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Back to Business: IoT Makes Traditional Industries Cool Again

The U.S. space program in the 1960s and ‘70s was a classic example of an innovation model that began with a government initiative, was applied to enterprise issues, and finally filtered down to consumers. Internet innovation in the early 2000s turned that model on its head by focusing first on consumer needs, consumer applications, and consumer-oriented technologies such as e-commerce, mobile, social, and cloud.

Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is inverting the innovation yet model again, bringing enterprise-oriented business-to-business (B2B) technologies and applications back into vogue. IoT is making traditional industries such as manufacturing and logistics “cool” again.

One indication of this trend is the large number of startups focused on enterprise solutions. I meet with several startups every week, and all of them seem to be focusing on some aspect of IoT—analytics, fog computing, vertical applications, sensor connectivity, and more. These startups see the huge transformative business opportunity of IoT, as the connections among people, process, data, and things become more pervasive. Millennials are driving this digital transformation. We can see their influence as consumers in the auto industry, for example, where new cars have essentially become smartphones on wheels. But now Millennials are also driving IoT innovations as participants who insist on using mobile devices and state-of-the-art software and tools to access and control IoT operations.

The Internet of Things is sparking innovation in traditional industries.

The Internet of Things is sparking innovation in traditional industries.

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What it Takes to Be a Digital Predator and Not Become Digital Prey

For organizations looking to take advantage of the wave of digital disruption that’s sweeping industries on a global scale, getting into the heads of their customers is probably the best place to start.

With tech trends like social, mobile, cloud and Big Data converging, organizations who want to remain competitive are in a race to adapt to the new realities of digital disruption. A March, 2015 Forrester Research Inc. report, “Digital Predator or Digital Prey?” has shed new light on what these trends can mean for business vitality, serving as a wake-up call for organizations.

According to the in-depth report, by 2020, every business will become either a digital predator, able to achieve digital mastery and create new value sources for customers or digital prey, industry “dinosaurs” who’ve adapted too late or not all – eventually becoming extinct. And though many industries have gotten ahead of the trend, others are woefully behind, remaining static in an Internet of Everything-connected world that simply flows around them.

Interestingly, research conducted through the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an IMD and Cisco initiative, revealed that 45 percent of companies don’t see digital disruption as a subject worthy of board-level attention. And another third of respondents have adopted a “wait-and-see” approach to decide whether or not they will re-examine their end-to-end customer approach in regards to digital.

Forrester’s Nigel Fenwick, co-author of the Digital Predator or Prey report, joined me as a guest of our Future of IT Podcast series to discuss this and more.

Future of IT Podcast: Digital Transformation- Digital Predator or Digital Prey from Cisco Business Insights

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Fashion Goes Digital at 2nd Annual Wearable Technology Fashion Competition

Earlier this month fashion aficionados converged on Portland, Oregon to attend our city’s official Fashion Week. Like the famed New York Fashion Week show at Bryan Park, FashioNXT Portland 2015 set up camp in our hip Pearl District to showcase what’s next in fashion. Models representing extraordinary designers from around North America, and as far away as Colombia, the Philippines, and China, walked the runway.


Me and my sister Sarah, my very own personal fashion consultant, at FashioNXT.

While I definitely like to be stylish, my primary interest included the world’s first-ever wearable technology fashion competition. Not surprising, wearable technology is a market segment that Business Insider predicts will grow 35 percent each year for the next five years. While wearables are currently dominated by smartwatches and fitness bands, I attended FashioNXT Portland for a hintof what innovations are on horizon.

Fashion’s Limitless Opportunities

It’s exciting to see how the Internet of Things (IoT) is completely disrupting the way we work, live, play and learn. For the most part wearable technology is for fun. Of course, the Fitbit and Apple Watch come to mind.

But wearable technology is beginning to make gains in other areas as well. An IoT innovation that has the opportunity to make a significant impact is the iTBra. It’s basically a bra patch embedded with an IoE sensor to detect early breast cancer. Now that’s incredible.

At FashioNXT, I saw amazing ways to blend fashion and technology. Each of the competition’s three finalists were quite different—yet equally intriguing.

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New Berlin Innovation Center Accelerates ‘Network Multiplier’

Berlin Innovation Center Blog Pic

Not your typical Cisco office: openBerlin is ready to innovate with the best startups and accelerators.

At yesterday’s inauguration of Cisco’s ninth Innovation Center in the world, Berlin’s smartest new facility was abuzz with startup-like excitement for the possibilities of what the new digital world can deliver. I mingled with Cisco colleagues, customers, partners, app developers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and the media in our latest showcase working lab, embedded with more than 10,000 sensors and all the networking hardware and software needed to co-innovate industrial solutions around the Internet of Things (IoT).

Indeed, the world is increasingly more connected. Some 13 billion devices are now connected through the Internet. And now, openBerlin, a Cisco® Innovation Center will link with an inter-connected network of eight other Innovation Centers in major cities around the world, sharing local expertise to support development of the latest outcome-based solutions that can be scaled and replicated globally. Read More »

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The Future of Smart Cities

In the future, all cities will be smart cities. With more than one-half of the world’s population living in cities innovative new IoT solutions, such as smart parking, connected waste, and traffic management, hold great promise for combatting the major challenges of rapid urbanization. We are unlikely to see many Jetson-like smart cities of the future appearing overnight. However, like in the past with the adoption of revolutionary technologies such as sewers, electricity, traffic lights, and the Internet, mayors will slowly implement IoT solutions to save money, shape the future and make their cities better places to live.

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The Internet of Things offers cities the unique opportunity to generate new revenue, save costs, improve efficiencies and increase the overall value and experience for its citizens. Solutions like smart lighting can greatly reduce a city’s expenditure on electricity and operations, while at the same time improving the safety and security of the inhabitants. Smart parking not only allows people to spend less time in their car searching for an open parking spot, it actually creates new sources of revenue for the city. Parking can now be priced on a variable, demand-driven basis, rather than a fix fee irrespective of the time of day. Such pricing flexibility allows rush-hour spots to generate much higher revenues than those available on a Sunday morning. Security cameras and traffic management solutions not only make citizens safer and save them time, but they allow police and emergency forces to be much more efficient and responsive to potential incidents.

All of these exciting and innovative solutions will truly deliver real value to the city and its inhabitants. I think that the next big source of innovation will be Read More »

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