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The Internet of Everything is Personal for This Cisco Employee

- July 13, 2015 - 14 Comments

Karen Miller Morris and her son, ChaseWhen you work at Cisco, the Internet of Everything (IoE) becomes more personal to each of us. However, for one Cisco employee, the Internet of Everything takes personal to a whole new level.

Just a few months ago, Karen Miller Morris had her “mom-ness” put to the test when she found out her 8-year-old son, Chase, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Since Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disorder, there wasn’t anything that Karen could change about Chase’s eating habits or exercise to help him. It meant monitoring and maintaining blood sugar levels through administering insulin for the rest of his life.

Her Cisco family was there to support her – she was able to take a month’s leave to make the changes needed –but as it turns out, the company was helping her in a way that’s uniquely Cisco.

“I thank Cisco engineers all the time for the contributions they make to the Internet of Everything,” Karen says. “If it wasn’t for the IoE mhealth (mobile health) solution I recently purchased, things would be a lot more dangerous for my son, and stressful for the people that love him.”

The cloud, the network, and the Internet of Everything (the networked connection of people, process, data, and things) make it possible for Karen to sleep at night.

Shortly after her son was diagnosed, a company called Dexcom came out with an IOE solution. She uses their continuous blood glucose monitor, which uses a sensor inserted into his arm that wirelessly communicates with a digital monitoring device (Continuous Glucose Monitor-CGM). That device shows what his blood glucose (BG) level is every 6 seconds. This data is then sent across networks into the cloud, which means she can see Chase’s BG level anytime, anywhere on her phone.

Karen, and “Team Chase” (a whole team of family members, nurses, teachers and friends) watch his numbers to ensure he’s in an optimal BG range. Plus, this IoE solution empowers Chase, and ensures all that he’s safe.

Karen’s sister also has Type 1 Diabetes, and she and their family didn’t have the technology advantage that Chase does. Parents of the past had to send their children to sleep with higher-than-optimal blood sugar numbers, so they wouldn’t get too low at night and end up in a coma – or worse. The trouble is, higher sugar numbers are also very dangerous over the longer term.

“I think about people who had to deal with this 40 years ago. They were living in the dark, making decisions without the data that we have today. This IOE solution helps us to ensure Chase lives a life where he can realize his dreams.”

That’s one of the many reasons Karen enjoys working at Cisco.

“I love working here, because it‘s like working for the U.N.,” Karen laughs. “We’re here for the good of all; to make sure that we’re helping researchers and companies that are doing these amazing things solve complex problems and provide ground-breaking solutions.”

Plus, she has a job that she says “if I was a millionaire, I would do it for free.” Her goal is to raise awareness about the technology careers of tomorrow. Not just encouraging college and high-school students; but, students as early as elementary school to get excited about tech, and the difference they can make (which is especially important for young girls when it comes to being intrigued by technology.)

Take, for example, her son Chase.

“He’s proud of his medical device and shows it to everyone,” Karen says. “It’s gotten him interested in becoming a young user experience designer. He thinks that instead of a negative alarm when his blood sugar drops, it should play a song like, ‘you’re going low.’ If he can make it cooler, maybe gamify it, he could make it better for the next kid that is faced with this challenge..”

Understanding the Internet of Everything, and getting kids excited about technology, starts with an inspiring story. Karen’s got hers, what’s yours? Share with us in comments!

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14 Comments

    My heart goes out to Chase and Karen. Great respect to all the cisco engineers who strive hard themselves to make others life happy.

      Thanks Mohammed!

    Great example of integrating worklife with all other gamuts of life.

      Thanks Debolina - Karen's story is a great one!

    "We’re here for the good of all" - loved that line

      Sergiy, it iS a good line. :)

    Love this story, Karen! Thanks for sharing a part of you with the rest of the Cisco family! It is awesome how Cisco reaches into our lives...technically and personally :) And way to go, Carmen, for your superb writing!

      Aw, shucks. ;) Thanks Lori.

  1. What a wildly beautiful & empowering story! This makes me so proud to work for Cisco in knowing that what we do goes beyond just our day-to-day lives. A watch/bracelet addition to this technology sounds incredible as well, Karen! It could even be similar to a medical alert bracelet so those who may not be familiar with it can see immediately that it's more than just a "game" or "kid's tech."

      Glad it makes you #CiscoProud. :) We do some cool stuff around here.

    • @Casie Shimansky love the idea of the medical alert bracelet.

  2. Thank you Carmen. I enjoyed speaking with you. I am so very grateful for #IOT, #T1D Doctors, Researchers, Scientist, @JDRF, @CarbDM, @Dexcom, @Medtronic, @Lily, @Cisco.... But, we aren't done yet. I have a challenge for my #IOT friends that I know you can solve. Today my constraint is that in order for his medical device to communicate to the cloud, he has to have his iPhone near him to capture the blood glucose data from his medical device/receiver via bluetooth. I would love for a team to build a watch or bracelet to act as a collector and send the data directly to the cloud, this way I would not run the risk of my son getting away from his phone and disconnected from me, as he is running and playing like most 8 year old boys do.

      Karen - when you drop a challenge like that, I'm sure someone will pick it up and run!

    • Thanks Karen for sharing your story. It will be my challenge to now unleash the power of Cisco technology/IOE to help you stay connected with Chase 24/7 without having dependency on access to his phone or the device .