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

Bringing education to rural Canada with “Remote Training Centers”

The success of a country depends on the innovation and productivity achieved in –and generated by– its communities. Communities are the heart of every nation and the people in these communities are the fuel for economic growth and prosperity. Thus, it is easy to recognize that education is a cornerstone of every economy. In a world that is changing rapidly with every passing year (economic shifts, political instability, urbanization, etc.), educational institutions are constantly challenged to stay current and ahead.

Add to this the digital revolution that is affecting all aspects of life and is triggering consequent shifts in the labor markets and goods-based to knowledge and services-based economies. “The skills we need to thrive in the 21st century are changing” – Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Collaboration, Education, Smart + Connected Communities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Giving Back with Impact: How Cisco and Our Partners Work Together To Make A Difference In Western Canada

By Dean La Riviere, Director of Partner Operations, Western Canada

Good intentions abound, however it is those that take action who really impact change and showcase what is possible.

In Western Canada, we’ve seen an abundance of initiatives where Cisco and members of our amazing partner community have worked together to make a difference in the lives of others. Here are a few recent projects we’ve been a part of:

- Volunteer Disaster Relief assistance for those affected by last year’s flooding in Southern Alberta

- Working with TELUS in June to raise funds in support of Juvenile Diabetes Research via the ‘Walk to Cure Diabetes’ events across Canada

- Supporting Bell via ‘Clara’s Big Ride’ which heightened awareness of mental health issues impacting all Canadians as Clara Hughes rode across the country

- A screening of the award winning documentary ‘Girl Rising’ to 36 grade nine students from two schools in Calgary to inspire action to get girls into classrooms worldwide. This included local drives to secure money, books and clothing for women’s charities

A screening of Girls Rising we coordinated in Calgary.

A screening of Girls Rising we coordinated in Calgary.

Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Collaboration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Open 24 Hours A Day, Seven Days A Week”: How Virtualization Is Making This Possible For Banks

In the fast-emerging world of being “Open 24 Hours,” financial institutions have the opportunity to simultaneously increase their service capacity, market coverage, operating efficiencies, customer value and revenue.

Having the right people, with the right skills and access to the capabilities that process customer service requests is essential. More importantly, providing your service dynamically, while the customer is engaged in the conversation will set a new standard for customer value and convenience.

What is the secret sauce that will make this possible? To realize this potential, we need to re-orient our models for how we operate, organize, and distribute services to the marketplace.

Continue reading

Posted in Cisco, Collaboration, Financial Services | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthcare Optimization: Effective Communication is the Key

Collaboration technologies are a sure way to reduce the delays that afflict the healthcare system.

The continuum of healthcare comprises a series of steps in which several players take turns to provide the patient’s care. Beyond purely medical issues, healthcare systems include a series of processes that require complex logistics.

A patient could, for example, call the Health Information line, where they may recommend that he go to the hospital. He may have to call an ambulance to take him to the emergency room. There, he goes though admissions, which could send him to another department to obtain his hospital card.

More administrative paperwork is required. Among other things, the hospital provides relevant information to his health insurance company and the patient contacts his insurance company to see if certain treatments or services (such as the room and television) are reimbursable. And when the patient leaves the hospital, his case is completed and closed, and then sent to the records department.

When it comes to treatments, the procedures are equally complex. In fact, a multitude of people – nurses, urgent care doctors, family physicians, radiologists, social workers, etc. – intervene, communicating with each other and with the patient and other resources such as homecare, specialists, administrative staff, etc.  Continue reading

Posted in All Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment