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Privacy and Security in the Age of the Internet of Everything

Cisco today released an important new report on the intrinsic and economic value of the transition to the Internet of Everything.  The study, entitled “Embracing the Internet of Everything to Capture Your Share of $14.4 Trillion,” details major market-making opportunities for business and industry over the next decade.   The report concludes that advances in technology and innovation will put $14.4 trillion of value at stake through the combination of increased revenues and lower costs over the next 10 years. That’s a shift worth noting.

For me, the big takeaway is that we are entering a new wave of disruptive innovation, which will drive an increase in productivity and another round of the disintermediation of markets. This furthers an economic and technological march we have been on since before the industrial age. It is significant. It is global.  And it’s happening now.

It also impacts some areas very much in the public discussion today.  Among them:

  • Next generation manufacturing, efficiency, quality, and what this next phase means for the competitive advantage of nations;
  • Health care, and how better health care and efficiencies are captured by the transition, as well as what it means for patients and doctors;
  • The environment, and the reliability benefits, efficiencies and carbon reductions that arise from smart grid and networked commercial vehicle fleet management;
  • Retail trade, and the use of mobility and consumer preferences to deliver more value; and
  • Human capital, and the benefits that mobility and process productivity means to a global workforce.

In essence, these shifts have already begun, and the clock is running.  The challenge for each player and each sector of the economy, globally, is to understand what these shifts mean, and decide how and where they play.

The report also notes that for many of these shifts we need to get privacy and security policy right. At the front end, companies and industries undergoing these shifts need to build privacy and security thinking, processes and relationships in up front, and capture the benefits of this next wave of economic transition.

The way this happens is to get in front of the issue, understand the implications of what you are doing, have a reasoned, thoughtful, principled approach, and do your best to get buy-in from all of the stakeholders involved. Over the years, a great deal of thinking has gone into privacy and security policy, but it is evolving, and developing policies need to recognize these new market-by-market shifts as well.

We also know that across the markets in this new transition, one-size does not fit all. Each of the use cases set out in the paper (manufacturing, health care, retail, transportation, etc.) occur in separate markets, affect different players, relate to different types of information, and have separate regulatory environments. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the players in each of these markets to see around corners and include thinking, planning and process to ensure that privacy and security are an integral part of these market transitions as this $14.4 trillion of market value develops.

At Cisco, we look forward to joining with you in that journey. Market transitions are important things. Let’s get it right.

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