Building the Platform for the Internet of Everything
We are embarking on a new technological journey that will fundamentally change forever the economy, society and the way that we live. Wired magazine described a new era where “the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before.” The Internet of Everything (IoE) is a world where up to 50 billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet by 2020; or, the equivalent of 6 devices for every person on the planet.
Businesses are beginning to completely re-design their processes, operations and business models to benefit from this new era. We are already starting to see the emergence of smart cities, connected utilities, connected railways, connected factories, connected cars, and even connected mines, to name but a few. All industries are looking to IoE as a breakthrough technology to help them optimize their business, enter new markets and enhance their relationship with their customers. This is why industry analysts, like IDC, estimate that businesses will spend up to $20 trillion over the next three years to realize the promise of the Internet of Everything.
But, The Internet of Things is More Than Just “Things”. As I described in this recent article, the Internet of Things is really a short-hand for the four technology pillars (mobility, cloud, big data and things), wrapped in security, that are forging a revolutionary new, and revolutionary, connected world. Successful IoE implementations don’t happen in isolation or independently. Cisco is discovering that successful implementations require a technical and business platform into which different solutions can be easily plugged to efficiently and effectively achieve the promised business benefits. The cornerstones of this IoE platform include a robust connectivity and technology infrastructure, operational and management services and a range of vertical and horizontal solutions.
In Cisco’s experience, all IoE implementations require all of these technical and business elements to be successful. Our vision is that effective IoE deployments will build an IoE platform that can be extended across the business, or even entire industries, to deliver a range of unique, value-added IoE solutions.
Starting from the bottom, the layers comprise:
- Network Connection – connecting all of the solutions, data and applications through fiber backhaul or licensed cellular.
- Network Access – a managed Wi-Fi, or other unlicensed wireless network, to connect all of the sensors and applications.
- Technology Platform – a platform to allow new devices and solutions to readily and securely “plug and play” into the overall architecture, and to connect to cloud storage and compute services.
- Vertical and Horizontal Solutions – the combination of devices and applications that deliver the unique solutions for different vertical and horizontal industry segments.
- Platform Monetization – in some verticals, like smart cities and B2C, opportunities exist to leverage the platform and network to create new sources of revenue.
- Shared Operating Platform – a shared platform to consolidate the management, customer care and service issues across all of the solutions.
- Professional Services – services to support areas such as systems integration, planning and design.
- Program Leadership – services to program manage the entire implementation, operations and partner ecosystem.
Successfully deploying and capturing the tremendous potential benefits of IoE is not just about cool things and applications. A comprehensive technical, operations and management IoE platform is required to turn vision and promise into reality.