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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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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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Cisco Provides Leadership in Newly Formed OpenFog Consortium

The OpenFog Consortium has made its debut as an ecosystem of industry and academic leaders to foster an open architecture for fog computing in the Internet of Things (IoT). This is an important milestone that will accelerate IoT deployments and maximize their value across a wide range of industries.

AP46072_small_croppedMy friend and colleague, Helter Antunes, has been a pivotal force in forming the OpenFog Consortium and has worked tirelessly with other founding members to iron out the myriad of details involved in creating this sort of multi-party organization. He has also been instrumental in developing Cisco’s own fog computing strategy. That is why I am particularly pleased to congratulate him on being named the OpenFog Consortium’s first chairman, who will guide the group through its formative stages. Read More »

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OpenFog Consortium: An Ecosystem to Accelerate End-to-End IoT Solutions

Over the past several months,OpenFog Logo V1.01 I have been privileged to represent Cisco in working with other industry and academic partners to form the OpenFog Consortium, which was announced earlier today. You can learn more in the press release about what this new organization is, but I want to focus on why such an organization is so important at this stage of development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Earlier this week, my colleague Maciej Kranz discussed the city of Barcelona’s fog computing proof of concept, which was showcased at the Smart City World Expo Congress. The proof of concept demonstrated that fog technology can bring intelligence to a range of urban services, including transportation, parking, lighting, traffic and waste management, public safety, and law enforcement.

But smart city services are only the beginning. Fog computing can provide immense value across all industries. For example, it might take 12 days via satellite to transmit one day’s worth of data to the cloud from a remote oil rig. With fog computing the data is processed locally, and safety or equipment alerts can be acted upon immediately. In manufacturing and transportation, preventive maintenance applications can process a huge amount of sensor data to trigger needed maintenance before there is an equipment failure. In retail, data from parking lot video cameras can not only provide security surveillance, but can also work with fog analytics capabilities to predict store traffic flow and optimize checkout staffing.

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Back to Business: IoT Makes Traditional Industries Cool Again

The U.S. space program in the 1960s and ‘70s was a classic example of an innovation model that began with a government initiative, was applied to enterprise issues, and finally filtered down to consumers. Internet innovation in the early 2000s turned that model on its head by focusing first on consumer needs, consumer applications, and consumer-oriented technologies such as e-commerce, mobile, social, and cloud.

Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is inverting the innovation yet model again, bringing enterprise-oriented business-to-business (B2B) technologies and applications back into vogue. IoT is making traditional industries such as manufacturing and logistics “cool” again.

One indication of this trend is the large number of startups focused on enterprise solutions. I meet with several startups every week, and all of them seem to be focusing on some aspect of IoT—analytics, fog computing, vertical applications, sensor connectivity, and more. These startups see the huge transformative business opportunity of IoT, as the connections among people, process, data, and things become more pervasive. Millennials are driving this digital transformation. We can see their influence as consumers in the auto industry, for example, where new cars have essentially become smartphones on wheels. But now Millennials are also driving IoT innovations as participants who insist on using mobile devices and state-of-the-art software and tools to access and control IoT operations.

The Internet of Things is sparking innovation in traditional industries.

The Internet of Things is sparking innovation in traditional industries.

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