To Be Or Not To Be (Ubered) … That’s The Question

“To be or not to be…”, says Prince Hamlet as he considers death and suicide. He laments the pains and unfairness of life but recognizes that the alternative might be still worse. “In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined,” suggests American Psychologist Thomas Szasz. This is what the taxi industry today must be thinking. Or is it already too late for them? Has the ‘alternative to the unfairness of life’ (thus the end of an industry) already become a reality?

Uber is the Internet of Everything at work. The 2009 start-up is taking the world by storm. In its five short years of existence, it now is valuated at almost $20B. And what does it do exactly? It connects people with things (specifically, cars and a very large distributed driver network with their smart phones in more than 200 cities worldwide). It is transforming the taxi process and industry as we know it. Uber has wrapped technology around the power-of-many (the human network) and built a process, and business, that takes advantage of shifts in demand (I need a ride) and supply (I have a car and I will take you): it has redefined taxi services as we know it.

And taxi drivers aren’t happy. And why would they be: their business is being cannibalized, their future in jeopardy.

In some places the lobby against Uber, Lyft and alike is working (for now). Certain communities are denying Uber from setting up shop in their towns. If it is the fear of the unknown; the uncertainty of unproven business models and unknown risks that may come with them; or the strong lobby of an existing industry. None are good reasons for stopping progress, invention and innovation in its tracks.

Now, this blog isn’t about Uber, or Lyft, or eBay, or Whatzapp, or Alibaba, or any of the other 10,000s of applications that define today’s app-economy and provide the opportunity to rethink how we learn, live, work, and play. Within today’s app-economy and growing sharing culture, we see that no existing and proven supply-demand business model is safe from disruption. We (established industries, governments and their antiquated procurement processes, consumers, etc.) can either step up and define today’s world, or have it be defined for us (by 30-year-olds from their kitchen table and an Internet connection).

The innovation and possibilities shouldn’t be stalled or stopped because of rules and policy, but instead celebrated and encouraged. The next $20B start-up can come from your basement, street, neighbourhood or community. To our municipal leaders: Be sure to create a culture and environment where disruption and transformation is welcomed. The new economy is here, and its innovators are everywhere (fact: 40% of recent most successful start-ups did not originate in metropolitan areas)…don’t stop them and don’t force them away.

Innovation (greatly spurred by the constant emergence of technology and the Internet) will continue to introduce new business and consumption models and upset the world as we know it. This is good. Especially for countries where economies are being challenged with eroding manufacturing and labour industries. If we want to positively alter the productivity and innovation trajectories of nations that once led the world stage, we will need to expect our traditional “ways of doing things”to be disrupted and transformed.

No matter what industry you are in or what industry you believe you lead, if you still want to be meaningful in tomorrow’s economy then you need to start Ubering now (or accept to be Ubered, and deal with the consequences).

Posted in All Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How the Quebec Technology Association is Transforming with Technology

Organizing educational and networking events for members of a group can be difficult when participants are not centrally located. Why? Members unable to attend in person can only call in by phone and listen to presentations, which, as we all know, is far less valuable than being in the same room with peers.

My company, Medwave Optique, has worked with companies and organizations across Quebec to solve problems – just like this one – through technology. Starting with this post I will share the story of an organization that Medwave Optique is a member of, L’Association québécoise des technologies (AQT), and how it is transforming how it operates through video technology.

AQT_Logo_English

In this first post (of three), I will introduce AQT and share the challenge they faced. Their story will sound familiar to many of you reading this, as your company may also be struggling to connect employees and clients over long distances. Next week I will discuss how AQT found the answer to their business challenge through technology, and in two weeks will conclude this series with a look forward to what is next. Continue reading

Posted in Canada Perspectives, Partners, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing True Growth to Canada’s Municipalities

By Stuart Baker, True Growth Specialist, Cisco Canada

On October 7th municipalities from across Canada will meet in Toronto at the Cisco Canada headquarters for the inaugural True Growth Summit. Attending municipalities include Winnipeg, Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor, Waterloo, Toronto, Newmarket, Kingston, Saint John, Moncton and Halifax.

Each of these municipalities is currently in the process of using the True Growth framework to develop human networks or ecosystems. The goal is to get more ‘stuff’ done faster through citizen engagement and collaboration.

They will share their experiences and hopefully begin to create a national ecosystem of municipal collaboration. Specific topics to be discussed include: the role of the True Growth Curator and how best to communicate that role to the community, the latest in collaborative technology, and how to measure the vitality of a human ecosystem.

B20935x23D_325u Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Smart + Connected Communities | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome our new Canadian Intercloud Partners

A lot has happened since I last discussed our Intercloud strategy in April of this year. In fact, since introducing Intercloud in March, Cisco and our partners have been building the world’s largest Intercloud to address customer requirements for a global, highly secure cloud platform capable of meeting the robust demands of the Internet of Everything.

If you aren’t familiar with Intercloud, it is designed for high-value application workloads, with real-time analytics and near infinite scalability. It offers open APIs to enable customization by customers and by partners, and our partnerships with regional and local cloud providers enable data sovereignty strategies.

Why introduce Intercloud and work with our partners in this way? The answer for us is clear. Our Intercloud strategy expands our addressable Cloud market from $22Bn to $88Bn from 2013-2017.

But that market is only possible through our partners. And that brings me to this latest announcement.

This week, we took our biggest step yet towards realizing our Intercloud vision with the announcement of more than 30 partners worldwide, including three that got their start – and still base themselves – in Canada.

