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Driving Serious Digital Disruption, with a Spirit of Fun

Not all workdays begin with a convoy of cyclists hailing from India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and America. And fewer still wind up with creations made of LEGOs, spaghetti, string, and marshmallows.

Yet every workday — no matter how challenging — should have the same spirit of diversity, adventure, and assumption-busting repartee that I experienced at THNK — The Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership.

Once our Cisco Consulting Services colleagues finished winding through the streets of central Amsterdam each morning, we got down to the serious business of “hacking” some key global issues, together with our friends at THNK.

THNK-NVilla

One of those issues has evolved into a Cisco/THNK partnership challenge, inwhich we will share Cisco’s expertise on the Internet of Everything (IoE) to solve some global problems around food safety and food distribution. I will speak more about the Internet of Food initiative in a subsequent blog.

Another key challenge was to foster digital disruption in the Internet of Everything (IoE) age — a time when our enterprise customers, and especially their end users, are demanding rapid transformation.

That level of change stems from the kind of open innovation and inclusive creative processes promoted by THNK in Amsterdam. Those processes are also being embraced by Cisco at our innovation hubs in such places as Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, and Songdo, South Korea. At these centers, IoE cornerstones such as cloud, mobility, Big Data analytics, and social media are already enabling digital disruption — and will continue to accelerate it.

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Wearable 2.0: The #FutureOfMobility

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world. 

Check out the first post of this series that discusses why contact, connections and context will drive the next generation of wearables.

When 24-year-old Jason Barnes lost part of his arm in an electrical accident, he also lost the ability to drum. Thanks to engineers at Georgia Tech, he now has range with his artificial hand that is impossible with a normal human hand. Arguably, now he has new capabilities that other musicians don’t have – all because of an incredibly advanced replacement part.

If you consider how wearables may evolve, we may see a time where people take a perfectly good limb, eye or ear and replace it with something synthetic because it gives them a skill that they haven’t had before. Perhaps it gives a solider infrared vision at night or a baseball pitcher a robotic arm that throws a perfect game.

These new capabilities will propel us into a new phase of human history – this period of self-designed evolution. As the power of Internet of Everything (IoE) technology merges with biology, we can create a self-evolving population. Let’s take a step back and look how this has developed over time.

How it Began

If you look back throughout human history, we’ve always adorned ourselves with some kind of capability. Usually it’s because we want to differentiate ourselves or show status or an association with a tribe or group. This has traditionally been accomplished through wearing jewelry, getting tattoos or piercings and so on. Today, we’re beginning the wearable phase and it’s about smart watches, glasses and jewelry, but tomorrow will bring the era of embeddable technology.

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5 reasons Operations Technology Pros shouldn’t miss Cisco Live San Francisco (May 18-22)!

Reasons IoT Folks Should Attend CLUSIf you’re an Operations Technology (OT) pro, then the buzz about the Internet of Everything (IoE) should have you pretty excited--because it will likely impact your work. You won’t want to miss a chance to find out more about it at Cisco Live San Francisco May 18 -- 22.

Cisco has been hard at work building solutions to address your OT challenges. Cisco Live San Francisco is the place to find out the details…

Here are five (5) reasons not to miss this pivotal event:

#1. A Targeted OT Learning Track: We’ve put together a special program to bring OT and IT issues together and make it crystal clear how the Internet of Everything (IoE)–the convergence of machines, sensors, processes, people and data–is going to make your job a lot more interesting. Read More »

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My #InternetofEverything Perspective: Transforming Property Management with IoE

Roger Vasquez, Director of Engineering of Transwestern, shares his perspective on the Internet of Everything

In order to compete in the commercial real estate market, we at Transwestern knew we had to differentiate ourselves with innovative new services to attract clients. We turned to Cisco and the Internet of Everything to make it happen. We knew there had to be a better way. When our consultant, Stephen Lurie with Zones, mentioned converged networks, we had our answer.

