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Big Data. Big Opportunity. Real Simple: Practical Steps to Building Your Big Data Practice.

I talk to partners every day about the big data opportunity. We know that partners who sell UCS see dramatically larger deal sizes for big data opportunities.  We know all of this and still there is a lot of caution and skepticism from partners about jumping into this new world of big data and analytics.  I have heard comments from many partners, like:

  • “It’s just hype, another fad”
  • “I will ride this out and wait for the wave to pass and go on with business just like I always have”
  • “I am driving revenue and growing my business, why do I need to worry about this Big Data thing. I am not going to hire a “data scientist”!  I’m not even sure what I would do with one if I hired one!”

There is indeed is a lot of hype about big data and analytics today – it is everywhere. However, it is not a fad, and it is not going away. The world is moving to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE), and big data is projected to be the next evolution of IT.

As IoT and IoE gain momentum, enterprises are deploying new data-creating sensor at the far reaches of their networks and billions of new connections are being made.  Cisco anticipates that 50 billion things will be connected by 2020.  Those connections are creating enormous amounts of data.  The ultimate success of IoT and IoE is all about being able to turn that data into insight.  Insights that drive organizational improvements such as delivering products faster, fueling higher productivity or predicting customer demand.  Big data and analytics is all about driving business outcomes from IoT and IoE. Read More »

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Digital Transformation in the Oil & Gas Industry: “Drill, Data, Drill!”

“Drill, baby, drill” makes for an easy mantra when it comes to energy exploration, but the oil and gas (O&G) industry moved past simply drilling long ago with the introduction of digital information processing. For example, integrated production modeling was introduced in the 1970s. With the recent turmoil in the energy industry, the stakes are even higher for O&G companies to work smarter and more efficiently. Forward-looking businesses are making the transition to true digital transformation, which requires the adoption of the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things—throughout the entire O&G value chain. According to a recent Cisco study, of these four IoE elements, essential “data” is the component most in demand—and the element that needs the most improvement.

Survey respondents identified “data” as the area of IoE they need to improve most to drive insight and value.

Survey respondents identified “data” as the area of IoE they need to improve most to drive insight and value.

However, in many cases it’s not data that’s lacking; O&G firms are awash in data generated by sensors and machines spread throughout their far-flung operations. The struggle comes in capturing real-time operating data closest to the point it’s created, analyzing it in real-time and applying the results to improve functional and business capabilities. To capitalize on the wide range of data IoE generates, O&G firms must overcome three key challenges:

  • Automating the collection of data
  • Integrating data from multiple—and often far-flung—sources
  • Analyzing data to effectively identify actionable insights

Read More »

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Connected Machines Take Manufacturing to the Next Level of IoT

We’ve all seen how connected products can transform industries in areas like home energy management and personal health, and manufacturing is no exception. When products communicate back to their original makers, the manufacturers can detect production flaws well before customers would need to raise warranty claims. Further, product usage data can become the core of value delivered to the customer. Now that we have Fitbit and Jawbone UP, would you ever consider buying a traditional pedometer whose only method of telling you steps is on an LCD display?  These ideas can be applied to machines on the factory floor too.

In a previous blog post on the Connected Factory, I shared how Cisco’s validated designs combine best practices from operational technology (OT) and IT into robust and secure networks. I also addressed how wireless connectivity can enable a more effective workforce and how digital transformation with real-time production analytics improves quality. Read More »

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What happened after the Innovation Grand Challenge Awards?

At Cisco, we have invested significant time, money and resources into igniting innovation around the Internet of Everything (IoE) both inside and outside the company.

Since fostering an innovation ecosystem is so critical to the success of IoE, last year we launched the global Innovation Grand Challenge. The risk-reward ratio was high, but with a lot of hard work – at Cisco and with partners — the Challenge was a resounding success by all accounts: more than 1,000 entries from 171 countries.

The winners were announced at the IoT World Forum in Chicago last October, and they received not only prize money, resources and mentorships – but also valuable publicity. Driven by the success of the initial Challenge, the IoTWF Steering Committee recently decided to launch a second Innovation Grand Challenge, and this year’s winners will be announced in December at the World Forum in Dubai. Read More »

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What happened to the “Things”

We are all very caught up in the “Internet of Things” phenomenon.  There isn’t a day goes by when we don’t see an article (or sixteen) on the topic.  We see statistics quoted here there and everywhere about this is going to/already is affecting our lives, yet almost none of these articles seems to see the big picture.

In “How to Fly a Horse” by Kevin Ashton (http://www.amazon.com/How-Fly-Horse-Invention-Discovery/dp/0385538596 ) we learn that Kevin coined the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) in 1999 when he was trying to present a solution to the problem of tracking the sales of lipsticks.  Kevin worked at Procter & Gamble and the misplacement of lipsticks in the display case was causing a sales issue when the required color was in stock, on the display, but in the wrong place and not easily found.  Kevin put an RFID tag in the lipstick and an antenna under each location, monitored the display unit, uploaded the information to the internet and used it to make decisions about the actual sales stock position.

Since then the term has been broadened to include almost anything that is in some way connected to the Internet and is providing information that can be used. The term has almost become a part of everyday use, though it seems the understanding of the term has morphed.  In 2013 the Oxford English Dictionary included a definition for the IoT – “The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/Internet-of-things ). While this definition is fine, it does not capture the real essence of the concept.

OSI ETC JTC 1In 2013-4, Special Workgroup 5 under ISO/IEC JTC 1 (International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Committee Joint Working Group 1) spent a lot of time looking at the definition of the IoT and found over 30 definitions in common use including one from CISCO.  The group reviewed all of these and created a new definition that is currently being used in ISO – “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network infrastructure, linking physical and virtual objects through the use of interoperable data capture and networking methods.  Standards‐based object identification, sensors, controls, actuators, and connection capability provide for  the  development  of  independent  cooperative  services  and  applications  supported  by data analytics and characterized by a user‐defined degree of autonomy.” The work of this group can be found in a report and annexes to be found at http://www.iso.org/iso/jtc1_home.html. Read More »

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