Evergreen Brick Works
How big is a community and what is a smart one? At an event held in Toronto last week, Cisco’s Canadian arm worked to answer these questions with home grown examples demonstrating the principles of Cisco efforts to build network connectivity between ever larger groups. Over the course of three days, Smart + Connected Toronto offered up an ambitious program showcasing Cisco partnerships with Canadian municipalities and the
, an organization looking to reach out to a broader audience with environmental messaging, introduction of a new Toronto-based Innovation Centre, as well as live tours of local connected real estate both built and in progress – hard hats please! The intent was to highlight the myriad applications for Cisco’s networking technology, but also to demo what can be achieved in the realms of government, healthcare, education and sustainable construction through linkage of various constituencies. If Cisco is an important manufacturer of the pipes – the networking platform – the company is also developing mastery in the creation and promotion of inspirational use cases.
For Cisco, Toronto presented a good launch pad for messaging on Connected Communities for two reasons. As Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale explained in an introductory address, Canada is no longer able to depend on differential values between the Canadian and U.S. dollars to sustain growth. In fact, he claimed “productivity gains since 2000 have been less than one percent,” creating a large productivity gap that Canada must close to ensure continued economic health. “To catch up with the U.S.,” he noted, “Canada would have to increase productivity fourfold and maintain that for eight straight years.” While there are many roads to increased productivity, one oft cited approach is to increase investment in IT. For Kawale, the key to improving productivity lies in innovation, an activity that is essentially distributed, but which communication and collaboration technologies can kick start. Citing CEO John Chambers, Kawale explained that in Cisco’s view “Canada is a good place to do business” – due, presumably, to latent demand for the network spark that will drive productivity.