Behind the TO2015 Games: Cisco I CAN Learn STEM & I CAN Develop Programs

This post is second in a series taking readers behind-the-scenes of how Cisco technology is powering the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Although Cisco technology is powering the TO2015 Games, it is our people that are truly the driving force behind it.

But it may surprise you to know that not every technician and technology expert making these Games a success are Cisco or TO2015 employees. In fact, many of them are volunteers giving their own time for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And of those volI Can Develop Studentsunteers are 350 incredibly talented, driven people that I’m proud to work beside. They are our Networking Academy instructors and students, working at 31 different venues during the Games including the Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome, CIBC Hamilton Soccer stadium, Oshawa Sports Centre and – during the Parapan Am Games – the Whitby Abilities Centre.

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Behind the TO2015 Games: How Cisco is Powering the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

This post is first in a series taking readers behind-the-scenes of how Cisco technology is powering the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Cisco and TORONTO 2015 are creating the most digital Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in history, with superior network connectivity and technology working in concert to deliver an exceptional fan experience. We’ve already seen this in action over the first weekend of competition, with thousands of spectators sharing images and video from venues on their mobile devices.

But it’s taken thousands of hours from our dedicated team – and the incredible team at TO2015 – to get us where we are today, with 18,000 network ports, more than 2,000 wifi access points and over 100,000 meters of cable connecting the Games.

It’s in this spirit that I’m proud to introduce this blog series, which will take you behind the TO2015 Games as we share the highlights, facts and figures of the technology powering these experiences this summer. Continue reading

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A Torch Bearer is a Local Hero

Torch Bearers represent individuals that have proven to be a local hero. What are some of the challenges you had to overcome?

My name is Brianna Buckle and I’m 1 of 200 people in the world with the rarest heart disease called Truncus Arteriosus.  It’s a disease where I had no pulmonary artery, so my heart wasn’t connected to my lungs.  I’ve had 4 major open heart surgeries. Life hasn’t always been easy or kind.  My biggest challenge was when I was 20 days old during my first heart surgery; in recovery I was 24 hours away from dying, even though I don’t remember, I know I fought to live! I remember the surgery when I was ten. I was frightened in the operating room and I remember in the recovery room not knowing where I was or what was going on.  At home, stairs were incredibly difficult and I couldn’t do anything. Going back to school was worse, staff and students would treat me like I was a snowflake.

At beaches or pools I would wear a bikini, but feel people staring at my surgical scars and this saddened me because I’m proud of them, they’re my battle-scars.  I am a fighter. I even joined the cross country team, while I knew it would be difficult to compete and I was discouraged, I proved that I am no quitter. I finished the season and was awarded “Athlete of The Month”.  I find the positive in all the challenges I have faced and so has my family.  After gym class, it’s difficult for me to cool down and I walk around with a rosy face a little longer than other students, but my parents say it just gives me a more beaming smile, and they are right!

What does being a Torch Bearer mean to you? 

It’s an incredible privilege and honour to be chosen to carry the Pan Am Games torch on behalf of Sick Kids Hospital and Cisco Canada. I was ecstatic when I found out I would be a part of this once in a lifetime event where a unique group of individuals were selected to participate. I view this as an opportunity to participate in an amazing event and proudly represent Sick Kids as a very proud Sick Kids Ambassador! I am a fierce competitor and I don’t like to quit. Being a torchbearer provides me and lots of other kids a unique opportunity.  There are many of us who suffer from some type of illness and we want to show everyone what we are made of.  Running in this event allows me to run on behalf of all of kids who were treated by Sick Kids Hospital, to show that we are strong, determined and fierce. Even though we have major health issues that we must battle with every day we are not defined by our problems.  I refuse to allow my heart problem to slow me down and I will represent other children sitting in hospital beds wondering when they are getting out.  I am carry this torch for them!  I want this torch to bring hope, inspiration and courage to my fellow Sick Kids Ambassadors – because as I carry it for me, I proudly carry it for all of them.

20150425_113327My name is Brianna and I am the second of five children.  In my family, I am known as the miracle child after having survived multiple open heart surgeries, the first at 21 days old, for a very rare heart condition.  I have been an Ambassador for The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto since I was four years old,  sharing my story and the heroic efforts of the medical team that continue to support my condition and keep me alive.

I am currently in grade 9 and I love to read, run, swim and skate.  I also love to participate in soccer, archery and most of all street hockey with my 6 year old brother.   I know I have been given the gift of life and I intend to help others with it!  I am truly thankful and blessed for every day!

