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Go Mercedes, and Leave the Driving to IoE

As they speed through the clouds, most air travelers are comfortable knowing that their pilot is not actually bothering to fly the plane. On the open highway, however, it may be harder to accept truck drivers who take their hands off the wheel to text, watch movies, or gaze at the scenery as it rolls lazily by.

Yet self-driving trucks could become a common sight in coming years. One company at the forefront of this technology is Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand. Recently, the company demonstrated its “Future Truck 2025” concept, with a modified vehicle that cruised down the autobahn at a top speed of 53 MPH. The driver was able to switch at will between manual control and the automated Highway Pilot system,.

I see the Highway Pilot as an exciting example of how the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects the unconnected. Using a convergence of innovations that leverage Wi-Fi, data analytics, radar, GPS, and stereo video sensors, Highway Pilot steers the truck, senses other vehicles, and maintains the most efficient speed and route.  IN the process, it enables a whole new technology platform and business model. After all, many countries face a shortage of truck drivers; and fuel consumption issues and safety concerns persist — especially on long, grueling hauls.

I see the self-driving truck Read More »

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The Internet of Things: Moving Beyond the Hype

We recently wrapped up a spectacular Internet of Things World Forum 2014 (IoTWF) in Chicago.  By reviewing the highlights, it’s clear that the Internet of Things is here, it’s now… it’s big, and it’s bold. And by all accounts, IoT is advancing multiple times faster than any other technology movement in history.

More than 1,500 thought and industry leaders shared visions and real-world use cases of IoT adoption and advancement, ranging from mining and oil and gas operations to caring for the elderly with remote- and self-controlled robots. Our second annual event featured 13 keynotes and 36 workshops laser focused on setting a strong foundation for IoT developments, encompassing security, standards, protocols, governance models and much more.

We had an opportunity to hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, and CIO Brenna Berman, who in addition to their hospitality shared with us their goal of establishing Chicago as THE IoT Center for cities.

Participants learned that while IoT gets most of the current buzz from consumer-driven products, more rapid growth and value are shifting rapidly to enterprise-wide applications that already have improved operational performance and efficiency. Today, 37% of total device (things) connections to the Internet come from industrial applications, and industrial connections will surpass consumer-based connections in 2017.

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Copenhagen Accelerates Green Growth with Internet of Everything

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen again, five months after signing an agreement with three local mayors to establish an Internet of Everything (IoE) strategy throughout their municipalities in greater Copenhagen.

My purpose was to catch up on progress made since our May 28th Memorandum of Understanding, and to collaborate with the fellow signatories on next steps for implementation.

I like working with bold city leaders who not only have visions for transformation, but also who create and execute to deadlines.  Copenhagen’s leaders clearly exemplify all these characteristics. The greater Copenhagen municipality has a bold collective vision and detailed plan on how to become carbon neutral by the year 2025 – and its execution toward that goal continues to be on track.  Tangible progress here serves as a global role model for public entities everywhere that want to deliver on climate and sustainability goals.

Copenhagen’s Internet of Everything strategy – connecting people, things, data and processes to the Internet — is an integral part of its overall green game plan. I am delighted that we were able to quickly agree to “go live” dates next year for a number of IoE-based projects to digitize urban services through application-centric infrastructure.  City of Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen, Albertslund Mayor Steen Christiansen and Vinge Mayor John Schmidt Andersen, and their highly capable staff, should all be commended for their rapid decisions to accelerate deployment of ambitious IoE projects in each of their locations.

Surveying DOLL progress with the Cisco team

Surveying DOLL progress with the Cisco team

Amazingly, considering the MoU was signed just a few months ago, two other IoE projects here are already under way.

The first is the Denmark Outdoor Light Lab (DOLL), which went live in September. In Albertslund in western Copenhagen, DOLL has carved out one square mile of the town as kind of “outdoor living laboratory,” where 37 competing outdoor LED light solutions have all been installed over six miles of roads.

A Cisco city Wi-Fi network covers this area, connecting the light solutions, providing online controls, digitized information, public access and video – all converged onto one network. The architecture reflects proven experience from work done in our IoE-based Smart City engagements in Nice, Barcelona and Chicago.

What is new in DOLL is that so many different outdoor light vendors are converging their solutions onto one network, thereby creating a seamless communications standard for the light industry. I’m excited about this innovative and unique lab, which is set to expand to a larger array of networked urban services

For more information, you can view this video, www.albertslund.dk/newlighting

The second current IoE development is a traffic monitoring proof of concept, which has gone live in downtown Copenhagen. This pilot represents the first step towards a broader traffic management platform providing real-time views of traffic that can help reduce congestion and travel times.

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As Industrial Networks Converge, Skill Sets Must Broaden

As we reflect on the Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) last week in Chicago, workforce readiness – or workforce availability – was a big topic of conversation among attendees. It’s also an issue I addressed on behalf of Rockwell Automation at the event.

Those of us in the industrial sector are acutely familiar with the challenges of workforce readiness. Many of us have been working for years to find, attract and inspire the next generation of workers who will fill the place of many long-serving and soon-to-be-retiring skilled professionals.

But retirement isn’t the only issue affecting worker readiness. Major changes to how manufacturers and industrial organizations operate are proving to have equally major impacts on their workforces.

Specifically, the convergence of information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT) presents significant challenges to the professionals who are responsible for installing, maintaining, upgrading and troubleshooting those technologies.

IT and OT professionals historically have worked in silos, with IT delegated to the business side and OT to the industrial zone. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing that. Today’s industrial organizations can connect, communicate and collaborate across the entire enterprise, from executive suites and corner offices to plant floors, supply chain partners and remote locations.

As a result, the lines that have traditionally divided IT and OT are blurring. These workers increasingly require skills beyond their core areas of expertise to be able to support IT, networking and control-system functions.

Cisco recently introduced the Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist certification to ensure IT and OT professionals are equipped with the broad skill sets they need to manage and administer industrial network systems. The certification exam tests both hands-on skills as well as knowledge of critical topics, such as the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, network and industrial devices, safety protocols, and environmental and industrial standards.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco are launching a hands-on, lab-based course this month to prepare IT and OT professionals for the exam and give them the foundational skills they’ll need for the connected enterprises of tomorrow. The first-of-its-kind course, Managing Industrial Networks with Cisco Networking Technologies (IMINS), aims to help IT and control-system engineers install, maintain and troubleshoot industrial network systems, as well as help engineers achieve network availability, reliability and security.

The IoT presents opportunities that today are only limited to our imagination. Leading organizations already are taking advantage of smart devices and converged-network technologies, and most others will soon enough discover they need to embrace them if they want to remain competitive. New technologies are accelerating access to insightful possibilities but we should never forget that our greatest assets will always be our employees, and we must educate and empower those who can best make this great leap forward a successful one.

Looking forward to Automation Fair and continued discussions around how other industries are leveraging IoT to address the skills gap.

 

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Don’t Just Survive, Use IoE To Thrive from the Data Avalanche

Can you feel the rumbling? Once firm ground now feels shaky. And that rushing sound you hear is the avalanche of data that threatens to bury businesses that aren’t prepared. Research firm IDC estimates that by 2020, the amount of digital information will explode to 40,000 Exabytes or 40 trillion GB (more than 5,200 GB for every man, woman, and child according to EMC). And while natural avalanches end quickly, it’s clear that the data avalanche is gaining momentum.

This data deluge has significant ramifications for companies and public sector organizations that are seeking answers to questions such as: How do you create insightful information from immense amounts of data? How much of your limited IT budget should you spend on Big Data solutions to protect your competitive position? What innovations are possible from new insights? How can these innovations transform your business?

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