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Tesla Powerwall May Be a Game Changer for PV Energy Production, but Distribution Networking is Vital

During Elon Musk’s presentation of Tesla Powerwall, a battery system that lets you store energy to power your home, he shared a slide showing a small area of the Texas panhandle – with a small blue square representing the land area necessary to produce enough solar power to meet the entire electric power needs of the United States.

“...very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.”  Elon Musk

“…very little land is required to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States.” Elon Musk

As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.

Does Musk’s claim pass the smell test? Read More »

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Creating and Capturing Value To Thrive in a Digital World

By 2020, 75% of business will become digital in some way by deploying solutions that leverage the intersection of people, process, data, and things—the very definition of the Internet of Everything (IoE). For example, IoE will drive an improvement of earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) of 15.6% in retail, 14.5% in financial services, and 12.8% in manufacturing.

Connected Devices and Sensors Everywhere

The rapid adoption of IoE and the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the number of connected devices into the billions worldwide. Cisco’s own estimate shows there are 25 billion connected devices today, and will be 50 billion by 2020.

While sheer the number of devices grabs the headlines, there is an even more powerful force at work that will add to the tremendous disruption CIOs and senior IT executives are experiencing across all industries. (For more about this disruption, please refer to my blog titled, The Digital Vortex: Relentless, Disruptive, Chaotic — and Empowering.)

The enduring impact of Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law combined with unprecedented innovation is resulting in sensors that are changing the world to become hyper-aware, hyper-predictive, and hyper-agile. Cisco estimates that 54 billion sensors will be shipped this year.

Leading companies are using these new capabilities to do things like monitor and expedite the time it takes prepare planes for boarding, reduce customer wait times by predicting 40 minutes in advance when lines will become too long, increase factory production rates by ensuring workers always have the right tools at hand, and anticipate structural failures to save lives and reduce costs.

New Business Models and Value Creation

In this new environment, three digital business models are pointing the way forward: 1) Frictionless Life, 2) Hyper-Relevance, and 3) Community. Each model delivers a different type of value.

JBGartnerITExpoBlogPic Read More »

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As Two Digital Divides Close, A New One Threatens

Five years ago when it was created, the UN Commission for Digital Development stated that “the digital divide continues to be a development divide that must quickly be bridged.” Since then, huge progress has been made in closing the digital divides in the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly telephones and the Internet. A new potential digital divide may be emerging, however, in the adoption of machine-to-machine (M2M) deployment and services, a key element in the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything.

The latest data from the Broadband Commission’s 2015 State of Broadband report launched this week, shows the gap in the adoption of telephones falling rapidly, particularly as mobile telephones spread across the world. In 2005, mobile penetration in the developed world was over three times higher than in developing countries (82% versus 23%). By 2015, this gap has closed significantly with mobile penetration at 121% in developed countries and 92% in developing countries. While larger gaps remain in broadband Internet (mobile and fixed) subscriptions, higher growth rates for both technologies in developing countries point to the same conclusion: overall, developing countries are catching up with developed countries in a range of ICTs.

According to Cisco’s 2015 Visual Networking Index (VNI), we now stand at a clear digital tipping point – by 2019, the number of people connecting to Internet will be 3.9 billion, reaching over 51% of the global population. As over one billion additional people connect to the Internet over the next five years, over 10.2 billion new devices (smartphones, tablets, sensors, etc.) will come online at the same time, growing from 14.2 billion in 2014 to 24.4 billion in 2019; and 10.5 billion of these will be M2M.

This ‘good news’ story, however, masks an emerging digital divide in this next phase of the Internet, which will be characterized by a growing number of connected devices of all kinds. In North America, there were 6.1 networked devices per capita in 2014 with a forecast of 11.6 devices per capita by 2019 (a CAGR of 14% in total devices). In Western Europe, the number will be 8.2 devices per capita by 2019, up from 4.4 devices per capita in 2014 (13% CAGR). However, in Latin America, there were only 2.0 connected devices per capita in 2014, with an expected rise to 2.9 by 2019 (9% CAGR), and in the Middle East/Africa region, growth is expected to be similarly slow growing from only 1.0 connected device per capita in 2014 to 1.4 by 2019 (9% CAGR as well).

The Emerging Digital Divide

The contrast across regions in M2M devices is even more stark. While globally, over 43% of all devices in 2019 will be M2M, advanced regions of the world are ahead of the curve. In the UK, M2M devices will account for 48% of all devices by 2019. In Australia the share will be 54%; the US it will be 58%; Japan 68% and in Korea, 72%. By comparison, in most developing countries the number of M2M devices are still at a nascent level: In India, only 13% of all devices by 2019 will be M2M, across Africa and Middle East, the share will be only 17%, in South Africa it will 22%; Brazil and Mexico will be 32%.

Why does this matter? While developing countries are catching up in basic ICT penetration, this growing gap in connected devices and M2M connections may point to big differences in how societies are utilizing, and benefitting from, the Internet and the next generation of the digital transition. For example, network effects and externalities that multiply the impacts of ICTs require minimum adoption thresholds before those impacts begin to materialize, and the greater the intensity of ICT use, the greater the impacts on economic growth (even beyond saturation levels of penetration).

It is important to recognize the global success in advancing the adoption of ICTs, particularly telephones and the Internet, around the world. Private sector telecom investment supported by smart government policies fostered infrastructure development to the extent that now over 90% of the world’s population is covered by mobile telephone signals.

We must continue the push for greater access and adoption of ICTs among lower-income groups to further accelerate income gains at the base of the economic pyramid. Policy action should focus on preventing and bridging this emerging digital divide in M2M and connected devices, achieved through partnership and private sector investment, enabled by conducive business environments and crafted by pro-innovation and pro-investment government policies. As the 2015 State of Broadband report highlights, more needs to be done to accelerate the adoption of ICTs and total connected devices and close the gaps between developed and developing countries, as well as high-income and low-income populations.

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Financing the Internet of Everything

You’ve heard us talk about the move from the Information Age to the digital age and how the rapid change associated with this movement will transform the way business is done at a global scale.

The primary driver for this revolution will be The Internet of Everything (IoE)—the next big phase of the Internet. Poised to generate over $19 trillion in value at stake for businesses and countries over the next decade, IoE encompasses shifts in computing such as big data, cloud, BYOD and mobility, and a new breed of software applications that will increasingly strain enterprise and service provider networks alike.

To become industry disruptors and take full advantage of the Internet of Everything, organizations will need to rethink how they do business. They will need to reimagine the role technology plays in their business and make it a strategic asset.

In my role as President of Cisco Capital, the captive finance business within Cisco, I speak with customers and partners globally of all sizes, across different markets and that have different business needs. In almost every conversation, a common challenge arises – how do they to do more with less and keep pace with technology innovation? It’s a good question, and one that doesn’t have a one-size-fits all answer.

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Three Ways We Can Impact the Future of Society and the Planet

This blog is also featured on Huffington Post ImpactX.

As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Cisco is committed to creating and implementing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. In partnership with other global leaders, we’re tackling new issues every year, from closing the IT skills gap to creating new economic opportunities for individuals worldwide.

This year, nonprofit leaders, influential CEOs, and diplomats will come together at the CGI Annual Meeting under the theme of “The Future of Impact,” where they’ll collaborate to turn inspiring ideas into real-world results.

Together, CGI members have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries. Through countless public-private partnerships, we are preparing people around the world with the skills, technologies, and resources they’ll need to thrive in a connected world.

Through both our CGI commitments and our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, we’ve learned what works to speed the pace of social change in communities worldwide:

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