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The Internet of Things: Hype or Reality?

Having spent several days last week at the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai, I am more convinced than ever that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not some hyped-up futuristic vision of what could be, but a present-day reality that is transforming businesses and industries here and now.

In this blog series over the past six months, I have touched on many of the technology and business factors to consider while planning an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment—from access technologies to emerging standards and the convergence of IT and organizational technology (OT) . I spent three blogs discussing fog computing, analytics, and applications, and was happy to be part of the announcement of the OpenFog Consortium last month. All of this focus on IoT culminated last week, when the IoT World Forum highlighted both well-established IoT solutions and numerous IoT startups that are gearing up to change the future.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

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Trends for Data & Analytics

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One of my favorite things to do is to talk to Cisco customers, partners and industry analysts about common trends they are seeing in their business and the overall market. We look at trends similarly to why we conduct analytics, not only to see what is happening now but to also help predict what will happen next. This ability to “see around the corner” helps us be more agile as we adjust data and analytics strategies, and therefore our business.

As we head into 2016, today I’d like to share a few the top trends I consistently see and hear about data and analytics.

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A Defining Moment for IoT and Digitization

In the next few years we will reflect on the third annual Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) this week and realize that 2015 was the inflection point for the Internet of Things (IoT) and digitization. Leaders from around the world convened in Dubai this week, all witnessed real solutions that are now fundamentally changing the way we will live and do business. It’s a dramatic change that will touch everyone.

Digital transformation – the connection of cities, companies, and countries to the Internet – has emerged as the most transformative means to ignite sustainable growth and improve society. Those countries and companies that get ahead and embrace the digital transformation will uncover limitless possibilities to drive innovation, growth and jobs of the future.

However, only 1 in 4 leaders* say they are being sufficiently proactive about digitization. And while 75% of businesses will become digital by 2020, only 30% of digitization efforts will be successful. The number one reason companies don’t succeed? They fail to innovate or reinvent. Those that don’t will be left behind.

It is fitting that this defining moment in the future of digitization is taking place here, in the Middle East. My discussions with its leaders on the future of the digital and the global landscape have only strengthened my admiration for their visionary approach but also the speed of change that comes through aligning all government smart initiatives together under one smart-city ambition.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Dubai to be the ‘Smartest City in the World by 2017’ is well under way. Sensors embedded throughout the city will connect everything from utilities to urban transportation, from entertainment to energy, and from policing to politics. All of it developed to improve the lives of citizens, reduce energy consumption and to capture the potential added value of US$ 4.87 billion (AED 17.9 billion) by 2019.

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Announcing Cisco IoT Pathfinder: New Initiative for Diversifying the IoT Workforce

A key discussion point I keep hearing again and again this week during the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai is that the success of IoT depends greatly on developing the right workforce with the right skills.

I was honored to host a panel here called Transforming the Workforce to Unleash the Value of IoT that focused on how diversity can lead to greater innovation. It was here that we announced an initiative in expanding gender diversity throughout the industry — Cisco IoT Pathfinder.

Sponsored by Cisco and brought to you by Global Knowledge, an IoT Talent Consortium partner, IoT Pathfinder is a series of free 60-minute training webinars designed for women, men, and students interested in expanding their skills for the growing IoT economy.

Gartner estimates that IoT suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020, leading to an ever increasing need for specialized talent. The coming digital age requires a broader set of both technical and non-technical skills than the information age and we want to make it easier to develop those skills.

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Our Innovation Ecosystem Shines Brilliantly at IoTWF in Dubai

As the sun rises on the third day of the third annual Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) this year in the super smart city of Dubai – the brilliance of the Internet of Things (IoT) market and the robust ecosystem that supports it continues to shine brightly. Rapid IoT prototyping and other innovative solutions that are transforming business and society flourished during three days of demos, case studies, keynotes, breakout sessions, hackathons, smart city tours and much more.

It’s fitting that this year’s IoTWF came toward the end of the calendar because it mirrored a full year of explosively disruptive growth and value – all made possible by connecting the unconnected through a digital platform we call the Internet.

Cisco's Innovation Engine_StaticIoT and its continuous evolution to the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, process, data and things – is maturing at unprecedented speed. The evidence was all around us with examples of how cloud, fog, mobility, sensors and other technologies are converging to create a new digital world. These outcome-based solutions are capturing new value in industries ranging from oil and gas, retail and healthcare to manufacturing, transportation and the public sector. The excitement, opportunity and optimism for IoT/IoE was literally tangible at IoTWF.

I know there is overwhelming statistical research and myriad examples of IoT’s expanding landscape. However, for me, one of the clearest signs of market acceleration is seeing the robust ecosystem of accelerators, incubators, startups, entrepreneurs and app developers that are coming together to drive innovation in this area.

At Cisco, we believe the next big idea can come from anywhere and we’ve built our own innovation engine around build, buy, partner, invest and co-development to reflect this. Specifically with IoT, we’re looking at how we apply this strategy – be it partnering with peers to introduce industry standards or encouraging the entrepreneur spirt with industry challenges. Coming out of this event, I am particularly proud of our work with our extended ecosystem showcased at this year’s IoTWF to bring IoT to life.

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