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Wearable 2.0: The #FutureOfMobility

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world. 

Check out the first post of this series that discusses why contact, connections and context will drive the next generation of wearables.

When 24-year-old Jason Barnes lost part of his arm in an electrical accident, he also lost the ability to drum. Thanks to engineers at Georgia Tech, he now has range with his artificial hand that is impossible with a normal human hand. Arguably, now he has new capabilities that other musicians don’t have – all because of an incredibly advanced replacement part.

If you consider how wearables may evolve, we may see a time where people take a perfectly good limb, eye or ear and replace it with something synthetic because it gives them a skill that they haven’t had before. Perhaps it gives a solider infrared vision at night or a baseball pitcher a robotic arm that throws a perfect game.

These new capabilities will propel us into a new phase of human history – this period of self-designed evolution. As the power of Internet of Everything (IoE) technology merges with biology, we can create a self-evolving population. Let’s take a step back and look how this has developed over time.

How it Began

If you look back throughout human history, we’ve always adorned ourselves with some kind of capability. Usually it’s because we want to differentiate ourselves or show status or an association with a tribe or group. This has traditionally been accomplished through wearing jewelry, getting tattoos or piercings and so on. Today, we’re beginning the wearable phase and it’s about smart watches, glasses and jewelry, but tomorrow will bring the era of embeddable technology.

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Wearable to Aware-able: Contact, Connection, Context

This two-part blog series discusses the future of wearables and mobility in an #InternetOfEverything world.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been motivated by an innate desire to be connected to each other and to information. Today, we are seeing this need satisfied as the Internet of Everything (IoE) evolves to connect more people, process, data and things than ever before. An essential part of the growth of the Internet of Everything will depend on how mobile devices, connected things and wearable technology adapts and develops to become more aware and intelligent.

Today, the wearable device market is a nascent, but growing market. There are about 160 unique wearable devices on the market, and IDTechEx predicts wearables will grow to a $70 billion market in the next ten years. However, despite its growing market share, many still have limited views of what a wearable is and the innovation these devices will encourage in our mobile-led IoE world.

In this post, I’ll share some thoughts I presented at the recent Wearable Technology Conference that explores how we will soon see wearables move from being just wearable to becoming aware-able through increased contact, connections and context.

Let’s Start at the Beginning…What is a Wearable?

There is a lot of confusion in the industry about what a wearable is and the role it plays in our lives.  For example, advances in exoskeletons for military applications and sports define a wearable as more than just a device for your wrist.

And it’s not just for humans.

Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) co-developed a fuel cell that is expected to be used for forming a wireless mesh networks with cyborg insects in emergency situations. In this case, insects can be used for wirelessly transmitting various sensor signals in areas that humans simply can’t go – such as disaster areas or for search and rescue efforts. It may seem a bit crazy now, but connecting these flying sensor insects to the network can create a very interesting, new capability that will challenge our definition of what a wearable is over time.

Why Now – and what’s all the Hype About?

Simply put, the size of technology is shrinking. Technology shrinks every decade about a 100-fold, so while in the mid-80’s we were carrying around a separate music player, telephone and calculator, today we carry all those capabilities into one device: our smartphone. Couple this trend with ongoing advances in microscopic sensors and computers the size of a grain of sand and it’s clear we are just beginning to understand what’s possible for new IoT connections and mobile innovations.

Wearable 2.0: From Wearable to Aware-able

While most wearables on the market today are built to capture WHAT we are doing, they don’t tell us HOW we are doing. We are seeing an evolution of wearables that will focus more on HOW we are doing, and capture insights that can change our lives. For example, while today’s wearable bracelet or watch can tell me my body is moving, it cannot tell me anything about my biological processes – such as my glucose levels or blood pressure.

For this evolution to occur, wearable devices – or aware-able devices – require three things:

Cisco_WearableAwareables - Dave Blog

  1. Contact with your body
  2. Connections with the world
  3. Context by providing relevant information

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these “Three Cs.”

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An Eye to the Future of Mobility: Wearables & Health Care

The explosive growth of the Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving a sweeping wave of transformation across our world. And the health care industry is among the many industries that are feeling its profound impact.

Already, health care practitioners are embracing such IoE-related trends as the surge in mobile devices and the cutting-edge advances in Big Data analytics. An ever-expanding multitude of applications are connecting mobile users (and patients!) in startling new ways. And many health organizations are adopting BYOD and deploying any-to-any connections, which link hospitals across the globe. The rising influx of smart watches and wearable technology that track personal health data also show great promise.

Overall, emerging mobile solutions can have a tremendous impact on the future of health care as they enable increased connectivity and a much deeper dimension and accessibility to key health insights.

