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.
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, an important milestone as we look at how far we’ve come and how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is shaping our future.
Developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, the Web was borne from the need to keep track of complex, large-scale projects without the loss of important information. We’ve come a long ways since March 1989, when Berners-Lee published his idea of “linked information systems.”
Today, IoE is driving connections beyond just data. The convergence of connecting people, things, data and processes is transforming organizations, industries and our lives. The growth of mobility and cloud computing is further driving innovation and an increase in the number and kinds of connections.
To illustrate this transformation, let’s take a quick look at life just two decades ago. According to a new national survey to mark the 25th anniversary of the Web, Pew Research revealed that in 1995, 42 percent of U.S. adults had never heard of the Internet and an additional 21 percent were vague on the concept—they knew it had something to do with computers and that was about it. In addition, 20 years ago, only 14 percent had access to the Internet.
In my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist, I get many questions about what the future holds and how new technology and emerging solutions will change our lives. Given the positive feedback and the volume of questions being submitted from the community around the first series, I’ve decided to do another series to answer questions from the education and tech community around the Internet of Everything (IoE). Whether the questions are global in scope, such as how the Internet of Everything will shape our world, or small in nature, like today’s Ask the #IoE Futurist question about batteries, I enjoy the challenge of answering them all.
It’s true what most school teachers say, “There is no such thing as a bad question.”
In fact, when it comes to questioning what the future of technology looks like, the ideas from Malcolm Gladwell’s famous book, The Tipping Point, come to life.
Gladwell states that a tipping point is when a small idea, technology or trend crosses a threshold and “spreads like wildfire.” Today, we are witnessing a tipping point in technology innovation that is representative of small innovations that have a compounding effect on society. Microscopic sensors, tiny wearable mobile devices, miniscule packets of energy, and even an AA battery have the potential to impact future innovation and what it means to be connected.
In this post, I’ll answer a question from Chad, a student of Cisco Champion Karen Woodard, about how specifically new developments in battery technology could impact new solutions. Here is Chad’s question:
Question: “Will the future of battery technology prohibit the advancement of computers or technology in general?”
In a world of digital distractions and shrinking attention spans, brand loyalty and customer engagement often wind up “out of bounds.” But forward-thinking organizations — including the National Basketball Association (NBA) — are using technology to create some exciting new scoring opportunities.
One of the keys to establishing brand loyalty lies in enabling an experience that sparks an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand. The NBA is a great example of an organization with an ardent fan base whose loyalty is based on an emotional bond. But to transform that passion into higher merchandise sales and social media buzz, the NBA has been adopting some unique concepts.
Some of this innovation will be on display at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, which will take place in New Orleans, February 13-16. There, the NBA is deploying Cisco’s Virtual Mirror done with partner C-InStore. The full-length mirror enables shoppers to see enhanced virtual images of themselves. And while Cisco’s Virtual Mirror might not make a customer look 7 feet tall (yet), it will render an image of him or her wearing the official All-Star jersey, shorts, and other licensed apparel. That digital snapshot can then be shared with friends and family, capitalizing on the excitement of being at the event. Those who engage with the mirror will also receive a 20-percent discount off event merchandise, redeemable through a coupon sent automatically to their phones.
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.