Tag Archives: Cisco SCRE

Introducing: CareConnectHere…Mobile Wellness for a Smart + Connected Canada

On Thursday May 30th at Cisco Canada’s annual technology conference and trade show we proudly revealed CareConnectHere.
CareConnectHere is a first of its kind mobile health, wellness, and collaboration vehicle helping to connect the unconnected. This mobile unit is to be deployed in South Western Ontario to provide wellness and collaboration services to remote farmers with large migrant worker communities, festivals and events, and Continue reading

Early Bird gets the Worm

About three years ago, Cisco signed a collaboration agreement with EllisDon—the first in a series of exciting strategic relationships that have contributed to a visible transformation of the Canadian construction and real estate landscape. With an increasing pace, IP networks are finally becoming the fourth utility of today’s real estate developments.

The pervasive expectations of available ultra-high speed Internet, and the proliferation of devices and systems that depend on open access and standardized communication protocols drive the demand for consolidated and converged building networks. (hey, and it’s cheaper also).

Now, it never is as simple as it seems. Continue reading

Pay it Forward

Another holiday season came and went, as we kick off the new year this week. Although one may or may not have celebrated Christmas, it likely has been a season in which we reflected on how lucky we may have been again.

For me, the recent events in Connecticut, the senseless wars and violence around the world, the victims of stronger growing weather disasters, and those that suffer from weak economies, make me realize how fortunate we truly are. Typically, we turn such sentiment into (small) acts of kindness. Maybe we shoveled the snow for a neighbor, spent a day volunteering at the Foodbank, shaved our heads or grew a moustache to raise money, or donated to a good cause.

It’s the little things that make the difference.

It’s not just us as individuals that seek ways to give back. In the corporate world this behavior has earned itself a name, Corporate Social Responsibility. All year round, corporations and their employees support great grass-roots and corporately orchestrated initiatives that give back and do good. Continue reading

The Future of Canada’s Infrastructure

It is an important week for “infrastructure” in Canada. Starting today (09-10-2012), Regina will be hosting the second-ever National Infrastructure Summit. Hunderds of delegates from the public and private sector will come together to not only discuss the state of Canada’s infrastructure, but also to explore opportunities and solutions in finance, policy, innovation, and citizen engagement. The summit is followed by FCM’s gathering of the Municipal Infrastructure Forum. The Forum is an informal body bringing infrastructure experts together with municipal and business leaders to exchange ideas, build consensus, and provide input to the federal government.

Infrastructure is the backbone for Canada’s economic success and quality of life. The roads and bridges we use to move ourselves, our goods, and our services; the electrical grid we need to power our economy and lives; the water infrastructure that is required to deliver healthy and quality water; all are critical to the fabric of a Nation—especially in a country that is falling behind in productivity and innovation. Berry Vrbanovic [Past President at the Federation for Canadian Municipalities] says: “The last few years have seen important investments in our infrastructure that have helped slow the rate of decline and given us hope for our future. However, Canada is at a tipping point; either we continue moving forward with the job of re-building or we fall further behind as crumbling roads, traffic gridlock and sky-high housing prices cost our economy jobs and growth.” Continue reading

College prepares future Building Managers for Smart+Connected Real Estate

Over the past four years, Cisco Canada and its partners have been an instigator of transformation in the construction and real estate industry. Changing and disrupting any industry has a profound impact on its every aspect: from how customers are served, to how products are built, to how stakeholders interact and collaborate. Everyone in the supply chain will need to do its part. With Smart + Connected Real Estate we’ve been successful in changing how we plan, design, and build buildings and communities and have seen tremendous change already in how architects, engineers, contractors, and ICT firms collaborate differently to pursue the best achievable outcomes…together.

Now, here we are: building leading edge technology enabled buildings that are ready for tomorrow’s tenants and for what the future holds. Continue reading

New Cisco Innovation Centre demonstrates commitment to our partners

It’s an exciting time here at Cisco Canada, especially for the folks involved with Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC). We recently announced the second phase of the Boyle Renaissance development with The Holmes Group in Edmonton, are underway on Canada’s first Smart+Connected Community, Rampart Avenir in St.Albert, and we continue to build strong relationships with municipalities throughout Canada. And now, we add to our achievements with the official opening of our exciting new Innovation Centre here in our Toronto office.

At first glance, the Innovation Centre is a strategic location where Cisco and our partners can come together and co-create pragmatic, scalable and repeatable solutions and proof of concepts for smart communities. But the Centre is much more than that. It truly is the culmination of our S+CC vision and highlights the vital role our partners play in the execution of that vision. Continue reading

Clicks and Mortar: Innovating Infrastructure

Billions (in Canada) and Trillions (around the world) of dollars are being spent each year on the development and renewal of our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, homes, and [commercial, industrial, and institutional] buildings make the physical fabric of our communities. A small, yet growing portion, of this global spending goes to the systems that make this infrastructure work; such as security, mechanical, electrical, and transportation systems.

