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Western Power Distribution creating the Blueprint for Grid Modernization with Cisco

July 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm PST

I’ve been to the UK twice this year. The traffic is terrible! Worse than I ever remember! Commentators that’s a good sign -- a sign of economic prosperity. That certainly seems to be the case in the UK. My last European-related blog -- Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security -- talked about the Oil industry and how the UK’s fortunes were turned around by the North Sea Oil discovery at about the same time the US astronauts were landing on the moon.

This time it’s the Utility Industry -- electric power to be exact -- that’s causing a stir.

Creating the Telecommunication Blueprint for Grid Modernization, Weston Power Distribution had already chosen Cisco for a Low Carbon Study, building a pilot communications infrastructure to support 11kV grid reinforcement monitoring. The Flexible Approaches to Low Carbon Networks (FALCON) initiative, a government funded study project in the UK has the goal of improving the  industry’s understanding of infrastructure needs in a low carbon future.

U.K. utility regulator Ofgem has estimated that £32 billion of new grid investment will be required within the next 10 years, twice the rate of investment over the previous two decades. Western Power Distribution (WPD) undertook a study to see how the cost of reinforcing its 11kV grid can be reduced based on smarter investment that draws on innovative intervention techniques that can replace or supplement conventional methods.
The UK wants to reduce carbon emissions by 80%, while still handling the peaks and troughs of increasing demand. “Reliable and secure near real-time communications is a key element to the FALCON initiative”, as Andrew Longyear, a Cisco thought leader on the subject commented. “The telecommunications and data management within our project such as FALCON is the SMART in Smart-grid, added Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager, Western Power Distribution.
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The key objectives of the Cisco communications network solution for WPD included:
  • Designing and deploying an IP-based communications infra structure using IEEE 802.16e WiGRID access and backhaul technologies
  • Helping ensure adherence to WPD’s security policy for design and implementation
  • Learning and disseminating all information and findings related to the technologies deployed so far.
  • Creating a blueprint for WPD and for other utilities in the United Kingdom as they test the same intervention techniques

And the intended benefits? Here’s what Sanna Atherton, Innovation and Low-Carbon Networks Engineer, Western Power, said in the video: “The benefits of Project FALCON are to increase the capacity of the network within the Milton Keynes area, and to enable customers to connect to low-carbon technologies”

Watch the video above to see how the initiative is progressing and to hear about the business outcomes achieved and expected. Read the write-up (Western Power Distribution Chooses Cisco for Low Carbon Study) that gives some more background to the project and some technical insight as to how you might benefit from this approach. As always, I’m indebted to the folks in Cisco and the customer for the source material. A big ‘Thank you’!

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Increasing Business Investments and IT Opportunities

Charting a New CourseAs business groups increase their technology investments and gain more access to new technologies and consumption models, IT’s balance between operational excellence and innovation is shifting. Technical innovation can now happen anywhere. This change presents a huge opportunity for IT to drive innovation in new ways. So which organizations are seizing this opportunity?

To find out, we recently conducted the Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey to determine how these groups manage innovation, and how their business and IT priorities are linked. See the info graphic and previous blog for global results and observations, and see how your priorities compare to your peers by taking the survey here.

As today’s innovation and technology investments can dramatically impact tomorrow’s business results, the investment levels by region are particularly interesting.

For example, 50% of business leaders in China see technology innovation as a critical differentiator to their business, whereas in the US, only 21% rank innovation as critical. Multiple times in the survey, the responses from China indicated a collective interest in innovation as a top business priority. In Germany, 23%, and the UK 25% of business leaders also see innovation as a business priority as critical.

Companies in India and China also indicate that their investments are growing faster than other regions’. About 81% of Indian business leaders surveyed, and 75% of Chinese ones expect their technology budgets to increase next year – many by more than 25%. By contrast, 54% of UK businesspeople, 48% in Canada and Germany, and only 41% in the US expect their technology budgets to grow.

Indian and Chinese business leaders also indicate that they’re spending a bigger proportion of their own growing budgets on technology. In China 82% of those surveyed plan to spend at least 25% of their business budgets on technology, and in India 71% are doing the same. By contrast, only 41% of US and 45% of Canadian business leaders are spending more than 25% of their budgets on technology.  Read More »

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Here’s to You Entrepreneurs: Top 5 Go-to-Market Monetization Tips

Ged FittonBy Ged Fitton, Guest Blogger

The British Innovation Gateway (BIG) is a great Cisco-led initiative to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK. A great part of my work on BIG involves the support  of IDEALondon – Cisco’s innovation centre -- and its start-ups.  And I have to say I’m always impressed with the enthusiasm and determination of companies to think outside the box, and challenge the status quo. It’s a fantastically exciting space to work in. In my role of helping companies monetise their innovation, I thought I’d share a few tips on how not to fall into the traps that I’ve seen many start-ups fall into. Read More »

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Don’t Click Tired

As the day draws to a close, and especially during the early morning, users become far more likely to click on links that lead to malware. Those responsible for network security need to ensure that users’ awareness of information security continues after work hours, so that users “don’t click tired.”
Read More »

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Digital Britain: RAPTOR, a Catalyst for Economic Growth

August 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm PST

I have previously penned a few posts about the projects I am involved with at Cisco, including RAPTOR – the start-up grant program that’s based out of the Greenwich Peninsula.  My prior stories focused on the digital business start-up element of this program, rather than the wider initiatives being led by our United Kingdom and Ireland (UK&I) Strategy and Innovation Team Read More »

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