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Representing Canada by Carrying the Torch

How does it make you feel being an athlete and representing Canada by carrying the torch? 

Being a torch bearer to me is symbolic of the experiences: the trials and tribulations, the wins and losses, the love and strife of not only me, but of my family, my neighbors, and my home of Canada. Words cannot express my gratitude, appreciation, and love of being an athlete, a student, a citizen and representative of Canada for this occasion and hopefully many more. Being a torch bearer has been one of the greatest honors I have ever been granted in life and as an athlete as it symbolizes Canada’s appreciation and recognition of me as an athlete, of everyone who has aided and guided me to where I am. To me, this torch is literally the weight and fire of all of the hard work us athletes pour into our passions and of the love and dedication our parents and teammates give on a daily basis. Every step on this torch run will be symbolic of the millions of steps I have taken while training for a competition. Passing the torch represents that I am passing the torch onto the younger generation that I hope to be a positive role model for. As a citizen of a nation whose livelihoods rested upon the bodies of men and women who have worked hard and given much effort to raise us, I, too, am appreciative of the value of whole-hearted dedication in doing my best for my country, win, lose or draw. It is for the sake of preserving the honor of those who have sacrificed to give me these opportunities.

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Author:  Adam Tomlinson

Born in Toronto, Adam has been enrolled in the martial art and Olympic sport of Taekwondo at his parents business since a very young age. In 2012, he participated in his first national championship; he finished in second place but felt inspired and fortunate to have accomplished such a huge step in his life. From that moment forward, his love for taekwondo and patriotism for his country exploded and with his new ambition and increased drive, he won his first Canadian championship in 2013. Later that same year he successfully prepared for his first Pan- American Championship in Mexico, while balancing his high school academics, and won gold with the support of his father, coach and teammates. In 2014 he won his first senior national championship, bringing him closer to his dream, to participate in the Olympics. Adam won a gold medal at the 2015 nationals as well as his first quarter final finish at the 2014 senior PanAm championship in Mexico. To Adam, it isn’t the glory in itself of winning but the struggle, the pushing forward, the journey to represent Canada and the love for the sport and his country that truly makes him happy along his journey of being an athlete.

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Harnessing the Power of Sport Through the TO2015 GAMES!

What sparked your interest in being a Torch Bearer?

Since being chosen, I thought of many reasons, but all seem way too embarrassing, almost “Hallmark”-ish. But then I met someone at the Ottawa Marathon who made it all clear.

She and I were the only two spectators out at the 5km marker, her with a black lab and me, still half asleep frantically trying to spot the members of my Montreal Boreal Running Club so I can cheer them on.

As we started to chat, I was immediately fascinated by this woman. She was nervous about her son running the race, worried about all the things that could go wrong. She continued to tell me the story of her son, a person, which on his own, would have difficulty crossing a simple intersection and states his black lab is a Dalmatian covered in soot hiding from Cruella DeVille. Her son Tommy is Autistic.

That is when it came to me – the power of sports and how much its effect goes way beyond the individual participating in it.

When our Canadian athletes go for the gold, when my Running club group and coaches challenge its members to push harder during a run, when a mom voices her pride to a complete stranger on how her son, who is Autistic, surpasses most of the abilities of his competitors…I know that we are all benefitting from the good of sport.

The Pan Am games are made up of teams, countries and events, but it is more importantly made up of unique individuals and each one of them is harnessing the power of sport, and that reverberates loudly.

Why should you carry the torch?

Because I want to show my respect for the power of the sport and my recognition to those who keep it burning!

If you had a chance to do one thing out of the ordinary when carrying the torch, what would it be? 

I would have bells on my shoes, and would drag empty cans on a string behind me with a big sign on my back saying “ Well, look at me! Who’d a thought!”


Author:  Julia Skierszkan

Born in Sudbury, Ontario to a family of four, Julia was the youngest. Now she has a family of her own; Julia has been in a loving marriage for 30 years and has two wonderful children. Alongside her pride for her family, is that of her work – she has been the IT Manager for 14 years at Metro Supply Chain Group, a Canadian owned company. Julia loves to run and trail over road; she sometimes participates in races as an excuse to travel around the world.


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What Sparked Your Interest in Being a TO2015 Torch Bearer?

What sparked your interest in being a torch Bearer?

I wanted to be a part of a large sporting event so that I could share in the excitement and the spirit of the Games. In turn, when the opportunity came up, I accepted immediately; I thought this is a once in a life time experience.

