As we begin to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, there are a number of networking infrastructure and telecom companies that continue to stand out in my mind for their proactive efforts. Cisco is one that I’ve written about in the past (you can find that article here), and I had the good fortune to recently speak with Todd Nightingale who leads the company’s business strategy and core product development efforts. I would like to share my thoughts on our conversation that centered on how Cisco is aiding the Covid-19 vaccination effort.
The role of IoT in vaccine distribution
There has been considerable hype related to the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT promises to unlock a host of disruptive use cases, and I believe vaccine distribution will be a watershed proof point. It is no secret that Covid-19 vaccines have to be transported and stored at a certain temperature level to ensure effectiveness. IoT temperature sensors, Wi-Fi and cellular infrastructure will play a vital role in tracking the chain of custody as vaccines move from pharmaceutical companies, transportation carriers such as UPS and FedEx, and ultimately to physicians. Mr. Nightingale and I discussed Cisco’s efforts. Let’s dive in.
Cisco’s inclusive recovery strategy
In speaking with Mr. Nightingale, I learned that Cisco is working with governments, healthcare providers, pharmacies and communities to roll out Covid-19 vaccines safely, securely, and effectively. Renown Health is a healthcare system located in northern Nevada that operates a number of hospitals and urgent care centers. One of its immediate challenges was determining how to rapidly set up Covid-19 vaccination sites while still ensuring the safety of its patients. Renown Health turned to Cisco for a solution that is easily deployable and scalable. Cisco helped the healthcare provider set up Wi-Fi 6 pop-up networks in its parking garages while leveraging the features of Cisco’s DNA Spaces (a location-based services platform) to monitor and enforce vaccine recipient density, social distancing and contact tracing. Renown is also leveraging DNA Spaces to track expensive mobile equipment. Additionally, it plans to offer wayfinding throughout its nearly 70 locations in the future. In my opinion, hospital wayfinding will be a game changer that will help reduce stress for families and patients during what is often an incredibly trying time. I believe this multi-purpose solution has the headroom to support present and future connectivity needs for healthcare systems and other vertical applications.
At an event that Cisco hosted in 2020, Mr. Nightingale spoke of Cisco’s vision “to power an inclusive future for all.” I am impressed with the company’s pivot to an “inclusive recovery” in the context of the pandemic. That recovery includes not only aiding pharmacy and healthcare provider efforts to vaccinate and cure those with Covid-19, but also the return to the workplace and ongoing support for telecommuters. I believe the future of work will become hybrid and networking solutions will have to scale to meet the needs of the traditional campus and new micro-branch. Cisco is proving its mettle, and I look forward to what the company has in store for its customers in 2021.