HOLYOKE, Mass. – Oct. 14, 2010 - Cisco today announced that it is collaborating with the city of Holyoke, Mass. to initiate several strategic pilot programs aimed at advancing the city's vision for redevelopment. To commence the next phase of its cooperative relationship with Cisco, Holyoke will focus the initial series of pilot programs on supporting economic, social and environmental transformation. The first programs will address safety and security for citizens, and support the transformation of education. Cisco®'s Smart+Connected Communities initiative will also work in tandem with the city's OneHolyoke vision, a jointly developed blueprint for nurturing revitalization and sustainability within the city.
To attract employers and retain residents within the city center and continue to improve the caliber of available services, Holyoke turned to Cisco to help build a framework for modern, network-driven city services. In addition to the Smart+Connected Communities pilot programs, the city recently celebrated groundbreaking efforts for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computer Center – further transforming Holyoke from an industrial community to a growth-oriented technology-driven hub for the region.
· The Cisco Smart+Connected Communities initiative enables the transformation of physical communities into connected communities that are primed for sustainable economic growth, a better quality of life for residents, and more environmentally sensitive practices. The initiative offers both strategic and technology expertise in addition to a shared service-delivery platform to enable successful execution.
· The first phase of pilot programs launched by OneHolyoke and Cisco include:
· Connected incident response and urban safety and security systems: To improve citizen safety and decrease incident-response times, Cisco is working with the police and fire departments within the city of Holyoke to provide an integrated radio interoperability system to support the effective deployment of first-responder services. The technology provides an interoperable platform for incident response teams to connect with one another and municipal offices to support a more effective dispatch of services. Additionally, Holyoke will incorporate the Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) technology into its overall community safety strategy to safeguard residents – offering network-based voice, video and data to be transmitted for timely dispatch and effective crime and incident management.
· Distance learning resources and continuing education: Cisco is improving access to education beyond local resources by using network-based collaboration technologies to connect extended-learning resources. To address the levels of continuation and graduation for those enrolled in kindergarten through the eighth grade, Holyoke public schools will offer after-school tutoring and programming via Cisco WebEx™ to provide students with common interest content to discuss in a collaborative forum.
Students enrolled at Holyoke Community College will have remote access to additional locations for joining classes via the Holyoke Transportation Center, equipped with telepresence technologies to connect the uptown college facilities with the center's downtown location. Students will be able to access classes without needing transportation, resulting in increased class attendance and participation. CareerPoint, a nonprofit workforce and economic development organization, will make use of the recently-inaugurated Holyoke Transportation Center to encourage continuing education among adults by providing access to the community college curriculum.