Cisco offers comprehensive communications and security architecture

Continuing with its “Internet of Everything” initiative, which focuses on connecting disparate systems and processes within organizations into one point, Cisco held an online roundtable this week with members of the media to highlight how its customers are using the company’s security and communications platforms to improve their business operations.

According to Greg Carter, director of Cisco’s emerging solutions group, the company has only just begun to scratch the surface of how things can be interconnected. While Cisco has created solutions that provide “eyes and ears” for everything that happens within an office environment, Carter said that 90 percent of people actually work outside of a traditional office environment and that the company is working to connect these workers and locations together through the aforementioned platforms regardless of the industry.  

Brad Eliot, group CIO for Johannesburg, South Africa-based financial services firm Alexander Forbes said his company has been able to tie together security operations (video surveillance and access control) for 14 different offices in southern Africa using Cisco’s architecture.

“Now, one team in a central office can manage security throughout all locations and they can respond and deploy resources as necessary,” Eliot said.

In addition, Eliot said that his firm is heavily regulated with regards to general computer control requirements, but through this integrated approach to access control and video surveillance, they’re able to provide proof that they are in compliance.

Closer to home, Ernie Stripling, technology information officer for the Denton Independent School District in Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth, said that the district has leveraged the Cisco product suite for their entire network and video surveillance infrastructure. Stripling said that they have more than 800 cameras in use across the district that are monitored both centrally and locally.   

The district also recently deployed Cisco’s IP Interoperability and Collaboration System solution known as IPICS, which enables interoperability between communication devices such as cell phones and IP-based phones and radios across an enterprise. By using IPICS, Stripling said that police officers in the district are no longer tethered to their desks and can walk through the schools with their iPhone or iPad and capture video on the spot. “The Cisco video system has been extremely beneficial for us and IPICS as well, because it gives instant connectivity to our officers and staff,” he said.

IPICS technology has also been helpful for the Central Lincoln People’s Utility District, according to Ron Beck, a network engineer with the Oregon energy provider.  Beck said that their land mobile radio system is a very important tool for both the engineering staff and workers in the field and that the IPICS solution was “a logical add” for the utility, which frequently has to communicate with law enforcement officials due to a variety of issues, such as hostile customers, power lines and poles knocked down in traffic accidents, and weather-related incidents.

Cisco’s Video Surveillance Manager VMS solution and cameras have also proved invaluable for healthcare services provider Park Nicollet, according to Eric Paine, the organization’s voice and video services manager. Paine said that Park Nicollet uses video surveillance for their fall reduction program which calls for continuous observation of patients deemed high-risk. “Now our nurses can focus on the patients they’re with and not worry,” he said.