These systems have always been part of the DNA of the underlying infrastructure for our communities (nothing new there). However, the difference is that they are becoming smarter and more capable to have a profound impact on the performance of the infrastructure. Where historically these systems were subservient to the bricks, beams, and concrete they were housed in; it now seems they are being elevated in importance. The intelligent systems have now the ability to make our infrastructure come to life – and provide greater value to those that depend on it.

The great enabler of this shift is the world of information and communications technology (ICT), and more specifically the Internet and IP networks. Networks become the new addition to the DNA of our infrastructure. We have seen already numerous examples where connected and smarter infrastructure has the ability to positively impact economic, social, and environmental sustainability. My blogs have covered several of these examples, and please keep reading them as there are more to come.

The trend of smarter and more connected infrastructure is unstoppable as every sensor, device, system (and user) will become a node on the Internet and its worldwide networks. We [as in leaders in the construction, design, development, ICT industries, and many other stakeholders] have now the stewardship to channel this transformation into a direction that is repeatable and sustainable. Together we have the ability to (re)build the fabric of our communities through the intelligent use of technology and innovation. As we see this technology and innovation converge with bricks and mortar, we will end up with infrastructure that meets our, and our children’s, rapidly growing expectations in a resource constraint world.

At Cisco Plus in Canada on Wednesday May 16th, a selected group of leaders in the infrastructure industry (architects, engineers, developers, builders) will gather to discuss the implications of “clicks and mortar”, and the opportunities it will provide to all that are interesting pursuing them. The future is here, let’s now optimize and monetize it, together.

When you are visiting Cisco Plus, please attend also the Business Session “Managing Unprecedented Change with Business Transformation” by Sandy Hogan (Cisco Vice President of Americas Business Transformation) on Wednesday May 16th at 11am EST.

From Server Room to Board Room

Cisco Plus – one of Canada’s leading IT and thought leadership conferences – will be hosted on Wednesday May 16th in Toronto’s Congress Centre. The event is designed for end-user customers and Cisco partners (Value-added Resellers, System Integrators,…) to explore the synergies between business strategy and technology. This year, we have carved out some time to co-host a series of industry break-out sessions for C-Suite business decision makers to make the conversation even more strategic and business relevant.

Gartner (2012) predicts that “by 2015, 35% of IT expenditures will be managed outside IT department’s budgets”. This means that IT is increasingly recognized for the impact it can have on addressing real business issues as opposed to being merely a cost centre and resource for necessity tools and software applications. As companies are looking for strategic ways to stay ahead, take on competition, and innovate their products and services, IT will become increasingly part of the business decision making (moving out of the Server Room and into the Board Room)—as it should be.

With this shift in mind, IDC shows that end-user customers “complain about their technology vendors in relation to their vertical or industry strategy”. Vendors and suppliers lack the industry expertise, a true understanding of the business needs, and don’t have specific industry solutions.

Cisco is moving from the Server Room to the Board Room as we’re embracing business value for industry transformation and are building industry teams with deep vertical industry expertise and matching industry solutions and value-added industry relationships.

The Cisco Plus industry break-out sessions (by invitation only) will gather senior business decision makers in the Education, Healthcare, Energy, Real Estate/Communities, and Financial Services sectors for moderated discussions on trends of change, innovation, and productivity. Each of the parallel session are hosted by one of Cisco’s foremost thought leaders and industry experts in the respective industries, and moderated by our Canadian Industry business development leaders.

Limited executive participation will provide for intimate and open conversations about the real issues that matter most to the representative companies and industries. Though innovation can be found at all levels within these companies and industries; the mandate for it has to be propagated by its executive leadership.

Sustainable and lasting change starts at the top: and the conversation starts … at Cisco Plus.

When you are visiting Cisco Plus, please attend also the Business Session “Managing Unprecedented Change with Business Transformation” by Sandy Hogan (Cisco Vice President of Americas Business Transformation) on Wednesday May 16th at 11am EST.

Cisco’s Smart + Connected Real Estate ready for ASHRAE 90.1–2010 Standards Energy Goal

Contributed by Ron Gordon, Business Development Manager, Cisco Canada

Effective January 1st, 2012, the Ontario Building Code (OBC) incorporates the ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 Standards which include a stated goal of achieving a 30% energy savings when compared to the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Standard.  By all accounts, this is an aggressive target.

