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Summary: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

An excellent overview of some of the key topics that are top-of-mind for industry executives in both power utilities and oil and gas. Written by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Corporate Technology Group, the blog covers many of the ‘essentials’ that are going to make the difference between success or failure for many companies in the future:

  • Business Relevance – how important is Line-of-Business (LoB)? What is Cisco doing to address the new buying centers?
  • IT/OT Convergence – IT techniques are increasingly used for OT (Operational Technologies). OT has critical needs that IT must take notice of. Is a coming together happening?
  • Open Standards – Cisco leads the charge here, but proprietary and legacy protocols still endure. How is the industry adapting?
  • Cross-industry Use Cases – All industries are different, or are they? Maciej talks about commonalities and the inefficiencies of learning from different industries.

Maciej Blog re IoT Oct2015 compressedMaciej talks about the number of connected “things” in the world that has skyrocketed from about a million in the early 1990s to 13 billion today.  He adds that…

“As the Internet of Everything (IoE) gains momentum—digitizing business processes in every industry—we expect to see 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The technology connecting all these devices has become affordable and easy to integrate. But that is not the primary reason for this explosion in connected devices. I believe we are entering a “golden age” of digitization because of the confluence of the following factors”.

I know John Chambers and others are talking about there being 500bn devices connected by 2030, so the challenges and opportunities will grow exponentially.

It is those four elements mentioned above, combined with the “network effect,” which multiplies the value of connections as their number grows,which are are driving the rush to connect everything, Maciej concludes. At Cisco, we have thousands of customers who have already adopted IoT solutions—and every day there are more who see the evidence in their own businesses and industries that the time is now for IoT, he adds.

Read his blog hear to find out his views on the four critical elements here: The Internet of Things: Why Now?

…and let me know what you think!

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Governments Need Global Standards of Conduct for Surveillance

Privacy and human rights advocates, technology companies, and trade associations have today called on U.S. political leaders to reform the country’s surveillance laws. We add our voice to those calls. These reforms will help show the world that the U.S. Government is ready to lead the dialogue on global standards of conduct, and wants to further build international trust with citizens – a cornerstone for our industry.

We also see a need for governments to agree on transparent standards of conduct. Building a system with appropriate safeguards and limits will serve both national security objectives and the needs of global commerce. In May 2014, Cisco offered a series of recommendations that support customer confidence in the global internet economy, while respecting the role that governments need to play in ensuring the physical safety and the economic security of their citizens. Governments and industry players need to deliver these outcomes for our future. Cisco is ready to play our part and we believe our peers and colleagues in industry and government are as well.

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Wi-Fi Roaming 101

Wi-Fi roaming is often a tumultuous subject.  The crux of the issue is, with Wi-Fi the roaming decision is left to the client.

In the recent years, there have been great strides in improving Wi-Fi roaming with the creation of standards-based roaming technologies.  Cisco first pioneered fast roaming many years ago with CCKM (Cisco Centralized Key Management), which was the foundation for 802.11r.  11r which was ratified by the IEEE in 2008, allows for fast roaming, even on a secure 802.1X SSID.  With 802.11r it is possible to roam without disruption during a voice or video call.

While client support of 802.11r is largely lacking in the laptop space,  there is large support in the smartphone realm.  Apple iOS devices have supported 11r since iOS 6 (  The recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4, S5, and Note 3, also support 11r.

Note: Some non-802.11r clients can react adversely when connected to an 11r WLAN.  The current recommendation from Cisco is to have a separate WLAN for 802.11r clients.

802.11k is another amendment from the IEEE that helps to improve roaming.  802.11k provides a whole slew of information to the client, which allows the client to understand the RF environment and make an informed roaming decision.  This information can include channel load and AP neighbor lists.

11r and 11k help, however, that does not mean the infrastructure is irrelevant in the roaming picture.  With the help of a model train, we did some testing to figure out just how much impact the infrastructure could have.  We compared Cisco to one of our competitors, whom we will call Vendor A.

This video summarizes the results and shows the train in action, or continue reading for more details:
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Don’t Miss: [Webinar] Preparing K-12 Networks for Common Core Feb 5

If you’ve worked on a K-12 wireless network, you’ll know that one of the main customer careabouts is adapting to Common Core Standards. Online testing and BYOD places even higher demands on a high quality, high performing network. What exactly needs to be taken into consideration when designing these networks?

Join us tomorrow Wednesday, February 5 for a great, informational webinar packed with tips and tricks on how to design K-12 networks to optimize for Common Core. If you work in education IT or are a partner or network consultant that handles lots of K-12 school district deployments, this is the webcast for you. We’re starting at 10am PST and will run for about 45-60 minutes–and there’ll be a chance for you to ask questions directly to Cisco engineers.

Register here today, or read the full article: Is Your Network Ready for Common Core Standards?

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Is Your K-12 Network Ready for Common Core Standards?

What do IT and K12 Common Core Standards have in common? Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. 100% of each of these states’ schools must update their network infrastructure to support the mandated online testing capabilities. Enter district IT.

Technology is a key component when it comes to achieving the objectives of these standards. The objective is to augment the learning experience through the use of wired and wireless devices and enhance skills such as communication, collaboration, research, critical thinking and tackling problems. The mandate is computer based assessments. This promotes more personalized leaning. The students are also acclimated to use technology effectively for productive life activities in the future.

The combination of common core standards adoption with BYOD or 1:1 initiatives, results in an exponential growth in addressing endpoints, bandwidth, and security. Schools are looking to upgrade their existing networks to be able to handle the current and future requirements of these standards.

Deploy K-12 Common Core-Ready Networks 20140121 Read More »

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