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Analytics at the Edge: Where the Network Becomes the Database

In 1984, John Gage of Sun Microsystems coined the phrase “the network is the computer” as computing functions started to become increasingly distributed across the network. Today, boundaries that once separated individual computers have disappeared and application processing is enabled—and managed—by the network. We are now at the forefront of a new market transition, as eloquently explained by Rick van der Lans in his paper, “The Network Is the Database.”

The network is indeed becoming the database. Big Data and the related approach to database management are moving away from a centralized data warehouse model and literally starting to flow across the network. We are virtualizing data management by leaving data in the network, instead of copying it into a data center. Data stays in motion wherever and whenever it’s needed across the network, instead of being at rest.

What does this mean for business value? A distributed—and virtualized—data management approach solves the three major issues of Big Data: volume, variety, and velocity.

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The Internet of Things and the Future of Business

As SAP says, the trends reshaping your world will ultimately transform the way you do business.  Today, Cisco and SAP join together to deliver their visions for the Internet of Things (IoT) at SAP’s signature conference in New York:  Conversations on the Future of Business.  Bryce Barnes, Solution Leader, Internet of Things, Cisco, and Patrick Maroney, Principle, Industry Solutions Group, SAP, lead a session on How the Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting the Future of Business.

Bryce will explore the significance and impact of how connecting everything from machines in factories, to cars to sensors inside our bodies will change our lives, and drive new and exciting business models.  He will explore the relationship between connectivity, big data, and analytics and highlight IoT examples that point to the future of business from manufacturing to Life Sciences, retail, mining, touching every aspect of how we design, make, and deliver products.

Value at stake: enormous.  A top area of opportunity for manufacturers is to move toward a connected factory—an intelligent, networked plant environment that enables smart manufacturing. Read More »

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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

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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