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Connect This With That: What Is Next?

I wonder – what will connect tomorrow? What is going to connect next?

Thinking about the countless ways that different people, process, data and things will connect over upcoming years on the Internet of Everything can be almost overwhelming. As I mentioned in my last blog post, not a moment goes by in the day when I am not thinking of how different objects can work together to improve our world. Some of those connections are realistic; others are more visionary, difficult to grasp outside the context of IoE.

Cisco is already telling the story of these connections. You can explore the potentialities of the future for yourself through Connect This With That, an interactive experience that demonstrates the “how” behind the connections of today and tomorrow. On IoE, it’s possible for any two seemingly unconnected items to work together, creating a new reality for our world’s inhabitants. Imagine, as you pull in for a football game, the stadium automatically sends information to your car about where the best parking is located. As you enter the game, your wallet then talks to the admissions booth, so no tickets are required. What else is possible? For example, what are the technologies and products, current and future, that make it possible for an air quality index to talk to a school desk? Can a health organization connect with your bike, measuring average exercise patterns?

CTWT Screenshot

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Securing the Internet of Everything: An Introduction

Towards developing a Secure Architecture for the Internet of Everything, I plan to kick off a series of blogs around this pivotal topic.

In discussing security and the Internet of Everything, the first question that comes to mind is, “Which segment of “everything” is one referring to?”. A reasonable approach has been to understand the common attributes that crosses vertical segments such as Intelligent Transportation, Smart Utilities, Industrial Automation and so on. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) are general abstractions for the network infrastructure that links physical and virtual objects. In Cisco, we now refer to these abstractions as the Internet of Everything, IoE. The IoE describes a world where billions of objects have sensors to detect, measure and assess their status; all connected over public or private networks using standard and proprietary protocols.

Until a point in time around 2008/2009, there were more human beings in the world than devices connected to the Internet. That is no longer the case.  Read More »

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Making Connections When Mother Nature Hits

When natural disasters strike, our first instincts are to phone or text loved ones; check news and social media sites; and go online to lend support. These connections become our lifelines. In the process, mobile devices become paramount in connecting people to people and people to data.

That’s why the Internet of Everything (IoE) is so critical. In the moments immediately following a disaster popular social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, serve as quick ways to locate loved ones. At the same time, social media allows those affected to inform multiple people at once that they are okay, with a simple tweet or post. Read More »

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Realizing the Benefits of the Internet of Everything for Customer Experience, Part 2 ‘Design Thinking’ the Customer Experience of the Future

The early days of the Internet were a heady time of reimagining, rethinking, and, in effect, “e-enabling” a staggering range of business processes. Today, we stand on the cusp of an equally momentous paradigm shift driven by an explosion in connectivity—not just among devices, but also encompassing people, Rachael McBrearty Blog 2 Graphic_Finalv3process, data, and “things.” This next-generation digital revolution will upend entrenched mind-sets and disrupt existing business strategies on a nearly unprecedented scale, transforming, yet again, the customer experience.

As I shared in Part 1 of my blog, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group projects that the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy will generate $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for private-sector companies globally over the next decade. Nearly 26 percent of this total — $3.7 trillion — will be tied to IoE-driven customer experience advances.

But how do companies begin to tap the vast potential of the next-wave Internet? Since the Internet of Everything remains a work in progress, its uncharted waters and multidimensional scope will demand wholly new ways of thinking as organizations connect to a larger — much larger — universe. In order to meet IoE’s challenges effectively, your business will need a multidimensional toolkit — one that bridges marketing, design, engineering, economics, finance, or any other discipline required inside or outside your company.

The methodology that can enable these capabilities is design thinking. Drawing on methods used by design professionals, it combines empathy for the human context of the problem; creativity in the generation of insights and solutions; and rationality and feedback to analyze the solution within the customer context.

Design thinking is ideal for problem solving within highly complex situations. Which brings us to IoE. Its high level of complexity will demand that you rethink what you do for your customers, while redefining how issues can be addressed.

Knowing the customer is an age-old path to success. And at the heart of design thinking is a deeper understanding of the customer, citizen, or patient, pinpointing the human needs that fall between business objectives and the technology solutions. Employing user-centered qualitative research methods of observation, ideation, and prototyping, design thinking cuts to the essence of the human pain point and is centered on understanding the role you play in the lives of those whom you are serving. Defining and shaping the problem — in effect, determining the right question to ask — is key. Problem framing comes before problem solving and will be the foundation the creative insight in IoE innovation.

Unlike analytical thinking, which is based on a breakdown of ideas, design thinking concentrates on building up ideas with a broad focus, especially in the early stages of the problem-solving process. Once those early ideas are encouraged to develop, without judgment, they can spur creative thinking.

Here is an example of design thinking at work:

A retail client asked, “How do we increase sales conversions?” The client had the best merchandise selections, financing options, and competitive prices. Customers sang their praises in focus groups. Yet,  they were converting only about 25 percent of shoppers. With a design-thinking approach, we were able to reframe the problem. Customers were attracted by the assortment, we realized, but they were overwhelmed by the choices. They were looking for guidance on the right solution. By reframing the problem (“How do we help customers make a personalized choice?”), we came up with great ideas that led to new services offerings. In the end, conversion increased significantly.

Design thinking is not a new tool—Procter & Gamble and GE are but two companies employing its concepts, and Stanford and Harvard both teach it. It isn’t a magical cure, either. But it could provide critical solutions within the complex scope of the IoE economy.

As in previous Internet eras, organizations that adapt and redesign the customer experience — essentially by knowing their consumers through empathy and innovative solutions — will thrive. IoE will reach its true potential only if it is seamlessly integrated into customers’ lives. And design thinking — with its emphasis on simplicity and empathy—could cut through the complexity of the coming IoE economy, while driving the creation of products and services that resonate with the way your customers live, work, and play.

After all, isn’t that the reason for creating those products and services in the first place?

 

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Cisco Sizzle – April Edition

Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.

Let’s take a look back at the top content from April…

Are you prepared for the IoE Economy?
In this blog post, Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans and Joseph Bradley of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group share two use cases for IoE – connected marketing and connected healthcare – with both a near-term and futuristic lens.

John Chambers Receives Honorary Doctorate
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers received an honorary doctorate from San Jose State University at the honors convocation ceremony in April. His main message to the grads? Never stop learning.

Tomorrow Starts Here
What if the next big thing, isn’t big at all? It’s lots of things, all waking up. Explore how IoE will change the way we work, live, play and learn.

Innovation May Spark Economic Renewal
If we’ve learned anything from the last two decades, it’s that every time we think the Internet has exhausted its transformative potential, something highly disruptive comes along. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talks IoE innovation and the $14.4 trillion value at stake that will spur research, new investments and new jobs.

A Typical Day
Explore how the Internet of Everything is sparking innovation and instigating meaningful actions to happen faster.

Is Your Site Safe From Attack?
Ars Technica editor Dan Godin compiled a list of Apache website compromises that have been impacting thousands of legitimate sites by allowing entrance to remote attackers. Until his research, no one had realized the magnitude of the situation and how widespread the attacks were. Check out the full insights, including potential solutions, in this blog post.

Three Networking Truths
There’s a clear consensus that one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions to different organizations. Time to dispel common networking misconceptions with three truths about the future of networking as Cisco sees it.

Check out the Cisco Storify feed for even more great content!Cisco_Sizzle_Final

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