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Paradigm Shift with Edge Intelligence

In my Internet of Things keynote at LinuxCon 2014 in Chicago last week, I touched upon a new trend: the rise of a new kind of utility or service model, the so-called IoT specific service provider model, or IoT SP for short.

I had a recent conversation with a team of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. I told them they would be surprised to hear the new computer scientist’s talk these days, about Data Gravity.  Programmers are notorious for overloading common words, adding connotations galore, messing with meanings entrenched in our natural language.

We all laughed and then the conversation grew deeper:

  • Big data is very difficult to move around, it takes energy and time and bandwidth hence expensive. And it is growing exponentially larger at the outer edge, with tens of billions of devices producing it at an ever faster rate, from an ever increasing set of places on our planet and beyond.
  • As a consequence of the laws of physics, we know we have an impedance mismatch between the core and the edge, I coined this as the Moore-Nielsen paradigm (described in my talk as well): data gets accumulated at the edges faster than the network can push into the core.
  • Therefore big data accumulated at the edge will attract applications (little data or procedural code), so apps will move to data, not the other way around, behaving as if data has “gravity”

Therefore, the notion of a very large centralized cloud that would control the massive rise of data spewing from tens of billions of connected devices is pitched both against the laws of physics and Open Source not to mention the thirst for freedom (no vendor lock-in) and privacy (no data lock-in). The paradigm shifted, we entered the 3rd big wave (after the mainframe decentralization to client-server, which in turn centralized to cloud): the move to a highly decentralized compute model, where the intelligence is shifting to the edge, as apps come to the data, at much larger scale, machine to machine, with little or no human interface or intervention.

The age-old dilemma, do we go vertical (domain specific) or horizontal (application development or management platform) pops up again. The answer has to be based on necessity not fashion, we have to do this well; hence vertical domain knowledge is overriding. With the declining cost of computing, we finally have the technology to move to a much more scalable and empowering model, the new opportunity in our industry, the mega trend.

Very reminiscent of the early 90′s and the beginning of the ISPs era, isn’t it? This time much more vertical with deep domain knowledge: connected energy, connected manufacturing, connected cities, connected cars, connected home, safety and security.  These innovation hubs all share something in common: an Open and Interconnected model, made easy by the dramatically lower compute cost and ubiquity in open source, to overcome all barriers of adoption, including the previously weak security or privacy models predicated on a central core. We can divide and conquer, deal with data in motion, differently than we deal with data at rest.

The so-called “wheel of computer science” has completed one revolution, just as its socio-economic observation predicted, the next generation has arrived, ready to help evolve or replace its aging predecessor. Which one, or which vertical will it be first…?

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The Bases are Loaded for a Cisco UCS Grand Slam

August 22, 2014 at 10:20 am PST

“The innovation pipeline is very strong, and you can expect to see announcements in the fall that will continue to accelerate our momentum with UCS and add to our competitive advantage.”

Those are comments from Cisco’s earnings call last week, and on September 4th I hope you will join us for the unveiling of the next wave of Unified Computing that John Chambers was speaking of.

We don’t invoke the term innovation lightly at Cisco.   As Frank Palumbo recently talked about, change is the only constant, and our data center customers need to stay in front of that change.   What we’re hearing from them often centers on three critical concepts:

 1.  We need a common operating environment that spans from the data center to the very edge.   “Edge” in this sense is used to describe the many worlds that exist beyond the walls of the data center, where the demand for computing power is inexorably growing.  For service providers that can mean IT infrastructure located at the Customer Premise.  For large enterprise and public sector IT teams the Edge is found in the branch offices, retail locations and remote sites where innovation is exploding with dynamic customer experiences and new ways of doing business.   It’s at the wind farm and the end of the drill bit miles below the oil rig.   It’s in the “fog” of connected sensors and smart objects in connected cities.  And it is the handheld devices that billions of people are using today to consume and generate unprecedented volumes of data and insight, and the 50 billion people and things that Cisco estimates will be connected by 2020.

 2.    We need a stronger engine to accelerate core applications and power data-intensive analytics.  (AKA, “you’re going to need a bigger boat”)  The imperative for faster and better decisions has never been greater and the tools to extract the signal from the noise in the data deluge require big horsepower.  Recommendation engines, real-time price optimization, personalized location-based offers, improved fraud detection… the list goes on in terms of opportunity created by Big Data and the IoE.  All while IT continues to deliver the core applications -- that keep business running – uninterrupted and faster than before.

 3.    We need a common operating environment that spans traditional and emerging applications.  Complexity is the bane of innovation and the bane of IT.  In addition to the familiar workloads, which are well understood in terms of bare metal scalability and virtual encapsulation, there is growing use of applications architected for massive horizontal scale.    In-memory, scale up analytics are being utilized right alongside cloud-scale technologies like MapReduce to tackle different elements of business problems in different ways.  Very different architectures, with very different demands on computing infrastructure.  The conditions for complexity loom.  Will a hero emerge?

