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Enabling Agile Business Operations in a Connected World

We have all heard visions and use-cases about the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of these take on the flavor of pots talking to kettles and capture our imagination on what IoT can do. The question of “why” we connect things in the first place becomes obvious when we think about the value of such connections to users and businesses – a value creation that requires connecting people, processes, data, and things for the Internet of Everything (IoE). Unlocking the potential for such value means facing the reality of how we bring those four dimensions together – a complex effort that requires us to bind all types of enterprise business assets in unique ways. We’ll take a quick look at how we go from the “Why IoE?” to the “How to IoE?”

While the promise of intelligent connections across these dimensions is easy to see, how we make those connections in a replicable and scalable fashion is far from easy. We are not just connecting machines to machines (M2M), people to people (P2P), or people to machines (P2M); not just enabling B2B or B2C. We need to enable all permutations of such connections for X2X connectivity.  Unless we have core building blocks that enable this, an X2X world can become a spider-web of unmanageable connections that require reinventing and rearchitecting for every new type of intelligent connection.

Enabling X2X Connections

Let us take a look how we can bring these assets together; the technologies and services that are critical to enable this value creation; and how Cisco’s suite of software & services for enabling IoE applications will help.

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Delivering IoE Solutions requires us to have capabilities that power each of the above four quadrants as follows: Read More »

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Welcome to the Second Internet of Things World Forum #IoTWF

Today I have the honor of kicking off the second Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago.  We first launched the Internet of Things World Forum last year in Barcelona with the goal of accelerating the IoT ecosystem along with our steering committee members. In the second annual World Forum over the next few days attendees will see many great talks and I expect you’ll be hearing quite a few announcements moving the Internet of Things forward.  Our goal was to bring together the best and brightest to enable collaborations and new cross-industry business models.

Over the last year the investments and deployments in IoT solutions have accelerated. From many deployments in cities and industries around the world, the Internet of Things is Here and Now – which is also our theme for this year’s World Forum.  We have also seen the industry mature with quite a few IoT startups being acquired. Cisco has advanced this trend further with our announced innovation fund, opening IoE Innovation centers around the globe, holding Grand Challenges, introducing IOx, and many more.

As an example of this growth, the IoT World Forum 2014 has also more than doubled – in attendees, in sessions, and in sponsors and has expanded in the types of activities happening.  This last weekend we hosted the IoTWF Hackathon at Chicago innovation space 1871 – with over 100 attendees and 15 teams.  They competed through 24 hours using an ISR 819 and APIs from Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX), Data in Motion (DMO), and a few other APIs to build something innovative and new, quickly.  Also new this year is a Startup Showcase featuring 20 startups at the event.world deployment map Read More »

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Drop the IT-Centric Mindset: Securing IoT Networks Requires New Thinking

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular topic of discussion amongst security company executives, analysts, and other industry pundits. But when they begin discussing the technical details, it quickly becomes evident that many of the most experienced security professionals still approach IoT with an IT-centric mindset. That’s because they believe IoT is mostly about the billions of new connected objects. While the dramatic increase in the number and types of connected objects certainly expands the attack surface and dramatically increases the diversity of threats, they’re only part of the IoT security challenge. In addition, the convergence of the organization’s existing IT network with the operational technology (OT) network (e.g., manufacturing floors, energy grids, transportation systems, and other industrial control systems) expands the depth of security challenges and makes threat remediation remarkably more complex.

While IT and OT were once separate networks, they’re now simply different environments within a single extended network ‒ but by no means are they the same! The architectures, operational needs, platforms, and protocols are vastly different for each of them, which drive radically different security needs for each of them. As a result, security architectures, solutions, and policies that have proven effective for years in the IT world often don’t apply in OT environments, so attempting to enforce consistent security policies across the extended network is doomed for failure.

