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The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetOfEverything

The Internet of Things continues to add new things daily to a growing list of already connected things; and these “things” have the opportunity to completely change our world. Capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence have all been made possible as more people and new types of information are connected. And each day, society gains and learns from these innovations, all a part of the Internet of Everything – a network of networks where billions of connections create unprecedented opportunities as well as new risks.

When it comes to the actual physical devices that are moving the Internet of Everything forward, most think of traditional conduits such as laptops, phones and “wearables.” But, the connections that are creating the Internet of Everything come in forms many may not even consider, from toothbrushes, trashcans, power tools – even entire cities. And while all of these connections amaze with their technology, the value that they create is the real story, for what it means now and for the future of our society.

The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetofEverything - blog image

Much is at stake when discussing the value that the Internet of Things holds. At this year’s CES Conference, it was estimated that the Internet of Things would become a $19 trillion market over the next several years. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and by 2018, 96 percent of mobile data traffic will originate from these smart devices. The amount of these connections, coupled with reduced technology costs, has created possibilities for the future of the Internet of Things that are seemingly limitless:

  • Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
  • A blue-tooth connected toothbrush that connects to a smartphone app is just one of the many devices on the market that promote a better quality of life through improved healthcare. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, health monitors, insulin pumps and even “smart” clothing can measure consumed calories, heart rates, the amount of medicine in a person’s body and transmit that data to patients and medical professionals in real-time. And 71% of Americans claim these types of devices have improved their overall health.
  • The city of the future will be “smarter” as sensors turn street lights, waste receptacles and cameras into tools that will help municipalities operate on more efficient levels. Wim Elfrink outlined how Barcelona has used a network of sensors that transmit real-time data on temperature, noise and other conditions in one of the city’s most popular areas. Kansas City, Missouri has used the network of street lighting and interactive digital kiosks in conjunction with a $114 million streetcar project to promote the city to both residents, and companies potentially looking to relocate their operations.

Serving as a link to the Internet of Everything, all of the connected things that make up the fabric of the Internet of Things are leading to new economic opportunities, increased personalized connections and more importantly, positive intersections of technology and the human experience. Far beyond the monetary values that it can present to society, the Internet of Things is powerfully changing and improving quality of life for people across the globe, with billions of opportunities awaiting us all.

What impact has the Internet of Everything had on your life, professionally or personally? Thinking futuristically, in what ways can you dream of that use the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything to change our world?

We want to know what examples of the Internet of Everything you see in your own City of Tomorrow – your neighborhood! Join the conversation online by tagging your photo and video examples with #InternetofEverything and #CityofTomorrowHow is the Internet of Everything changing your city? 

Additional resources:

Review the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013

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Writing a new chapter of my story: Taking on the Internet of Things opportunity at Cisco

This week I’m excited to participate in an event we are organizing in Chicago, home of the 2014 Internet of Things World Forum.  We’re meeting with some of our partners and customers as we make a few joint announcements – including a new IoE Innovation Center in Barcelona, and showcasing some new solutions built on our platform by some of our partners. Additionally, I’m getting a preview of some of the amazing smart & connected deployments in Chicago – a preview for the IoT World Forum.

I am writing this blog as I gear up to lead Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) Systems & Software Group. Over the last few weeks I’ve spent time getting to know the group and have been struck by the tremendous energy and focus on customers and partners the team has.  I’m also excited about how dynamic the Internet of Things space is.

While we’ve calculated the total economic value at stake for Internet of Everything by 2020 – $19T – and the number of potential connected devices – 50B – these nearly unfathomable numbers may, honestly, not pan out exactly to the decimal.  The Internet of Everything could be smaller or, more likely, much much larger – but the overall point is that more and more people, process, data, and things are connecting.  Professor Michael Nelson of Georgetown University has said that “Trying to determine the market size for the Internet of Things is like trying to calculate the market for plastics, circa 1940.”  At that time it would have been nearly unfathomable for the numbers of existing things – milk containers, furniture, industrial components – to be made into plastic.  And just as plastics have pervaded every part of our lives and enabled new industries, the connections created by Internet of Everything will too. I think that’s a great way to think about the untapped potential of this market. Read More »

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The Nexus of the Internet of Everything? It’s in the Palm of Your Hand.

On a typical day, we hold in our hands a portal to our civilization’s entire trove of information and entertainment — and a window into our finances, our health, and the lives of our friends. Not to mention, the ability to make a purchase anywhere and anytime the whim strikes us.

To say that our personal devices have become an integral part of our lives is a vast understatement. But get ready for an even bigger wave of change. Mobile is poised to become ever more ubiquitous. But the focus will be less on the device itself, and more on its role as a critical enabler in the connected world of the Internet of Everything (IoE).

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Forget Looking in the Mirror, It’s Your Digital Image That Truly Matters

It’s great to stay in shape at the gym and pick out stylish clothes. But more and more, the personal image that really counts is digital.

That’s because the Internet of Everything (IoE) era demands new ways of looking at, well, just about everything. And everything includes you. In an expanding universe of new connections, each of us needs to ask, just where do I fit? And how am I being viewed?

In short, what is my digital persona?

The ways in which we are seen online have assumed acute importance in recent years, and that only stands to increase. Therefore, our digital personas have to be cultivated and maintained, just as we care for our images in the physical world.

In career terms, for example, you may be known in your daily work life as a good leader. But the physical world has limited reach.  If there is no evidence of that in the digital world, you will be in trouble, especially if you happen to be looking for a new job. Recruiters, of course, know that they can do an instant search and start compiling your digital profile within seconds. If you say you’re an expert or a good manager, your digital persona had better back it.

According to some recent research, job recruiters are turning more and more to Facebook, which by some measures is becoming even more impactful for employment purposes than LinkedIn. So, if the personal social media site can actually trump the professional social media site, think twice before you post those Spring Break photos.

As the consumerization of IT extends ever further into the workplace — via personal devices, social media, and so forth — the blurring of the personal and the professional will only continue.  As a result, everyone must be aware that personal actions have an impact comparable to professional achievements. And the digital trail that you leave behind every day influences how you are perceived in the marketplace.

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The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

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