While I am the furthest thing from an ASHRAE expert, I cannot help but notice the increased reliance on Controls and Sensors in order to optimize HVAC and Lighting energy usage to help achieve the 30% savings.  The utilization of Occupancy Sensors, Static Pressure Sensors, CO2 Sensors, Temperature Sensors and Daylight Harvesting Sensors provides key control data to ensure the Building Automation Systems (BAS) [for the purpose of this blog we refer to lighting, metering, and HVAC] operate at their peak efficiencies and consume less energy. This also translates into the need for the BAS systems to be more integrated than ever before.

What if all the information and data acquired from a plethora of sensors and systems was served up for all the BAS systems to share, access and utilize.  Do away with duplication and traditionally closed disparate networks and implement a single, secure, converged network for all to use.  The ideal situation would be to incorporate all sensors onto the same network and provide open access to the information they provide.  To do this, the BAS systems would have to move away from their proprietary closed architectures to something more open and share common data and controls between them.

Take this to the next logical step and provide a common dashboard which gives real-time performance metrics and the ability to control the various BAS systems in unison.  Turn down lighting and HVAC systems in unoccupied areas and provide
environmental conditioning on an as required basis similar to the way new inventory systems utilize “just in time” delivery controls.  This is a Smart + Connected Real Estate.

These steps will not only help meet the ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 Standards, but also lay a solid foundation to meet new ASHRAE standards as they are designed and implemented.  After all, standards are constantly being updated with new
targets and goals and any architecture which future proofs a building, enabling it to adopt new technologies to optimize performance is positive.

In summary and simple terms: future-enable your buildings, and be ready for ASHRAE 90.1 and new building codes with convergence of building systems on one IP network.

Another great ULI — Opportunity Galore

For the past three years Cisco has been a supporter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and has actively participated in most of their National events and forums. ULI’s latest  Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo with more than 6,000 attendees, just came to a close last week in Los Angeles and Cisco joined as Sustaining Member and Anniversary Sponsor. The meetings were as inspiring as they were sobering. Clearly, the U.S. real estate market is leading and responding to the economic anguish. There is very little new development happening and (growing) vacancies taint the existing real estate portfolios and market atmosphere.

Top of mind for the leading real estate professionals were the economic uncertainties in the U.S. and abroad (especially in Europe led by the Greece situation); the continuing  trouble in the housing market; the political instability (in the U.S. and around the world); and the perceived pressure to pay more attention to environmental issues like energy savings and carbon reductions. In these times of ambiguity, real estate owners have become more forceful and resourceful in providing features and functionalities that differentiate their properties over the very large existing (and mostly obsolete) building stock. Although the greening of buildings through LEED certification already was becoming widely accepted before the latest economic downturn, it seems that the pursuit of LEED accreditation is one of those factors that real estate owners and developers use to control the marketability and brand of their product. Many session presenters and panel members were flaunting the pursuit of LEED Gold or even Platinum certification: it appears to have become the new norm.

Here I was sitting with my Cisco hat on, becoming growingly surprised why nobody made any mention of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) as an enabler for their buildings to become leaner, greener, and meaner — except for the few technology-focused breakout sessions, including the well attended opening session with Joe O’Connor (moderator, Cisco Smart + Connected Communities), Stan Gale (Gale International), Anil Menon (Cisco Smart + Connected Communities), Thomas Ike (Lutron Electronics), and Phil Williams (Webcor Builders).

Naturally, the omission of ICT from the real estate buzz did not come as a surprise to me. Compare it to asking the CEO of a leading financial institution or airliner what the top 5 issues are that are on her mind – it rarely is ICT. Considering we clearly have transitioned well into the “information age”, and are increasingly becoming part of a connected world (which nobody denies), it is rather disappointing that ICT does not often enough get called out as a leading enabler and solution (or even concern) for the challenges that we all face. And it certainly is not the lack of proof points by now, which demonstrate that the IT-enablement of buildings (Smart + Connected Real Estate) has a profound impact on the economic sustainability (reduced CAPEX, impact on OPEX, new business opportunities in real estate as we embrace the cloud for building analytics, for instance); environmental sustainability (energy measurement and visualization, energy and carbon reduction); and social sustainability (future-ready places to live, learn, work, and play; the marriage of virtual and physical in the design and planning of spaces and communities). – sorry for sounding like a broken record.

Yes, we can build (and renovate) buildings for less money up front, that cost less to operate, that virtually automatically optimize energy and carbon consumption, and provide innovative and dynamic environments for those that live, learn, and earn in them—with the use of existing information technologies (no more bleeding edge). I understand…it is a journey that we’re part of. Just like only three years ago I was questioned what Cisco was doing at the ULI; this year we seem to have become a household name and participant. I am not asked anymore why we are there…but am asked what we can do for them (the real estate world). We’re glad to be part of the journey. We are already looking forward to our participation at the 2012 ULI Real Estate Summit and the Spring Council Forum in May in Charlotte, North Carolina.

See you there. Hmmm…it’ll be a great opportunity to also check out Envision Charlotte.