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Internet of Things: The Bigger Picture

It’s clear that the number of connected devices is growing exponentially.  We’ve already passed the 10 billion mark earlier this year and will most likely reach 50 billion by 2020. The opportunities and challenges of all these devices coming online have tremendous implications for how we live and work.

As devices are proliferating in the Internet of Things (IoT), complexity is growing. IoT-based connections tend to be in silos, independent systems with analytics that are focused on a single purpose.  So it’s important to look at the landscape holistically, to apply a systems approach and address the challenges of building an infrastructure that can meet and interact with an IoT world. That means integrating intelligence, convergence, visibility, and security into the infrastructure.

I’m always interested in hearing or reading points of view on the evolving Internet of Things. Case in point, “A Blueprint to the Internet of Things,” which was a great discussion between ReadWrite’s Taylor Hatmaker and Bump’s David Lieb about how devices need to talk to each other better to make the user experience simple and seamless.  Device interface is an important part of the Internet of Things (IoT), but it’s just the starting point.

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Why Connections (not Things) Will Change the World

Much has been made of the “Internet of Things” and a growing array of “smart” things that will soon change nearly every aspect of our lives — from Google’s driverless car and iRobot’s Ava 500 video collaboration robot to “smart” pill bottles that will automatically renew a prescription and remind you when to take it.

While we often think that it’s all about the things, it’s not actually the “things” that create the value, it’s the connections among people, process, data, and things — or the Internet of Everything—that creates value.

You can see the power of connections by adding a sensor and an Internet connection to any “dumb” thing. Consider, for example, your front door lock. It has no “intelligence” of its own — it’s simply a mechanical device that allows you to open and close the front door of your house. But if you add a sensor with a connection to the cloud, that “dumb” device can take an image of your face, send it to the cloud for analysis, and determine whether or not to let you into the house, based on facial-recognition technology. The lock itself doesn’t have the intelligence or compute power to make this decision, but the cloud does. It’s the connection that makes this “dumb” thing “intelligent.”

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Back to School: Transforming the Classroom with IoE

With students and teachers heading back to school, I’ve been thinking about when attended high school and college. For me, collaboration meant getting together with study groups, phone calls for homework help and office hours with teachers. For my two children – one a college junior and one college freshman – I have seen streaming video, text messages and online sessions with educators thousands of miles away turn our kitchen table into a classroom with a simple click of a button.Back to School

Beyond convenience and the overwhelming coolness factor of being able to connect virtually with teachers and classmates, I often wonder how technology will impact education and careers in the long run. Collaboration software is pervasive on many campuses, transforming the learning process, academic research and the relationship between students and instructors. With the advent of BYOD and mobile technology, collaboration is even becoming more accessible.  Will the integration of collaboration in their education translate into career skills?

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The Internet of Everything Connected Classroom Starts with Startups

Connected-ClassroomsWhen I think of a traditional elementary or secondary classroom, I think of colorful bulletin boards, desks, pencils and neat piles of books and paper. As students all over the country return back to school, it’s interesting to think about how the classrooms we enjoyed as students (back in the day!) have evolved to include electronic white boards, tablets and other high-tech collaboration tools.

While this technology has fundamentally changed the landscape of the modern classroom, the Internet of Everything is driving education-focused start-ups to enable more connections in and outside the classroom than ever before. Here’s a look at a few start-ups that are revolutionizing how students, teachers and parents connect and learn.

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Ask the Futurist: “How Will the Internet of Everything Help Us Manage Our Own Health?”

In our last “Ask the Futurist” blog post, I discussed how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is working to connect doctors with their patients through electronic medical records. The subject of IoE’s role in the health care industry is a topic I am asked about often. After all, the Internet of Everything has the potential to change almost every aspect of how we live. And perhaps, how long we live.

Today’s question comes from Teren Bryson, director of IT at Zetec. Teren is a cancer survivor, and still in his 30s. He is interested in how technology is impacting health — specifically user-enabled health monitoring through portable biometric devices. Here’s his two-part question:

Question: “How will the Internet of Everything help us manage our own health? For example, when will a wearable device be able to monitor my blood glucose levels or other biometrics in a real-time way?

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