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Balancing Innovation and Evolution: Cutting Through the Noise

Thinking back to how much the data center has transformed in the past ten, five, or even two years is enough to make your head spin. Keeping pace with these changes has been nearly impossible for IT departments, and it’s not getting any easier. When looking ahead, consider what changes the Internet of Everything (IoE), application-centric architectures, software-defined networking (SDN), and everything-as-a-service (XaaS) will bring. Confused? It’s no wonder.

My recent blog post described what every IT leader already knows: Running a data center is hard. Making matters worse are high-tech vendors who aren’t focused on addressing near-term customer needs. I feel that our industry, including Cisco on occasion, confuses customers with too much hyperbole around vision and strategy.

I spend a lot of time with customers all over the world, and there’s been a reoccurring theme: What customers tell me they need are solutions that will work for them today. Balancing innovation and evolution is important, but that burden needs to be carried by us—the tech vendors—not by our customers. It’s rare that customers have the time to slow down to sort it all out. Even as their IT operations are evolving, they need to “keep the planes in the air.”

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The Internet of Things: Moving Beyond the Hype

We recently wrapped up a spectacular Internet of Things World Forum 2014 (IoTWF) in Chicago.  By reviewing the highlights, it’s clear that the Internet of Things is here, it’s now… it’s big, and it’s bold. And by all accounts, IoT is advancing multiple times faster than any other technology movement in history.

More than 1,500 thought and industry leaders shared visions and real-world use cases of IoT adoption and advancement, ranging from mining and oil and gas operations to caring for the elderly with remote- and self-controlled robots. Our second annual event featured 13 keynotes and 36 workshops laser focused on setting a strong foundation for IoT developments, encompassing security, standards, protocols, governance models and much more.

We had an opportunity to hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, and CIO Brenna Berman, who in addition to their hospitality shared with us their goal of establishing Chicago as THE IoT Center for cities.

Participants learned that while IoT gets most of the current buzz from consumer-driven products, more rapid growth and value are shifting rapidly to enterprise-wide applications that already have improved operational performance and efficiency. Today, 37% of total device (things) connections to the Internet come from industrial applications, and industrial connections will surpass consumer-based connections in 2017.

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Copenhagen Accelerates Green Growth with Internet of Everything

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen again, five months after signing an agreement with three local mayors to establish an Internet of Everything (IoE) strategy throughout their municipalities in greater Copenhagen.

My purpose was to catch up on progress made since our May 28th Memorandum of Understanding, and to collaborate with the fellow signatories on next steps for implementation.

I like working with bold city leaders who not only have visions for transformation, but also who create and execute to deadlines.  Copenhagen’s leaders clearly exemplify all these characteristics. The greater Copenhagen municipality has a bold collective vision and detailed plan on how to become carbon neutral by the year 2025 – and its execution toward that goal continues to be on track.  Tangible progress here serves as a global role model for public entities everywhere that want to deliver on climate and sustainability goals.

Copenhagen’s Internet of Everything strategy – connecting people, things, data and processes to the Internet — is an integral part of its overall green game plan. I am delighted that we were able to quickly agree to “go live” dates next year for a number of IoE-based projects to digitize urban services through application-centric infrastructure.  City of Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen, Albertslund Mayor Steen Christiansen and Vinge Mayor John Schmidt Andersen, and their highly capable staff, should all be commended for their rapid decisions to accelerate deployment of ambitious IoE projects in each of their locations.

Surveying DOLL progress with the Cisco team

Surveying DOLL progress with the Cisco team

Amazingly, considering the MoU was signed just a few months ago, two other IoE projects here are already under way.

The first is the Denmark Outdoor Light Lab (DOLL), which went live in September. In Albertslund in western Copenhagen, DOLL has carved out one square mile of the town as kind of “outdoor living laboratory,” where 37 competing outdoor LED light solutions have all been installed over six miles of roads.

A Cisco city Wi-Fi network covers this area, connecting the light solutions, providing online controls, digitized information, public access and video – all converged onto one network. The architecture reflects proven experience from work done in our IoE-based Smart City engagements in Nice, Barcelona and Chicago.

What is new in DOLL is that so many different outdoor light vendors are converging their solutions onto one network, thereby creating a seamless communications standard for the light industry. I’m excited about this innovative and unique lab, which is set to expand to a larger array of networked urban services

For more information, you can view this video, www.albertslund.dk/newlighting

The second current IoE development is a traffic monitoring proof of concept, which has gone live in downtown Copenhagen. This pilot represents the first step towards a broader traffic management platform providing real-time views of traffic that can help reduce congestion and travel times.

