build technology into the very fabric of the stadium over the course of the construction and tonight’s game promises to give fans a wholly new experience.   The stadium is equipped with Cisco’s new Connected Stadium Wi-Fi solution which brings high-speed wireless capabilities to fans and staff throughout the ground. The idea is to ‘offload’ data traffic from congested cell phone networks to allow fans to watch video replays right from their seats while keeping the cell phone network freed up for making calls and texting.

Throughout the venue, Cisco’s Stadium Vision solution will also provide live and recorded video on over 300 HD digital signs deployed throughout the club’s restaurants, bars, suites and open areas.  For the first time, fans in the executive suites will also be able to control the angle of the shot and change what content they view on the screen using an iPad application. Cisco has opened up the API to its Stadium Vision solution working in collaboration with Sporting Club to enable this first of a kind innovation in the MLS.

Sporting Club is also the first MLS venue to deploy Cisco’s Unified Computing and Nexus 7000 platforms to deliver virtualized network services.  Now the network is truly the platform for this next-generation experience in Kansas and Sporting Club will also be using the Stadium Vision platform and API to support their social networking solutions for members of the club.  Incidentally, Sporting Club is also offering club members free tickets to away games for this season.

You can watch a replay of the press conference below, and here are a couple of the media reports on the Stadium opening in the Kansas City StarSports Business Journal, in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and on ESPN:

The stadium will also be hosting national games as early as next week with the USA national team taking on Guadaloupe and Panama playing Canada in the CONCANAF Gold Cup on Thur June 14th (USA is currently heading up Group C as of June 9th).  And for Bay Area soccer fans, the San Jose Earthquakes travel out to Kansas next Friday, June 17.

What do you think – now that the US has an iconic stadium in Kansas designed specifically for soccer, could this be another step in helping the sport break through in popularity in the US?

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News@Cisco Week in Review and Look Ahead: May 2-6

Happy (late) Cinco de Mayo — or should I say Happy Cisco de Mayo!  It was another busy week here at Cisco.  Some of our top stories included features on the future of live sports distribution and customer networks.  Cisco also announced that it is now delivering containerized data centers! For more information, read below.

1.) To Stream or Not to Stream? The Future of Live Sports Distribution

There is an argument among TV broadcast networks that streaming live sports on the Internet and on mobile devices cannibalizes their TV ratings. However, the opposite appears to be true. Case in point is the March Madness basketball tournament this spring; the games were shown live on TV and also streamed live online. Interestingly enough, viewership increased in both domains. Perhaps live Internet streaming can happily live side by side with TV viewership, and maybe even enhance it. What are your thoughts?

Read More »

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Getting to Mt. Everest: Landing and Giving in Katmandu

On May 4, we are planning to talk with Brian Dickinson, our friend and Cisco engineer, from Mt Everest’s Base Camp at 17,500’. You can register for that free WebEx event here. In the meantime, we are following his journey there and back. Late last week, he arrived in Katmandu. All photos are courtesy of Brian Dickinson.

On March 24th, we met Brian Dickinson via WebEx before he left for his Mt Everest climb. In that session, we learned about Brian, his Navy background, his passion for extreme sports Read More »

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