Last month, Gartner published one of its well-known Hype Cycles, and a Forbes headline summed up a key assertion very well. “It’s Official: The Internet Of Things Takes Over Big Data As The Most Hyped Technology.”

This comes as no surprise to anyone engaged in this market phenomenon – the explosive growth of things connecting to the Internet. At Cisco, our engineers determine that about 13.5 billion things – everything from mobile devices and computers to sensors and machines — are connected today. By 2020, we forecast 50 billion such connections – a much faster adoption rate than electricity or telephony.

Web searches for IoT and media mentions of IoT each have tripled in the past couple of years alone. Our consulting services group confirms that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic continues to accelerate exponentially, and the last two years have spawned new IoT-related consortia and standards bodies.

The hype clearly has accelerated. However, I passionately believe that in this case the hype is completely justified because it is underpinned by tangible hyper progress throughout all types of industries. Other markets in the past that have ranked high on the Hype Cycle have included ecommerce and wireless technologies, and nobody can argue the rocket success of markets engaged in online business portals, social media or mobile devices such as smart phones.

IoE Can Unleash $19 Trillion in Economic Value

IoT provides the foundation for an even greater – we think unprecedented – technology revolution that Cisco calls, the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE includes the connection of things, people, data and processes, enabling the transformation of data into information, knowledge and wisdom. As a result, Cisco Consulting Services estimates that IoE can unleash $19 trillion of economic value worldwide over the next decade by generating new innovation, revenue streams, customer experiences and improving asset utilization, employee productivity as wel as sup0ply chain and logistics operations.

IoT and IoE are often used interchangeably, but IoT is the technology that underpins IoE, which creates higher-stack capabilities that enhance business outcomes and quality of life.  Smart Cities worldwide are leading the adoption of IoT and IoE, but manufacturing, energy, healthcare and nearly every other industry is boarding this bullet train that hyper accelerated this year. Organizations that don’t embrace this digital era will be left behind and may perish.

This week at the Meeting of the Minds  conference in Detroit, attendees worldwide are sharing use cases on how IoE is driving new business models, especially for urban services such as more efficient and effective street lighting, waste management, energy conservation, parking, traffic controls and much more.

The Essential Application Centric Infrastructure

We estimate that the Public Sector can gain $4.6 trillion in economic value over the next decade, and Smart Cities can realize the lion’s share of it with $3 trillion worth of benefits. In my keynote this week at Meeting of the Minds, I emphasized that economic, social and environmental sustainability can be realized when cities make Application Centric Infrastructure as essential to their vitality as gas, electricity or water.

How will Detroit, and other cities worldwide, reinvent themselves to attract new business, investments and young talent seeking innovative environments enabled by technology?  IoE can make the difference.

Chicago clearly gets it. The city’s Smart City deployment of mobile computers and wireless camera systems connected to a high-speed broadband communications network improves accountability and public safety. The city’s public data portal allows for prioritized investment in city infrastructure, hyper-local apps such as those detailing the best routes for parents walking their children to school, and application solutions created by local businesses who can then improve the local economy. Predictive analytics based on data collected throughout the city can also inform city officials when interventions are needed, such as circumventing a rodent infestation before it happens.

Smart City deployments in “young” cities such as Chicago or Kansas City are transformative, but they are also helping to modernize more historic cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Hamburg, where some of the most innovative IoE projects are under way to revitalize how people live, work, play and learn.

The digitization of cities and businesses already is paying big dividends far beyond the hype – it’s driving a better future because of new physical and personal  connections that will only continue to accelerate.  More evidence of this hyper progress will be on display in a couple of weeks at the IoT World Forum in Chicago, where the theme is, IoT is Here. Now.  I would just add that, It is Huge – whether you’re involved in a city, manufacturing, energy, retail, education or healthcare.


Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer