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A Vision of Technology in 2020 at the World Expo

August 13, 2010 - 5 Comments

Now in the fourth month of the six-month World Expo in Shanghai, the Cisco Pavilion hosts about 3,000 visitors each day.

According to pavilion staff, visitors are intrigued by visions of how the network will help their families stay better connected, offer enhanced medical care and bring together the Internet of Things – in which everyday objects such as thermometers, cars, light switches and more will have IP addresses and be connected to the Internet. [Cisco Futurist Dave Evans discusses the many possibilities of the Internet of Things in a recent Talk2Cisco program.]

The theme of the 1,500-square-meter Cisco Pavilion – Smart+Connected Life – relates to one of the major concerns of the United Nations: the rapid rate of urbanization around the world.

Today, 19 cities in the world have populations of 20 million or more, and 400 cities have populations greater than 1 million. Between 100 and 500 new cities of at least 1 million will be built and inhabited by 2030.

Against this backdrop, Cisco brings together the World Expo theme Better City, Better Life, by demonstrating and explaining the role the network will play in these cities of the future. By transforming physical communities to connected communities, the network can help address current and future issues of urbanization, such as rapid population growth and limited resources.

A Vision of Technology in 2020

The public gallery of the Cisco Pavilion, which draws Shanghai citizens and other interested Expo visitors, portrays a vision of technology in 2020, including what a Smart+Connected life could be like for a family in Shanghai.

“It’s very interesting to see the different things that surprise or make an impression on visitors,” says Anthony Elvey, director, Shanghai World Expo Program, Cisco. “We just can’t predict where a conversation will lead.”

Anthony reports that for the general public who come through the pavilion, three themes really resonate: staying connected as a family, connected medicine and the concept of the Internet of Things.

Family Connections

Anthony says that Chinese visitors are excited at the prospect of how video technology is going to enable them to stay together better as a family.

“China is experiencing an enormous amount of migration; people are moving around throughout the country and abroad to find work,” he explains. “But the sense of family is still very important here, so the Chinese find the idea of using Cisco TelePresence and other video technology to stay connected very appealing.”

Connected Medicine

The Cisco Pavilion also offers visitors a vision of future connected medicine.

“We demonstrate a scenario in which a pregnant woman is able to send information to her obstetrician through her mobile device,” Anthony says. “The device is able to monitor the baby’s progress, and when the expectant mother begins labor, that is brought to the attention of her physician through the monitoring application in her mobile phone.”

This is just one example of how future connected medicine can facilitate enhanced patient experience, privacy and safety.

The Internet of Things

There is a big push in China, as in many parts of the world, to connect many everyday objects together, creating the Internet of Things to improve communication among smart devices and among people.

Visitors to the Cisco Pavilion take a journey to see how Cisco technology can transform the way a Chinese family in 2020 is able to use transportation, utilities, buildings, learning, recreation, government services and healthcare – enhancing family members’ quality of life.

“When you can connect so many different items, devices and places through IP addresses, you can really start to look at the world in a very different way,” Anthony points out.

The World Expo runs through October 2010.


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  1. A new vision, a different perspective to use internet facility. Article clearly explains the vision of Cisco Pavillion as to how internet can help in maintaining family connections, connected medicine and other internet of things. This idea will certainly be helpful in creating a new dimension in maintaining the connections.

  2. Hi Jenny,For someone like me whose educational background was a 1980's era B.A. in English,"" the idea of technology advancing as rapidly as it has is somewhat frightening. It's interesting to me that the general public in Shanghai is so excited about these new propsed advancements (e.g. advanced video technololgy)! Sometimes I feel as though I'm being left behind because it is difficult for me to be as excited about these changes.It has taken me a few years just to become familiar enough with the basics: the internet, website building, cell phones (I am almost ashamed to say that I refuse to enable ""texting"" on my phone since it's almost ""too much"" for me) - and I sometimes fear that I just won't be able to keep up.I think that had I learned more about info technology along the way, this wouldn't seem so overwhelming to me. This reminds me, ever so slightly, of the Futurama (or maybe it was ""World of Tomorrow"") expo that was at the 1964 World's Fair in New York that I went to as a little girl. Somehow, looking at potential advancements didn't frighten me back then!Cheers,Kathy :)"

  3. I find the concept of connected medicine inspiring. I am looking forward to when my medical history and all its seemingly minute and sometimes overlooked details can follow me. I think it will make for better health care from the providers and help the patient make more informed and intelligent decisions.

  4. These visions of how technology can be in some years are awesome, far beyond the wild thoughts of any Sci-Fi dreamer of the past.

  5. It's going to be interesting when every day stuff is all interconnected. For example being able to record a TV show from your car, or pre-heat your oven right before you leave from work.