Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Internet of Everything

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.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My #InternetOfEverything Perspective: Why the Global Society Needs IoE

Glen Hiemstra, CEO of Futurist.com, shares his perspective on why the world needs the Internet of Everything. See the latest “My #InternetOfEverything Perspectives” blogs from Tom Touchet of City24/7 and Dave Barnes, CIO of UPS.

The role of a futurist was a little different in the pre-Internet world. During the 1980s, I had the chance to hear Willis Harmon, a futurist at Stanford Research, speak about computers and the global society. He discussed that everyone has this perception that the “computerization of everything” was making the world more complex. Rather than confining to everyone else’s opinion, he offered up a more unique perspective. He wanted people to consider that maybe the increasing complexity of global society was causing computerization. It’s a classic chicken before the egg debacle.

The same line of reasoning can be applied to the Internet of Everything (IoE). Rather than thinking of all the changes that IoE is bringing or enabling, it may be useful to think of all the global challenges that could be solved by connecting people, process, data and things. Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans recently discussed how the IoE is making the world a better place, and I want to expand on his ideas a bit and showcase how valuable, networked connections are enabling a more efficient future.

Glen Hiemstra - v1

Here’s a look at just two ways IoE is changing how we address multifaceted issues on a global scale.

The Internet of Everything Enables Connected Environmentalism

Have you ever considered that the civilization we created in the last 100 years, and the Internet of Everything for that matter, depend heavily on our ability to locate new sources of long-dead plants and animals, dig them up, and light them on fire? I heard Bruce Sterling discuss this idea from his book “Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next 50 Years” once at an event.  It’s true -- we live an extremely primitive life when we sum up what Sterling refers to as the “human race’s primary industrial enterprise.”

We are well aware of the future problems that this life is creating.

By the end of the next decade or so we will either have figured out how to use smart technology to reduce the carbon and other green-house gas impacts of our insatiable global energy generation needs, or make significant cut-backs in life-style will be on the horizon. Evidence for the global climate crisis is likely to continue to accumulate, and thus we will see greater social and political pressure for major change in the energy picture, including more efficiency and cleaner energy.

None of that happens without a highly connected data network, which enables both smart people inventing new things, and smart devices and infrastructure and vehicles making leaps in efficiency (and safety too!). This social movement is likely to become more powerful if the ice in the Arctic fully melts out one summer in coming decades, as many experts suspect that it will.

The Internet of Everything Drives the Future of Transportation

Our everyday transportation has its benefits, like getting us to and from work. However, as more car crashes continue to claim lives, the rise of smart transportation, connected workers and changing attitudes about driving could help improve safety and positively impact the environment.

In addition, recent surveys prove that younger generations are less likely to obtain their driver’s license. Does this mean that we are over the thrill of driving? Seems like it. Surveys show that if given the option between having a car or having a smart device, people increasingly choose the smart device. In fact, our main reason for driving since the car was invented was to commute to and from work. According to some recent Tweets, people today desire four major things during their commute:

1)      Get from point A to B

2)      Get work done

3)      Improve or not damage the environment

4)      Enjoy their personal interests

What if we could experience all four of these things without driving?  A smart infrastructure combined with smart private and transit vehicles capable of autonomous driving could make this happen. But we have a long way to go if that kind of future transportation is to be made available, including the need for smart roads that provide extensive information and smart vehicles that talk to the infrastructure and each other.

Being a futurist has definitely changed in the last 30 years, and I am sure it will be much different in the next 30 years. But one thing is for sure: if we still want to even have a future, we need to solve today’s global problems, starting with the environment and transportation.  And the IoE is just the way to make it happen.

Do you know of any other global challenges that IoE can solve? Share them with us in the comments section below or join the conversation, #InternetOfEverything. And be sure to listen to the new Future of Mobility Podcast I recently participated in with Dave Evans, Cisco Chief Futurist. A summary of the podcast can found on SlideShare.

Additional Resources:

Future of Mobility Podcast : Wearable to Aware-able _ Contact, Connections and Context from Cisco Business Insights

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.”

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,