Cisco’s Diane Gongaware on ‘Internet of Everything’ Trends in the Public Sector

gongaware_diane_smallCisco describes the “Internet of Everything” concept as the many connections that link people, data, process and things and technology transitions such as the “Internet of Things” to make those links happen.

A 2013 white paper from Cisco estimates the IoE to be a potential $4.6 trillion opportunity for the public sector through 2023 and projects focus areas for government to include connected militarized defense and citizen experiences.

ExecutiveBiz recently spoke to Diane Gongaware, senior director of Cisco’s U.S. public sector partner organization, to overview how agencies are looking at the “Internet of Everything” concept now and future trends that could affect how they adopt IoE tools in the future. We also discussed Cisco’s partner network for the IoE and where agencies and business can collaborate to connect networks and devices.

ExecutiveBiz: What are Cisco’s public sector customers looking to gain with the “Internet of Everything” concept?

Diane Gongaware: The Internet of Everything — the integration of people, processes and things — is a catalyst to change the landscape of the information technology industry and to transform how public sector end users leverage network-based solutions for mission success.

The Internet of Things refers to machine-to-machine communications and is a crucial component of IoE and continues to grow as devices become more prolific. This integration of IoT with human communications, collaboration and analytical elements enables real-time decision advantages for public sector agencies.

Today less than 1 percent of the world’s things are connected. As we connect the other 99 percent amazing things will happen. A lot of people think of this as a future trend, but it is here now. IoE is making a significant impact across government as organizations begin using converged resources to shape their IT infrastructure.

Cisco estimates 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 and those connections will communicate data to analyze, plan, manage and make intelligent decisions autonomously. Governments with converged technology infrastructure environments will enjoy greater agility and efficiency through aligned resources.

ExecutiveBiz: Right now, where are agencies seeing the biggest impacts from the IoE?

Diane Gongaware: In the public sector, IoE is transforming cities, campuses, and government agencies with connected physical security, transportation, smart lighting and parking. It is creating new business value by extending IP connectivity and compute capacity beyond the reach of traditional IT to operational technologies and challenging places like manufacturing, mining, agriculture and ruggedized platforms like trains and aircraft.

It all begins with an infrastructure that can support an application-centric world, with the intelligence to enable agile, north and southbound programmability and scalability across the network, from WAN to LAN and with embedded security. The future is bright when you harness the power of the Internet of Everything.

ExecutiveBiz: Describe how Cisco’s partners’ help implement IoE tools and platforms.

Diane Gongaware: The world of partnering has evolved rapidly to help public sector agencies make these transitions and transformations smoothly while leverage the best of technologies, process and people. Roles of traditional hardware channel partners have evolved to include expertise in software adoption and network scaling for agency applications, platforms and security which is critical enabling IoE.

Professional services and consulting practices are crucial Cisco partner roles to help address business process and change management within the agency and across the agency’s partners and subsidiaries. Systems integrators help ensure that everything is integrated into the networks as more things and applications are brought online.

Intercloud partners help agencies plan workloads to ensure that the necessary agility is built into the cloud strategy. Solutions and ecosystems partners such as an independent software, big data, and converged infrastructure playershave rapidly formed alliances to adapt their platforms to ensure they can scale across an agile infrastructure and deliver “Fast IT.”

Cisco’s partner programs and certifications have evolved to recognize all types of partners. We also help “partners meet partners” with complementary expertise so agencies know they can rely on proven and certified IT industry partners who work together. In short, built into the Internet of Everything must be a robust partner ecosystem which Cisco continues to lead.

ExecutiveBiz: How do you think agencies and companies should collaborate in decisions on how to adopt IoE technologies?

Diane Gongaware: Agencies seeking to achieve maximum value from IoE should work with its partners to develop a convergence roadmap that addresses improvements in the underlying secure cloud, big data, and mobility services that power IoE.

This plan should include an assessment of the agencies current technology assets and capabilities, definition of what the agency or departments wants to achieve with each technology architecture and identification of the workflows and process that will be impacted. Agency partners can offer workshops for industry and government best practices.

From there, they can build an IT strategy that embraces automation and asecure application-centric approach to ensure the applications and devices in their environment work together.

ExecutiveBiz: Where will the average citizen see the impact of IoE in the public sector?

Diane Gongaware: There are so many great examples already coming to life across public sector. With smart street lighting systems, cities can save money by eliminating waste, help citizens feel safer and allow local businesses to tap into the connected infrastructure to build apps using the available data and network.

Federal agencies are leveraging the power of IoE and orchestrating their secure cloud, big data and mobile environments. With converged ecosystem, the Defense Department is connecting the battlefield in ways that are fundamentally changing today’s military operations and helping keep troops on the ground safe.

Enhanced sensor communications help the military improve monitoring on and off the battlefield with systems that communicate across networks to increase both visibility to threats, as well as bolster operational efficiency through better decision-making ability.

General Services Administration Smart Buildings offer improved management and energy efficiency capabilities. Pressure readings and valve adjustments can be done from a network operations center instead of in person, and occupancy sensors can be used to provide optimum lighting during daytime while saving energy and taxpayer dollars.

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