Call me an optimist.
We are fortunate today to watch the dawn of the Digital Experience era as the world becomes digitally more and more connected.
Consider that there are already 3 billion of us connected to the Internet. Imagine what the next 4 billion can help us do as they connect.
Even greater change could result as the everyday “things” around us – bus stops, parking spaces, and street lights – get connected. I’ve seen predictions that 20, 50, even over 200 billion more things will be connected in the next couple years. Just think of the tremendous possibilities that could result from that amount of connectivity and collaboration happening around this planet.
What’s rapidly unfolding before us is the Internet of Everything – the intelligent connection of people, process, data, and things. Studies show that the Internet of Everything can drive $19 trillion worth of economic benefit for this planet. To put that into perspective, that’s almost as large as the U.S. and China economies combined. What is your country’s, community’s, or business’ portion of that?
But what fuels my optimism are the social, cultural, and environmental benefits waiting on the horizon — if we accelerate and if we change. With more efficiency and less waste, we human beings can benefit, as can our planet.
Connecting things at this scale creates a massive amount of data. So the challenge is how to get that information into the hands of people – for example teachers, store operators, bus drivers, city and community leaders — who can make better, informed, educated decisions. Think about the things in our lives that can improve with a more connected world.
One of the most compelling examples I know of is the remarkable transformation taking place in Barcelona, Spain, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but a city that had fallen on hard times. Average unemployment was a staggering 29 percent. Worse, unemployment between the ages of 18 and 35 was almost 60 percent.
The City of Barcelona set a bold course to improve its citizens’ quality of life and stimulated a new Smart City economy by using the Internet of Everything to improve the city’s water-management system (generating $58 million in savings annually), install smart street lighting (saving $47 million), and embed sensors in parking spaces to let drivers know where open spaces exist (saving $67 million). Because 30 to 40 percent of traffic congestion in cities around the world comes from drivers trying to find that elusive parking space, Barcelona’s smarter approach to parking is also lowering its greenhouse gas emissions. Barcelona has also installed connected garbage cans that let the city know which garbage cans are full and therefore need emptying. This information lets the city save fuel, lower its operating costs, and further reduce greenhouse emissions while improving the city’s popularity as a tourist destination.
It’s no wonder, then, that earlier this year Barcelona was named Europe’s most innovative city by the European Union and that its mayor, Xavier Trias, was chosen one of the world’s 50 “Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine.
Yes, we stand on the verge of an incredible tipping point as we consider the remarkable possibilities when we connect the unconnected. But tipping points need help: They need to be pushed and accelerated.
Let’s get started today connecting the right un-connected things and figure out together how to get this wealth of information into the hands of the right people at the right place and time. Let’s expedite this amazing transformation and get this moving forward faster. Together, we can make this happen, and we can all benefit from $19T of global economic good fortune!
The planet and all of us who inhabit it deserve it.
Learn more about the Internet of Everything in the Public Sector
Cisco’s Tomorrow Start Here site