Colorado, Cisco forge pact to connect communities

State and company demonstrate advanced modeling and simulation tools

Colorado and Cisco are collaborating to demonstrate how advanced modeling and simulation tools can support pilot projects related to health care, energy and education -- key areas that will foster economic development and sustainable practices throughout the state.

Cisco has signed a memorandum of understanding with Colorado officials to establish the Colorado Connected Communities Initiative (CCCI), which will develop accessible education opportunities, advance the delivery and quality of health care, and reduce statewide energy consumption, Colorado officials said.

CCCI is part of Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities effort, which is designed to provide cities and communities with innovative solutions for utilities, safety and security, real estate, transportation, health care, education, sports venues, and government services, Cisco officials said.

“Cisco already provides the network and cybersecurity fabric for the state of Colorado, basically giving us the leg up on delivering voice and data services not only within agencies in the state but across partners as well,” said Mike Locatis, Colorado's chief information officer.

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For CCCI, Web-based mapping and Cisco's Collaborative Infrastructure Modeling will help present visual explanations of the solutions being delivered to various project stakeholders.

For one of the pilot projects, the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will implement distance learning based on Cisco's TelePresence and WebEx technology to make education more accessible anywhere and at any time.

A second pilot project will focus on energy management in the city of Grand Junction. It will use Cisco's Smart Connected Building solutions to manage energy consumption at multiple state, local and private buildings.

Additional initiatives include the use of Cisco's HealthPresence, an advanced, care-at-a-distance technology platform that provides patients with live, face-to-face visits with physicians and specialists – regardless of distance or location.

“Many citizens have to drive great distances for consultative input from physicians,” Locatis said. “With the connected communities initiative, we’re going to put together pilots that extend robust health care through telehealth and videoconferencing to citizens in remote areas, extending capability typically offered in urban areas to rural areas.”

Colorado officials said they expect the health care and education projects to help accelerate the impact of the state's other collaborative initiatives, such as the K-12 Educational Access Gateway Learning Environment Network and the implementation of a highly secure smart grid. They also believe the projects will help extend the benefits of potential stimulus funding.

A program management office jointly supported by Cisco and Colorado will implement best practices in project planning, implementation and ongoing technical support, Colorado officials said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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