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Wearable 2.0: The #FutureOfMobility

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world. 

Check out the first post of this series that discusses why contact, connections and context will drive the next generation of wearables.

When 24-year-old Jason Barnes lost part of his arm in an electrical accident, he also lost the ability to drum. Thanks to engineers at Georgia Tech, he now has range with his artificial hand that is impossible with a normal human hand. Arguably, now he has new capabilities that other musicians don’t have – all because of an incredibly advanced replacement part.

If you consider how wearables may evolve, we may see a time where people take a perfectly good limb, eye or ear and replace it with something synthetic because it gives them a skill that they haven’t had before. Perhaps it gives a solider infrared vision at night or a baseball pitcher a robotic arm that throws a perfect game.

These new capabilities will propel us into a new phase of human history – this period of self-designed evolution. As the power of Internet of Everything (IoE) technology merges with biology, we can create a self-evolving population. Let’s take a step back and look how this has developed over time.

How it Began

If you look back throughout human history, we’ve always adorned ourselves with some kind of capability. Usually it’s because we want to differentiate ourselves or show status or an association with a tribe or group. This has traditionally been accomplished through wearing jewelry, getting tattoos or piercings and so on. Today, we’re beginning the wearable phase and it’s about smart watches, glasses and jewelry, but tomorrow will bring the era of embeddable technology.

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Wearable to Aware-able: Contact, Connection, Context

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been motivated by an innate desire to be connected to each other and to information. Today, we are seeing this need satisfied as the Internet of Everything (IoE) evolves to connect more people, process, data and things than ever before. An essential part of the growth of the Internet of Everything will depend on how mobile devices, connected things and wearable technology adapts and develops to become more aware and intelligent.

Today, the wearable device market is a nascent, but growing market. There are about 160 unique wearable devices on the market, and IDTechEx predicts wearables will grow to a $70 billion market in the next ten years. However, despite its growing market share, many still have limited views of what a wearable is and the innovation these devices will encourage in our mobile-led IoE world.

In this post, I’ll share some thoughts I presented at the recent Wearable Technology Conference that explores how we will soon see wearables move from being just wearable to becoming aware-able through increased contact, connections and context.

Let’s Start at the Beginning…What is a Wearable?

There is a lot of confusion in the industry about what a wearable is and the role it plays in our lives.  For example, advances in exoskeletons for military applications and sports define a wearable as more than just a device for your wrist.

And it’s not just for humans.

Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) co-developed a fuel cell that is expected to be used for forming a wireless mesh networks with cyborg insects in emergency situations. In this case, insects can be used for wirelessly transmitting various sensor signals in areas that humans simply can’t go – such as disaster areas or for search and rescue efforts. It may seem a bit crazy now, but connecting these flying sensor insects to the network can create a very interesting, new capability that will challenge our definition of what a wearable is over time.

Why Now – and what’s all the Hype About?

Simply put, the size of technology is shrinking. Technology shrinks every decade about a 100-fold, so while in the mid-80’s we were carrying around a separate music player, telephone and calculator, today we carry all those capabilities into one device: our smartphone. Couple this trend with ongoing advances in microscopic sensors and computers the size of a grain of sand and it’s clear we are just beginning to understand what’s possible for new IoT connections and mobile innovations.

Wearable 2.0: From Wearable to Aware-able

While most wearables on the market today are built to capture WHAT we are doing, they don’t tell us HOW we are doing. We are seeing an evolution of wearables that will focus more on HOW we are doing, and capture insights that can change our lives. For example, while today’s wearable bracelet or watch can tell me my body is moving, it cannot tell me anything about my biological processes – such as my glucose levels or blood pressure.

For this evolution to occur, wearable devices – or aware-able devices – require three things:

Cisco_WearableAwareables - Dave Blog

  1. Contact with your body
  2. Connections with the world
  3. Context by providing relevant information

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these “Three Cs.”

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Connected Healthcare: How Mobility Drives Better Care and a Healthier Society

As advancements in mobility continue to accelerate across all industries, one area that appears poised for some of the deepest transformation is healthcare.

Already, we are seeing how mobility adoption in hospitals — along with new personal health-monitoring devices — is enabling better patient care and a healthier society. And all of these breakthroughs dovetail into the revolution that we call the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the explosion in connectivity among people, process, data, and things that is transforming our world.

A great example is Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Sergipe, which is utilizing telehealth technology to provide patients with specialty healthcare. In the United States, nearly 70 percent of surveyed healthcare leaders say that clinicians at their organizations use mobile technology to view patient data, according to a new survey from HIMSS Analytics.

