“Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how.”
- Edward T. McMahon
Does your housekeeping list look like mine? Turn on the lights. Take out the trash. Clean the living room. The list could go on.
Have you noticed that how we perform these simple, daily tasks is changing? Smart utilities are replacing our old ones. Home automation is on the rise. Smart appliances that make our lives easier are now for sale and coming home with us.
At first glance, this influx of new capabilities has a novel appeal. After all, who doesn’t want a refrigerator to make their grocery list? I know I do. However, a second look reveals deeper potential. Potential that allows us to achieve sustainability across an entire community.
Flying cars. Robots. Biometric devices. These are just some of the things I get to think about and research in my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist. As the Internet of Everything continues to connect more people, process, data, and things it is exciting to think about the possibilities.
Looking at life 50 years ago can give us perspective about just how far we have come. In 1963, push-button telephones were first introduced and the world’s population was 3.2 billion, less than half of what it is today. The next 50 years will be just as revolutionary and life changing, perhaps even more so.
The Internet of Everything portends a world filled with trillions of sensors and while their practical applications seem clear – sensing water loss, traffic patterns, the growth of forests – it’s the unforeseen knowledge that they can produce that is going to be exciting in the future.
Here’s a project that opened a few eyes: Trash Track. Carlo Ratti directs the MIT SENSEable City Lab, which explores the “real-time city” by studying the way sensors and electronics relate to the city around us. He’s opening a research center in Singapore as part of an MIT-led initiative on the Future of Urban Mobility.
Within the coming decade, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will be key to enabling 50 billion connections among people, processes, data, and things in the Internet of Everything (IoE). But how we get there from here is not a simple matter.
I’m very pleased to invite Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized industry expert on IP, to discuss this important transition in the second of our three-part blog series on IPv6. The first blog in Mark’s series was “Demystifying IPv6”.
Three years ago, I organized a conference in Paris where I thought it would be fascinating to bring together the original designers of IPv6 alongside the engineers who were finally deploying it at scale more than a decade later. During this discussion, Steve Deering, one of the “fathers” of IPv6 in the 1990s, was asked one of the most common questions about IPv6: Why wasn’t it designed for backward compatibility with IPv4? After all, wouldn’t it be easier to make the transition if the two versions could transparently coexist? Steve answered that the problem is not that IPv6 wasn’t designed to be backward-compatible—the real problem is that IPv4 wasn’t designed to be forward-compatible.
Steve was making the point that IPv4 was designed with a fixed address space. Given the number of computers connected to the Arpanet throughout the 1970s, this fixed-length address field seemed to be sufficient—at least for that version of IP. IP had been replaced before, and it seemed perfectly reasonable at the time that it might be replaced again. Read More »
At the recent Cisco Live 2013 event in Orlando, I talked about the business value of converging operations technology (OT)—used for industrial automation systems—with IT business networks, in order to create more secure, end-to-end, standard communications and control. Regarding business value of IT/OT convergence for machine builders/integrators and consequently their manufacturing customers, I referenced a case study involving Comau Group that Al Presher from DesignNews recently picked up in a blog entitled “Connectivity Enabling Smart Manufacturing.”
Comau is a leading supplier and partner for most global automakers, integrating welding and assembly lines that coordinate dozens of robots and ancillary automation across multiple stations.
The order-to-engineering sign-off cycle requires months and the consequent build and commissioning to full production adds many more months for a new or refreshed manufacturing line.
Multiple fieldbus protocols at the device level complicate both design and implementation, requiring more integration services—time and money—to make the system work.
By designing a converged IT/OT “Connected Machine” solution that utilizes IP-standards-based, off-the-shelf modularity with a network architecture validated for both business and controls topologies, Comau has been able to reduce engineering cycles and cut integration time by more than two-thirds. Quoting an Engineering Manager from the company, “Installation, commissioning and debugging for 10 stations with 12-15 robots takes a couple days, rather than 1-2 weeks.” Read More »