As the sun rises on the third day of the third annual Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) this year in the super smart city of Dubai – the brilliance of the Internet of Things (IoT) market and the robust ecosystem that supports it continues to shine brightly. Rapid IoT prototyping and other innovative solutions that are transforming business and society flourished during three days of demos, case studies, keynotes, breakout sessions, hackathons, smart city tours and much more.

It’s fitting that this year’s IoTWF came toward the end of the calendar because it mirrored a full year of explosively disruptive growth and value – all made possible by connecting the unconnected through a digital platform we call the Internet.

Cisco's Innovation Engine_StaticIoT and its continuous evolution to the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, process, data and things – is maturing at unprecedented speed. The evidence was all around us with examples of how cloud, fog, mobility, sensors and other technologies are converging to create a new digital world. These outcome-based solutions are capturing new value in industries ranging from oil and gas, retail and healthcare to manufacturing, transportation and the public sector. The excitement, opportunity and optimism for IoT/IoE was literally tangible at IoTWF.

I know there is overwhelming statistical research and myriad examples of IoT’s expanding landscape. However, for me, one of the clearest signs of market acceleration is seeing the robust ecosystem of accelerators, incubators, startups, entrepreneurs and app developers that are coming together to drive innovation in this area.

At Cisco, we believe the next big idea can come from anywhere and we’ve built our own innovation engine around build, buy, partner, invest and co-development to reflect this. Specifically with IoT, we’re looking at how we apply this strategy – be it partnering with peers to introduce industry standards or encouraging the entrepreneur spirt with industry challenges. Coming out of this event, I am particularly proud of our work with our extended ecosystem showcased at this year’s IoTWF to bring IoT to life.

First, the OpenFog Consortium, it’s the newest of this market’s increasing number of standards bodies and consortia was showcased at IoTWF. Proudly formed by Cisco, ARM, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University, the OpenFog Consortium will accelerate adoption through an architecture that will solve some of today’s biggest technology challenges, such as high latency on the network, support of end point mobility, loss of connectivity, unpredictable bandwidth bottlenecks and distributed coordination of systems and clients.

As I mentioned in my blog last month, fog computing is a key enabler of IoT, providing the capability to capture and analyze vast amounts of data from smart devices at the edge of the network where operations take place. As seen in the proof of concept in Barcelona, this not only helps users to make faster and better and faster decisions in the physical location of operations, but it also balances out the stunning volume of data streaming end-to-end across the internet to the cloud. More about the OpenFog Consortium can be read in yesterday’s blog by its first Chairman, Helder Antunes.

The second example of this ecosystem at work was the Research and Innovation Symposium. I had the honor of hosting this two day event that brings together the industry’s brightest minds in academia. Here these leaders addressed several breakthrough advances in IoT research related to networking, architecture, security, data management, big data analytics, high-dimensional predictive analytics and other challenges posed by the sheer complexity of IoT/IoE.

Finally, we saw Cisco’s very own innovation approach come to life through the culmination of our 2nd annual Innovation Grand Challenge. Our innovation challenge is a shining example of how we are working with entrepreneurs and deepening connections and partnerships with 150 of the top accelerators, incubators and thought leaders in the startup community. Later today, the three finalists will be announced on our innovation blog. These ingenious entrepreneurs will be selected by industry leaders after their live pitches, demos and nearly six months of surviving preliminary elimination rounds. In addition to sharing $250,000 in cash prizes, these amazing startups will be able to leverage the full resources of Cisco, including our global Innovation Centers, to further develop their solutions and take them to market.

I leave the IoTWF re-energized by its reflection of the breathtaking progress made over the past year, and foundational elements that will catapult the industry in the year ahead. The innovation ecosystem is not only alive, but thriving! I can’t wait to see what’s ahead in the coming year.


Maciej Kranz

Vice President and General Manager

Corporate Strategic Innovation Group