How are you personally involved in sports or fitness? 

I’m pretty active and quite focused on personal health and nutrition. I do weight training three or four times a week. I’ve completed a 10K run on Mother’s Day, the Ride of Heart bike ride and will be part of OneWalk to conquer cancer walk coming up later this year.

Additionally, I have two girls who I try to keep active through different sport teams such as swimming and tennis.


Author: Hatice Unal

Hatice Unal, Head of Technology Infrastructure and Market data at ITG Canada, holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Yildiz Technical University, Turkey. She has extensive experience in architecting and building trading systems from holding various technology roles at BMO Nesbitt Burns and Istanbul Stock Exchange. Additionally, Hatice joined ITC Canada five years ago where she has held various progressive roles and overall has seventeen years of experience in the Financial Services industry.

In her current role at ITC Canada, as Head of Technology, she is responsible for managing ITG Canada’s technology infrastructures architecture. In addition, Hatice oversees market data relating to real-time & historical market data product management, data delivery, architecture and operations. She is also a member of ITG Global Client Services Senior Leadership Team.

Last but certainly not least, she is a great role model for her two daughters.

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Cisco IoE Innovation Centre Toronto: The Future is Now

Innovation: it’s a word that is rather imprecise on its own. However, when teamed with the concepts of research and thought leadership, innovation becomes a powerful term, imbued with virtually limitless possibilities and underpinning positive outcomes.

Toronto IoE IC - Entrance Rendering

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a global industry phenomenon that brings together people, processes, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. When Cisco named Toronto the location for one of six global Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centers, the company made a commitment to help organizations improve business outcomes by integrating, creating, testing and validating IoE solutions. It signified that Toronto, as one of the most multicultural and vibrant metropolises in the world, would be a facilitator of technological movements such as the IoE model.

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What Does Being a Torch Bearer for the TO2015 GAMES Mean to You?

  1. What does being a torch bearer mean to you?

Being a torch bearer means participating in a pre-games event across the Provinces that brings attention and visible representation to the group of Networking Academy instructors and students that are volunteering in a technological capacity.

Further, participating as a torchbearer celebrates the Games arriving to the Province of Ontario, and demonstrates pride in our Province and our heritage.

  1. If you had a chance to do one thing out of the ordinary when carrying the torch, what would it be?

One thing out of the ordinary that I would love to do when carrying the torch, would be to reinforce the culture of our area, as follows:

At the end of my turn and just before passing the torch to the next runner, I carry the torch through a local Tim Horton’s drive-through and place an order for a Medium double-double and a Canadian Maple donut.  It signifies a food, habit and meeting place that is widely prevalent in Ontario, a part of our work and leisure life, and a business that is wildly successful.

susanAuthor: Susan Monachino

After graduating with a Computer Science degree from McMaster, Susan worked for ten years at IBM, before leaving the corporate world to be a stay-at-home Mom.  She pursued teaching, earning her OCT and gaining 17 years’ experience teaching computer courses to adults and high school students.  She is currently the Head of Technology at St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton.

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Video Traffic and Mobility Continue to Dominate Cisco’s VNI Report

In May, Cisco released the 10th annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, and like previous reports it predicts substantial growth in IP traffic globally, as well as here in Canada. Between 2014 and 2019, the annual global IP traffic is expected to triple to a record 2 zettabytes.

In Canada alone, IP traffic will grow 3-fold from 2014 to 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 22%, and will reach 4.1 Exabytes per month in 2019, up from 1.5 Exabytes per month in 2014.


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Being a TO2015 Torch Bearer allows me to share my story!

1.   Torch bearers represent individuals that have proven to be a local hero. What are some of the challenges you had to overcome?

As a 36 year old mom to two young children, a wife and a professional, my world was unexpectedly turned upside down when I was told I needed a liver transplant to survive.  Despite the constant pain and exhaustion I felt, I made a choice in that moment to survive using courage, humor and grace. I owed it to my children to show them that even though unexpected things in life were going to happen, we each have the control to choose how we handle these life events. I candidly blogged about my transplant journey so others waiting for a transplant would not have to live in fear of the unknown journey ahead.  I was blessed when two amazing, selfless women in my life offered to donate 2/3rd’s of their own liver so I could live.  On January 29, 2014 my diseased liver was removed and a piece of my childhood friends liver was put in—12 weeks later both of our livers had grown back to full size and the transplant was considered a resounding success. Sharing my transplant experience and advocating for organ donation is my small way of giving back.  Continue reading

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