The most wonderful time of year is upon us. With the holidays just around the corner, many will be crossing off wish lists by shopping via their laptop, tablet or smartphone. Last year I was one of those that waited until the last minute to shop for the holidays and by the time I arrived at the mall, there was virtually nothing left to buy for my nieces! I had to fight for a parking spot and was exhausted after the first half hour!
A recent prediction from e-Marketer states that online and mobile spending will increase about 15.1% year over year this November and December, showing just how quickly the Internet of Everything is enabling more e-commerce spending than ever before.
With this increase in anytime, anywhere online shopping, how are delivery companies meeting this influx in demand? How are they ensuring on-time deliveries? How are they lowering operating costs and expanding reach? Over the next few months – and coincidentally during the busiest shopping time of the year -- I’ll be discussing how advances in cloud and mobility are propelling the Internet of Everything and transforming the shipping industry. And this change is starting with the customer.
It’s fitting that we’re in NYC this week, talking about energy management during Cisco’s Internet of Everything tour. And that’s because it’s an issue that’s left $24.60 billion worth of energy savings on the table – enough to power NYC for 5 years!
The issue at hand revolves around the lack of visibility into IT environments and connected devices, specifically on much energy is being consumed when something isn’t actually being used. In Cisco’s Internet of Everything vision, connectivity within the energy management sector will help automate a process that’s too cumbersome to execute manually. This includes everything from turning off computers when they’re not used to powering down ATM machines when there’s no foot traffic.
Speaking of ATMs
Joining us at the event this week was Sparkasse, one of the largest banks in Germany with more than 400 locations, 350,000 employees and 3 trillion Euros in assets. At first, Sparkasse leveraged energy management technology to turn on and off PCs in accordance with when banks were open – it has since expanded to many other IT devices, including ATM machines. After deploying energy management across its networks, ATMs across the country were optimized to power down during hours when they were not in use, specifically within indoor areas where closing hours are involved. Sparkasse didn’t need to physically touch any of the machines or install software individually. All of this was done automatically over the network. Savings have been in the millions annually, cutting down both overall energy consumption and the bank’s carbon footprint.
Schools and Hospitals
On October 31, Cisco held an energy management roundtable with customers from both the education and healthcare verticals. On hand was Mark Hennessee, District Energy Manager for the Hammond School District (Indiana, K-12), who talked about how visibility into his districts’ plug load has resulted in 35% less power consumption and annual projected savings of $31,500 – even more when you include an incentive check from the local utility provider.
Jan Pieter Evenhuis, IT Consultant of the Nij Smellinghe Hospital located in the Northern Dutch town of Drachten was also in attendance to talk about the challenges of energy management in the context of a 24/7 operation like a hospital. The level of visibility that was provided into their IT environment drove upwards of 30% in energy consumption reduction.
The Road Ahead
As we continue to explore the issue of energy management, enterprise IT environments and devices is the start of a plethora of other verticals that face this problem. As we saw with Sparkasse, it’s often things you don’t expect – like the ATM machines at your local bank. In a world where connected “things” can be choreographed to power on and off at the most optimal times, you open up the opportunity to make the world a little greener and help organizations of all sizes save money.
In today’s world of the Internet of Everything (IoE), we are changing the expectations of customer experiences. Through wearable technology, wireless location-based services and even video analytics, companies can customize every interaction with the information provided to the customer.
We aren’t just talking about tangible products. Think about a concert venue where thousands of people come together for their favorite music artist. Read More »
I am attending South Korea’s Big Data Forum in Seoul, and one question here is, “How big is Big Data?” My friend and colleague Dave Evans has pointed out that by the end of this year, more data will be created every 10 minutes than in the entire history of the world up to 2008. Now, that’s big!
Much of this data is being created by billions of sensors that are embedded in everything from traffic lights and running shoes to medical devices and industrial machinery—the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT). But the real value of all this data can be realized only when we look at it in the context of the Internet of Everything (IoE). While IoT enables automation through machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, IoE adds the elements of “people” and “process” to the “data” and “things” that make up IoT. Analytics is what brings intelligence to these connections, creating endless possibilities.
To understand why, let’s step back and take a look at the classic approach to Big Data and analytics. Traditionally, organizations have tended to store all the data they collect from various sources in centralized data centers. With this model, if a retailer wants to know something about the buying patterns of a certain store’s customers, it can create an analysis of loyalty card purchases based on data in the data warehouse. Collecting, cleansing, overlaying, and manipulating this data takes time. By the time the analysis is run, the customer has already left the store.
Big Data today is characterized by volume, variety, and velocity. This phenomenon is putting a tremendous strain on the centralized model, as it is no longer feasible to duplicate and store all that data in a centralized data warehouse. Decisions and actions need to take place at the edge, where and when the data is created; that is where the data and analysis need to be as well. That’s what Cisco calls “Data in Motion.” With sensors gaining more processing power and becoming more context-aware, it is now possible to bring intelligence and analytic algorithms close to the source of the data, at the edge of the network. Data in Motion stays where it is created, and presents insights in real time, prompting better, faster decisions.
What will the future be like? As depicted in today’s popular movies and books, the future is either one of bright promise—where the world’s greatest problems have been solved by technology and greater human enlightenment—or it’s a dystopian world where today’s problems have only gotten worse, technology has gone bad, and the very survival of humanity is at risk.
As Cisco’s chief futurist, it’s my job to think about what the world will look like in a few years, and how our actions today will impact that future. And while I’m not ready to put on my rose-colored glasses just yet, I do have an optimistic view of what the future may bring, enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Within 10 years, there will be 50 billion connected things in the world, with trillions of connections among them. These connections will change the world for the better in ways we can’t even imagine today. But here are just a few things I can imagine:
Better supply of food: Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
Better supply of water: Similarly, about 30 percent of our water supply is lost due to leaks and waste. Just one faucet or leaky pipe dripping three times a minute will waste more than 100 gallons of water a year. “Smart” pipes can reduce this waste significantly by sensing and pinpointing the location of leaks that would otherwise go undetected for months or years.
Better access to education: Affordable access to education is one of the most important ways to lift people out of poverty. Soon, time and distance will no longer limit access to an engaging, affordable, high-quality education. With connection speeds going up, and equipment costs going down, distance learning is going beyond traditional online classes to create widely accessible immersive, interactive, real-time learning experiences.
Better access to healthcare: Urbanization and population growth are putting a strain on healthcare resources—especially in rural areas. After the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, Cisco was a strategic partner in creating a networked medical delivery system, including four telehealth networks that allow doctors to meet with and examine patients remotely. But those capabilities are just the beginning of what IoE will make possible. Soon, women with high-risk pregnancies will be able to wear a tiny, always-on fetal monitoring electronic “tattoo,” which will communicate to the cloud whenever the woman is within range of a wireless network. The analytics capabilities in the cloud will alert doctors at the first sign of trouble, and even tell the mother-to-be when she needs to drink more water, or get more rest.
While sensors and machine-to-machine communication are important parts of these solutions, it’s not just the “Internet of Things” that is making all of this possible—it’s the Internet of Everything—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. And Big Data analytics is what brings the intelligence to all of these connections, enabling new kinds of processes, and helping us make smarter decisions.
I’ve highlighted just four areas where IoE will change the world for the better. But there is not a single part of life that will not be impacted in some way—whether that means improving your drive to work, speeding you through the checkout line at the grocery store, saving energy through smart lighting, or minimizing your wait at a traffic light. The Internet of Everything is not a silver bullet that can solve all the world’s woes, but with the spark of human innovation, IoE can be the engine for a better future.