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The Internet of Things: Hype or Reality?

Having spent several days last week at the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai, I am more convinced than ever that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not some hyped-up futuristic vision of what could be, but a present-day reality that is transforming businesses and industries here and now.

In this blog series over the past six months, I have touched on many of the technology and business factors to consider while planning an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment—from access technologies to emerging standards and the convergence of IT and organizational technology (OT) . I spent three blogs discussing fog computing, analytics, and applications, and was happy to be part of the announcement of the OpenFog Consortium last month. All of this focus on IoT culminated last week, when the IoT World Forum highlighted both well-established IoT solutions and numerous IoT startups that are gearing up to change the future.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

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Reconnecting refugees with loved ones thanks to the Cisco Disaster Response Team

Last month, I had the privilege, as part of my job, to go to Greece to deploy emergency communications infrastructure. Cisco was asked by partner NGOs to support the influx of people passing through the Greek islands due to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population, more than 11 million people, have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Greece, hoping to find a better future in Europe—and unfortunately not all of them make it across. Those who do, then face steep challenges from strained resources and minimal services due to the enormity of the situation.

This is why they need our help. The majority of the refugee community in Greece is Syrian and the rest are Iraqi and Afghans, trying to escape wars there. The current humanitarian aid effort is led by UN agencies working with the national governments and a multitude of NGO aid organisations. The overall response has been humbling to see, people providing shelter and power to sites, and the local support offered by Greek citizens in welcoming the refugees has been inspiring.

Copy of _SOS0827-PanoTen of us (from Cisco, a partner NGO and other corporate disaster response teams) have just returned from the region. We went there with one aim in mind; to install secure Wi-Fi zones and charging stations so that the refugees could contact their loved ones and families back home. For many, they had been out of touch with those that mattered for so long and this was the first opportunity they had to let them know they were safe and ok.

When we first arrived on Greek shores, most of the refugee sites had no communications infrastructure in place at all. The Disaster Response Team had been tasked to bring connectivity to various points along the migration routes, starting in the Greek islands. The importance of this was brought home, as we learned that one of the first questions refugees ask when they get rescued out of their boats is, “Do you have Wi-Fi?”

For people arriving from these boats with very few possessions, little money, and certainly no local currency, the chance to just let people know they were ok had a hugely positive effect. We often forget how much we rely on digital communications in our day-to-day lives. Once we’d set up the networks, people were immediately able to Read More »

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Announcing Cisco IoT Pathfinder: New Initiative for Diversifying the IoT Workforce

A key discussion point I keep hearing again and again this week during the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai is that the success of IoT depends greatly on developing the right workforce with the right skills.

I was honored to host a panel here called Transforming the Workforce to Unleash the Value of IoT that focused on how diversity can lead to greater innovation. It was here that we announced an initiative in expanding gender diversity throughout the industry — Cisco IoT Pathfinder.

Sponsored by Cisco and brought to you by Global Knowledge, an IoT Talent Consortium partner, IoT Pathfinder is a series of free 60-minute training webinars designed for women, men, and students interested in expanding their skills for the growing IoT economy.

Gartner estimates that IoT suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020, leading to an ever increasing need for specialized talent. The coming digital age requires a broader set of both technical and non-technical skills than the information age and we want to make it easier to develop those skills.

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Our Innovation Ecosystem Shines Brilliantly at IoTWF in Dubai

As the sun rises on the third day of the third annual Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) this year in the super smart city of Dubai – the brilliance of the Internet of Things (IoT) market and the robust ecosystem that supports it continues to shine brightly. Rapid IoT prototyping and other innovative solutions that are transforming business and society flourished during three days of demos, case studies, keynotes, breakout sessions, hackathons, smart city tours and much more.

It’s fitting that this year’s IoTWF came toward the end of the calendar because it mirrored a full year of explosively disruptive growth and value – all made possible by connecting the unconnected through a digital platform we call the Internet.

Cisco's Innovation Engine_StaticIoT and its continuous evolution to the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, process, data and things – is maturing at unprecedented speed. The evidence was all around us with examples of how cloud, fog, mobility, sensors and other technologies are converging to create a new digital world. These outcome-based solutions are capturing new value in industries ranging from oil and gas, retail and healthcare to manufacturing, transportation and the public sector. The excitement, opportunity and optimism for IoT/IoE was literally tangible at IoTWF.

I know there is overwhelming statistical research and myriad examples of IoT’s expanding landscape. However, for me, one of the clearest signs of market acceleration is seeing the robust ecosystem of accelerators, incubators, startups, entrepreneurs and app developers that are coming together to drive innovation in this area.

At Cisco, we believe the next big idea can come from anywhere and we’ve built our own innovation engine around build, buy, partner, invest and co-development to reflect this. Specifically with IoT, we’re looking at how we apply this strategy – be it partnering with peers to introduce industry standards or encouraging the entrepreneur spirt with industry challenges. Coming out of this event, I am particularly proud of our work with our extended ecosystem showcased at this year’s IoTWF to bring IoT to life.

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IoT World Forum: Translating IoT Innovation into Business Value with Analytics at the Edge

Heading into the holiday season, I can safely predict that my kids’ excitement levels will increase steadily as December 25th draws nearer. They, of course, are anticipating Christmas morning and all that it entails – a break from school, delicious brunch, hot chocolate, family time, and, just maybe, some gift giving. Well, I am pretty excited myself, because along with the holidays, December also ushers in the Internet of Things World Forum 2015 (IoTWF) in Dubai!

Cisco is hosting its third rendition of the IoTWF at the Dubai World Trade Centre from December 6-8, and this event just gets better and better each year. The forum is an opportunity for the companies leading the way toward digital transformation with the Internet of Everything (IoE) to showcase dramatic transformations now gaining momentum across every global sector. It’s a chance to learn, share, and partner – to see tangible examples of digital progress and to collaborate with industry leaders to plot the future of the digital global economy. It’s kind of like a condensed holiday season for the world of digital innovation.

Each year, the forum is a great time and place to measure the progress we are making toward digital transformations of every global industry. When we held the first IoTWF two years ago, digitization and the IoE seemed like distant, albeit imminent, visions. We focused on the big picture, needing to comprehend and contextualize the massive opportunity and far-reaching implications of this fourth industrial revolution. Now, more than two years in, our focus has shifted: It’s no longer about convincing people that digital transformation is real, necessary, and valuable, but about connecting the dots between the vision for where to go and the strategy for how to get there. Read More »

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