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From the Mine Shaft to the Store Shelf — an IoE Revolution in Manufacturing

Since Henry Ford, the alchemy of turning raw materials into mass-produced products has been complicated and challenging. At best, it has been a delicate and precarious balancing act; at worst, something akin to herding cats.

The trick has always been to align ever-shifting patterns of customer demand with far-flung ecosystems of miners, designers, suppliers, engineers, factory workers, truck drivers, sellers, and so forth. Yet the process of orchestrating such intricate value chains has often been based on art (hunches) more than science (data).

Today, however, the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the ongoing explosion in networked connectivity among people, process, data, and things — is transforming manufacturing in startling ways, just as it is changing so many other industries.

IoE delivers seamless, intelligent connections to every corner of the manufacturing value chain, optimizing the flow of products, information, and payments in real time.

The Cisco IoE Value Index study found that in 2013, manufacturing had the largest potential share of IoE Value at Stake, at $224 billion. Yet, it was poised to realize only 46 percent of that potential bottom-line value.  The key to closing that gap lies in much-improved machine-to-machine and machine-to-people connections, resulting in smart factories, smart grids, and connected supply chains, among many other IoE-related innovations.

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Big Data Now and Then: Introducing Velocity to Volume and Variety

Never before has mankind had access to such an ever-widening range of personal communication options, giving us the ability to create, disseminate and consume information immediately. The frenetic pace at which devices join the Internet is unprecedented, and the constant growth in the amount of data traversing the Web is far from peaking. This whirlwind of data surrounding us will continue to expand as more devices push and pull content across the Internet faster and faster.

Ye Olde Story of Big Data

Disclaimer:Jeff Jarvis and Kindle were not involved in this article -but you may want to check his book!

Disclaimer: Jeff Jarvis and Kindle were not involved in this article -but you may want to check his book!

Before the Internet began its deluge of data, the world was overwhelmed by another data explosion when, in the mid-15th century, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. In the 50 years that followed, Europeans printed more books than all of the manuscripts written in the previous 950 years, prompting the great Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus to ask, “Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books?”

People of the 16th century responded to the unbridled volume and variety of printing press output with waves of innovation. With the slow output of manuscripts behind them, strategies emerged to manage the burgeoning content, including the development of bibliographies to catalog all the books written, advances in note taking to summarize the information learned, encyclopedias to organize information by subject and public libraries to share the expanding content.

Big Data Redux
Today, we create more data in two days than all the data produced from the dawn of civilization until 2003 (Tweet This). That’s 5000 years of data overrun every 48 hours. Erasmus’s question is still applicable today, with a slight twist:  “Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new [content]?” Additional devices connect to the Internet daily, while content grows exponentially, which leaves me wondering what will happen when the swarms of new content overrun 5000 years of data in an hour or less?

The 21st century is also responding to its unbridled volume and variety of content. However, the proliferation of the number of devices adds a third dimension with a timely twist: velocity. Velocity is derived from the Latin word Velox, meaning swift or rapid. While volume and variety describe the size and shape of data, velocity describes the rate at which data moves, and data cannot move without infrastructure. The swiftness of infrastructure (megahertz, input/output, bandwidth and latency) and the ability to rapidly enable optimal resources (Network, CPU, Memory and Storage) both directly impact the velocity of data.  When data velocity increases the value of information rises, which lifts business performance.

Cisco UCS and Big Data
The Unified Computing System is designed so businesses can harness the power of velocity. UCS successfully combined network and compute with the ability to assign resources rapidly. Tens of thousands of customers confirm the benefits derived from dynamic provisioning, reduced management time and efficient data center utilization. UCS extends swift performance with the addition of solid state memory, validated by 82+ World Record benchmarks.  UCS combines network, compute and flash memory within a modular, scalable and extensible architecture.

UCS’s agility means workloads can move into service quickly. Its performance enables multiple workloads to consistently operate at high velocity. It shifts effort away from configuring and tuning infrastructure and towards new application deployments and feature enhancements. With UCS, businesses can address expected and unexpected demands with equal aplomb.

Mastering Velocity
The printing press of everything rapidly spread across Europe in the 16th century. The flood of books reshaped European societies as they transformed in response to the outpouring of content. In The Internet of Everything, our devices (which serve as printing press and books) spread data between people and autonomous devices immediately. We attempt to synthesize data in real-time as the number of people and autonomous devices communicating increase globally.

Big Data Version One emerged 500 years ago to wrestle with data volume and variety. Today, Big Data Version Two grapples with data velocity (time) in addition to wrestling with volume and variety. Timely information rules when the Internet rewards the swift and penalizes the slow (Tweet This). Now is the moment to master velocity. What would your business be able to do with more time? Let us know in the comments.

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Open Source is just the other side, the wild side!

March is a rather event-laden month for Open Source and Open Standards in networking: the 89th IETF, EclipseCon 2014, RSA 2014, the Open Networking Summit, the IEEE International Conference on Cloud (where I’ll be talking about the role of Open Source as we morph the Cloud down to Fog computing) and my favorite, the one and only Open Source Think Tank where this year we dive into the not-so-small world (there is plenty of room at the bottom!) of machine-to-machine (m2m) and Open Source, that some call the Internet of Everything.

There is a lot more to March Madness, of course, in the case of Open Source, a good time to celebrate the 1st anniversary of “Meet Me on the Equinox“, the fleeting moment where daylight conquered the night the day that project Daylight became Open Daylight. As I reflect on how quickly it started and grew from the hearts and minds of folks more interested in writing code than talking about standards, I think about how much the Network, previously dominated, as it should, by Open Standards, is now beginning to run with Open Source, as it should. We captured that dialog with our partners and friends at the Linux Foundation in this webcast I hope you’ll enjoy. I hope you’ll join us in this month in one of these neat places.

As Open Source has become dominant in just about everything, Virtualization, Cloud, Mobility, Security, Social Networking, Big Data, the Internet of Things, the Internet of Everything, you name it, we get asked how do we get the balance right? How does one work with the rigidity of Open Standards and the fluidity of Open Source, particularly in the Network? There is only one answer, think of it as the Yang of Open Standards, the Yin of Open Source, they need each other, they can not function without the other, particularly in the Network.  Open Source is just the other side, the wild side!

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2014

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. More than 75,000 people were estimated to have attended this year’s MWC, and its fabulous new conference facilities proved a great place to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments and catch a glimpse of its potential future.  Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2013.  However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile?

The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show, based on my conversations with operators, customer meetings, analysts, and colleagues, as well as from simply walking the show floor: Read More »

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Big Data Ecosystem Challenges

Information security is one of the largest business problems facing organisations. Log data generated from networks and computer systems can be aggregated, stored, and analysed to identify where misuse occurs. The enormous amount of data involved in these analyses is beyond the capability of traditional systems and requires a new, big data approach. Given the right tools, skills and people, security teams can take advantage of big data analysis to quickly identify malicious activity and remediate attacks. Together, the big data platforms, the administration tools, analysis tools, skilled analysts, and pressing problems form an evolving ecosystem driving innovation. It would be a mistake to believe that this ecosystem is not without its challenges.
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