Federal customers understand the importance of being part of a “borderless enterprise” like never before. As vice president of Cisco federal business, Patrick Finn is helping further that enterprise through focus on collaboration: delivering voice, video, and data in an effective way — whether with a PC, BlackBerry, or video communications — to federal clients. “That collaboration is based off our network infrastructure and voiceover IP,” says Finn, “It’s true IP from the desktop or the handheld device right through the enterprise.” Recently, ExecutiveBiz caught up with Finn to learn the latest in voice, video, and data technology — and where Cisco will invest next for innovation and competitive advantage.
Where are you seeing a need for wireless technology among your federal customers?
Patrick Finn: Healthcare IT and telemedicine are critical areas. We’re using video technology to connect domain experts in the healthcare field. These experts are now getting connected a lot faster than the days when travel was the prime means of in-depth discussion. We are also working with our military services to ensure secure wireless technologies are used to connect our troops and mobile units, whether we’re talking about planes, ships, or vehicles.
How is wireless technology being effectively utilized by your customers?
Patrick Finn: Our work with the VA is a prime example. Through a program called VA Wireless Fidelity Program, we’ve provided wireless technology — voice, data, and video — so they can better communicate within a VA hospital. With our partner General Dynamics IT, we’re looking to implement wireless technology for VA medical facilities nationwide. Besides collaboration, this enables telehealth at the bedside, which improves patient satisfaction. This technology can play a critical role in delivering efficiencies to our nation’s healthcare providers, regardless of whether it’s private or public sector.
“The issue is that IT organizations are working within existing inflexible hardware platforms. This means data center administrators have had to spend significant time on manual procedures for basic tasks instead of focusing on more strategic, proactive initiatives. Unified Computing addresses these challenges.” -Patrick Finn
Let’s talk about green IT. How do your solution offerings fit into that area?
Patrick Finn: Working with customers to assess and baseline their existing energy footprint and network capacity is the first order of business. Our recent acquisition of Richards-Zeta then gives us the capability to enable proprietary networks to talk to each other over IP and owners and managers to be better stewards of available energy. We are seeing a lot of focus on this area, as people who run government buildings are being asked to reduce their energy usage by up to 30 percent.
What’s the latest on the virtualization front?
Patrick Finn: Recently, we announced the Cisco Unified Computing System. As a company we focus on identifying market transitions and taking the necessary steps to help customers navigate change. Virtualization has created a market transition in which agencies’ IT departments are trying to reduce costs and increase flexibility. The issue is that IT organizations are working within existing inflexible hardware platforms. This means data center administrators have had to spend significant time on manual procedures for basic tasks instead of focusing on more strategic, proactive initiatives. Unified Computing addresses these challenges.
Where will Cisco invest next for innovation and competitive advantage?
Patrick Finn: Collaboration, which includes video, and data center are two technology areas where we are seeing a lot of focus and energy. We also need to ensure the security of the different components within collaboration and the data center. We are concentrating a lot of effort and expertise on verticals such as healthcare and real estate, where we are working with partners, such as McKesson and Johnson Controls, to develop new solutions. The future definitely looks bright.
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