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Use Cloud Collaboration to Improve Your Agency’s Communication

Collaboration technologies power a new way of working where everyone, everywhere can be more productive through face-to-face and instantaneous communication.  In previous posts, we’ve discussed how VoIP, TelePresence and Mobile Collaboration are reshaping the government workspace. For those organizations that often forced to do more with less, flexibility in service models is essential to accessing these transformative technologies.

As we’ve seen in education, the move from on-premise service models to the cloud gives organizations the ability to deploy advanced collaboration services while minimizing the requirements of an upfront investment. But a hosted delivery model not only minimizes cost, it also increases efficiency and effectiveness, reduces the burden on IT staff and ensures access to the latest releases.. With the right deployment model government workers can access the collaboration tools they want, whenever they need them.

When the City of Charlotte, North Carolina was preparing to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention cloud was the easy choice. With Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) the city was able to integrate its contact call centers and deliver excellent caller experiences to citizens and visitors before and after the political convention.  With Cisco HCS the city found a solution that scaled to meet their needs during a major event and continues to better serve its citizens. But the benefits of choosing cloud don’t end there. With cloud services the City of Charlotte has lowered the total cost of ownership for the contact centers saving the city more than $100,000 a year!

With that kind of financial and operational flexibility, it’s not a surprise that more agencies are turning to hosted solutions. Is your government organization ready to take advantage of the cloud?

 

 

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: The Strategic Value of the Cloud for State & Local Governments

Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet).  Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.

Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.

But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained.  This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.

Cost Savings

Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.

And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.

Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption

Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.

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Connected Public Sector: Being There in Every Situation

This weekend, as the United States celebrates Veterans Day, Cisco’s Global Government team would like to thank all those who have and continue to serve.

The world is continuously changing, bringing new and complex challenges and now, more than ever, communities and citizens need and expect a connected government, one that will enable local government to be there to help, to serve and to protect, no matter what the circumstance.

A connected government is about creating new possibilities for citizens and employees. It’s about breaking down silos between agencies and departments, providing cost-effective solutions, increasing operational efficiencies, and delivering better, faster, real-time services. It’s about understanding how the world is changing, and adapting to that change with scalable, long term, solutions made possible through technology.

As governments of today face these variety of challenges, new and innovative approaches are being implemented and some local governments are leading the way by deploying cloud and mobility solutions to overcome these challenges in a collaborative and timely manner.

Our latest public sector video highlights some examples of how these challenges are being addressed globally.

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GPON in the Campus Network – A Misuse of Perfectly Good Technology?

March 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm PST

What’s wrong with running my campus network on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology you ask?

Let me count the ways!

I was just reading a White Paper by Nick Lippis of the Lippis Report entitled, “GPON vs Gigabit Ethernet in Campus Networking” that lays out the issues pretty well in my opinion, and concludes up front that GPON is “suited to niche applications” and that “many GPON assertions and claims are overstated.”

Nick does a nice job of contrasting the two approaches, a last mile SP technology (GPON) that might be a good choice for the home & kids, with a Highly Available Ethernet Design that should be used to run a real business.

I’ll leave it to you to read the details, but he covers facts on all the key areas from power consumption and cabling costs to network scaling, single points of failure, and troubleshooting capabilites.

All this adds up to GPON being a poor choice in the Campus when you look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) even though the initial acquisition costs might be lower for the hardware itself.  When you look under the covers, the real price is quite high for GPON in terms of a “lack of flexibility, greater power consumption (certainly not green), limited network capacity, upgrades are system-wide events, troubleshooting tools and skilled technicians are limited and lacking, and multiple single points of failure exist.”

He goes on to say, with the Ethernet market being tens of billions of dollars, research and development is assured while competition privdes the motivation for innovation and feature enhancement.  An Ethernet campus network is a safe investment.

Caveat emptor!

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