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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Smart Connections

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the largest economy in the Middle East, is universally recognized as the world’s largest producer and exporter of petroleum. In recent years, however, it has emerged as a visionary leader in leveraging networked technology, especially in developing a number of Smart City projects to attract business while controlling sprawl and congestion.

Cisco Consulting Services estimates that KSA alone can gain about $84 billion of total economic value from the Internet of Everything, which is the connection of people, processes, data and things. Nearly $16 billion of this is in the public sector, with profitability, cost savings and enhanced experiences coming from urban services such as smart street lighting, smart traffic management, mobile collaboration, chronic disease control, connected learning and healthcare, to name a few.

Globally, Cisco sees a total $19 trillion opportunity for both the public and private sectors. 

Last week, I revisited Saudi Arabia for the 16th time in five years and saw first-hand its progress in developing Smart Cities, or what we at Cisco call, Smart + Connected Communities. I had the honor of participating in the Cityquest KAEC Forum, jointly organized by the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and New Cities Foundation, which assembled global thought leaders in some of the most advanced Smart City projects.

I had the pleasure of participating in an enthusiastic panel discussion on local and global urban innovations made possible by “Connecting Through Technology,” moderated by Andrew Sewer, journalist and former managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

As reported in The Arab News, Abdullatif A. Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), kicked off the conference by emphasizing that public sector investments to diversify the economy are “… the most promising and significant in terms of job creation, technology transfer and exports development,” pointing to KAEC as a prime example.

“Digital native” cities such as KAEC have the benefit of starting from the ground up to incorporate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the master planning process. Here, it is recognized that technology is the fourth essential infrastructure for cities, along with water, gas and electricity.

I had the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing progress KAEC has made since it was announced in the summer of 2008 with Cisco’s partnership as the ICT master planner. In addition to its urban planning foresight, KAEC represents a global model of how government, its people and investors worldwide can create a smarter and more sustainable community.

I also visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city, where a tremendous transformation is under way to build one of the largest rapid transit projects in the region, Riyadh Metro. Built on the strong vision of Riyadh Governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah, in combination with the strategic plan of Arriyadh Development Authority as well as all the hard work being done by Riyadh Municipality, Riyadh Metro is expected to be the beginning of a modern 21st century digital city.

My take-away is that public and private sector leaders throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognize the power and potential of the Internet of Everything. They are diversifying their petroleum-based economy by embracing the digital era, focusing intently now on Smart City projects.

 

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Connected Analytics: Capturing the Value of the Internet of Everything

Ten large oil refineries produce about 10 terabytes of data each day, which equates to the entire printed collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.

One modernized city the size of Singapore can generate about 2.5 petabytes of data every day, which translates to all U.S. academic research libraries combined.

And with more than 14 billion, data-transmitting devices connected to the Internet today, growing to 50 billion by 2020, it is little wonder that most of us are overwhelmed by this mind-boggling explosion of data.

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Turning this flood of raw data into useful information and even wisdom for better business decisions and quality of life experiences is what the Internet of Everything (IoE) is all about. This is a daunting task. According to IDC Research, just .5% of all data is used or analyzed, and online data volumes are doubling every two years from a combination of mobile devices, videos, sensors, M2M, social media, applications and much more.

Connected Analytics Portfolio

Last Thursday, however, Cisco unveiled our Connected Analytics portfolio for the Internet of Everything, a unique approach that includes software packages to bring analytics to the data, regardless of its location or whether it is in motion or at rest. This new generation of analytics tools for IoE can convert more and more data into valuable intelligence — from the inter cloud, to the data center to the network’s edge.

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Accelerating and Innovating the Internet of Everything in Japan

After a whirlwind week in Tokyo, it’s clear that Japan – the world’s third largest economy — is embracing the potential economic value of the Internet of Everything (IoE). For Japan, we estimate an IoE opportunity of $870 million over the next decade (out of a global economic value of $19 trillion).

With its proud history of industry, technology and innovation leadership, Japan is an ideal location for Cisco’s 7th IoE Center of Innovation — a $20million investment for Cisco — which opened last Thursday with nine Japan-based ecosystem partners. The excitement is high around our open lab’s charter to bring together customers, industry partners, startups, accelerators, government agencies and research communities to collaborate on next-generation technology. Photos of the center’s opening are here.

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In Tokyo, we will be working with partners to develop Fog Computing solutions focused on Manufacturing, Sports and Entertainment and Public Sector. These Fog solutions extend cloud storage, computing and services to the edge of the network, a critical element of realizing value from IoE.

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Accelerating open innovation on all fronts at Cisco

I introduced Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) earlier this year as a cornerstone in our strategy of embracing open innovation at Cisco. I also shared how we were extending Cisco EIR and open innovation across the US through local incubation partners, and I announced the launch of Cisco EIR in Europe. Now I would like to share updates on the great progress we are making with Cisco EIR as a catalyst of open innovation at Cisco.

Startups Selected to Join Cisco EIR in Europe

Last week we were excited to announce the six startups that will be joining our Cisco EIR program in Europe at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. The six winners – innovating in the areas of Smart Cities, Internet of Everything (IoE)/cloud and Big Data/analytics – were chosen through a rigorous multiphase selection process conducted in collaboration with Pioneers. More than 350 applicants from 39 countries applied to join Cisco EIR Europe, with 15 finalists pitching live at the Pioneers Festival in front of Cisco experts and our European partners. Winners were selected based on the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s IoE vision and strategy.

We were impressed beyond our expectations by the vision, passion, talent and technology of all 15 finalists. These startups made us more excited and convinced than ever that Europe was the right platform to discover and nurture the next generation of disruptive ideas for our industry and for Cisco.

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The Internet of Things: Moving Beyond the Hype

We recently wrapped up a spectacular Internet of Things World Forum 2014 (IoTWF) in Chicago.  By reviewing the highlights, it’s clear that the Internet of Things is here, it’s now… it’s big, and it’s bold. And by all accounts, IoT is advancing multiple times faster than any other technology movement in history.

More than 1,500 thought and industry leaders shared visions and real-world use cases of IoT adoption and advancement, ranging from mining and oil and gas operations to caring for the elderly with remote- and self-controlled robots. Our second annual event featured 13 keynotes and 36 workshops laser focused on setting a strong foundation for IoT developments, encompassing security, standards, protocols, governance models and much more.

We had an opportunity to hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, and CIO Brenna Berman, who in addition to their hospitality shared with us their goal of establishing Chicago as THE IoT Center for cities.

Participants learned that while IoT gets most of the current buzz from consumer-driven products, more rapid growth and value are shifting rapidly to enterprise-wide applications that already have improved operational performance and efficiency. Today, 37% of total device (things) connections to the Internet come from industrial applications, and industrial connections will surpass consumer-based connections in 2017.

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