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The New Analytics Imperative

Cisco today announced a data and analytics strategy and a suite of analytics software that will enable customers to translate their data into actionable business insight regardless of where the data resides.

With the number of connected devices projected to grow from 10 billion today to 50 billion by 2020, the flood tide of new data — widely distributed and often unstructured — is disrupting traditional data management and analytics. Traditionally most organizations created data inside their own four walls and saved it in a centralized repository. This made it easy to analyze the data and extract valuable information to make better business decisions.

But the arrival of the Internet of Everything (IoE) — the hyper-connection of people, process, data, and things – is quickly changing all that. The amount of data is huge. It’s coming from widely disparate sources (like mobile devices, sensors, or remote routers), and much of that data is being created at the edge. Organizations can now get data from everywhere — from every device and at any time — to answer questions about their markets and customers that they never could before. But IT managers and key decision makers are struggling to find the useful business nuggets from this mountain of data.

As an example, take the typical offshore oil rig, which generates up to 2 terabytes of data per day. The majority of this data is time sensitive to both production and safety. Yet it can take up to 12 days to move a single day’s worth of data from its source at the network edge back to the data center or cloud. This means that analytics at the edge are critical to knowing what’s going on when it’s happening now, not almost 2 weeks later.

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How ‘Data’ and ‘Process’ Are Reshaping the Future Workforce

The sheer size, variety, and speed of data traversing today’s networks are increasing exponentially. This highly distributed data is generated by a wide range of cloud and enterprise applications, websites, social media, computers, smartphones, sensors, cameras, and much more — all coming in different formats and protocols.

Whether it is in the cloud or at the edge, data generated by the Internet of Everything (IoE) must be analyzed to identify actionable insights that can be used to create better outcomes (such as from process optimization or improved customer engagement). Without this critical step, data remains just “data.”

There is often an immense gap, however, between the amount of data with hidden value and the amount of value that is actually being extracted. According to IDC, less than 1 percent of the world’s data is currently being analyzed. What good is data if isn’t analyzed to gain insights?

It’s no surprise, then, that in a recent survey conducted by Cisco Consulting Services, IT and Operational Technology leaders indicated that they perceive the Internet of Things (IoT) — a critical enabler of IoE — as being about much more than just “things.” When we asked them which area (people, process, data, or things) they needed to improve most to make effective use of IoT solutions, the largest number (40 percent) indicated “Data,” while “Process” (27 percent) ranked second. “People” placed third (20 percent) and “Things” finished last (13 percent).

Focus on Capturing Insights, Not on Connecting Things, to Attain IoT Value from Cisco Business Insights

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Future Innovators and Entrepreneurs: The IoTWF Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge is Open

GirlsForIoTInnovation sqIn October at the Internet of Things World Forum we announced the Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge.  This challenge was announced to help bring more women into the sciences as we connect more of the unconnected with the Internet of Things. I’m pleased to announce that the IoT World Forum Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge is now open for submissions!

This challenge came about as a way to help address one of the biggest challenges to the Internet of Things – the dearth of technologically trained workers.  Over the next few years, technology jobs –those requiring a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), are expected to grow twice as fast as non-STEM jobs.  While the demand for this workforce is growing, women are a significantly under-utilized resource.  In the United States, a little over 18% of computer science and engineering degrees are awarded to women – while in general more women are getting bachelor’s degrees, the number of women in STEM has declined over the last 20 years from highs of 20.9% for engineering in 2002 and 29% for computer science in 1991. Read More »

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Privacy v. Productivity: The CIOs Role in Shaping Future of Work Policies

According to Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report, the future of work will be more flexible and collaborative than ever before. In this two-part blog series, Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, explores how the IT and business landscape is changing based on this new research and how organizations can prepare. Read the first blog in the series, The Future of Work & Collaboration, here.

We are facing a generation of knowledge workers who have essentially grown-up online. Most of the future workforce will have an online presence from the day they are born – being online is as natural as breathing and its fundamental to their social and work lives. These “digital natives” also don’t see a tradeoff between security and privacy: they want the access they want when they want it.

This changing tide in the workforce means that CIOs must empower the next generation of workers with the latest applications to enable them to work how they want to personally – whether that’s on a corporate-owned device or not. Workers need access to the right collaboration tools at the right time; and if they don’t have those tools, they’ll find them on their own – outside the structure and purview of the enterprise.

For organizations to succeed in this future work environment, Read More »

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Get Ahead of the Curve in 2015: Invest in IoT

As the holiday season gets into full swing, executives like you are polishing off strategic and operational plans for the New Year. For many manufacturing companies, 2014 was a good year, for some outstanding, and most manufacturers are optimistic for more of the same in 2015. According to MAPI’s US Industrial Outlook, “manufacturing will continue to grow faster than the overall economy,” with 2015 growing at a higher rate than 2014.

Because manufacturers are looking to get ahead of this growth curve and set the stage for competitive differentiation and advantage in 2015, you are utilizing budgets remaining from 2014 to make smart investments now in new technologies, before the year comes to a close. With strategic investments in operations or R&D/engineering, companies position themselves to be more agile, productive and competitive while the economy slowly but surely continues to strengthen. In an Industry Week report, “Manufacturers are optimistic about their businesses as well as the economy as a whole, and are investing accordingly … Following a profitable growth strategy, they are controlling costs while introducing new products, increasing sales from existing customers, and leveraging data to make smarter business decisions.”

In recent conversations with a few of my Cisco colleagues who happen to be 20+yr Manufacturing / OT (Operations Technology) veterans, these industry gurus describe how they counsel manufacturing clients during the transitional holiday season. Steve Gansen points out that for many companies, budgets need to be expended this calendar year-end (‘use it or lose it’), which presents a great opportunity to change the prioritization for projects. “Many of my customers see this as an opportunity to reprioritize projects and drive budget to improve R&D or product engineering and offerings.” (His comments reminded me of the Sub-Zero’s innovative investments in their product development, NPI and processes.)

Jim Fledderjohn and Dwayne Edwards add that there are other considerations for a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) proof-of-concept (PoC) projects for production environments and engineering programs that present incremental, re-directional opportunities at year-end. From video surveillance to energy management, to factory wireless and plant virtualization, there are many compelling use cases that can be easily ‘piloted’ to deliver immediate business outcomes and measurable ROI. In fact, an option recently announced at Automation Fair is Cisco Services Factory Starter Kit, a fast-track, turnkey PoC package of wireless capabilities for your plant environments.

Jim further describes, “Piloting an IoT project on a small scale lets manufacturers test out a concept in their environment and puts them in a better position to win budget and additional investment in 2015.” Particularly in the US—where according to the latest ISM Report On Business for November, the manufacturing sector expanded for the 18th consecutive month—momentum in the industry just keeps building. And considering manufacturing technologies that include embedded intelligence and IoT, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), orders for 2014 are showing growth of >5%.

Are YOU planning end-of-the-year investments in IoT? Let us know what you think in the comment block below. Thanks for reading.

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