The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting sensors, cameras, machines, and other devices at an amazing rate. But what drives the value of these digitized devices is not just the connections—it’s the applications that the connections enable. Think, for example, of a connected transportation system. It is not enough that buses have GPS and can connect to the Internet—what could really make a difference is an application that dynamically plans bus routes based on where people are, how long they have been waiting, and where they are going. That’s where the true value is.
You might even say that applications are the reason we connect things and collect data from those things. So those of us who are building the IoT infrastructure must understand what application developers need, and then enable them to take advantage of the IoT infrastructure and the data it carries. This means we need more than open APIs—we must make it easy for an application to get the data it requires from the infrastructure and to provide input into the infrastructure.
Additionally, we need to respond to the changing ways people want to interact with the devices at the edge. Traditionally, a process engineer might control or program a production line using a fixed human-machine interface (HMI) screen physically attached to the production machinery. Today, there is a growing need for remote and mobile interface capabilities—especially for the growing ranks of Millennials who want to be able to use iPads and other mobile devices to interact with IoT deployments. Cisco’s IOx platform is a flexible application development environment with a goal of enabling developers to connect applications with any protocol, interface, or device. In the future, this could even enable a control engineer in the factory to look at a robot’s operation through smart goggles, instantly viewing maintenance statistics and malfunction alerts.
Millennials in the workforce demand flexibility and mobility in interacting with IoT deployments
“Why Cisco?” I was asked repeatedly after speaking on a panel about drones. “Why not Cisco?” was my passionate response.
The occasion was the recent NASA UTM Convention at Silicon Valley’s historic Moffett Field to explore creative traffic management solutions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), popularly known as drones. At Cisco, we see a full spectrum of public, enterprise and consumer opportunities, as well as an amazing ecosystem of partners evolving around “connected” drones. This isn’t just buzz, but a real business opportunity.
After all, drones capture and transmit “ungodly amounts of data,” as Cisco’s Helder Antunes noted during his keynote session and CNBC interview. Cisco’s network backbone, solutions and applications enable the Internet of Everything (IoE) – the connection of people, processes, data and things – and drones represent important, mobile, data-rich nodes on the network. Please also read Helder’s blog on drones and the IoE here.
When it comes to drones and many other remotely connected and mobile devices, it’s really all about Collaboration, Cloud, Fog Computing – and Analytics, whether at the edge, across the network or in the cloud. To seamlessly transform raw data from sensors and images into actionable insights, an end-to-end platform is needed to optimally capture, store, share and process data most anywhere.
For example, one of the biggest challenges for drone operations today is to efficiently collect and effectively transfer colossal amounts of data over weak or non-existent network links in remote areas. Many times, these processes take days or weeks before the collected data can be processed and meaningful insights can be derived.
High-value crops such as grapes may suffer significant business losses due to such time-lagged decisions. Again, what’s needed is the connection to a reliable, high-speed platform. Cisco’s hardware and software technologies enable virtually real-time decision making without experts having to physically download and tackle the data deluge challenge on-site.
Precision Agriculture, Safety & Security and Field Asset Inspection are some verticals that could immensely benefit by leveraging unmanned aircrafts due to their unique abilities to navigate in complex remote environments.
At the NASA event, Angelo Fienga of Cisco Italy and I demonstrated an interesting use case of how one can utilize Cisco’s collaboration infrastructure to unleash “remote expert” capabilities using drones. We successfully exhibited that by relaying the live camera feed of the drone over to WebEx and TelePresence infrastructure, allowing an agronomist thousands of miles away across the globe to precisely observe, guide and control data collection operation in the field.
So all this and more is why “Cisco and drones” make a lot of sense. I’m excited about the possibilities here, and will share some more ideas during my keynote address at the upcoming InterDrone conference in Las Vegas from Sep 9-11, 2015. I hope to see you there.
Meantime, what applications do you think are better suited for a drone business?
Earlier this summer I was privileged to be the closing keynote speaker at the UTM Convention, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Silicon Valley chapter. The convention took place at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and focused on the unmanned-vehicle traffic management (UTM) aspect of drones.
Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July. Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
You might be thinking, “Cisco is a networking company, why would you be involved in a drone conference?” Well, drones have to be connected, and that’s what Cisco does. They transmit massive amounts of data that must be collected, sorted, and analyzed. This is exactly where Cisco should be playing. Read More »
Keeping citizens, communities, and countries safer
Around the world, countries are under increasing pressure to better serve their citizens, protect critical resources, and ensure safe communities and nations. In response to these pressing challenges, governments are seeking innovative solutions to address these challenges. In the era of digital disruption, communities and countries are looking to digital solutions and intelligent connections with the Internet of Everything (IoE).
Next week I travel to London to support the newly launched Cisco and Intel Communications Zone at DSEI. Together with our partners, we will showcase and demonstrate innovative ways to deliver mission-critical, secure communications and digitally-enabled capabilities with the Internet of Everything.
Demonstrations will include:
Cisco Mission Fabric Communications
Digital Defense Capabilities for Smart+Connected Base
Governments today face a challenging and rapidly changing environment. Ambitious reforms and revenue generating operations are taking precedence, even while a trend of cost cutting and budget tightening is taking effect. This is presenting a re-envisioned opportunity to truly bring public service to the 21st century. And these transformative efforts are coalescing around governments embracing the digital age.
The oncoming future of citizen services is less and less in the hands of governments alone. The onslaught of digital technologies has empowered the evolution of long-held government practices. The move to citizen-centered services that have been redesigned around the needs of the community user is upon us.