When you think about the technology transitions that have happened in just the past 20 years and the number of connections that have been enabled, it’s truly mind boggling. The world wide web was just in its infancy in 1993. The first smartphone was introduced less than 10 years ago, and by 2012, that number had grown to one billion. Today, we have more than 10 billion connected devices. As the number of things connected to the network increases – from data, voice, video, and smart devices to new breeds of applications – the opportunities for new business value increase exponentially. The potential value at stake across private industries alone is estimated to exceed $14.4 trillion by 2022.

With all these connections already in place and multiplying at an epic rate, it’s not surprising that there’s some confusion about the difference between the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE). While the difference sounds subtle, it’s actually staggering. As IoT permeates more of our everyday life (smart meters, wearable devices, vehicle sensors), it has created complex and independent systems with single purpose analytics. IoE is the combination of technology transitions with the convergence of voice, video, mobility, cloud, and most recently the IoT, that has happened, which gives us the ability to connect people, processes, data, and things. This creates a new level of network intelligence, or a network of networks where there are billions or even trillions of connections. IoE combines this intelligence, visibility, and security in a way that ultimately brings value.

This pervasive connectivity and increase in processing power, combined with the cost of sensors going down that I discussed in a previous post, enable us to create new connections that have positive business and societal impacts. Data is on the network, people are on the network, and new sensors are on the network – and the network is the unifying force between all those things. These new disruptive connections, combined with applications, mobility, devices, and the ubiquitous “always on” network, make it possible to turn information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities, which is the real value of IoE.

Here is an example that helps put IoT and IoE into perspective. Let’s say you’re shopping and you want to buy a blender. These days, you can go online and find a retailer with the blender you want in stock. You might even be able to find out which store has the blender at the lowest price. This interaction gives you connectivity with historical data, or data at rest. It’s inventory data that sits in a database somewhere. If you’re like me, you’ll probably still call to make sure the blender is in stock before you make the trip. This is an example of connecting people to data.

 Now, add real-time sensors, the intelligent network, and mobility to the scenario. When you combine the inventory data with a retailer that has sensors in the parking lot that determine free parking spaces and traffic data, you also get access to real-time data, or data in motion. This lets you find the nearest retailer with the blender you want, in stock, with open parking spaces near the front. Taken a level even further, let’s say the retailer also has real-time video analytics for the check-out lines. Now, you’ve found your blender, the retailer that has it in stock, at the store nearest to you in time and distance, at the best price, with parking spaces close to the front door, and short register lines.

 The new level of network intelligence comes from the convergence of new breeds of applications,  historical data and real-time data coming from the IoT, combined with the fact that you have access to this on your mobile device, which knows where you are. This is the Internet of Everything. Here at Cisco Live and the IoE Innovation Zone, the atmosphere is buzzing with endless IoE possibilities.

 I can’t wait to hear the ways you envision IoE creating new business opportunities for you.

Send me a tweet: @JimGrubb.


Jim Grubb

Chief Technology Evangelist

Cisco Customer Experience Center