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Wearable to Aware-able: Contact, Connection, Context

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been motivated by an innate desire to be connected to each other and to information. Today, we are seeing this need satisfied as the Internet of Everything (IoE) evolves to connect more people, process, data and things than ever before. An essential part of the growth of the Internet of Everything will depend on how mobile devices, connected things and wearable technology adapts and develops to become more aware and intelligent.

Today, the wearable device market is a nascent, but growing market. There are about 160 unique wearable devices on the market, and IDTechEx predicts wearables will grow to a $70 billion market in the next ten years. However, despite its growing market share, many still have limited views of what a wearable is and the innovation these devices will encourage in our mobile-led IoE world.

In this post, I’ll share some thoughts I presented at the recent Wearable Technology Conference that explores how we will soon see wearables move from being just wearable to becoming aware-able through increased contact, connections and context.

Let’s Start at the Beginning…What is a Wearable?

There is a lot of confusion in the industry about what a wearable is and the role it plays in our lives.  For example, advances in exoskeletons for military applications and sports define a wearable as more than just a device for your wrist.

And it’s not just for humans.

Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) co-developed a fuel cell that is expected to be used for forming a wireless mesh networks with cyborg insects in emergency situations. In this case, insects can be used for wirelessly transmitting various sensor signals in areas that humans simply can’t go – such as disaster areas or for search and rescue efforts. It may seem a bit crazy now, but connecting these flying sensor insects to the network can create a very interesting, new capability that will challenge our definition of what a wearable is over time.

Why Now – and what’s all the Hype About?

Simply put, the size of technology is shrinking. Technology shrinks every decade about a 100-fold, so while in the mid-80’s we were carrying around a separate music player, telephone and calculator, today we carry all those capabilities into one device: our smartphone. Couple this trend with ongoing advances in microscopic sensors and computers the size of a grain of sand and it’s clear we are just beginning to understand what’s possible for new IoT connections and mobile innovations.

Wearable 2.0: From Wearable to Aware-able

While most wearables on the market today are built to capture WHAT we are doing, they don’t tell us HOW we are doing. We are seeing an evolution of wearables that will focus more on HOW we are doing, and capture insights that can change our lives. For example, while today’s wearable bracelet or watch can tell me my body is moving, it cannot tell me anything about my biological processes – such as my glucose levels or blood pressure.

For this evolution to occur, wearable devices – or aware-able devices – require three things:

Cisco_WearableAwareables - Dave Blog

  1. Contact with your body
  2. Connections with the world
  3. Context by providing relevant information

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these “Three Cs.”

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Announcing Open Submissions for the IoT Innovation Grand Challenge!

April 21, 2014 at 11:30 am PST

Cisco_IoTInnovationGrandChallenge_lcAt the recent IoT World Forum Steering Committee meeting one of the topics that came up again and again was innovation – the need for innovation in business models, the need for innovation in our lives as the Internet of Everything approaches, and the need for innovation with developing the “things” that will be connecting to the IoT.

One of Cisco’s ongoing business strategies is to invest in innovation and so I’m excited to share that we’re now accepting submissions for the Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Grand Challenge! The Grand Challenge is a global, open competition aimed at recognizing, promoting and accelerating the adoption of breakthrough technologies and products. We wish to foster growth in startup businesses that will contribute to the growth and evolution of the Internet of Things. Cisco seeks to inspire and support the next generation of entrepreneurs and startups that are developing technologies in areas of applications, analytics, management and connectivity.

The first round of judging will happen in July when 18 ideas will be selected by Cisco judges with one “crowd favorite”.  From those we’ll narrow down to 6 and then the three finalists will be featured at the next IoT World Forum.

Jumpstart Your Business with A Cash Award

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Summary: IoT Holds Great Promise – But Ensuring Its Security Takes Strong Leadership and Teamwork!

April 18, 2014 at 7:20 am PST

Despite the many benefits of IoT, the billions of connected sensors, devices, and other smart objects it comprises will also dramatically increase the diversity of threats we will face. As a result, ensuring that we can reap the overwhelming benefits of IoT without undermining security will take strong leadership and a great deal of teamwork throughout the industry. That’s why I’m proud that Chris Young, Senior Vice President, Cisco Security Group, recently made the list as one of the top 100 thought leaders for IoT!

Read the full blog post to learn more.

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IoT Holds Great Promise – But Ensuring its Security Takes Strong Leadership and Teamwork!

April 18, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

Many people take the term “Internet of Things” too literally, and assume that IoT is about the things, themselves. But they’re missing the whole point! It’s not the “things” that makes IoT special. After all, connected devices are neither new nor particularly interesting, particularly since the data each individual item produces is of little value. But by networking these devices together, IoT enables us to benefit from their ability to combine simple data to produce usable intelligence. In turn, that intelligence can be used by businesses to increase operational efficiency, and by individuals to make life easier and more comfortable.

But despite the many benefits of IoT, the billions of connected sensors, devices, and other smart objects it comprises will also dramatically increase the diversity of threats we will face. As a result, securely embracing IoT will require a multi-layer approach to security – including cloud, perimeter, physical, and device-level security, as well as end-to-end data encryption.

Ensuring that we can reap the overwhelming benefits of IoT without undermining security isn’t going to happen on its own; it will take strong leadership and a great deal of teamwork throughout the industry. That’s why I’m proud that Chris Young, Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Security, recently topped the list as one of the top 100 thought leaders for IoT! It will take leaders like Chris, who have a strong understanding of security and a passion for IoT, to help ensure that we can securely embrace IoT.

I honestly expect IoT to change the world in a variety of ways. But truly harnessing its power requires that we inspire and cultivate a true culture of security throughout every level of the extended network – which means that leadership and teamwork will be far more valuable than the technology, itself.

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Ask The #InternetOfEverything Futurist: “How Will the Future of Technology Integrate into our Five Senses?”

In my role as Cisco’s Chief Futurist, I get many questions about what the future holds and how new technology and emerging solutions will change our lives. Be sure to check out previous Ask the #InternetOfEverything Futurist blogs and videos about the advances of battery technology, the future of smartphones and new retail models.

Greek philosopher Aristotle first classified the five senses of human perception: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing in De Anima, a landmark piece of work that explores how we interpret reality.

Today, Aristotle’s belief about senses still holds true: Our senses help us obtain a better understanding of the world around us. And as the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects more people, process, data and things, emerging technology and the network to support such technology is playing an increased role in our sensory development and capabilities.

New solutions that rely on haptic touch technology, sensors and real-time data transmission protocols are no longer requiring us to touch or even see technology in order for us to interact with it. These innovations coupled with the power of the Internet of Everything are creating enhanced experiences for us – and a new way of viewing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching our world.

In today’s Ask the #InternetOfEverything Futurist post, I’ll answer a question from Cisco Champion Karen Woodard’s student, Kurt, who addresses this type of IoE-enabled sensory technology evolution. Kurt asks:

Question: “How will the future of technology integrate into our five senses?”

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