We’ve been hearing a lot about the transition to the Internet of Everything, and the billions of new devices that will be coming online in the next few years. It’s clear that the network isn’t just for PCs, smartphones, and tablets anymore. We’re entering an age where home appliances, disposable consumer gadgets, and even buildings will be on the net and sharing information.
But the Internet of Everything is not only about connected things, it’s about the amazing things that will happen when you connect people, process and data with those things —and change the way we work, live, play, and learn. And in today’s fast-moving world, these new connections must be mobile.
We’re already witnessing an increasingly mobile Internet of Everything taking shape around us today. For example, networking is making a difference at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta. Using indoor location-based services and context-aware technology, the museum is transforming itself into a richer, more interactive place to visit. Guests can download a free app from their mobile device (such as a smart phone or tablet) that delivers audio, video, and interactive content—all based on their location inside the museum. For example, a third-grader standing in front of a T-rex fossil might see an animated clip showing the dinosaur tracking prey. Or receive details about a related IMAX film playing at the museum. The idea is to use the Museum’s intelligent network to understand visitor behavior and to deliver relevant, location-specific information to visitors—before they have to search for it on their own.
The new Palomar Health Medical Center in San Diego is also going mobile, connecting the people, process, data, and things in its healthcare environment over a wireless network to provide a better experience for patients. The solution lets patient information be shared faster and more efficiently with the right caregiver, no matter their location or mobile device. Doctors can securely pull up a patient’s current health record on a smart phone or tablet anywhere at the medical center. Or receive an alert the moment a lab test is ready, regardless of their location. Next generation programs include mobile robots that let patients roam around the hospital and videoconference with families and caregivers. So patients can enjoy more freedom at the hospital, without compromising their health.
Mobile technology is also working to transform people’s lifestyles in large cities. For example, searching for parking in the Bay Area can be a challenge and a headache. Now, however, with advancements in technology, finding a spot close to your destination is getting easier. Cisco has partnered with Streetline, a smart parking startup company, to develop real-time parking data. Using sensors and a free consumer mobile app, called “Parker”, and Cisco’s intelligent networking technology platform, motorists can view parking availability in real-time. Streetline’s system combines sensors that are installed in the pavement next to parking spaces to determine the location of the vehicle. The sensors are tied into local municipal Wi-Fi networks provided through Cisco’s network equipment. This mobile app is currently a pilot program available in San Carlos and San Mateo, California. Citywide Wi-Fi is just one step in Cisco’s initiatives working with cities and universities to deploy networks that solve a variety of issues.
People are connecting from more places, with more devices, than ever before. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, by 2016 there will be nearly 18.9 billion mobile connections. The percentage of mobile consumers with two or more devices is expected to triple by 2016. Bring your own device (BYOD) programs are driving huge changes too, as tech-savvy consumers bring their own mobile devices into the workplace and redefine the boundaries between the work environment and personal time.
How can we make the most out of all these mobile connections? To really unlock the power of mobility, the connection will adapt with you, to work the way you do or let you communicate the way you choose. True mobile connectivity will transcend space, and let you interact in new ways that aren’t tied down to a specific location, time zone, or device. It gives you the freedom to connect your way, without compromise.
When you support mobility with an intelligent network, the result is much more than the sum of its parts. As people, processes, data and things all join together on the Internet, the intelligent network listens, learns, and responds. In a way, it “understands” the meaning of these interactions. And it can take action to make connections more relevant and valuable.
As the Internet of Everything gets more sophisticated, it’s not hard to imagine the next step in the evolution. Imagine if a chip in your hospital bracelet talked to your IV, and collected and uploaded medication data to the cloud? You could have a secure, up-to-date medical profile that follows you wherever you go—from your hospital room to the imaging lab or the pharmacy. And your healthcare providers would always have access to the latest, most accurate records.
And at the museum, that third-grader’s teacher could receive a study guide that automatically uploads to his tablet when he walks in the door—customized to fit his students’ grade level and lesson plan.
As more and more of these connections are made on the Internet of Everything, the possibilities are endless. How could infinite connections and an intelligent, mobile network help you save your employees time? Make their jobs easier? Or improve the way your kids learn? We’d love to hear your ideas.