These partners bring more than 250 data centers across 50 countries to the Intercloud. Partners such as Canada’s own CGI, Long View Systems and OnX will bring their cloud and managed services capability to the Intercloud, while Tech Data, Comstor and Ingram Micro join the ecosystem as brokers of Intercloud services.

Intercloud - English Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Data Centre, Virtualization and Cloud, Partners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cisco and Schneider Electric: Connecting Intelligent Systems for a Smarter World

Schneider Electric and Cisco in Canada signed a collaboration agreement earlier in 2014. We celebrated our partnership at Earth Rangers Center – a live sustainable showcase of both our latest technologies (see: “Announcing our Canadian Partnership with Schneider Electric” blog).

Since then, Schneider Electric and Cisco have been working actively on numerous projects together in the energy and industrial marketplace as well as in construction. We come historically from very different worlds and our paths rarely crossed. Schneider Electric sells to operations (OT, operation technologies) and it often involves complex large environmental systems (naturally, they do a lot more than that, please check out the Schneider Electric Canada website). Cisco sells to IT (information technology) and if often involves networks and collaboration technologies (of course, we do a lot more than that, please check out the Cisco Canada website).  Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Smart + Connected Communities | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Cisco Powers the Mid-Market

By Karim Remu,  Director of Systems Engineering, Mid-Market, Cisco Canada

The Mid-Market is North America’s economic engine. In fact, Deloitte’s 2013 report on the mid-market revealed that the United States and Canada are the two most important markets for these organizations. It also revealed that mid-market businesses are poised for growth, taking a realistic view of the economy and its opportunities.

As part of the Canadian mid-market team I can say this is absolutely true. I have the unique opportunity to meet with CIO’s, directors, managers and business stake holders from a very broad range of industries across Canada. Everything from manufacturing, medical labs, retail chains to waste management companies – and each with their own set of unique challenges.

But there are a few challenges they all have in common, and not surprisingly, they are the same faced by their enterprise peers.

Mid-market companies want to grow and scale their businesses, retain and empower their employees and reduce costs. Employees want access to the corporate environment from anywhere at any time, they want to bring their own devices (BYOD) and they want it all integrated seamlessly.

Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Data Centre, Virtualization and Cloud, Wireless | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How strong is your weakest link? Cisco Midyear Security Report Highlights Weak Links in Threat Landscape

This summer saw the release of the Cisco 2014 Midyear Security Report, the latest examination of “weak links” in organizations – such as outdated software, bad code, and user errors – that could pose serious security threats.

The Report indicated an unusual increase in the number of malware within vertical markets, malicious botnets, and standard “Man-in-the-Browser” attacks (traffic is redirected to websites that host malware). All of these leave organizations vulnerable to exploits through DNS queries, exploit kits, malvertising, ransomware and other methods.

Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Security | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Energizing Canadian Utilities at UTC Canada 2014

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is truly transforming the world we live in. As we become increasingly connected in our daily lives, and as industries transform their business by enabling intelligent connections between, people, process, data and things, our energy demands, usage patterns and conservation efforts will invariably change.

Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Internet of Everything, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why More Canadian Businesses Can Now Leverage the Cisco Unified Computing System

Back in March, I wrote about the 5th anniversary of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and the milestones we achieved with our partners and customers across Canada during that time.

Today, I’m excited to share the most significant announcement we’ve made in our data centre business since introducing UCS in 2009 – the expansion of our UCS portfolio.

cisco ucs- powering applications at every scale

Why? Because our expanded portfolio enables more businesses to leverage UCS to manage their rapidly increasing demands for data and applications. And with the introduction of our M-Series Servers for cloud-scale applications and UCS Mini for small-scale and edge environments, UCS – and advanced data management – certainly isn’t for the ‘big guys’ anymore.

And as the UCS general manager for Canada, this announcement is music to my ears. Here’s why. Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Cisco, Data Centre, Virtualization and Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Students succeed with Cisco!

The last Monday of July, I had the pleasure to talk about Teaching Technology and Technology for Learning at DevTO. I tag-teamed with Shanta Nathwani, who talked about her innovative program blending communication, design, and technology run at Sheridan College in partnership with the University of Toronto at Mississauga. I went second, with the help of Rohan Karamandi, to explain what fascinating projects Sheridan College students have been working on, why they are doing so well, and what opportunities lie ahead of them. The slides and the video recording are available online.
Today, it would be hard to find someone not concerned by the quality of public education. Most of us are mindful of the link between a good education and a strong economy. We’re all talking about student success, in term of higher achievements in school, but also in the job market, whether it is as job seekers or as job creators, energized by an entrepreneurial spirit. Needless to say, I don’t mean to underestimate the other benefits of a good education, which are essential for a strong democracy, as well as for a long, healthy and rewarding life. However, I find that few people are aware of Cisco’s strong commitments to education. Some people don’t even know what Cisco does (not to be confused with “Sysco”, the food company)… I have to thank DevTO for this opportunity to clarify and to explain what Cisco has to offer to students and educators.

Our great story of the day is that Sheridan College is at the leading edge of education, leveraging blended learning, virtual desktop, and collaboration tools, while demonstrating an authentic appetite for learning and doing that inspires students. And it shows on campus. Sheridan graduates created an app that shows real-time queues at Tim Horton’s locations to improve customer experience. Talk to them about making life better!

Marc Lijour, Lead for Cisco’s Business Transformation solutions for the Education Sector in Canada, at DevTO

Marc Lijour, Lead for Cisco’s Business Transformation solutions for the Education Sector in Canada, at DevTO

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment