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Demystifying IPv6

Version 6 of the Internet protocol (IPv6) is a key enabler of the Internet of Everything (IoE). People, data, and things all need IP addresses to connect to the Internet. But we’ve already run out of IP addresses under IPv4, which dictates almost all (98.5 percent) of Internet traffic today. Even with all of the attention IPv6 has received, confusion and misinformation abound.

I’m extremely pleased to have Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized industry expert on IP, explore IPv6 over a series of three blogs.

In these posts, Mark will demystify IPv6, discuss how to best make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, and take a look “under the hood” of IP so that companies and industries can get the most value from IoE. Read More »

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Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

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Collaboration in the New Age of Convergence

I was in the grocery store when I realized that something new was going on: our entrance into the era of computing that I call convergence — the convergence of man and machine – is already changing the face of collaboration.DiM_Carlos_Blog_3_c#4AD694012

In the recent past, collaboration did a great job of connecting people to people through video, voice and the virtual workspace, which improved productivity and the intimacy of connection.  A video chat, whether for business or pleasure, communicates more than a simple phone call.  Add a collective workspace and you’re off like a rocket. In this collaboration between people, the technology served as a conduit.

But now I’m sensing the beginning of something different: collaborating with the machine itself. Here’s an example: I’m pretty focused on maintaining my health and my weight so when I go to the grocery store, I have a health app that’s connected to my online health profile and running with augmented reality.  When I show my phone my choice of broccoli, it votes thumbs up; when I grab my favorite cookies, it displays the calories and cholesterol they will add to my daily intake, notes that it’s contrary to medication I’m on, and advises me against it.  (Of course when I get to the beer aisle, I over-ride its displeasure: this is collaborative, after all, not dictatorial!)

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Summary: Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction

I recently kicked off a series about security and the Internet of Everything, a pivotal topic that starts with the roots of IoE, IoT and M2M, which I explore in more depth in the first post.

Machine-to-Machine connections make up a huge portion of the Internet of Things, both general concepts for the network infrastructures that link physical and virtual objects. These abstractions come together on IoE, making it possible for devices to orchestrate and manage the world we live in, as they become connected entities themselves.

But to fully discuss security on the Internet of Everything, we must first go back to the roots of IoE itself. The technology innovations that employ M2M and IoT were actually spun off from military and industrial supply chain applications. As IP became a more common communication protocol, IoT gained more traction, helped even more by the creation of IPv6 and other advancements in wireless technology. As ever-increasing data is captured and distributed on these networks, more intelligence is generated.

Read my full “Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction” blog post to learn more about this embedded intelligence that is a core architectural component of IoT, and how it informs the security for the Internet of Everything itself. And stay tuned! I have more for you to come in this series, including a look into IoE security framework.

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Ethernet Turns 40 — and Continues To Influence the Technology Landscape

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

 – Winston Churchill

It is nearly impossible – even foolish – to look ahead without looking back. Glimpses into the past can give us inspiration for new innovations and even teach us what not to do. Behind every great technological innovation is a solid legacy product or solution that inspired it or played an integral part in its development. Behind the printing press was paper and block printing. Behind the telephone was the telegraph. And behind the Internet of Everything (IoE)? Ethernet.Ethernet Turns 40

Today – May 22 – marks the 40th anniversary of Ethernet. In 1973, technologist and 3Com founder Robert Metcalfe designed the Ethernet to allow computer devices to communicate with each other using radio-like signals over an antenna cable. Long used for reliable and efficient access to information, its implications on the networking world reach far past the local area network (LAN).

Over the course of 40 years, our quest for connecting the unconnected continues. Our connections have become increasingly complex since Metcalfe was tasked with connecting several Xerox computers to a single printer, and we need to understand the possibilities in both the number and value of our modern-day connections.

In a previous blog post, How the Internet of Everything Will Change the World…for the Better, I referenced Metcalfe’s law: the power of the network is greater than the sum of its parts. True. But the parts need to be recognized and optimized in order to maximize this power. The Internet of Everything is a large-scale metaphor for Metcalfe’s law. The combined connections of people, processes, data, and things don’t just amount to a list of things that are connected. The actionable insights that exist with the power of networked connectivity exponentially create the Internet of Everything.

Ethernet has helped further the progress that these connections – and the insights gleaned from them – will have on the Internet of Everything. So, today we celebrate not only the introduction of Ethernet, but also the technologies it made possible.

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