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The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History

by Gary Moore, President and COO, Cisco & Howard Elias, President and COO, EMC Global Enterprise Services

Cisco President Gary Moore and EMC President Howard Elias, co-Chairs of VCE

The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History. That’s how we, as co-Chairs of the VCE Board, think about VCE. We may be a bit biased, but we’re confident many others agree based on the tremendous success of VCE’s Vblock converged infrastructure (CI). In fact, we created the notion of CI with Vblock, and VCE has held the #1 position for as long as the analyst firms have been tracking it.

Given today’s news about EMC and Cisco jointly agreeing to change the structure of VCE going forward, we’d like to reflect back on its success and what is driving this change now.

Rewind to 2007 when Cisco was first entering the server business.  We began discussions around the best ways to deliver to customers the best-of-breed technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single engineered solution that would pretty much be plug-and-play for customers.

Over the course of the following two years, we challenged our teams and ourselves to come up with the best way to commercialize our vision and serve customers.  There were the usual traditional resale and meet-in-the-channel programs, but we felt this could be a much bigger idea.  In the end, we concluded that this was the time to be bold, which led to the initial formation of the JV on October 30, 2009 now known as VCE.  We say now known because the original JV was called Acadia, based on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) services and then a Reference Architecture (RA).  But as any nimble startup does, you pivot your great idea to what customers truly want and value – and in this case it was a product, not BOT services or RA’s.  So VCE and the Vblock were born and the rest is truly history!  Consider these facts about VCE’s Vblock:

  • More than 2,000 deployed to date
  • Six consecutive quarters of greater than 50% year-over-year growth
  • #1 position for integrated infrastructure systems for two years running  
  • IDC study:  VCE customers are able to deploy new services five times faster, reduce downtime by 96%, and lower their annual datacenter costs by 50% with Vblock systems.

So what made this JV so successful? We’d like to think it was our combined market understanding concerning what customers truly wanted, our sincere partnership and enduring friendship.   All of those things are true, but it all starts and ends with the best technologies, combined with a maniacal focus on the customer experience and tremendous execution by talented teams.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved since it’s inception – with a special thanks and congratulations to the current team led by CEO Praveen Akkiraju.

So why the change now?  Because the best time to change and transform is when you’re at the top of your game.  The industry continues to move fast and evolve, and we want VCE to continue to grow and succeed in this environment.  It’s time for VCE to broaden its horizon and help customers in their journey to the Hybrid Cloud.  This has been our focus and we will accelerate our support to our customers.   We also want to signal to our customers that VCE is going to be around for the long haul.  And Cisco’s commitment to VCE continues in the form of a multi-year resale, support and engineering agreement. The partnership remains strong and VCE will be a vibrant channel for Cisco technologies going forward.  In essence, we started with a JV structure that has been wildly successful, so now it’s time to show commitment for the long term in a way that fits the business models of EMC and Cisco well.

It’s been a fun, thrilling and rewarding ride for both of us, but most importantly for our customers, partners and the VCE team. We would like to thank all of them for the confidence they have shown and allowing us to play a meaningful role in changing the industry!

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Three Ways IoT is Impacting the #InternetOfEverything

As a key enabling technology to the Internet of Everything (IoE), the Internet of Things (IoT), is connecting new places and objects. Manufacturing room floors, energy grids and wearable devices are just a few examples of the millions of objects coming online at an unprecedented pace.

These “things” are creating vast and increasing amounts of data and sharing it over the Internet – largely via machine-to-machine connections. It is one of many important technology transitions taking place today that is making the Internet of Everything a reality.

The result is “driving market attention to the business opportunities afforded by connecting physical objects to the Internet,” according to a recent MachNation whitepaper. In fact, MachNation expects IoT to be over more than a $4 trillion industry by 2024!

So, how can today’s proliferation of connected devices and sensors bring organizations closer to capturing a share of the $19 trillion in IoE value at stake over the next decade?

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Future of IT podcast episode with Steve Hilton, co-founder and Managing Director at MachNation. We discussed how today’s IoT solutions are impacting the evolution of the Internet of Everything and ultimately, business outcomes. You can listen to the entire podcast recording via iTunes.

Here’s a closer look at three ways the Internet of Things is impacting the Internet of Everything and what it means for your organization:

#1: The Internet of Things is part of the Internet of Everything.

It’s crucial to understand that the Internet of Everything is the coming together of the Internet of Things, mobility, cloud, big data and analytics, and social.

The Internet of Everything gives people, businesses, communities, and countries the resources they need to collect and access data and turn it into valuable insight.

For example, there is an application that I’ve been using for my GPS watch that includes sensors you wear on your body. In real-time, I can upload the data collected to the cloud and I can review where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.

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