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Your Data, Yourself — in the Marketplace of Me

On a typical day, we leave a vast trail of data in our wake. Our browsing histories, online preferences, shopping habits, work decisions, social interactions—all are rendered in binary code, prompting a complex interaction of requests, responses, affirmations, and denials.

And that’s just from our laptops and smartphones.

What about when the Internet of Everything — with its explosion in connectivity from 10 billion “things” today to 50 billion in 2020 — truly shifts into overdrive? At that point, our clothing, our houses, our cars, our lawns, and our refrigerators may be generating ever-larger torrents of data — all about us.

This upsurge in personal Big Data has big implications. Indeed, each person’s emerging digital persona will go a long way toward defining their place in the world.  Furthermore, all of that data already has great intrinsic value to Internet giants, retailers, financial services companies, and many others. If we manage it right — in what I see as a burgeoning Marketplace of Me — some of that value may come right back to us.

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A Healthier You with Big Data

What if you had a “virtual doctor” who was available at any time—24×7—to give you a quick checkup, dispense friendly health advice, and even alert you to possible health problems before they become serious? What if your parents or grandparents got a gentle daily reminder to take their medication, so they would never have to worry about missing a dose? What if you could walk into any emergency room in the country and receive exactly the care you need because the hospital has instant access to all your medical records? While much of this may seem futuristic, it will become reality in a future not that far away.

Big Data and analytics are transforming healthcare as we know it. Let me share a few examples:

1. Patient care

Many healthcare providers are stretched to capacity, and can’t always follow up with patients to see how they’re doing and make sure they are following medical advice. Today, we are beginning to see pills with tiny ingestible sensors that send a message to your doctor or to a loved one to confirm that you have taken the pill—giving peace of mind to worried children of elderly parents, or anyone who needs to take medication at a specified time. In the future, these sensors will likely also be able to report whether the medicine results in the right impact, and to suggest a change of dose or even a different medication, if that is appropriate.

A high-risk pregnancy is a constant source of worry for many women. In the near future, small electronic “tattoos” will provide nonstop fetal monitoring through a sticker worn right on the skin. Wireless communications capabilities will send vital signs directly to the cloud, where Big Data and analytics capabilities can evaluate the information and send appropriate alerts to the mother and her doctor.

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Embracing IoT? Security Must Be at the Core

Last month I attended a summit of subject matter experts on securing the Internet of Things (IoT). At first, I thought I had the wrong room, because it seemed that everybody other than me was an architect or engineer working for a device manufacturer, and as a result the conversation was dominated by placing security controls into the devices, themselves. In contrast, I tend to approach the issue from the perspective of protecting the core of the network. But just when I was beginning to think I had wasted an hour-long drive and was going to be bored out of my skull all day, a few of us started debating the issue and the conversation began to evolve.  Before long, we had found common ground in the fact that security controls are all about trust relationships – ‘I trust you, therefore I will allow you to do that’.

Now trust is a funny thing, because by its very nature it can neither be one-sided nor one-dimensional. Instead, it must be built into every aspect of the transaction; a sort of “digital handshake” to ensure all is well before doing business. In other words, each of our pre-conceived perspectives was correct, yet we were all being stubborn and short-sighted! Read More »

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Getting up to speed on the Internet of Things – fast!

The Internet of Things (IoT) technology trend is moving faster forward than anyone anticipated. This was evident at the IoT World Forum held in Barcelona, October 29th through 31st. Thought leaders from around the globe converged to discuss wide ranging topics on the IoT, including: standards development, technology ecosystems, connecting the unconnected, data analytics, and a number of different concept-to-reality, real world implementations of the IoT in action.

[What’s the Difference Between IoT and IoE?  Two Minutes To Find Out!]

Even though the IoT technology phenomenon is rapidly growing, it’s still new for many of us. What does it mean for my industry? Where do I get started? Who do I turn to for help? Indeed, there are many of us staying up at night asking those questions! Read More »

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Cisco Connected Rail: Turning Vision into Reality

The world’s rail transportation systems are going places. From passenger trains that move people city to city at ever increasing speeds to freight trains that do the heavy lifting of global commerce, rail continues to power modern life. Cisco is thrilled to be a part of this dynamic industry and we enjoyed spotlighting Cisco Connected Rail solutions at a recent media event on Nov. 18-19 in New York City.

The convergence of information and networking technologies – often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – is giving the rail industry a boost and will change the way railroads design and manage their networks to improve system safety, efficiency and to enhance the passenger experience. Cisco is leading this technology evolution to help empower the Internet of Things with industrial-grade networking technologies that drive machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. This unleashes many new capabilities, drives new business models and allows operators to offer more value added services to passengers. This boosts their revenue and improves customer service.

Most rail communication systems today were built over 20 years ago. These aging and typically proprietary networks require specialized technical teams to keep them running. As many engineers and technicians needed to maintain older systems near retirement, rail operators need to adopt smart technology strategies now to remain competitive throughout the 21st century.

Cisco’s vision for the future is built with the Internet of Things in mind – or what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), which encompasses virtually every industry and is poised to generate trillions of dollars in value.

 

And, we’re already helping to transform almost every aspect of the rail industry – on board trains, in stations and at trackside, improving communications from the locomotive to Central Train Control centers and beyond.

Cisco Connected Trackside replaces older proprietary SCADA networks with secure, highly flexible IP networks to reduce complexity, lower costs, and improve safety with communications networks for train control systems. The network can connect sensors to facilitate asset management, train controls, surveillance and other services.

We’re also transforming the riding experience with Cisco Connected Train solutions that provide passengers with on-board Wi-Fi, video, and mobile applications that deliver entertainment, advertising, and scheduling information. Train stations are getting an overhaul too, thanks to Cisco’s Connected Stations that support new services like “wayfinding” touch-screen kiosks to help travelers plan trips, check schedules and take advantage of special offers.

Sharing a Vision: New York City Media Event, Nov. 18-19

On November 19th, I led a Connected Rail Roundtable discussion that focused on where the rail industry is heading, both in commercial freight and mass transit Intercity rail. Top experts from Cisco and our industry partners discussed how Cisco’s Connected Rail solutions are being deployed in rail systems and how the Internet of Everything is creating business value across different industries.

As rail enters the (IoE) revolution, there will be new services and experiences for the passenger, boosting revenues and profits for operators. IoE will deliver quantum leaps in performance. Operators will see a 1%  efficiency savings in passage and cargo train operations, equating to savings of 1.8 billion dollars a year. This will all happen when we bring connectivity to the trains, tracksides and stations.

Lastly, we saw a Cisco interactive passenger kiosk in action during our two-day media event in New York City. These kiosks are deployed in New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) stations, which serves 15.1 million people.

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