I’ve been spending a lot of time talking and thinking about a world in which everything is connected. The Internet of Everything isn’t some futuristic Idea that we are dreaming about, it’s charging forward at incredible speed and everything is being connected. I’d like to look at five characteristics or truths about IOE that are becoming evident:
Last week I attended the Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) expo in San Francisco – home of delicious seafood and great surfing. At the conference I had a chance to talk about the changing tide of IT and how we can prepare for the next big swell.
Throughout history there are moments in time that define innovation.
In 1939, two guys in a garage built the first audio oscillator. It was sold to Disney and helped create Fantasia. In 1973, Motorola built the first mobile phone. It weighed 2.5 pounds and was 9 inches long. It let you talk for 30 minutes. Then you needed 10 hours to charge it. This was innovation at its finest.
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.
“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill
It is nearly impossible – even foolish – to look ahead without looking back. Glimpses into the past can give us inspiration for new innovations and even teach us what not to do. Behind every great technological innovation is a solid legacy product or solution that inspired it or played an integral part in its development. Behind the printing press was paper and block printing. Behind the telephone was the telegraph. And behind the Internet of Everything (IoE)? Ethernet.
Today – May 22 – marks the 40th anniversary of Ethernet. In 1973, technologist and 3Com founder Robert Metcalfe designed the Ethernet to allow computer devices to communicate with each other using radio-like signals over an antenna cable. Long used for reliable and efficient access to information, its implications on the networking world reach far past the local area network (LAN).
Over the course of 40 years, our quest for connecting the unconnected continues. Our connections have become increasingly complex since Metcalfe was tasked with connecting several Xerox computers to a single printer, and we need to understand the possibilities in both the number and value of our modern-day connections.
In a previous blog post, How the Internet of Everything Will Change the World…for the Better, I referenced Metcalfe’s law: the power of the network is greater than the sum of its parts. True. But the parts need to be recognized and optimized in order to maximize this power. The Internet of Everything is a large-scale metaphor for Metcalfe’s law. The combined connections of people, processes, data, and things don’t just amount to a list of things that are connected. The actionable insights that exist with the power of networked connectivity exponentially create the Internet of Everything.
Ethernet has helped further the progress that these connections – and the insights gleaned from them – will have on the Internet of Everything. So, today we celebrate not only the introduction of Ethernet, but also the technologies it made possible.
Learn more about Cisco’s Ethernet solutions.
As today’s workforce continues to become more mobile and adopt the “on-the-go” mentality both at home and at work, their needs are also evolving. Companies need to respond. Empowering employees to work anytime, anywhere will improve efficiencies and increase productivity. When the staff takes their work outside of office walls, an environment of knowledge, sharing and creativity across local, regional and global teams is created naturally. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a clear driver in this new collaborative environment as companies continue to connect more people, devices, processes and data. This collaborative environment, in turn, also empowers a company as a whole through the insights and data exchanged.
In one of my previous posts, How Not Where Is What Matters Most in a Collaborative Work Environment, I noted that mobile and remote workers have higher performance ratings than traditional workers. Are these connections increasing the comfort level with utilizing remote resources on a consistent basis, such as remote mentoring or collaboration with global teams? Is it the extended connection to global colleagues and customers to obtain better insight and decisions? Or, is it the combination? Read More »