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A Symphony of Sensors Drives Value, Insight, and Opportunity

To cross a busy intersection safely, it’s best to have all of your senses alert. That way, if you don’t happen to see that oncoming truck ignoring the “Walk” sign, you will probably still hear it. In the case of a heavy cement mixer, you may even feel the low rumble of its powerful engine first.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE), a similar principle applies. We call it “sensor fusion,” and it involves combining two or more sensors — often of different types — to monitor a specific environment and offer actionable insights more intelligently. These could be cameras and Wi-Fi tags or weight-sensing shelves and ultrasonic imaging, to name just two combinations. Moreover, the combined sensor data can itself be fused with other information streams — for example, those relating to weather, operations, news, or social media.

The result? Highly informed, real-time decision making and richer customer experiences.

Until recently, sensor fusion has been mostly exploited in specialized devices such as robots, but it is now driving a revolution in enterprise systems. This will bring new life to entire industries and completely transform stores, manufacturing floors, and transportation corridors. By greatly improving the accuracy of their measurements, organizations will be able to offer rich new experiences and gain substantial competitive advantage.

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Internet of Things: More than a Trend, a Real Business Opportunity

March 26, 2014 at 10:00 am PST

We live in the age of the mega trends. You name it, from high in the Cloud, to everywhere Mobility, Big Data, Social, Analytics and more. The Internet of Things (IoT) became part of that select group of mega trends not that long ago, and its relevance, support and understanding have been growing steadily for the past couple of years.

But IoT is more than just a trend. For business it represents a huge opportunity to create and deliver new and better services to their customers. How big? It depends who you ask, but no matter which group you ask, from the most respected analyst firms to the thought leaders in the industry, they all agree that the opportunity is massive, real, and here now.

Now, from our perspective as a technology solutions company, and reflecting on the topics we are covering with our partners at the World Wide Partner Summit this week in Las Vegas, I believe the following four points can help to explain how relevant IoT is from a business perspective: Read More »

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My #InternetOfEverything World: Living the Connected Life

The power of connectivity is driving change at an unprecedented rate, fueled exponentially by technology. According to Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index (VNI), over half a billion mobile devices and connections were added in 2013 and, by the end of 2014, the number of connected devices will exceed the number of people on the planet. And as mobile network connection speeds double by 2018, it will become easier and faster to increase the number of your connections, as well as how you use them.

Not only is everything (and everyone) getting connected – but those connections are getting smarter. It’s making us redefine what it means to be connected and moving us to see the world through a different lens. It’s about more than just creating connections -- the user experience is now the new benchmark.

The experience starts with you. Self-tracking is a growing trend, with wearable devices and embedded computing becoming more and more pervasive in our daily lives. This is what’s driving the quantified self movement, defined as “an advanced way of collecting data about an individual’s life using technological tools.” I’ve been using activity-tracking devices for some time and currently own all of the most popular brands, so I can personally attest to the power of information and how it’s changed my behavior as a result.  A quick glance at my wrist, for example, offers a plethora of data that helps me decide whether to walk to a meeting or perhaps take a cab – with the ultimate goal of keeping me on track to stay fit and healthy.  And by gamifying the results with award badges and fun animations, these devices can also help motivate you in attaining your goals. I’m not alone in this quantified self quest -- 90 million wearable devices are expected to ship in 2014, with health and fitness wearables being the key driver.

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Ask The #IoE Futurist: “In an Internet of Everything World, Will the Smartphone Become Superfluous?”

In my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist, I get many questions about what the future holds and how new technology and emerging solutions will change our lives. Given the positive feedback and the volume of questions being submitted from the community around the first series, I’ve decided to do another series to answer questions from the education and tech community around the Internet of Everything (IoE). Whether the questions are global in scope, such as how the Internet of Everything will shape our world, or small in nature, like our most recent Ask the #IoE Futurist question about batteries or today’s question about the smartphone becoming superfluous, I enjoy the challenge of answering them all.

A few weeks ago, brand new smartphones and wearable smartgear products were unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. While many of the specs and capabilities of these emerging devices vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, they all represent a common theme: mobile devices are not only becoming more present in our daily lives, but also changing how we connect, interact and share experiences.

As the Internet of Everything (IoE) drives more connected things, data, people and processes, how will the future of smartphones evolve? Will the endless possibilities for connected cars, shoes and dishwashers mean that the smartphone becomes one extra device for us to carry?

In this Ask the #IoE Futurist post, I’ll answer a question from John Spade (@DaSpadeR), a Cisco Champion, about how smartphones might change in an IoE world. Here is John’s question:

Question: “The smartphone lets us bring the Internet with us, but in the Internet of Everything, will the smartphone itself become superfluous?”

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Beyond Security Concerns: IoT Also Provides Security Benefits!

March 17, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a topic that’s beginning to gain quite a head of steam lately, particularly when it comes to security concerns that accompany it. Billions of new devices, most of which are in insecure locations. You don’t own them; oftentimes can’t see them; and you don’t control them in any way, shape, or form. Yet they’re sending petabytes of data through your network. It’s enough to make a security professional lose sleep for weeks at a time.

But while many security professionals are focusing on these challenges, there’s also a huge security benefit that will come in the form of IoT enabled security! Remember, IoT isn’t about the devices themselves, it’s about the network of devices – the benefits from having all of those devices work together to produce actionable intelligence. In a similar vein, securing IoT networks can’t be about the individual security devices, but rather the network of security devices, so that they can work together to produce comprehensive, actionable security intelligence in near real-time – increasing the organization’s overall security posture with little or no human intervention required.

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