The Internet of Everything (IoE) is not only disrupting traditional business models, it is also disrupting innovation itself.
While the focus at this week’s 2nd annual Internet of Things World Forum (IOTWF) here in Chicago is on capturing the accelerated opportunity of connected things, we believe there is even greater opportunity with the Internet of Everything: the networked connection of people, processes, data AND things. IoE is already transforming business outcomes, but in order to capture the full potential of its $19 trillion economic opportunity we will need to cultivate new skill sets and ways of thinking by both established organizations and 21st century entrepreneurs.
This, in turn, requires new types of collaborations and investment mechanisms among industry, government and academia to incubate innovative ideas and turn them into commercial, scalable solutions for the betterment of society.
Chicago Innovation Center + Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence First Startup in Chicago
During ceremonies earlier today at the grand opening of CIE’s highly anticipated new facility, I had the pleasure of joining Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and CIE Executive Director John Flavin to personally acknowledge the first startup to join the co-incubation program of Cisco and CIE – Embedor Technologies.
Spun out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Research Park, Embedor’s IoE solution enables continuous real-time structural health monitoring of civil infrastructure, such as bridges, by using wireless smart sensors linked to the Internet. As a result, infrastructure owners can improve the reliability of inspections, reduce maintenance costs and reduce catastrophic bridge failures.
Embedor will receive strategic funding and mentoring from domain experts and access to resources, including CIE’s local co-working space. We are excited about this opportunity to partner with a startup that has the potential to accelerate our Smart Cities strategy and to further catalyze the entrepreneurial momentum building in Chicago.
Cisco knows the emerging IoE opportunity is too vast, complex and new for any one organization to develop alone. The journey must be a collaborative effort by an ecosystem, and startups have a particularly important role to play. Cisco EIR is connecting Cisco with high-potential IoE startups in key innovation hubs around the world, including Silicon Valley, Chicago, San Diego and Central Europe (Vienna, Austria).
In addition to the EIR program, Cisco nurtures innovation and entrepreneurs through Cisco Centers of Innovation (six announced and more on the way), the IoE Venture Fund (invested in 18 companies globally in the past 12 months), an ecosystem of developer communities, the IoT/IoE Grand Challenges and Hackathons.
Cisco passionately believes that IoE is the biggest technological inflection point in modern history – bigger than the Internet itself. It will take a collective effort globally and locally to help accelerate this unprecedented opportunity to improve the way we live, work, play and learn.
At Cisco, as you might imagine, we talk a lot about the Internet of Things, and now about the Internet of Everything (IoE). You can find some great videos and background about IoE here, here and here. As technology continues to transform our world – from how businesses operate to how we connect with each other to how we control features in our homes – the paradigm is shifting. And it’s creating exciting opportunities for companies that are prepared to capitalize on them.
It used to be that technology was itself an outcome – people wanted an application or they wanted a robot programmed to do certain things. It was viewed simply as a tool, and one that was often operated in a siloed business unit within a company. That world, at least for companies who want to stay competitive and maximize potential, is no more.
Technology is no longer just a tool. It’s no longer a means-to-an-end nor is it a strategy that operates in isolation. As our CEO John Chambers recently predicted, “every company is going to be a technology company” (a prediction that you’ll also find echoed in many leading business journals). To respond to consumer demands and consumption models, we all must embrace technology and harness its potential to transform businesses.
In our previous blog, we began our exploration of how Fast IT will transform the role of the IT organization — enabling it to drive innovation in unprecedented ways for the business. And to do so amid the rapid disruption of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy.
Specifically, we examined the role of Fast IT in simplifying complex, cumbersome infrastructure. And how this added agility will open the door to faster provisioning of enterprise apps; a new dimension in value derived from cloud; and a true place for IT as a service orchestrator and trusted partner for the business.
But Fast IT transformation extends further still, enabling expansive and dynamic new capabilities through analytics and security; driving the cultural change that must accompany infrastructure change; and liberating the IT organization through dividends in cost and time savings.
Last week I attended the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, where the theme of the event was “Driving Digital Business.” One of the key themes was the Internet of Everything (IoE) as well as some of the key enabling trends like mobility, cloud, big data, and analytics. A lot of attention was focused on the changing role of the CIO and how in this new generation of IT, CIOs need to become better equipped to help drive the digitization of the business. In particular, there was discussion around the importance of the user experience, whether customer or employee, and the emergence of “Chief Digital Officers” to oversee the full range of digital strategies to transform businesses as their products evolve digitally.
It’s clear that cloud, mobility, IoE, and big data analytics are fundamentally changing the business landscape in which we operate today. They are leveling the playing field and triggering business outcome-based innovation and investment in IT. And software-driven solutions are key to driving innovation in any organization.
This is precisely why I joined Cisco just over a year ago: to develop Cisco’s software strategy and accelerate growth of our software businesses. Cisco is positioned to have a massive impact in this market, and I’m excited to play a role in addressing some of the challenges in this space through software – whether that’s in collaboration, across our traditional core businesses in network infrastructure, data center, or mobility.
Today, Cisco’s software journey is well under way. Based on revenues from our software products and services, we already rank as the 5th largest software company in the world. We’ve grown from the 7th largest enterprise SaaS vendor in 2012 to now the 3rd largest SaaS vendor by revenue in 2014. Nine out of 10 of our most recent acquisitions have been companies driven by software.
What does this mean for our customers? It means they can rely on Cisco to innovate faster, provide richer employee and customer experiences, connect the unconnected, and use big data analytics to gain new insights.
In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more from me and my team about how we’re helping to accelerate and bring about this software transformation at Cisco across our entire portfolio of products and services. You’ll hear how we’re radically changing the way our customers and partners consume, manage, and use our software products and how we’re bringing more application-centric and cloud-ready infrastructure to market.
What do you think about software at Cisco? Let me know in the comments below.
Later this week, four dozen high-school students will gather in an auditorium in North San Jose. They will stand before a panel of judges, not to sing the latest pop song for The Voice or American Idol, but to blow judges away with their proposals for the next big thing in technology, as part of Cisco’s STEM Mentoring Day of Action.
After spending time with engineer mentors and seeing cutting-edge technologies, the students will be divided into small teams. Their task: develop an innovative proposal for the Internet of Everything, the next wave of the Internet, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things to the Internet.
This event is not a one-time occasion. It’s part of Cisco’s enduring commitment to preparing the next generation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — STEM. This week, nearly 200 students will attend STEM mentoring events at three Cisco campuses in San Jose; Richardson, Texas; and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
The goal at all three facilities is the same – to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math among students. You see, something amazing happens when you put technology in the hands of young people. It opens their eyes to the incredible possibilities that a career in high-tech can offer.
Cisco’s commitment in this area goes back nearly two decades with the Cisco Networking Academy, which has taught over 5 million students around the world the fundamentals of how networks work and providing them the opportunity to become certified, the key to obtaining a good paying job in this field.
This commitment extends to classrooms, where we’re working with schools and the Federal Government to see that every K-12 classroom in America has high-speed Wi-Fi over the next five years. Cisco is also providing funding for innovative programs – like the MIND Research Institute – which is fundamentally changing how math is being taught in underserved communities from coast to coast. And their results have been nothing short of amazing –with students doubling and tripping their math proficiency scores in a few short years.