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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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Cisco Partner Invite Reminder – Mobile Video Webinar Recording

STOP PRESS:  Here’s the recording of this Webinar for those folks who couldn’t attend! Very worthwhile for Cisco Partners! Click the link: 

Cisco Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration Solution

The Just a quick reminder for Cisco Partners to attend the Cisco and Librestream Partner Webinar tomorrow (9th June 2011) at 8.00am Pacific. Find out about the exciting new solution that’s being adopted worldwide by customers like Boeing, GE and FIAT.

Remember how I told you I was really excited by this new Cisco and Librestream MMVC solution. Lots of information out on the web, and lots of questions so I thought I’d put a brief video together to give you an introduction and to see if we can get a discussion going and also to see if we can answer some of the questions for you. It addresses what really matters to many customers. What are the pain-points that manufacturers and industry have today? How do they get hold of the right people to fix things if something goes wrong, and how can they say ‘I see what you mean now’ — and really mean it? My original blog gave lots of information.

If you are a Cisco Partner and interested in building a manufacturing industry practice, this webinar is for you!

Register here: Cisco Manufacturing Mobile Video Collaboration Solution. Remember, it’s just one hour starting at 8.00 am Pacific, 12.00pm Eastern – lots of opportunity to ask questions!  Read More »

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Increasing Your Network Tolerance

As organizations look to improve operations through centralized control, they often need to take into account what would happen if an area of the network fails. In many cases, having a centralized controller-based wireless architecture in organizations with multiple branch offices has prompted the question, “What happens if the WAN is slow, or even worse, goes down?”

Many organizations have been reluctant to implement a centralized wireless controller located in the data center or private cloud due to this concern. Without centralized control, these organizations have two deployment strategies available to them:

  • Implement wireless controllers at each branch site. This approach is perfectly fine for an organization with many Access Points per branch, or those that require high throughput for applications such as Video. However, many branches only require a few Access Points per location or require simple applications such as bar-code scanning and printing. For these organizations, local controllers become less cost effective, with the capital expense becoming prohibitive.
  • Implement access points running in autonomous mode. This approach eliminates the benefits of having any kind of centralized control such as the ability to centrally configure wireless policy and security setting on access points, WIPS capabilities and advanced mobility services like CleanAir, leaving the branch vulnerable and opening the corporate network to attacks.

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Automation in the Warehouse: Intermec Events Schedule

One of many overlooked areas where manufacturers are finding real productifity and efficiency gains is in the Warehouse. Sure, Supply Chain Agility is key to the global recovery, but some companies are still not using the best technologies to address their business imperatives.

Cisco has most the best wireless LAN technologies available – market gains and customer adoption shows that. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? Remember we do have the best people in Cisco in my view – check out my last blog on Wireless Innovation to prove it.

But we don’t try to do absolutely everything ourselves. We recognize that there are other companies out there that have the same customer-centric focus that Cisco has.

Intermec is one of those companies. Cisco has been working with Intermec for years. We have joint RFID and Barcode based solutions and many of the Intermec devices are certified as Cisco Compatible interoperability tested. I recently met up with Dan Albaum, Intermec’s Senior Director of Marketing. Dan told me that the technology continues to evolve and told me about the events Intermec had set up to spread the word.

Intermec have recently announced a refreshed product lin and is running events in various cities, some events for Intermec partners to understand the value propositions for their customers, and some aimed at customers and prospects showing how the Cisco Wireless LAN compatible devices and end points can address their business care-abouts.

San Francisco, CA: 8th June – Partners: Register here; 9th June – Customers: Register here.

Plano, TX: 13th June – Partners: Register here; 14th June – Customers: Register here.

Toronto, ON: 15th June – Partners: Register here; 16th June – Customers: Register here.

Houston, TX: 16th June – Partners: Register here; 17th June – Customers: Register here.

There’s also a great opportunity for Cisco resellers to learn about how Intermec and the Cisco and Intermec Mobile warehouse Solution can help them build their Manufacturing Industry practice on 23rd June (more info on registering for that webex event here).

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Getting Inventive in the Data Center

What’s the coolest technology you wish someone would invent for a Data Center?

As the more entrepreneurial among us are likely already aware, it’s National Inventors Month in the United States.  In light of that – and the video below discussing how Data Centers themselves foster innovation – I thought it would be interesting to make a Data Center wish list.  Just in case a fledgling Thomas Edison out there is looking for something to work on.

The Data Center technologies I want:

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