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Celebrating the Internet of Things Journey at IoT World Forum

Today we kick off the third annual Internet of Things World Forum here in Dubai, where more than 2400 attendees from around the globe are getting awakened to the IoT possibilities. We are all on a journey together as we take what was a bold new concept three years ago and transform the way businesses, cities, and countries operate and engage their customers and citizens.

IoT is no longer a buzz word—it’s real.  According to IDC’s Global IoT Decision Maker Survey of more than 2,300 global businesses, 58% said that IoT is strategic to their business strategy and 48% have already deployed an IoT solution today. Clearly, IoT is seen as having real potential to change businesses. And it is impacting all industries.the new key

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OpenFog Consortium Gains Momentum as Fog Picks Up Steam

This week, I’m joining leaders from industry, academia, and government at the Internet of Things World Forum (#IoTWF) in Dubai, and fog computing is a hot topic in many of our discussions. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more pervasive in our homes, cars, city services, and across industries, fog computing will become an essential technology for capturing value in many IoT use cases.

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Anil Menon President, Smart + Connected Communities at Cisco and John Defterios, Emerging Market Editor with CNN talk briefly about the newly formed OpenFog Consortium at the IoTWF.

That is why I am particularly happy to be representing the OpenFog Consortium, as well as Cisco, at this global event. The consortium was formed to accelerate the deployment of fog technologies and to provide industry and academic leadership in developing fog computing frameworks and architectures. Cisco has been working for many months with the other founding members—Intel, Microsoft, Dell, ARM, and Princeton University—to form this new industry body. Since our announcement of the OpenFog Consortium on November 19, interest has gained momentum and there is now a healthy pipeline of new members in the process of joining.

Exciting possibilities of a fog approach are coming to life in Barcelona, Spain. Last week, I participated in a live demo of a proof of concept project that brings together a number of disparate smart city services within a single unified architecture, rather than in disconnected, siloed efforts. Barcelona has been working for several years to develop “smart” urban services, including lighting, traffic management, event-based video, and on-demand connectivity. For the most part, however, these services have been developed and deployed independently by different city departments—resulting in a dazzling array of sensors, gateways, repeaters, and other devices positioned on poles, posts, and walls around the city. The proof of concept project consolidates and integrates these separate systems in secure, strategically placed outdoor cabinets, and provides a single-screen view to monitor and manage data, applications, virtual switches and routers, fog nodes, fog services, and the network. This project represents a paradigm shift for smart city services, leveraging both cloud and fog capabilities to integrate a rich set of use cases on a multi-vendor software platform.

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As Manufacturers Go Digital, Customer Value Expands

Every single day, I’m reminded that a digital revolution is taking place—from researching local coffee places on the dashboard of my car to ordering coffee on my mobile device—it’s clear that our lives are becoming more digitized. This is also apparent for the businesses and industries that manufacture the goods that we use everyday. In order to compete today, manufacturers must respond to complex and constantly changing demands from their customers. That requires the agility, rapid innovation, and fast execution that only digital manufacturing can deliver. Too many manufacturers, however, still lack these critical capabilities and suffer from fragmented and siloed organizational structures.

This was reinforced by new research from Cisco on the current and future state of digital disruption in manufacturing. The study included economic analysis, interviews with manufacturing industry thought leaders, and a survey of more than 600 senior leaders from 13 countries, representing both industrial machine builders and end-user manufacturers.

Our research confirmed that manufacturers get it. They understand that a digital revolution is taking place, and they want to be part of it. Seventy-nine percent believe that digital disruption will drive a moderate to major impact at their companies in the next three years. Moreover, they see digital technologies such as cloud, IoT, and analytics as having the biggest impact on their production — not more manufacturing-centric technologies such as robotics and 3D printing.

However, in terms of driving new value, many are faltering. Their service strategies, for example, are seen as a key opportunity for new revenue, but they are not driving expected levels of growth.

Digital business transformation is the solution, but it can’t be done in a piecemeal fashion; it must be implemented across the entire organization and beyond, throughout the ecosystem. Analytics, cloud, machine-to-machine connections, and collaboration tools all enable new opportunities for sharing data insights. Getting those insights to the people (or machines) who need them most, on the other hand, can be challenging. In this context, silos — between IT and operational technology (OT), engineering and design, and so forth — are the enemy to progress.

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Job One: Securing IoT

Recently, I participated in the panel on Internet of Things (IoT) security as part of the Automation Perspectives media event hosted by Rockwell Automation, just prior to Automation Fair 2015 in Chicago. It is clear that the ability to deal effectively with security threats is the No. 1 make-or-break factor for IoT adoption. With this reluctance to implement IoT, companies will not benefit from the growing number of powerful IoT use cases that are emerging across all industries, which includes the digital revolution in manufacturing, where there is an identified 12.8 percent profit upside over three years for manufacturers that digitize.

IoT is now part of the very fabric of industry and the public infrastructure, including such essential services as transportation, the power grid, the water supply, and public safety. When these systems are compromised, the damage can go far beyond financial loss. Some examples in years following the Great Recession:

  • 2008 – A 14-year-old Polish boy hacked a local tram system, disrupting traffic, derailing trams, and injuring 12 passengers
  • 2009 – Due to a failure in the automated control system, a Washington D.C. Metrorail train struck the rear of a stopped train, resulting in death and injury
  • 2014 – An overflow of wastewater at a water treatment plant was due to suspected unauthorized employ access

In recent years, there have also been hacks on nuclear power plants, transportation systems, and connected cars. No one wants their company to show up on the front page of the paper as a cyberattack victim. In addition to the physical impacts, attack vectors on IoT security can cause losses that are less immediately perceptible—but very real and lasting—including downtime, brand damage, breach of trust, and theft of intellectual property.

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The Future of IoT Is Now: Proof at the upcoming IoT World Forum

IoTWFWe’re now less than a week away from the Internet of Things World Forum, located in Dubai. This premier industry event, on December 6-8, will showcase many of the exciting transformations made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT) gaining momentum across the globe. The agenda is packed with keynotes by industry leaders, breakout sessions, a hackathon, a startup showcase, and a smart-city tour of Dubai. But there are two events I’m particularly proud to highlight.

Research and Innovation Symposium

Designed for industry leaders, academic researchers, R&D directors, and technology professionals driving IoT, the symposium provides unique insight into the emerging technologies and research that will shape the future of IoT. This year, the symposium will explore “the two faces of IoT”—the endless possibilities for innovation, and the haunting technology questions and challenges that must be addressed and overcome as we move toward an ever more connected world. The symposium will run in two information-rich 75-minute sessions over the course of two days. It will highlight the insights of distinguished speakers from around the world representing perspectives from industry, government, and academia. If you want a glimpse into the future of IoT, don’t miss it.

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