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From Information to Innovation: The New CIO in an Internet of Everything World

In my role at Cisco, I have taken interest in understanding how we, as people, are driving the need for innovative technology to fuel change in our world. As we find new ways to interact as consumers or communicators, we demand that technology keep pace – to be fast and to adapt.  

Today’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are well aware of Internet of Everything (IoE) and are already thinking about how connected their unconnected people, processes and things can help them gain efficiencies as well as a competitive edge. Massive shifts in technology and consumption models brought about by cloud, security, mobility and programmable networks are accelerating new markets and new business models. These new models are transforming communication and massively disrupting the role of IT.

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There’s No Place Like (a Connected) Home

It doesn’t take long to realize it’s going to be one of those days.

You drag out of bed, bleary-eyed after a bad night’s sleep in a stuffy, overheated room. Desperately in need of a caffeine jolt, you then discover that you’re out of coffee. You turn on the TV but are too harried to take in the morning news. Rushing out of the house, late, you suddenly can’t find your keys. A mad, time-wasting search ensues before you drive off to work, finally. Then, stuck in traffic, your mind begins to fret: Did you turn off the TV? Turn out the lights? Water the plants? Lock the door?

Now, imagine the same morning routine in a home enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), the explosion in connectivity that is transforming the world as we know it.

You wake up rested, since the temperature, air quality, and lighting in your bedroom have been carefully synchronized to your sleep patterns. You tap your smartphone to start up the coffee machine and turn on some light morning music. During a short but vigorous pre-breakfast workout, the temperature in your home gym drops automatically. Later, a sensor tells you exactly where you left your car keys the night before, just as a separate prompt informs you that the plants are fine — except for the thirsty hibiscus, which you water on your way out.

You don’t need to lock the house or turn off the appliances; a proximity sensor detects when you leave the house, locks and shuts off everything, and then sends an alert message to your car’s central screen. There’s no traffic, because your (connected) car is managed through the best routes — and finding a (connected) parking space is a breeze. During the morning meeting, the refrigerator tweets from home: milk and coffee are low. But not to worry — it has automatically ordered fresh cartons of your favorite brands from the local retailer.

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#ExecInsights: IoE, Healthcare, and Parking Among Hot Topics at Gartner Symposium

So, it turns out the most tweeted topic from my recent presentation at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo was about how much of their lives Parisian motorists spend searching for parking (let’s just say it’s more than a year!).  

As I told the audience in Orlando, that stress-ridden search is one of countless challenges we can tackle and improve by connecting people, processes, data, and things to the Internet of Everything (IoE). (For more on connected parking, see Wim Elfrink’s blog.)

Interest in the Internet of Everything was high at #GartnerSym. In my meetings with several analysts, CIOs and IT leaders, it was clear today’s CxOs get the amazing possibilities the Internet of Everything can offer. In fact, more and more real-world examples are coming to light of networked connections not only driving business innovation but also changing lives.  

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Wearable Tech: At the Nexus of IoE, with a Sense of Style

Science fiction writers have often mused about the merger of humans and machines. But while RoboCops and bionic superheroes aren’t likely to fight evil anytime soon, some exciting wearable smart technologies are already here. They may not match Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, but they are enabling ordinary people to interact with the wider world — and the Internet of Everything (IoE) — in intriguing (and sometimes stylish!) ways.

So, if you think your smart device is generating and processing a lot of data today, get ready for an even closer connection with your personal technology in the near future. Wearables are infusing sensors into bands, watches, shoes, shirts, bras, glasses, earrings, necklaces, and helmets. And these technologies are ready to generate reams of data — as well as real-time insights — about the ways in which we live, play, learn, work, exercise, maintain health, you name it.

I expect wearables to be a core topic of conversation at the Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona later this month. As a further evolution of IoT, IoE is all about connecting people, processes, data, and things in amazing new ways. And while we often hear about IoE’s potential to transform supply chains, factories, retailers, and assorted megaprojects, wearables are a good reminder that the people element of connecting the unconnected is paramount. Armed with these new technologies — and the ability to connect via the key pillars of IoE, such as cloud, mobility, video, and analytics —individuals will be able to monitor and quantify their lives like never before. Wearables add another dimension to the Quantified Self movement, which I covered in a previous blog.

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Using Cutting-Edge IoE Technologies To Deliver Old-Fashioned Customer Experiences

Ever step into a small-town “mom and pop” store? The owners seem to know everyone in the community, along with their individual needs, likes, dislikes, and current life situations.

It’s not easy to scale that kind of old-fashioned customer intimacy to a larger retail setting, online or off. But in the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, the same technology that is leading us headlong into the future may also help us take a step back. In the process, it may go far to improve customer experience and cement brand loyalty.

While IoE can’t conjure a kindly couple to help with a purchase, someday soon you may enter a store, bank branch, or car dealership and be guided through the steps of the process via your smart device. You’ll be greeted at the door with a personalized message. And while you’re browsing, talking to a salesperson, or engaging with an expert, you will receive content automatically to support your customer journey and your eventual buying decision. All of these suggestions will be rooted in your past purchases and browsing history, and reflect your individual needs, likes, dislikes, and current life situation (sound familiar?).

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