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At Transwestern and with the support of our building owner Metropolis Investment Holdings, we started with a vision to transform property management by automating processes from temperature control to work-order management, which could help to increase tenant satisfaction, lower energy costs and make more efficient use of staff time by speeding up response time to tenant requests. When you install different systems, each of those systems relies on its own communication system. We actually integrated all of those systems through the same infrastructure, making it easier to monitor and manage. Most of the equipment that you see in our central plant is tied to our Cisco network.

As an example, our air conditioning units operate to reach the desired temperature by the time a tenant’s office opens. Starting those units even a few minutes later saves a significant amount of money over hundreds of pieces of equipment. To achieve all this, we began investing in the Internet of Everything (IoE), to connect all of our networks and give our tenants a better experience.

With the connections provided by IoE, building engineers can monitor and manage building systems remotely from tablets or laptops, adjusting building schedules for maximum energy efficiency anywhere in the world.  Tenants can now receive network services in days, instead of weeks, for a fraction of the price with unified communications and whole-building wireless. They also experience better physical security from strategically placed, connected security cameras.

Implementing these changes, we were able to decrease energy costs by 21 percent from 2011 to 2012, and by another 11 percent in the first eight months of 2013. Now, Transwestern is exploring new ways to capitalize on the potential of IoE. Efforts underway include hosting energy-saving competitions between tenants, increasing the efficiency of work-order management through digital orders and enabling tenants to advertise on unique digital signage that can simultaneously provide weather info and broadcast emergency instructions. Lower operating costs have allowed us to offer attractive leased space in a very competitive market.

Transwestern

Transwestern’s first IoE-enabled building, Pennzoil Place, exemplifies the potential of the Internet of Everything by connecting our people, process, data and things at an unprecedented scope and scale, and the company is already reaping the benefits.

Read more My #InternetofEverything Perspectives
Integrating Cities with IoE and City24/7 by Tom Touchet — CEO of City24/7

Driving Smarter with Technology and UPS by Dave Barnes — CIO of UPS

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Attending Cisco Live 2014? Nine Internet of Things (IoT) solution demos you must see!

If you are like many attendees visiting Cisco Live US 2014 this year, you’ve probably experienced at least one or more power failures that significantly impacted the quality of your life and work lasting for days or weeks.  We frequently read about the impacts of power failures, but unless you work in the utility industry you probably have never heard in detail about why and how problems occur and what can be done to prevent them.

Utility Substation

Thermal Pattern of Utility Substation indicating a problem, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

According to industry subject matter expert, James Brady, Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer, Brady Infrared Inspections, Inc., the applications of infrared/thermography can help to easily identify and solve many problems in 1) power plants, 2) substations, and 3) transmission and distribution equipment that can prevent outages, improve safety, security and reliability of services while also helping to prevent injuries to utility workers and citizens.

While most utility companies have active maintenance programs to conduct inspections of transformers, switches, oil-filled tank equipment including breakers, voltage regulators, lightning arrestors, feeder lines, get-a-way poles and other equipment, they frequently do this only periodically, not continuously across all their operations since they do not have the resources, expertise or tools.  Today this is changing even more rapidly as new technologies such as infrared are allowing for greater situational awareness. As James Brady points out in his article Infrared Inspection of Electric Utility Equipment: Documenting Common and Not-So-Common Thermal Exceptions, “the bottom line is infrared is a powerful tool that can identify problems quickly, accurately, and safely in the electrical utility industry.”

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

Using infrared is a great example of a technology that can be enabled in sensors such as thermal cameras, to help utilities more effectively identify, detect and prevent problems.  Imagine if utilities could more easily harness the power of infrared technology across their operations. This is the opportunity of what is possible with the Internet of Things (IoT) and why so many IT and operational technology industries are excited about the benefits that are available.

So, today, what do you think most detracts utilities, or any business with similar operational needs, from deploying new technologies such as infrared more pervasively to optimize the utilization of their assets?

A) Lack of expertise?
B) The cost of deploying the technology economically everywhere it is needed?
C) The shortage of and abilities of people to make decisions quickly enough?
D) All of the above?

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