Kiss your old running shoes good-bye. Change is constant. And technology has always been about change and convergence. But the massive, global-scale change occurring now is happening at rates faster than anyone ever predicted.

stinky shoesAnd this is disruptive change. It’s change that requires you to act, adapt, and move quickly to take advantage of the opportunities that come with it.

Cisco has a long history of showcasing disruption and convergence at Enterprise Connect since the early days of VoiceCon. TDM to voice over IP; the convergence of voice, video, and data; unified communications: In each case we saw how converging technology and collaborative behavior has helped disrupt the traditional way of doing things and created more value for businesses and users.

Today technology is creating disruption in unexpected places.

Nike+ is a great example of a disruptive technology driving new business value. Now we have athletic shoes with sensors that track how far and fast you’ve run, and they’re networked so you can see your personal progress online and compare it with other runners in a social community. Not only do customers get much more than footwear, Nike has transformed the customer relationship and distinguished its brand in a highly competitive market.

It’s also an example of the Internet of Everything – the convergence of people, processes, data, and things. And collaboration is a key enabler in connecting people with devices, turning data into information that people can use to improve processes and generate more value.

In my role at Cisco, I get unique insight into this big picture. And I’m more excited than ever about the possibilities.

On their own, processes, data, and things aren’t that intriguing. It’s the convergence of people, process, data, and things that creates a powerful opportunity for disruption and change.

  • Things: Sensors provide unique context that can improve our understanding or experience. Consider your smartphone. The GPS sensor is great for driving directions, but it also has an accelerometer that identifies which way the phone is facing. Imagine I’m in a private conversation in my office: I can turn the phone face down to automatically change my presence status to “Do Not Disturb” and reroute calls and texts.
  • Data: All these connected things generate mountains of data. The interest and value come from how you use it. For example, my utility company sends me a graph of my monthly usage with tips on how to save money. I see that my old pool pump is responsible for 25% of my bill, so I adjust the timer and buy one that uses one-tenth the power. PG&E has a happy customer, plus they’re helping to reduce power consumption and global warming.
  • Process: Most business processes today pass information from step to step in an ERP or CRM system. Using collaboration technology to more holistically blend people, data, and physical elements into the process, augments the whole experience by creating greater context to analyze that information and turn it into actionable information.

All these examples show people interacting with the other parts of the Internet of Everything. Without people, these connections are just a bunch of stuff. Machines can’t interpret raw data into a flash of insight for a new campaign, make you feel less anxious in a hospital bed, or challenge you to be more productive.

How Big is “Everything”?

The Internet of Everything will create $14.4 trillion in value at stake through the combination of increased revenues and lower costs in just the next ten years – creating an opportunity to increase global corporate profits by an estimated 21% over the next decade. The five main factors fueling this value are:

  • Asset utilization: $2.5 trillion in reduced costs
  • Employee productivity: $2.5 trillion in greater labor efficiencies
  • Supply chain and logistics: $2.7 trillion through eliminating waste
  • Customer intimacy: $3.7 trillion through addition of more customers
  • Innovation: $3.0 trillion through reducing time to market

Collaboration ties in throughout these factors. This is a wide ecosystem where everyone can participate and benefit: Small businesses, enterprises, service providers, system integrators, device makers are all critical to building out the connections and scaling experiences across every industry.

How Do We Get There?

The value of the Internet of Everything spreads only as far as the breadth of people, process, data, and things it can reach. Investments and innovations in collaboration are key to creating this breadth.

First, to make the most of the opportunity for collaboration and the Internet of Everything, the industry must take a standards-based approach. We are firm subscribers to this at Cisco: Islands of collaboration will not produce a network effect.

Second, the payoff is not just in the number of connections, but the value of the connections. Cisco collaboration technologies raise the value of human interaction over distance by bringing voice, video, and content sharing into one experience. Business value creation has shifted to the power of connections and the ability to create intelligence from those connections. Companies can no longer rely on internal core competencies and employee knowledge. Instead, they need to capture intelligence faster, from many external sources.

Third, it takes a combination of software and hardware to get this right. It’s hard to interact with the physical world through software alone. It’s hard to deliver high-quality collaboration without a holistic view of the “supply chain” of elements involved, including browser, user device, sensors, network optimization, ASICs, codecs, lag-less transmission, and security.

Cisco is investing heavily in all three aspects in collaboration with

  • Standards including WebRTC, SIP, XMPP, and H.264
  • Pervasive Video from boardroom to browser, WebEx, TelePresence, medianet
  • Hardware and software with our collaboration architecture and portfolio

We’re continuing our tradition of investment and innovation in the infrastructureneeded to enable the Internet of Everything: data center, virtualization, cloud, networking, security, sensors.

The Internet of Everything has enormous potential to not only transform industries, but also to capture new business value. The Internet of Everything takes us to new levels of improving productivity, streamlining inefficient processes, making new connections, and improving customer experience and employee value.

We’re creating new ways to work. Let’s get started.


Rob Lloyd

President, Development and Sales