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From the Last Traffic Jam to the Last “Business Jam”

When I’m stuck in one of Silicon Valley’s many traffic jams, my frustration level rises as rapidly as my speedometer slows down. I think about how the digital synchronization of highways, vehicles and traffic lights could unclog congestion, lower pollution, eliminate delays and significantly reduce our collective frustration levels.

Just a little digital automation could go a long way to reduce not only traffic and accidents but also time, gas, smog and the costs of road and car repairs. Not to mention, helping us all attain a much more sustainable environment.

So when I’m stuck like this in traffic, whether at home or internationally, my thoughts turn to how we can get to the Last Traffic Jam.

The answer is a more connected world—or the Internet of Everything. It’s how we’ll change the way we live, work, play, and learn. This has been Cisco’s goal for 30 years, and today we have an unprecedented opportunity, along with our partners, to transform our world for the better

And that includes eliminating traffic headaches.

Studies show that for every minute spent clearing an accident from a road, there is a four-minute delay to get traffic moving again. And it’s not just delays. Today, traffic congestion costs Americans alone more than $124 billion a year. By 2030, experts predict the average American household will spend 33 percent more in traffic-related costs than today and the annual price of traffic in the United States and Europe could rise nearly 50 percent from today’s costs.

Want to know more? Here are some insights on the Last Traffic Jam.

Today, we are already connecting roadways, cars, drivers, traffic lights, parking spaces, public transportation and commercial traffic. The early results show dramatic improvement in traffic flows, fewer roadside incidents, and lower transportation costs. And one day this all will lead to the Last Traffic Jam.

This is happening by connecting disparate intelligent transportation systems to provide a centralized view of highway systems, including road conditions, traffic, construction, and transit information. Connected roadways and connected cities, are improving decision-making while reducing operating and maintenance costs.

I believe the “beginning of the end” has started. Cities around the world are getting connected.

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Let’s Talk Firsts and Lasts

For 30 years, we’ve been helping change the way people work, live, play, and learn. During this time, our world has advanced faster than ever.

It seems like yesterday when we saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first-ever consumer machine with a mouse and graphical interface. Then, just two years later in 1986, Cisco introduced the Advanced Gateway Server, or AGS.

This breakthrough multiprotocol router became the foundation for moving traffic across networks. In 1990, researcher Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML—the official language of the World Wide Web and the spark to make the Internet mainstream.

Today, it’s hard to remember life before the Internet. The industry has come a long way, and so have we.

We owe our founding to Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two former Stanford University computer technologists, who set Cisco on an incredible journey as a networking and Internet pioneer.

In 1995, less than 1 percent of the world’s population connected on the Internet. Today, more than 40 percent connect online.

We’ve seen businesses transformed and economies modernized. The way we buy and sell products has changed—so has their design, production, and distribution. It’s as if no industry has been untouched.

In the next 30 years and beyond, we’ll see everything become connected—people, process, data, and things. This will expand our understanding of the world and the experiences we have, and we’ll generate new ideas and discover new solutions.

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Dubai: A Smart City of Rapid Technology Transformations

During my recent trip in Dubai, I had the pleasure of experiencing both the personal and climactic warmth of this extremely modern smart city. Known for building the world’s tallest structure, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai also has emerged as a global business, financial and transportation hub in the Persian Gulf leveraging advanced networked technologies. The pace of accelerated transformation here never ceases to amaze me.

Dubai and the country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to set ambitious goals and then achieve them. Dubai has among the most efficient and busiest airports, longest metro transit systems, advanced road-tolls and highly digitized, smart government services underpinned by advanced broadband and mobile networks.

After meeting with local government and business leaders, I am not surprised about these rapid achievements. Public and private sector leaders here exude energy, enthusiasm and hospitality – and they know how to be decisive with timelines!

I am very excited that while here we were able to confirm with local officials the dates and venue for next year’s Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) in Dubai. We will be announcing that information soon. Bringing together IoT and Internet of Everything (IoE) industry leaders IoTWF is the ideal setting for thought leadership around the most significant advance in the history of technology – the connection of people, processes, data and things.

Business, government and other thought leaders I talked with in Dubai all recognized the value that can be captured from connecting the unconnected. Cisco Consulting Services calculates that the UAE can realize $53 billion of economic value over the next decade, and Dubai about $5 billion in the next five years by leveraging IoE-based solutions that digitize everything from buildings and transportation to energy and outdoor lighting.

We are very excited to be joining Dubai and the UAE on this journey of rapid growth and transformation.

This recent trip also extended into Saudi Arabia where leaders also are embracing the Inernet of Everything. For more, please click here.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Smart Connections

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest economy in the Middle East, is universally recognized as the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum. In recent years, however, it has emerged as a visionary leader in leveraging networked technology, especially in developing a number of Smart City projects to attract business while controlling sprawl and congestion.

Cisco Consulting Services estimates that KSA alone can gain about $84 billion of total economic value from the Internet of Everything, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things. Nearly $16 billion of this is in the public sector, with profitability, cost savings and enhanced experiences coming from urban services such as smart street lighting, smart traffic management, mobile collaboration, chronic disease control, connected learning and healthcare, to name a few.

Globally, Cisco sees a total $19 trillion opportunity for both the public and private sectors. 

Last week, I revisited Saudi Arabia for the 16th time in five years and saw first-hand its progress in developing Smart Cities, or what we at Cisco call, Smart + Connected Communities. I had the honor of participating in the Cityquest KAEC Forum, jointly organized by the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and New Cities Foundation, which assembled global thought leaders in some of the most advanced Smart City projects.

I had the pleasure of participating in an enthusiastic panel discussion on local and global urban innovations made possible by “Connecting Through Technology,” moderated by Andrew Sewer, journalist and former managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

As reported in The Arab News, Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), kicked off the conference by emphasizing that public sector investments to diversify the economy are “… the most promising and significant in terms of job creation, technology transfer and exports development,” pointing to KAEC as a prime example.

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Transforming Education with the Internet of Everything at San Jose State

Forward-thinking faculty members and staff at San Jose State University are using Internet of Everything technologies in innovative ways to transform education:

Project Assistant Quyen Grant is using Cisco collaboration technologies to expand learning across international borders, working with students and universities in Vietnam through the Social Work Education Enhancement Program (SWEEP); Advertising Professor John Delacruz is using Cisco TelePresence for his students to deliver final presentations to potential advertising clients who may be in remote locations. Julia Curry-Rodriguez, associate professor of Mexican American Studies, uses Cisco Lecture Capture to help non-native English speaking students improve their language skills.

These are just a few of the examples we learned about on December 10, 2014 at San Jose State University as they hosted global media, analysts, social media influencers, and Cisco for a series of roundtables that addressed how the Internet of Everything is impacting industries including education and the public and private sectors. Read More »

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