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Connecting parents and children with the Internet of Everything

Overnight trips when both of my kids were younger were hard. Wishing them goodnight over the phone. Sending postcards. But I always wished there was a way to stay connected with them while I was away.

I read an interesting article on GigaOM by Stacey Higginbotham entitled, Hey parents! The internet of things might just be your new best friend, which highlights how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is beginning to impact parent-children relationships. More specifically, the article showcases a Wi-Fi enabled teddy bear that lets parents’ text or send hugs to their children. This message-receiving bear can provide younger children with comfort and reassurance in knowing that their parents are thinking of them when they are away.

As the Internet of Everything evolves and grows, we see more and more innovations focused on convenience, safety and security, thereby impacting parenting. Today, video-enabled baby monitors connect to the Internet and allow parents to watch and talk or sing to their baby from miles away. These types of technologies are just the beginning. The Internet of Everything will enable cribs to monitor vital signs – capturing each time a baby takes a breath -- and collecting sleeping and feeding pattern data.

While much of this technology wasn’t available when my children were small, it is exciting think of the possibilities for the future of parenting.

As my daughter is preparing to go away to college, I often wonder the best way for us to stay connected. For now, I’m going to rely on video chatting. She said the bear didn’t go with her dorm décor.

How would you like to see the IoE impact how you connect with your children? Please join the discussion at: #IoE and #InternetofEverything.

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What an Orchestra and a Mobile Device have in Common

Orchestras are often used as metaphors for all sorts of things--organizational structure, planning sessions and even families.

Have you been to the symphony recently? Musicians sit in a regimented ordering around the stage. The concertmaster sets the tune. The conductor lifts the baton. And then, with the pull of a bow across a string, or breath across a mouthpiece, the music begins. Throughout the performance, each section of the orchestra plays a specific part – either separately or together – to create a harmonized work of art.

The prestigious Czech National Orchestra, known for its versatility, lived up to its reputation during a recent performance (for a new BNP product called Hello Bank!). They put their instruments – some hundreds of years old – aside in favor of newer, more common instruments: smartphones and tablets.

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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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