Protecting data confidentiality is IT’s primary concern, so when faced with a threat, their immediate response is to quarantine or shut down the affected system. But OT runs critical, 24×7 processes, so data availability is their primary concern. Shutting down these processes can cost the organization millions of dollars, so the cost of remediation may be greater than simply dealing with the aftermath of an infection. In addition, because OT is a human-based operation in what can be dangerous working conditions, their focus is on the safety of their operation as well as their employees. As a result of these main differences, the two groups approach security in completely different ways. While IT uses a variety of cybersecurity controls to defend the network against attack and to protect data confidentiality, OT views security more in terms of secure physical access, as well as operational and personnel safety.

Securing IoT networks must go beyond today’s thinking. Rather than focusing on the individual security devices, they need to be networked, so that they can work together to produce comprehensive, actionable security intelligence.  By combining numerous systems, including cyber and physical security solutions, IoT-enabled security can improve employee safety and protect the entire system from the outside, as well as the inside. As a best practice, IT should maintain centralized management over the entire security solution, but with a high level of understanding of the specific needs of OT. Based on that understanding, they need to enforce differentiated security policies to meet those specific needs, and provide localized control over critical OT systems.

At the end of the day, IT and OT need to work together for the common good of the entire IoT implementation – thereby driving truly pervasive, customized security across the extended network.

Want to learn about the part Big Data plays in your overall security plan, and how Cisco can help organizations deliver the security they need to succeed in the IoT and IoE eras? Join us for a webcast at 9 AM Pacific time on October 21st entitled ‘Unlock Your Competitive Edge with Cisco Big Data and Analytics Solutions.’ #UnlockBigData

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Video Showcases Hamburg’s Digital Smart City + Port Connection

This blog post was co-authored by Michael Ganser, Cisco’s SVP for Central and Eastern Europe. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelGanser

The inter-connection among society, the economy and environment, enabled by Internet of Everything (IoE) technology, was a central theme at the recent M-Smart City Summit hosted by the City of Hamburg.

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It is no coincidence that the Summit was incubated here and its public and private sector leaders advanced the overall theme of connecting the
unconnected
.  Collectively, Hamburg’s leadership is driving a visionary strategy to digitize the entire metropolitan region, virtually connecting government, port, business, citizenry, healthcare, academia, public safety and other key organizations.

After just a few years, historic Hamburg has burst into the 21st century as not only a modernized Smart City, but also as a Smart + Connected Community, or, as some call it, a futuristic Seatropolis, anchored by the economic powerhouse of Hamburg‘s port operations.

Essential Application Centric Infrastructure

Today, we are thrilled to release a new video starring Hamburg. In “Internet of Everything Transforms Hamburg into a Smart City,” we showcase how leaders started with an ICT master plan to incorporate a single platform for collaboration, that leverages essential Application Centric Infrastructure. This integrated network stretches across departments and organizations throughout the urban landscape, seamlessly connecting people, processes data  and things — a single digital overlay to existing physical infrastructure.

With many more Internet of Everything plans still in the works, Hamburg has already realized tremendous value Read More »

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IoTWF Hackathon in Chicago: Inviting Dreamers to #IoTWFHack

IoTWF HackImagine a world where inanimate objects have the chance to speak. A machine could tell a manager that her employees were in danger because its parts are aging. Imagine a world where objects can speak to one another to make you  and the environment safer, to transport you faster, to make industries more productive and cities more friendly. That world is coming and that world is enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Now imagine being part of that transformation. With less than 1% of things in the physical world connected to the Internet, there is an incredible opportunity to connect the unconnected, to gather, analyze, and act upon all sorts of “undiscovered data” as we move towards connecting billions of new things.

That is why Cisco is inviting developers, hackers, designers, entrepreneurs, students and other dreamers to be a part our 24- hour hackathon featuring APIs specifically made for IoT projects. At the end of it all, one team will be chosen to have their idea presented at the exclusive, invite-only IoT World Forum.

Here are some details about the event: Read More »

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