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It’s Not Just the Connections, It’s the Applications

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting sensors, cameras, machines, and other devices at an amazing rate. But what drives the value of these digitized devices is not just the connections—it’s the applications that the connections enable. Think, for example, of a connected transportation system. It is not enough that buses have GPS and can connect to the Internet—what could really make a difference is an application that dynamically plans bus routes based on where people are, how long they have been waiting, and where they are going. That’s where the true value is.

You might even say that applications are the reason we connect things and collect data from those things. So those of us who are building the IoT infrastructure must understand what application developers need, and then enable them to take advantage of the IoT infrastructure and the data it carries. This means we need more than open APIs—we must make it easy for an application to get the data it requires from the infrastructure and to provide input into the infrastructure.

Additionally, we need to respond to the changing ways people want to interact with the devices at the edge. Traditionally, a process engineer might control or program a production line using a fixed human-machine interface (HMI) screen physically attached to the production machinery. Today, there is a growing need for remote and mobile interface capabilities—especially for the growing ranks of Millennials who want to be able to use iPads and other mobile devices to interact with IoT deployments. Cisco’s IOx platform is a flexible application development environment with a goal of enabling developers to connect applications with any protocol, interface, or device. In the future, this could even enable a control engineer in the factory to look at a robot’s operation through smart goggles, instantly viewing maintenance statistics and malfunction alerts.

Millennials in the workforce demand flexibility and mobility in interacting with IoT deployments

Millennials in the workforce demand flexibility and mobility in interacting with IoT deployments

It’s also extremely important to Read More »

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Drones: Just Buzz or Real Business?

“Why Cisco?” I was asked repeatedly after speaking on a panel about drones. “Why not Cisco?” was my passionate response.

Drone 1The occasion was the recent NASA UTM Convention at Silicon Valley’s historic Moffett Field to explore creative traffic management solutions for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), popularly known as drones. At Cisco, we see a full spectrum of public, enterprise and consumer opportunities, as well as an amazing ecosystem of partners evolving around “connected” drones. This isn’t just buzz, but a real business opportunity.

After all, drones capture and transmit “ungodly amounts of data,” as Cisco’s Helder Antunes noted during his keynote session and CNBC interview. Cisco’s network backbone, solutions and applications enable the Internet of Everything (IoE) – the connection of people, processes, data and things – and drones represent important, mobile, data-rich nodes on the network. Please also read Helder’s blog on drones and the IoE here.

drone 2When it comes to drones and many other remotely connected and mobile devices, it’s really all about Collaboration, Cloud, Fog Computing – and Analytics, whether at the edge, across the network or in the cloud. To seamlessly transform raw data from sensors and images into actionable insights, an end-to-end platform is needed to optimally capture, store, share and process data most anywhere.

For example, one of the biggest challenges for drone operations today is to efficiently collect and effectively transfer colossal amounts of data over weak or non-existent network links in remote areas. Many times, these processes take days or weeks before the collected data can be processed and meaningful insights can be derived.

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Drones and the Internet of Everything: Where Does Cisco Fit?

Earlier this summer I was privileged to be the closing keynote speaker at the UTM Convention, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Silicon Valley chapter. The convention took place at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and focused on the unmanned-vehicle traffic management (UTM) aspect of drones.

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July.  Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

Helder Antunes spoke about the Internet of Everything and drones at the UTM Convention in July. Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

You might be thinking, “Cisco is a networking company, why would you be involved in a drone conference?” Well, drones have to be connected, and that’s what Cisco does. They transmit massive amounts of data that must be collected, sorted, and analyzed. This is exactly where Cisco should be playing. Read More »

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Announcing the IoTWF 2015 Registration is Now Open!

The Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF), Dubai is just three months away! In its third year, the IoT World Forum is continuing some of our hallmark programs while introducing new activities.

As in previous years, the industry’s leaders in public sector, private business and education will gather again to collaborate, network, partner, and build the IoT ecosystem together.  The IoTWF is the one place where the entire IoT community can share the latest developments and emerging applications, all of which will be on display onsite.

Back this year are amazing keynote speakers, targeted business breakout sessions, our expanded research symposium, an exciting tour to highlight local IoT deployments, our IoT Hack-a-thon, and Innovation and Security Grand Challenges. New this year are technical breakout sessions, proven customer stories to highlight lessons learnt, IoT talks, an interoperable demo, the service provider angle on IoT, and increased time for networking.    With registrations recently opened, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite aspects to this year’s World Forum.

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Making the Right Connections Opens New Doors to Digital Business Success

Making the Right Connections Opens New Doors to Digital Business Success

The digital transformation of business isn’t just about the connection of things, though those connections are certainly important.  Industrial or IT automation can take many forms, whether it’s connections between people, the connections between people and things or, perhaps most importantly, the processes that that enable connections of all kinds to happen quickly and intelligently. Without order, digital business transformation runs the risk of becoming digital chaos.   What’s most essential in every case is creating the desired business outcome.

Hyper-Distribution: Billions of Connections Shouldn’t Mean Billions of Headaches

But connecting all these things isn’t easy.  50 billion things are projected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. Along with this hyper-distribution of things also comes the hyper-distribution of data.  No longer is data only found in large centralized warehouses – it is being dynamically captured and acted upon at the edge of the network to respond to events in real time.

Organizations are struggling with the management of business processes in this expanding, hyperconnected world. Value chains are increasingly global, yet the decisions that need to be made are becoming increasingly local — and they need to be made in real-time.  Hyper-distribution is fragmenting traditional business processes. Dealing with this growing complexity was identified as the number one IoT management challenge in a 2014 business study.

Not surprisingly, companies are being forced to re-imagine their processes and many are turning to software to turn what is being imagined into business reality.  And they are calling upon new forms of automation and analytics to do it. Real business transformation will only occur when things connect with both people and process to turn information into actionable intelligence.  Automation facilitates the new connections.  Analysis gives the connections new meaning. Da Vinci instructs us, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Finding ways to make the increasingly complex world of hyperconnectivity both simple to understand and simple to implement is the ultimate challenge for the networking industry.

What do I mean by hyper-distributed business process? Let’s take a look Read More »

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