The biggest winner is the future

As the official network infrastructure supporter for The Games, Cisco is already helping London to achieve a rewarding legacy

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The Independent Online

Cisco’s network infrastructure has helped to deliver all voice, video and data traffic for London 2012. It was carried over the communications services network provided by fellow technology partners to the thousands of people officiating, reporting, competing in and enjoying The Games.

Essential network infrastructure equipment also supported The Games’ time and administration applications on the Locog network. This included network security appliances, routing and switching equipment, wireless access points and controllers, IP telephony, handsets and the call manager system via Cisco’s Hosted Unified Collaboration Service.

To put this achievement into some kind of perspective, it means Cisco connected a record 94 Sites, 1,800 Wireless Access Points, 16,500 IP Telephones, 65,000 Active Connections and 80,000 Data Ports.

This is equivalent to 46 simultaneous World Championships.

Winning ways

The Games were some of the most triumphantly successful ever, especially if you’re British (or one of the 110,000 citizens of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada). From the astonishing opening ceremony to the 471 medal events in 34 venues, the action, the emotion and the sheer excitement was electrifying.

Every single event has been available to watch and follow on more electronic communications and video devices than ever before in HD, 3D and surround sound. Delivering all of it smoothly and at the speed of light requires untold terabytes of capacity, not to mention the heavyweight equipment necessary to carry it. That’s why London 2012 marks a huge leap forward in the way technology enables, delivers and transforms the Olympic experience for its global audience. But that is only half the story.

Now the Games are over, the fun continues

For Cisco, London 2012 is not the finishing line, but the starting gun for a bigger challenge. The foundation of London 2012 is that it builds a lasting legacy of education, regeneration and prosperity. It ensures that the investment, infrastructure and inspiration of The Games is maximised after The Games have ended, from the secondary schools of the East End to small businesses all over the UK, right through to young people all over the world. It might be difficult to believe, but the fun comes from new ways of learning maths and science that have already begun, and new ways of doing business that could drive the economy into a better environment.

The Olympic Park lives on

It was the scene of mass jubilation during The Games, where people met to enjoy the atmosphere and get involved in the greatest sporting event ever.

What follows The Games for the Olympic Park might not be mass jubilation, but its transformation into an innovation centre will make a lot of people happy.

Cisco is working in partnership with the Olympic Park Legacy Company, founded by the Government and the Mayor of London in 2009 as a public sector not-for-profit company. They are responsible for the long term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park once The Games are over. Part of Cisco’s legacy is to create a centre for technical excellence and development, and to showcase new ways in which technology can transform local businesses and communities.

So the main aim for the future of the Park is to create a state-of-the-art community and model for innovation, and to strive for economic, social and environmental sustainability. The core will be the use of IP-based solutions, almost like a fourth utility service, for integrated city management that Cisco calls Smart+Connected Communities.

This means that all of the critical components of a city infrastructure, such as utility, transportation, healthcare, commercial buildings and emergency response systems, connect via an IPbased network.

Another innovation centre is planned to open in Shoreditch and will be developed in partnership with the local SME community.

Great results from BIG ideas

These are a result of the BIG initiative – the British Innovation Gateway – which is a five-year programme agreed between Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers and the British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cisco pledged millions of pounds to help foster an environment of entrepreneurship within the UK, thus ensuring a long lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

BIG has also created NVI – National Virtual Incubators – a network that spans the entire UK and consists of a series of access points with the resources entrepreneurs need to get ideas off the ground. These draw from their connections to research centres, higher education establishments and science parks.

It promises to connect business, academic and innovation communities via a networked collaboration infrastructure.

In future, the NVI will be linked to more leading innovation organisations around the world.

Bringing innovators, businesses and educational institutions together in order to nurture ideas is a great use of existing resources. It will help accelerate the growth of high-tech businesses, from start-ups to SMEs, through contact and collaboration with other like-minded businesses, BIG partners, advisors and investors – and direct support from Cisco itself.

Nurturing IT professionals of the future

Cisco supports STEMNet, which hopes to encourage all young people, regardless of background, to understand the excitement and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their lives, and the career opportunities these subjects can create.

The Out of the Blocks Maths and Science Series 2012 is an ongoing initiative, also supported by Cisco, which aims to get children engaged and excited about technology and IT. It gives children a chance to explore the events and venues of London 2012 Games while practising their maths and science skills.

Academy rewards

Cisco Networking Academies were initiated in 1997 and have gathered pace since the beginning of Britain’s Olympic journey. It is a global education programme that teaches how to design, build, troubleshoot and secure computer networks, giving students increased access to career and economic opportunities in communities around the world.

Cisco aims to establish some 30 new Cisco Network Academies in east and south-east London. So, the next five years will see some 4,000 London students learning the skills that will improve their prospects for careers in the IT industry.

With a million students worldwide, this globally recognised educational programme delivers qualifications that improve the employment prospects of students from every kind of community.

It has a global teaching community of 20,000, who between them have providing education for 4.5 million students since 1997.

Keeping the ball in the air

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games broke new world records and set new standards, both in terms of The Games themselves and the quality of the presentation and communications. And while Britain is determined to build a legacy for The Games, Cisco and its network infrastructure is at the centre of it all, enabling the vision of the future that starts with the schoolchildren of east London, and extends to people across the globe.