What Does IoT Mean to You?

What does IoT Mean to YouA few weeks ago I started to prepare my session for the great meeting of the minds at Cisco Live in San Francisco. I have to confess that at the beginning it felt a bit weird creating a presentation about Internet of Things (IoT), a market that is targeting Operational Technology (OT) decision-makers, for an event that for many years now has been a “mecca” for Information Technology (IT) professionals felt incongruous.

But the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about the opportunity. As the IoT market gets better defined and developed, and grows in size and relevance, it presents an unprecedented opportunity for IT professionals to engage in the conversation and bring in their experience, skills and perspective. The IoT solutions required by OT professionals are ripe for innovation, the type of innovation that IT professionals are great at.

Resilient, scalable and secure converged networks, simplified and automated management, new computing models (Fog) that deliver distributed intelligence, and system-wide application enablement are building blocks for more advanced and smarter solutions for IoT. In a previous blog I talked about some of the characteristics of these new environments, and how the extension of the traditional IT environments outside the “carpeted office” can deliver incredible gains in visibility, automation and control. Think about these examples in terms of business value enabled by Cisco’s IoT portfolio:

  • In Manufacturing, better connectivity and distributed intelligence at the edge can increase visibility and control in manufacturing environments. Manufacturers benefit by reducing downtime, providing leading (not lagging) indicators for proactive maintenance, and connecting operational environments to ensure better quality products and minimum waste.
  • For Energy Utilities, implementing local control loops over the same converged network not only allows the utility companies to prevent losses and deliver proactive load balancing over the grid, but also enables new business models for these companies. These new business models in turn lower the cost of energy distribution, automate billing and service calls, and provide proactive response to environmental conditions (from tornados to blizzards and anything in the middle) . They can do this by allowing the infrastructure elements to communicate with each other in an automated, instantaneous and reliable way, even when their connection to the Internet connection is down.

But that’s not all. And it’s not just about business value. The IoT solutions that can be delivered by a combination of the know-how of both OT and IT professionals can also greatly improve the quality of life for all of us. Consider these examples:

  • In Hospital environments, better care is at the core of their mission, not only because it is critical for their business, but primarily because they deal with the lives of the patients. Working with partners, we have created new solutions for patient monitoring and observation based on advanced video analytics and imaging to provide proactive status of the needs of the patients to the staff that is taking care of them. These new technologies not only empower the hospital staff to make better decisions for the well-being of their patients, but actually increase the quality of the health care provided, improves the productivity of the nurses and doctors, and helps patients to get better sooner. Higher quality healthcare enabled by IoT!
  • Cities are getting smarter every day. There is a new generation of citizen services enabled by IoT that were not even possible a few years ago. For example, smart street lighting that not only provides proactive maintenance information for the city (reducing costs and avoiding complaints), but that can also detect the presence of citizens on the sidewalks. With this citizen detection capabilities the streetlights can alter the intensity of lighting. This helps to provide more security to the passers-by, but can save on power operating costs for the city. Smart parking not only helps drivers find parking spots faster (that increases citizen satisfaction) but also reduces pollution in the environment caused by circling and circling a block as they look for parking.  Again, better quality of life, thanks to IoT!

So I want to invite you to come and join me during my session at Cisco Live, where I will cover (in even more detail) the basic building blocks for a successful IoT solution implementation, and will explore other cases and examples that can give meaning to IoT in a whole different way to you and your business.  I would love to hear what IoT means to you.

And before I forget, we have created a full IoT program for the event that I believe you will find very interesting and informative.  Join our IoT experts in technical breakout sessions about IoT architectures, IT/OT convergence and using IoT for better business outcomes, and large enterprises showing how Cisco is helping their business.

Visit the IoT booth to learn about innovative, ruggedized solutions for manufacturing, utilities, transportation, safety and security, and cities. Learn about IoT application enablement, management for IoT deployments, and embedded network solutions for the most demanding environments.

Visit http://www.ciscolive.com/us/internet-of-things/  to find out more about the education and training for IoT that makes Cisco Live such a great investment of your time.

We look forward to seeing you at Cisco Live 2014 in San Francisco!


In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Your blogs conencted with us at RAI – SCADA Nexus. Since 2001 we have been connecting electric utility grid control components to the network for data mining, presentation, analysis and control of the final elements within the “Cloud”. Today the term used for such network enabled and cloud-hosted groups of devices is the IoT. We have been mildly successful as a small startup company and completely agree and support the IoT development concepts you and CISCO have put forth. We have over 37 forward thinking Electric Utility clients that are taking advantage of the SCAD Nexus IoT today. The only reason other utilities are not engaging our IoT solutions is we are small. So in addition to promoting new ideas it would also be helpful for CISCO to assist in organizing the acquisition of small inovative organizations that develop, pioneer, and deploy truly game-changing technologies like our company. With acquisition by known players in the market these advancements can be viewed, adopted and effectively utilized by today’s business leaders. Smart, innovative, game-changing with name recognition leads to industry improving movements and acquisitions point the way. Perhaps this could be a productive area of influence in the IoT advancement.

    • Hi Scott, thanks for your message. Cisco is very interested on investing on the growth and development of IoT. As we have announced last year, we have an investment fund to help small companies and startups to innovate in this space, and just a few weeks ago we announced our IoT Innovation Grand Challenge, focused specifically on IoT startups. I would encourage you to check the details and see if you can leverage the resources available there to support the growth of your company, and the advance of the IoT. Details are here: http://blogs.cisco.com/ioe/calling-all-internet-of-things-entrepreneurs/

      • Thanks for the prompt reply! Yes we noticed the opportunity for funding support for a small company. We are reviewing and will respond to your offer. When a small firm such as ours deals with established firms in the elecrtric utility industry it is quite eye-opening to see the resistance to embracing new technology – this group is extremely risk averse. They want outside assurance they are doing it properly. We are providing a “Bridge Engine” creating IoT’s out of the existing world of serial RS232 interfaces on what are termed today’s Smart Grid IED’s. These are teh mainstay of the utilities today. These Smart Grid devices typically come equipped with unsecure Master/Slave protocols such as Pacfic Gas and Electric’s 2179, DNP, Modbus Serial, and the straight ASCII of the industry leading relay provider – SEL. Some utilities are gradually accepting the use of network systems but most insist that the Telnet of 1967 is the future. Into this we have successfully introduced the Gateway that plays the unsecure propietary game on the local side and is a fully encrypted client on the network side while moving status and data to a Cloud Server where user access security and such is assurred. The use of iPhones, Droids and other mobile platforms is creating a demand for such and we are responding. However for better penetration and utilization we and firms like ours need endorsement and acknowledgement by the giants of the industry that we have a proper solution – that is the difficult hurdle today. As such CISCO can provide untold assistance without costing money but lending solution-based marketing support utilizing the innovative solutions your funding is assisting to develop.