To cross a busy intersection safely, it’s best to have all of your senses alert. That way, if you don’t happen to see that oncoming truck ignoring the “Walk” sign, you will probably still hear it. In the case of a heavy cement mixer, you may even feel the low rumble of its powerful engine first.
In the Internet of Everything (IoE), a similar principle applies. We call it “sensor fusion,” and it involves combining two or more sensors — often of different types — to monitor a specific environment and offer actionable insights more intelligently. These could be cameras and Wi-Fi tags or weight-sensing shelves and ultrasonic imaging, to name just two combinations. Moreover, the combined sensor data can itself be fused with other information streams — for example, those relating to weather, operations, news, or social media.
The result? Highly informed, real-time decision making and richer customer experiences.
Until recently, sensor fusion has been mostly exploited in specialized devices such as robots, but it is now driving a revolution in enterprise systems. This will bring new life to entire industries and completely transform stores, manufacturing floors, and transportation corridors. By greatly improving the accuracy of their measurements, organizations will be able to offer rich new experiences and gain substantial competitive advantage.
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.
Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You study’ em hard and hopin’ to pass
Chuck Berry’s old hit “School Days” sums up an educational model that has persisted since the 1800s — if not since Aristotle. Students and their classmates sit within the same walls and absorb rote knowledge from one teacher at a time. And woe to those who fail to show up for the morning bell or to follow the lesson plan!
But if you think your own school days are a model for the future, get ready for a whole new lesson plan. Just as the Internet of Everything (IoE) is disrupting so many other areas of our lives (not to mention business models), its ever-expanding wave of network connectivity promises to upend education as well.
After all, when people, process, data, and things are linked in startling new ways, radical transformation follows. Within the context of learning, the very definition of schools, students, teachers, and classrooms is being challenged. Now, your classroom is wherever you happen to be, and your lessons take place when you want them — all thanks to a convergence of IoE cornerstones such as mobility, media-rich collaboration tools, cloud, and analytics.
Cisco predicts that the IoE Value at Stake will be $4.6 trillion for the public sector worldwide over the next decade. Of that total, $258 billion in value will come from Connected Education.
Your house-cleaning robot connects to your lighting system, which connects to your garage door, which connects to your car. All of these devices in turn connect to your smartphone, which, among many other things, enables YOU to connect to a community of like-minded, creative souls looking for — you guessed it — better ways to connect and program things.
This is just a small glimpse into how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is transforming our lives. With its explosion in connectivity — from 10 billion “things” today to 50 billion in 2020 — IoE is changing the world in complex and challenging ways. But there are also exciting opportunities to manage the complexity, share ideas, and drive ever-higher levels of innovation and collaboration.
One name for this new paradigm is the Programmable World.
Considering all the hype around the cloud, it’s easy to forget that we live in a world of many clouds. Organizations can’t simply tap into a single all-powerful entity located everywhere and nowhere, all at once. In reality, they must dip in and out of a complex and often challenging array of public, private, and hybrid clouds.
But what is the future of cloud? The Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving an unprecedented explosion in connectivity — and transformation — and cloud is the key delivery system that makes it all possible. In the enterprise, cloud has already upended traditional IT consumption models, transitioning IT departments into brokers of services that are increasingly available through third-party vendors — and accessed through a variety of clouds. Facing an increasingly cloudy future, service providers are focused on moving beyond their traditional roles as telecom providers, while new players continue to enter the core markets of traditional service providers.
But how will enterprises and service providers meet the security and operational challenges of an ever-expanding and increasingly complicated cloud universe? Part of the answer lies in the industry’s evolution toward an ecosystem of cloud providers. Incorporating a cloud “brokerage” and a cloud “federation,” this ecosystem will give customers a choice of cloud solutions that meet their specific needs.
I’m happy to report that Cisco, along with some of our key partners, is helping to smooth the cloud transformation journey both on the demand (enterprise) and supply (service provider) sides.