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Manage Assets on the Move – Even At Sea

The transition to the Internet of Everything represents one of the greatest disruptions the world has ever seen. It is expected to be the one of the most influential catalysts for industrial change. We are seeing entire industries evolve, mature ecosystems break apart, and competition rising to entirely new dimensions.

These exciting changes are just the beginning. For Cisco, IoE is a new way of doing business, a new way of reaching customers and a new way of using technology to build value. For any industry going through the process of digitization, the ability to successfully navigate our IoE-enabled world will ultimately determine its future.

The story “Sea Change” is a great example of what Cisco is doing differently to help our customers control their destinies. We identified a real and significant problem. Then we solved it with an end-to-end solution to deliver a business outcome that will have a lasting effect on our customer’s core business value.

In the “Sea Change” yacht-racing story, Mobile Asset Management is illustrated through a vivid maritime example. A team of Cisco employees visited the customer site to install and connect onboard sensors and begin extracting data from the yacht. We created a dashboard so the crew could see the data visually.  The sailing team utilized analytics to optimize the ship’s equipment and shave seconds off their race time, which is their key measure of success.

To connect sensors to onboard computers at sea, we used technologies and products from the recently launched Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) System. This broad portfolio enables our customers to monitor, manage, and control previously unconnected devices.

All of this was done while securing the data communications path and providing access controls. Yeah, it was a pretty cool venue, but it was also rewarding and provided valuable insight that we have since applied to other mobile segments. In fact, we are using the same solutions approach, and many of the same solutions elements, to deliver new value for utility trucks, trains, buses, logistics vehicles and first responders today.

I’m sure each of you can think of ways that information from your mobile assets could help you optimize your operations. Do you have other ideas on how mobile assets can be used to achieve remarkable outcomes for your customers? Comment and share below.

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IoT Innovation: Accelerating Rapidly and Exponentially

Co-Innovation. Hyper-Collaboration. Sharing Economy.

Whatever you call it, it’s clear to me that the global community of innovators around the Internet of Things (IoT) keeps accelerating — rapidly and exponentially. I have personally experienced this disruptive growth in just the past three months, especially in how co-innovators are focusing more and more on solutions for the public and private sectors.

I wrote here three months ago that I anticipated greater participation in Cisco’s 2nd annual Innovation Grand Challenge, which we launched on June 22nd. I was expecting solid, steady growth of entries in key industry markets, such as Manufacturing, Smart Cities and Energy/Utilities.

But we were completely overwhelmed by the response!

Alex Internet of ThingsBy the time entries were closed two weeks ago (Sept. 7), we had received more than 3,000 entries in more than 100 countries from startups, incubators, entrepreneurs and independent developers. That’s three times the number of submissions as the first year of the competition and more than all four of our annual Grand Challenges combined. The top 10 countries with the most entries reflect the geographic scope and diversity of IoT innovation: United States, India, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Mexico, the Russia, and Indonesia.

In the past three months, we Read More »

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Five Keys to Success Leading Digital Business Transformation

As we explored in my previous blog, today’s rampant pace of innovation can be likened to a Digital Vortex, where ideas, technologies, and even entire industries are swept to the center of the Vortex — recombining and merging into disruptive new business models.

In such an environment, digital business transformation is critical — and demands decisive top-down leadership. Nevertheless, as our Digital Vortex research revealed, 45 percent of companies don’t consider digital disruption a board-level concern.

That represents a dangerous level of complacency, especially for market incumbents. We all know the names of seemingly immune incumbents that rested easy as innovative disruptors combined technologies into new business models — challenging and disrupting them from seemingly out of nowhere. Those disruptors were innovative, agile, and, of course, digital (see chart below from our Digital Vortex research).

Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, 2015

Source: Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, 2015

As Chris Skinner, author of Digital Bank, told our team, “If banks aren’t digital Read More »

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It’s Not Just the Connections, It’s the Applications

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting sensors, cameras, machines, and other devices at an amazing rate. But what drives the value of these digitized devices is not just the connections—it’s the applications that the connections enable. Think, for example, of a connected transportation system. It is not enough that buses have GPS and can connect to the Internet—what could really make a difference is an application that dynamically plans bus routes based on where people are, how long they have been waiting, and where they are going. That’s where the true value is.

You might even say that applications are the reason we connect things and collect data from those things. So those of us who are building the IoT infrastructure must understand what application developers need, and then enable them to take advantage of the IoT infrastructure and the data it carries. This means we need more than open APIs—we must make it easy for an application to get the data it requires from the infrastructure and to provide input into the infrastructure.

Additionally, we need to respond to the changing ways people want to interact with the devices at the edge. Traditionally, a process engineer might control or program a production line using a fixed human-machine interface (HMI) screen physically attached to the production machinery. Today, there is a growing need for remote and mobile interface capabilities—especially for the growing ranks of Millennials who want to be able to use iPads and other mobile devices to interact with IoT deployments. Cisco’s IOx platform is a flexible application development environment with a goal of enabling developers to connect applications with any protocol, interface, or device. In the future, this could even enable a control engineer in the factory to look at a robot’s operation through smart goggles, instantly viewing maintenance statistics and malfunction alerts.

Millennials in the workforce demand flexibility and mobility in interacting with IoT deployments

Millennials in the workforce demand flexibility and mobility in interacting with IoT deployments

It’s also extremely important to Read More »

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Drones and the Internet of Everything: Where Does Cisco Fit?

Earlier this summer I was privileged to be the closing keynote speaker at the UTM Convention, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Silicon Valley chapter. The convention took place at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and focused on the unmanned-vehicle traffic management (UTM) aspect of drones.

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July.  Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July. Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

You might be thinking, “Cisco is a networking company, why would you be involved in a drone conference?” Well, drones have to be connected, and that’s what Cisco does. They transmit massive amounts of data that must be collected, sorted, and analyzed. This is exactly where Cisco should be playing. Read More »

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