It’s also estimated that more than 17 million wearable bands will ship this year, putting new health-monitoring tools directly in the hands — or on the wrists — of patients. And with the deployment of strong wireless networks, such as the one used by Miami Children’s Hospital, hospitals are supporting a holistic mobile-enabled patient-care experience that is providing strides in electronic health records. Another intriguing breakthough involves devices such as the Scanadu Scout, which makes the handheld medical “tricorder” of Star Trek fame a consumer reality. Such advances are helping doctors, nurses, and patients reduce errors in miscommunication, while cutting costs.

Cisco_HealthcareMobility_Joseph Bradley

It isn’t about just becoming more mobilized; it’s about improving patient care and individual well-being. As Addison McGuffin, vice president of business technology innovation at Health Care Service Corporation, said, “Some of the things we’re looking at is a trend toward technology that is helping patients toward health performance and improvement on a daily basis.”

These examples show how mobility is reshaping the healthcare industry. Yet, according to a recent Forbes article, many hospital administrators perceive a “double-edged sword” when balancing the need to invest in technology with regulatory constraints. This topic also drove conversation at the recent HIMSS conference. At Kaiser Permanente’s booth, they asked the question: “Is Health IT Really Worth It?” With advancements in mobility shaping IT strategy and investments, I’d take Kaiser’s question a step further by asking, “Is Mobility in Healthcare Really Worth It?” Read More »

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An Eye to the Future of Mobility: Wearables & Health Care

The explosive growth of the Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving a sweeping wave of transformation across our world. And the health care industry is among the many industries that are feeling its profound impact.

Already, health care practitioners are embracing such IoE-related trends as the surge in mobile devices and the cutting-edge advances in Big Data analytics. An ever-expanding multitude of applications are connecting mobile users (and patients!) in startling new ways. And many health organizations are adopting BYOD and deploying any-to-any connections, which link hospitals across the globe. The rising influx of smart watches and wearable technology that track personal health data also show great promise.

Overall, emerging mobile solutions can have a tremendous impact on the future of health care as they enable increased connectivity and a much deeper dimension and accessibility to key health insights.

In his book, The Human Face of Big Data, Rick Smolan, the renowned photojournalist and author, explores the interrelations among mobility, Big Data and health care. Together, he argues, they are transforming what it means to be connected. For example, wearables are already entering the mobile consumer landscape, where they are complimenting smartphones and tablets. But in the health care industry, wearables have tremendous practical potential. Electronic tattoos, Bluetooth-enabled dental implants, and a myriad of sensors that track our vital signs are changing how, when, and where we receive health care.

MobilizeMag: Healthcare and Mobility and how New Advancements Lead to Better Patient Care from Cisco Business Insights

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Summary: Navigating Security Threats in a Mobile World

Security plays an important role in the success of mobility implementations worldwide. We assume security threats are always present, however it’s not always apparent where threats may arise from. Being aware of these potential risk areas is crucial.

Business decision-makers must gain insight into where these breaches are occurring. They should also understand why it is important for them to care, and how they can be aided by technical decision-makers to solve these issues moving forward.

Here’s a brief look into the where, the why and the how of embracing a secure approach to enterprise mobility and what it means for business leaders.

Cisco_NavigatingSecurityMobileWorld

Where are security threats? Today’s organizations are facing a greater attack surface as advanced mobile devices and public cloud services foster new attack models and increasing complexity within networks. To cover the entire attack continuum, organizations need to address a broad range of attack vectors with solutions that operate everywhere the threat can manifest itself: on the network, on traditional endpoints, on mobile devices, and in virtual environments.

How can threats be thwarted? The best approach is a proactive one, rather than a reactive one, especially when many organizations may not know when they are under attack. Business leaders must work with IT teams to institute a formal program for managing mobile devices and to ensure that any device is secure before it can access the network.

Why does a balanced approach to mobile security matter? In a recent blog post, I discussed the need for organizations to deploy a balanced approach to mobile security. This approach should focus more on protecting the network and proprietary data and less on implementing overly broad restrictions. IT needs to approach security with a user experience mentality. After all, if you overly manage devices, your adoption will be low and so will your return on investment (ROI). This approach can lead to greater opportunities to align threat intelligence and security best practices.

To learn more about this balanced approach to mobile security, read the full blog: Navigating Security Threats in a Mobile World.

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