When UCS was born it shook up many of the fundamental assumptions of what data center infrastructure should be expected to do and what IT could do to accelerate business.   With this launch, history repeats itself, as we work to help customers future proof the data center for change tomorrow and transformation today.   Our development team has taken the next stride in the journey of re-inventing computing at the most fundamental levels, to power applications at every scale.

Le_Yankee_Stadium

I hope you will join us for the event on 9/4 to see how we’re taking our strategy forward in the data center.   We have a bit of a baseball theme in the launch since we’re delighted to be joined by Major League Baseball’s Joe Inzerillo at our event in New York.   So follow the conversation at it unfolds over coming weeks with #UCSGrandSlam and #CiscoUCS.   The bases are loaded.   

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The Internet of Everything: New Job Roles, New Education Required

We have entered the world of the Internet of Everything (IoE)—a world that brings people, data, processes and things together into a vast web of connectivity. From wearable devices that monitor our vital statistics to household appliances that anticipate our needs to smart cars that detect traffic jams and automatically re-route our journeys, the IoE represents an increasingly digital and mobile world that promises to improve our lives.

Twenty-five billion devices will be connected by next year, and that number will grow to 50 billion by 2020. All of this new data that the IoE generates will change the job landscape forever. For example, it will create 600,000 more manufacturing jobs alone in the U.S. to automate and analyze supply chain data over the network. This data will of course need to be analyzed, resulting in 300,000 new data analyst jobs to bring intelligent decisions to big data.

These are exciting developments with unprecedented potential, but the rapidly expanding IoE requires specialized skill sets that don’t yet exist, resulting in a critical talent gap. Read More »

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The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetOfEverything

The Internet of Things continues to add new things daily to a growing list of already connected things; and these “things” have the opportunity to completely change our world. Capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence have all been made possible as more people and new types of information are connected. And each day, society gains and learns from these innovations, all a part of the Internet of Everything – a network of networks where billions of connections create unprecedented opportunities as well as new risks.

When it comes to the actual physical devices that are moving the Internet of Everything forward, most think of traditional conduits such as laptops, phones and “wearables.” But, the connections that are creating the Internet of Everything come in forms many may not even consider, from toothbrushes, trashcans, power tools – even entire cities. And while all of these connections amaze with their technology, the value that they create is the real story, for what it means now and for the future of our society.

The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetofEverything - blog image

Much is at stake when discussing the value that the Internet of Things holds. At this year’s CES Conference, it was estimated that the Internet of Things would become a $19 trillion market over the next several years. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and by 2018, 96 percent of mobile data traffic will originate from these smart devices. The amount of these connections, coupled with reduced technology costs, has created possibilities for the future of the Internet of Things that are seemingly limitless:

  • Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
  • A blue-tooth connected toothbrush that connects to a smartphone app is just one of the many devices on the market that promote a better quality of life through improved healthcare. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, health monitors, insulin pumps and even “smart” clothing can measure consumed calories, heart rates, the amount of medicine in a person’s body and transmit that data to patients and medical professionals in real-time. And 71% of Americans claim these types of devices have improved their overall health.
  • The city of the future will be “smarter” as sensors turn street lights, waste receptacles and cameras into tools that will help municipalities operate on more efficient levels. Wim Elfrink outlined how Barcelona has used a network of sensors that transmit real-time data on temperature, noise and other conditions in one of the city’s most popular areas. Kansas City, Missouri has used the network of street lighting and interactive digital kiosks in conjunction with a $114 million streetcar project to promote the city to both residents, and companies potentially looking to relocate their operations.

Serving as a link to the Internet of Everything, all of the connected things that make up the fabric of the Internet of Things are leading to new economic opportunities, increased personalized connections and more importantly, positive intersections of technology and the human experience. Far beyond the monetary values that it can present to society, the Internet of Things is powerfully changing and improving quality of life for people across the globe, with billions of opportunities awaiting us all.

What impact has the Internet of Everything had on your life, professionally or personally? Thinking futuristically, in what ways can you dream of that use the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything to change our world?

We want to know what examples of the Internet of Everything you see in your own City of Tomorrow – your neighborhood! Join the conversation online by tagging your photo and video examples with #InternetofEverything and #CityofTomorrowHow is the Internet of Everything changing your city? 

Additional resources:

Review the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013

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The Internet of Everything Is the New Economy

We have only seen a glimpse of what Internet of Everything (IoE) has in store for the planet. The change is much bigger than technology alone. The new IoE economy will profoundly affect people, things, data, and processes.

Find out more in this short video, based on my article, The Internet of Everything Is the New Economy Read More »

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