Cisco promotes digital inclusion in Dallas, Texas
The announcement made by Cisco shines a light on the city’s efforts to increase WiFi access in limited connectivity communities.
“With COVID-19 closing down libraries and schools, it is important now more than ever to ease the challenges of limited internet services in low-connectivity areas," said Director of Libraries Jo Giudice.
In partnership with Cisco, the City of Dallas’ Office of Resilience and Department of Information & Technology Services, has increased the accessibility of free public WiFi, located outside four public libraries in Prairie Creek, Lancaster-Kiest, Highland Hills and Dallas West.
The technology allows users to connect to free and secure WiFI between 7AM and 9PM daily.
“Even though their doors have been closed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our libraries have continued to provide important resources to the people of Dallas,” said Mayor Eric Johnson.
“This wonderful pilot program to increase WiFi accessibility outside four libraries is a boon to our residents during a difficult time and represents a positive step toward closing the digital divide in underserved Dallas neighborhoods.”
As well as providing access to free public WiFi, the donations made by Cisco includes video endpoints inside the four libraries, which provide access to virtual services without the need to log onto a computer.
Following the safe reopen of libraries in the future, the units will provide direct access for community engagement with Dallas City Council meetings.
“As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to step up and help create inclusive futures for our communities that are now at greater risk of being left behind by the digital divide,” said Nick Michaelides, Senior Vice President, US Public Sector at Cisco.
Technology donations made by Cisco have been provided via the company’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program, which currently has active national and regional digitisation initiatives in 36 countries.
As part of the Dallas initiative, Presidio - a local IT integrator - is donating time and expertise to manage the successful deployment of the technology.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19
In the announcement made by Cisco, the company highlighted the established guidelines for users of the public WiFi, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such guidelines include:
- Maintaining at least six feet physical distance from others
- If possible - people should stay in vehicles while using the WiFi
- Public library buildings remain closed
- In person staff are unavailable for in-person assistance
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.