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The Internet of Everything: Where Technology and Innovation Meet To Make the World a Better Place

What will the future be like? As depicted in today’s popular movies and books, the future is either one of bright promise—where the world’s greatest problems have been solved by technology and greater human enlightenment—or it’s a dystopian world where today’s problems have only gotten worse, technology has gone bad, and the very survival of humanity is at risk.

As Cisco’s chief futurist, it’s my job to think about what the world will look like in a few years, and how our actions today will impact that future. And while I’m not ready to put on my rose-colored glasses just yet, I do have an optimistic view of what the future may bring, enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Within 10 years, there will be 50 billion connected things in the world, with trillions of connections among them. These connections will change the world for the better in ways we can’t even imagine today. But here are just a few things I can imagine:

Better supply of food: Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.

Better supply of water: Similarly, about 30 percent of our water supply is lost due to leaks and waste. Just one faucet or leaky pipe dripping three times a minute will waste more than 100 gallons of water a year. “Smart” pipes can reduce this waste significantly by sensing and pinpointing the location of leaks that would otherwise go undetected for months or years.

Better access to education: Affordable access to education is one of the most important ways to lift people out of poverty. Soon, time and distance will no longer limit access to an engaging, affordable, high-quality education. With connection speeds going up, and equipment costs going down, distance learning is going beyond traditional online classes to create widely accessible immersive, interactive, real-time learning experiences.

Better access to healthcare: Urbanization and population growth are putting a strain on healthcare resources—especially in rural areas. After the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, Cisco was a strategic partner in creating a networked medical delivery system, including four telehealth networks that allow doctors to meet with and examine patients remotely. But those capabilities are just the beginning of what IoE will make possible. Soon, women with high-risk pregnancies will be able to wear a tiny, always-on fetal monitoring electronic “tattoo,” which will communicate to the cloud whenever the woman is within range of a wireless network. The analytics capabilities in the cloud will alert doctors at the first sign of trouble, and even tell the mother-to-be when she needs to drink more water, or get more rest.

While sensors and machine-to-machine communication are important parts of these solutions, it’s not just the “Internet of Things” that is making all of this possible—it’s the Internet of Everything—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. And Big Data analytics is what brings the intelligence to all of these connections, enabling new kinds of processes, and helping us make smarter decisions.

I’ve highlighted just four areas where IoE will change the world for the better. But there is not a single part of life that will not be impacted in some way—whether that means improving your drive to work, speeding you through the checkout line at the grocery store, saving energy through smart lighting, or minimizing your wait at a traffic light. The Internet of Everything is not a silver bullet that can solve all the world’s woes, but with the spark of human innovation, IoE can be the engine for a better future.

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How a Cisco IT Team Uses the CITEIS Private Cloud

My team maintains and supports Cisco IT’s internal implementation of the Cisco WebEx Social collaboration platform. Cisco employees use WebEx Social for internal collaboration and knowledge sharing in online communities, and as a central repository for documents, videos, and other information resources. Read More »

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Cloud Service Provider deploys End-to-End FCoE

In one of my earlier blogs, – “How to get more SAN mileage….” – I had highlighted how one can deploy End-to-End FCoE using a converged Director-class platform, like Nexus 7000, connected directly from the converged access switch, like UCS FI, in order to get the utmost agility. Well, this is how ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC), a Cloud Service provider, deployed its network to get significantly higher mileage.

CTCCTC provides a wide range of IT services for business customers in Japan. The company’s Cloud Platform Group recently launched its innovative ElasticCUVIC shared private cloud service, which helps customers reduce infrastructure cost and management complexity. With large numbers of VMs, CTC wanted to simplify its data center architecture and IT management while optimizing scalability.  The challenge was to deliver high-performance, easy-to-manage cloud services at scale.

The company evaluated several storage networking solutions and turned to Cisco for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) solutions, which greatly simplify the infrastructure and management. CTC built its two newest data centers in Yokohama and Kobe with ultra-high performance and flexibility in mind. CTC implemented an End-to-End FCoE architecture using Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches, Cisco UCS servers, and FCoE connections between the switches, servers, and FCoE storage arrays.

CTC-Deploy

With the converged FCoE architecture, ElasticCUVIC is enabling CTC customers to gain Read More »

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The Future of Any-to-Any Collaboration Depends on Satisfying Today’s Mobile User Demands

When we think of the term “collaboration” we can often get trapped in the cycle of thinking that it only applies to IT departments and the bottom line. However, it’s important to consider how the role of the enterprise is shifting thanks to the consumerization of IT. For example, how can IT leaders satisfy new user demands while unleashing the power of a sound mobile strategy?

With today’s technology-driven global economy, enterprise mobility and collaboration tools need to be about connecting communities, not just companies. Never has there been a time when more business processes extend beyond headquarters. Organizations need to enable all types of connections: From the mobile worker to the teleworker, from other businesses to target consumers, from traditional branch offices to the cloud. This any-to-any type of collaboration is no longer keeping the enterprise at the center. Instead, the future is driven by all types of users.

It’s clear that users expect to collaborate anywhere, on any device, with any workload. They want to collaborate like they’re in the office regardless of their location. IT leaders must keep user demands top-of-mind when working to deploy a BYOD policy. This can create challenges and opportunities in five key areas:

Brett Belding - Collaboration

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Customers Gather in NYC to Talk Data Virtualization

This year Cisco held Data Virtualization Day 2013 at the New York Palace in New York City. With 350 attendees from more than 130 organizations, it marked the largest event to date and showcased data virtualization is top of mind for organizations as they try to extract more value out of their data.

Data Virtualization – Different points of view

During the event, customers, analyst and Cisco executives gathered to share best practices, discuss trends driving data virtualization and provide insight into Cisco’s go-forward strategy to expand and accelerate data virtualization offers.  Some highlights included:

  • Customers such as Goldman Sachs, BMO and British Sky Broadcasting shared insider’s views of their implementations, also explaining the significant profitability, agility, and risk management benefits their enterprises have achieved.

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  • Top data virtualization analysts at Forrester and R20 Consultancy discussed data virtualization adoption acceleration as well as the business and technology trends behind it.
  • Looking ahead, Noel Yuahanna of Forrester described global information fabrics powered by data virtualization that integrate enterprise, partner, marketplace, social and line of business information fabrics to provide connected data anytime, anywhere. Rick van der Lans, R20 Consultancy, discussed how data virtualization along with powerful networks – which will allow data to stay where it is collected – will become the dominant data integration method.

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  •  Mike Flannagan, General Manager of Cisco’s Integration Brokerage Technology Group,discussed why Cisco chose to enter the data virtualization business and noted that the big data, cloud computing and “Internet of Everything” eras were making data virtualization a must have for Cisco’s customers.
  • Jim Green, General Manager of Cisco’s Data Virtualization Business Unit, presented his vision for data virtualization’s next generation and that achieving massive scale was the next frontier for data virtualization technology. He also discussed Cisco’s strategy to innovate using a unique mix of data virtualization, networking, and compute assets to meet this scale challenge.

Learn More

Highlights from these presentations will soon be posted to our Data Virtualization Day resources page and the Cisco data virtualization offering page.  So stay tuned.

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