In his book, The Human Face of Big Data, Rick Smolan, the renowned photojournalist and author, explores the interrelations among mobility, Big Data and health care. Together, he argues, they are transforming what it means to be connected. For example, wearables are already entering the mobile consumer landscape, where they are complimenting smartphones and tablets. But in the health care industry, wearables have tremendous practical potential. Electronic tattoos, Bluetooth-enabled dental implants, and a myriad of sensors that track our vital signs are changing how, when, and where we receive health care.

MobilizeMag: Healthcare and Mobility and how New Advancements Lead to Better Patient Care from Cisco Business Insights

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The Internet of Everything Hearts Your Health

An embeddable tooth implant sends patient information to a dentist in real-time.

A smartwatch responds to touch to help ease the loneliness of long distance relationships.

A bracelet records daily physical activity and caloric intake and provides recommendations to achieve health goals.

These capabilities may have seemed like a dream only a decade ago but now are a reality, thanks to the Internet of Everything (IoE)

Aside from the obvious coolness factor of the growing list of connected things, many of these wearable and mobile-enabled devices are helping save lives. In honor of Valentine’s Day and American Hearth Month, it’s a good time to ask: How is the Internet of Everything “hearting” our health?

IoE - Heart

The Power of Four Enables Life-Saving Intelligence

At Cisco, we refer to the Internet of Everything as the increased connections among four key components: people, things, data and process. The true power of IoE is best seen when all four of these components work together to change how we enable intelligent processes.

This is especially true for the healthcare industry. It’s not enough for your smartwatch to be able to connect to the Internet or for your connected shirt to record your movement behavior. It’s what we do with that information that makes the connection so valuable.

In a recent CNBC article, Frans Van Houten, CEO at Royal Philips Electronics, discussed the rise of the hospital to home healthcare movement. The idea is our increasingly mobile world is enabling real-time vital signs, family history and diagnostic information to be shared with your doctor, allowing for faster and earlier detection with a more personalized treatment plan. For good reason, there is much development and investment in this emerging area of healthcare.

Here’s a closer look at how more networked connections are able to collect high-velocity data and turn it into knowledge that can be delivered to patients and professionals to prevent disease, eliminate wasted efforts and better manage health crises. In other words, here’s the IoE in action:

  • Improve caregiver efficiency at the hospital: Patient wait times and errors can be reduced when caregivers leverage the power of the Internet of Everything to coordinate resources, track completion of tasks and enable better communication between doctors, staff and patients. For example, using a combination of Wi-Fi and GPS-based location services, coordinators can keep track of where caregivers, medical equipment and other equipment such as wheelchairs are located, allowing for faster mobilization and managed workloads.
  • Monitor patients at home: Imagine that a surgical patient is outfitted with a wearable monitoring devices he can wear at home, allowing for a more peaceful recovery while doctors watch for any irregularities.
  • Share data with emergency personnel: It’s possible that in the future wireless mesh, 4G or other such networked connections between an ambulance, a cloud, a hospital and various data centers, could enable sharing a common view of vital patient information, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.

This is just the beginning of how the Internet of Everything can help us live longer lives with those we love. As the wearable technology continues to promote more patient involvement and evolves in analytic capability, what it means to receive a diagnosis or take proactive approaches to our health will fundamentally shift.

It’s clear that when we talk about the value of networked connections, there is nothing more valuable than a long and happy life. Tell us what you think – join the conversation with #IoE.

Attending HIMSS14? Don’t miss the 7th Annual Cisco Connected Health Summit focused on health innovation and best practices. Simply call HIMSS at 800-465-1272 and ask for the Cisco event (code CCCINV) to be added to your registration.

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At CES, Glitzy Wearables, Snazzy Smart Cars, and, Yes, Trash Cans

Walking the miles of aisles at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it’s easy to see how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is revolutionizing our lives. Super-smart homes, cars, drones, and all manner of entertainment are on display seemingly everywhere, along with a mind-boggling array of wearable, connected technologies.

But CES — and IoE — are not just about how we interact with cool gadgets. They are also about new ways to connect with the public-sector environment. And there are extremely exciting possibilities coming to life in our towns, cities, and communities.

Ultimately, these public-sector breakthroughs could have a profound impact. Just think about how much of your quality of life is affected on a daily basis — directly or indirectly — by parking, waste management, crime, public utilities, and government services.

Cisco predicts that $4.6 trillion of value will be “at stake” in the public sector over the next decade ($19 trillion for the public and private sectors combined), driven by “connecting the unconnected” through the Internet of Everything. We also estimate that 99.4 percent of physical objects that may one day be part
of the Internet of Everything are still unconnected.IoE - Joseph Bradley blog image - 01 15 14

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