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Big Business from Big Data

“Dad, how many mobile phones were sold last year in the whole world?”

“Is this a trick question? Well, there are about 7 billion human beings on earth. Assuming every…”

“No, no—give me a number.”

“Well, I am not 100 percent sure. How many do you think were sold?”

“1.75 billion.”

“How do you know?”

“Dad—it’s on the Internet!”

My 10-year-old daughter left the room, triumphantly. I looked after her—admittedly feeling a little bit jealous. I wanted to be 10 years old again, too. I’d like to grow up with access to any information, available at any time, at the touch of a button. And this is only the beginning. Soon, tailored information will be provided to us proactively, before we even know what to ask for.

It’s easy to forget how incredibly rapid technological development has been. The true uptake of the Internet happened only about 15 years ago. Think about what would happen if your family had to spend an entire week without being connected to the Internet and the constant global interactions to which we have grown accustomed. The next ”big thing” is always around the corner, waiting to disrupt everything we take for granted today.

So what will be the next big thing in technology? This is a topic of endless debate on the Internet, at dinners with friends, and in the trade press, with the discussion often descending deep into the weeds of architectures, capabilities, protocols, and standards. However, for a business executive, the only thing that really matters is the business impact. The only relevant business question is ultimately, “How can I improve my business performance enabled by technology?”

Big Business from Big Data - FINAL

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There’s No Place Like (a Connected) Home

It doesn’t take long to realize it’s going to be one of those days.

You drag out of bed, bleary-eyed after a bad night’s sleep in a stuffy, overheated room. Desperately in need of a caffeine jolt, you then discover that you’re out of coffee. You turn on the TV but are too harried to take in the morning news. Rushing out of the house, late, you suddenly can’t find your keys. A mad, time-wasting search ensues before you drive off to work, finally. Then, stuck in traffic, your mind begins to fret: Did you turn off the TV? Turn out the lights? Water the plants? Lock the door?

Now, imagine the same morning routine in a home enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), the explosion in connectivity that is transforming the world as we know it.

You wake up rested, since the temperature, air quality, and lighting in your bedroom have been carefully synchronized to your sleep patterns. You tap your smartphone to start up the coffee machine and turn on some light morning music. During a short but vigorous pre-breakfast workout, the temperature in your home gym drops automatically. Later, a sensor tells you exactly where you left your car keys the night before, just as a separate prompt informs you that the plants are fine — except for the thirsty hibiscus, which you water on your way out.

You don’t need to lock the house or turn off the appliances; a proximity sensor detects when you leave the house, locks and shuts off everything, and then sends an alert message to your car’s central screen. There’s no traffic, because your (connected) car is managed through the best routes — and finding a (connected) parking space is a breeze. During the morning meeting, the refrigerator tweets from home: milk and coffee are low. But not to worry — it has automatically ordered fresh cartons of your favorite brands from the local retailer.


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Cisco and the Big Energy Dilemma

There was a point in time when classrooms had one, maybe two things to plug in – most likely an overhead projector . When teachers were done teaching for the day, it was powered down to make sure electricity was not wasted. Over the years, the number of devices needed per individual has exploded. From schools and hospitals to technology companies, the number of things that are plugged in has gone largely unaddressed and has ballooned into the last and largest unmanaged IT expense.

Visibility is key to addressing this issue. It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to power down their devices when not in use. At the same time, we’ve found that a single work place device is left powered on for an average of 8,000 hours over the course of its use but only actually utilized 25-50% of the time

In July 2013, Cisco announced the acquisition of JouleX – a leader in enterprise IT energy management for network-attached and data center assets and a key complementary component to Cisco’s energy portfolio via the EnergyWise offering. We saw that the market for energy management is a growing one, particularly with IT pushing 25-80% of enterprise energy consumption. This has been driven by everything from corporate citizenship and competitive pressures to increasingly regularly requirements and escalating energy prices around the globe.

This week, we held a press roundtable to provide an update following the acquisition and discuss what we’re working on moving forward. Joining us was Schneider Electric – one of our key technology partners in delivering a comprehensive energy solution. We also had two customers join us from the healthcare and education arenas, to discuss how they’ve become greener, more cost-efficient organizations through greater visibility into their energy consumption. Below is a recap of some the challenges they faced and how it was addressed.

Hammond School District Projects 30k in Annual Energy Savings

Mark Hennessee, the District Energy Manager for the Hammond School District (Indiana, K-12) discussed the energy challenge that his district faced. The classroom landscape now includes smart boards, student workstations, PC labs, and other devices. They need a way to handle all the devices across their network, without disrupting the education process. With a utility expenditure of more than $3.5 million annually and 24 facilities totaling over 3 million square feet (15 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 4 high schools), there was little insight into how much energy was being consumed on a daily basis.  The JouleX software discovered 1,800 devices were left powered on after hours during the week and 1,200 over the weekend. Working closely with IT and all relevant stakeholders, the level of visibility they ascertained led to policies to power devices down in an intuitive manner and in close consideration of teacher/student needs. The Hammond School district achieved impressive results – 35% less power and an annual projected savings of $31,500.

Hospital in the Netherlands Gains Deep Visibility Into Their IT Environment

Jan Pieter Evenhuis, IT Consultant of the Nij Smellinghe Hospital located in the the Northern Dutch town of Drachten was up against a challenging environment. By the very nature of being a hospital, the organization was operation 24 hours a day and it was difficult to manage how often individuals shut off their devices before leaving for the night. With JouleX, Nij gained 100% visibility into their IT environment across all areas of the organization. As a result, they were able to achieve a 30% reduction in their energy consumption. Unexpectedly, the process of implementing the technology raised a level of awareness amongst employees around the importance of energy management. Even though software was in place to power off their devices at night and turn them back on in the morning, they had the added bonus of shifting employee attitudes and behavior.

Leaving Money on the Table

When it comes to energy management, the un-realized savings are substantial. We’ve estimated that with greater visibility into their operations, companies and organizations can reduce energy costs by as much as 60%. This amounts to savings of $24.60 billion, enough to power the city of New York for 5 years! And all this goes beyond printers and computer screens – everything from ATMs to vending machines should be considered. In the Internet of Everything, connectivity will enable great things. Energy is an important next frontier and it’s high time to tackle the last unmanaged IT expense.

IoT World Forum Day 1 by the Numbers

This week I’m at the inaugural Internet of Things World Forum, hosted by Cisco.  To give you a sense of what was discussed in just one day, I thought I’d capture some of the more interesting tweets and stats.  Below the tweets is a fun short video where I interviewed SAP’s Benjamin Wesson and with Cisco’s Monique Morrow!

One – New IoT Division at Cisco!

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Internet of Things World Forum Kickoff

Tomorrow kicks off the first day of the Internet of Things World Forum, hosted by Cisco.  Today I was fortunate to have a few minutes with Guido Jouret.  Guido is the head of Cisco’s IoT Group and answered a few questions on his vision for Cisoc IoT and what he hopes attendees get out of attending the World Forum.  Guido is a fun, dynamic interviewee and I hope you enjoy this interview.

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