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National Basketball Association renews Cisco contract

ICYMI: The NBA shows its commitment to the Internet of Things by keeping Cisco as its official technology provider; Ruckus launches smart APs.

Cisco and NBA extend partnership

Cisco announced that it has extended its partnership with the National Basketball Association for a multi-year period. The two key details of the agreement are that Cisco will help bring Internet of Everything access courtside at NBA games. Cisco also agreed to sponsor the NBA's Oct. 11 exhibition game in Brazil, one of the games in the NBA Global Game Series aimed at increasing global participation in the sport.

SportsMediaPro reported that Cisco will continue its designation as the official technology provider not only of the NBA, but also the WNBA, the NBA Development League and USA Basketball.

In a Cisco press release, Cisco Senior Vice President Blair Christie said, "Today's partnership extension reflects our mutual and ongoing commitment to bringing innovation to the NBA and the game of basketball through the Internet of Everything." Christie, who is also the chief marketing officer, continued, "Together we are enabling new fan experiences and, with our new research and development initiative, will see the amazing things that can happen when we connect the unconnected."

Ruckus launches four smart 11ac access points

Ruckus announced a new line of indoor and outdoor smart 802.11ac access points (APs). The four new products are two indoor APs, ZoneFlex R500 and ZoneFlex R600; as well as two outdoor products, ZoneFlex T300e and ZoneFlex T301s.

The R500 and R600 are intended for medium-density networks such as midsize enterprises, hotels and warehouses. The R600 is also targeted at retail stores, which can use the APs for wireless IP phones and to enable data access to handheld point-of-sale systems. The APs can connect to laptops, VoIP phones, cash registers and printers.

The T300e and T301s are outdoor APs designed for high-density deployments in urban environments. They weigh about two pounds each, making them easy to mount on poles, street corners and rooftops. They are also made to resist harsh weather conditions.

Pacific Telemanagement, a service provider based in San Ramon, Calif., will be using the T300 AP to anchor an outdoor deployment in New York City, according to Alan Rothenstreich, director of business development. "The Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 access point is exactly what we needed for a cutting-edge, high-density installation to provide coverage over a wide outdoor area," Rothenstreich said.

All four products come with BeamFlex+ technology, which makes sure the device signal stays consistent by adapting to its location and orientation.

Prices range from $645 for the R500 to $1,495 for the T301s.

Illinois State University upgrades to Aruba 802.11ac campus network

Illinois State University will be deploying an Aruba 802.11ac campus-wide network over the next three years. This will allow 30,000 smart devices to be connected to a gigabit-speed campus network as well as give professors the ability to use teaching technologies in the classroom.

According to Aruba, ISU's Aadministrative Technologies department made the change after receiving complaints about network connectivity. After reviewing proposals by Aruba and Cisco, the department made their final decision based on the system's ability to allow users in high-density locations to connect multiple devices.

"Some students today are bringing up to five mobile and wireless devices each onto campus," said Ryan Johnston, the school's interim director of infrastructure. The upgrade will also enable ISU to support its teaching strategy that frees professors and instructors from remaining behind a desk, Johnston said. "Our professors want to detach from the podium and move around the classroom, encouraging more collaborative work … wirelessly projecting from a tablet is a vital capability for instruction. Aruba's AirGroup feature can allow our teachers to do this easily," he said.

U.K.-based developer shipping open standards IoT platform

U.K.-based chip developer ARM is releasing a software platform aimed at accelerating the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) products. The IoT mbed Device Platform, based on open standards, is designed to combine security and manageability standards into one product.

The platform has three components, a free OS, a licensable server and a website open to developers to share their ideas.

"Deploying IoT-enabled products and services requires a diverse set of technologies and skills to be coordinated across an organization," said ARM CEO Simon Segars. "ARM mbed will make this easier by offering the necessary building blocks" companies can use to develop new IoT products, Segar said.

ARM said the OS would be released later this year.

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Interested to see what happens with the Cisco-NBA relationship going forward. This basketball fan hopes it's a slam dunk.