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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.





The Internet of Everything: Creating Better Experiences in Unimaginable Ways

Futurists have long envisioned a world where fabulous innovations transform our lives in mind-boggling ways. And while some of their ideas may remain far-fetched, the most exciting thing about their future is that so much of it is already here, today (flying cars notwithstanding).

Indeed, we are living in an age of unprecedented technological transformation, one that stands to eclipse even the first Internet boom. This next wave of change is being driven by a massive upsurge in connectivity, from 10 billion connected things today to 50 billion in 2020. The world may seem connected. But only 1 percent of the objects around you are endowed with smart connectivity. That is changing fast. Your car, your refrigerator, your parking space, the bridge you drive over, the shelves at the local retailer, and the supply chain that feeds them — all of these “dark assets” are being “lit up” with smart connectivity, altering our lives in profound ways.

Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). We define IoE as the intelligent connection of people, process, data, and things. And, of course, the “people” element is paramount, since the whole point of technology is to create a better life experience for everyone.

At Cisco, we estimate the Value at Stake from this transformation to be $14.4 trillion for the private sector alone over the next 10 years, which represents an opportunity to increase global aggregate corporate profits by about 21 percent.

Cisco’s projections are based on deep research and analysis into potential use cases. But we are not the only ones sensing the potential impact of this game-changing, global transformation.

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The Internet of Everything Connects Customers to Shipping Logistics, One Package at a Time

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.

Kathy EnglishWith 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.

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NYC IoE Tour: The Curious World of Energy Management

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.