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
As you might expect, this generated quite a bit of controversy about whether or not his assertion is even within the realm of possibility.
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.
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 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.
A sense of great pride came over me as I entered the Expo in Milan to attend the Cisco Internet of Food international press event. This event is where Cisco brings food and digital technologies together in a world of apps, services and technologies that are changing the way food is produced, distributed, consumed and depicted. My home town hosted this significant conference that focused on two of the most important factors that make our lives better: food and the Internet. What better place than Italy? This country is the world’s food voilà and has one of the highest number of mobile phones and Facebook users – to talk about building bridges between technology and food.
While there, I met with a group of international press and together with a few colleagues and industry luminaries, we discussed the Internet of Food, a natural offshoot of the Internet of Everything.
Cisco and THNK.ORG have been working for the last 12 months to reimagine how the Internet of Everything changes the way we grow, manufacture, distribute and consume our food. Read More »
The transition to the Internet of Everything represents one of the greatest disruptions the world has ever seen. It is expected to be the one of the most influential catalysts for industrial change. We are seeing entire industries evolve, mature ecosystems break apart, and competition rising to entirely new dimensions.
These exciting changes are just the beginning. For Cisco, IoE is a new way of doing business, a new way of reaching customers and a new way of using technology to build value. For any industry going through the process of digitization, the ability to successfully navigate our IoE-enabled world will ultimately determine its future.
The story “Sea Change” is a great example of what Cisco is doing differently to help our customers control their destinies. We identified a real and significant problem. Then we solved it with an end-to-end solution to deliver a business outcome that will have a lasting effect on our customer’s core business value.
In the “Sea Change” yacht-racing story, Mobile Asset Management is illustrated through a vivid maritime example. A team of Cisco employees visited the customer site to install and connect onboard sensors and begin extracting data from the yacht. We created a dashboard so the crew could see the data visually. The sailing team utilized analytics to optimize the ship’s equipment and shave seconds off their race time, which is their key measure of success.
To connect sensors to onboard computers at sea, we used technologies and products from the recently launched Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) System. This broad portfolio enables our customers to monitor, manage, and control previously unconnected devices.
All of this was done while securing the data communications path and providing access controls. Yeah, it was a pretty cool venue, but it was also rewarding and provided valuable insight that we have since applied to other mobile segments. In fact, we are using the same solutions approach, and many of the same solutions elements, to deliver new value for utility trucks, trains, buses, logistics vehicles and first responders today.
I’m sure each of you can think of ways that information from your mobile assets could help you optimize your operations. Do you have other ideas on how mobile assets can be used to achieve remarkable outcomes for your customers? Comment and share below.