Last week, I presented at the Colorado Innovation Summit in Denver, Colorado where leaders from higher education, industry, start-ups, government, and research labs came together to discuss a wide array of innovation topics such as technology, education, social entrepreneurship and economic development.  The need to transform and revitalize communities around the world to make public services and communications anywhere and on any device more accessible was one of the hot topics. 

Photo Credit: Blue House Photography
Photo Credit: Blue House Photography

Today, we are experiencing the largest economic and social shifts in history including an aging population – countries like the U.S., Japan and China are going to see its elderly population over 65 years old more than double before the year 2050.  As a result, millions of new jobs will need to be created and productivity needs to be significantly increased to absorb the burgeoning working-age population.   We are also observing other shifts: economies are shrinking in Europe, Germany and Russia while economies like Nigeria and Saudi Arabia and Egypt are seeing hyper-growth numbers. In both these economic situations, increasing productivity to increase income and overall living standards is vital.  These and other trends we call the Internet of Everything (IoE) highly resonated with attendees as they saw that having the ability to anticipate customer needs and how to solve their problems creates a huge opportunity for global companies.

Empowering Communities Through The Internet of Everything

IoE is driving productivity, jobs, increased energy savings, improved education, access to better healthcare and a host of new citizen services while also addressing today’s challenges such as a shortage of healthcare providers, a college educated workforce and urbanization.  By bringing together people, process, data, and things, the Internet of Everything is making everyday life for communities more relevant and valuable than ever before — it is turning information into actions, thereby creating new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunities. Communities that are able to adapt to this market transition will have a significant advantage as they compete for business, investments and talent.

With only one percent of the world connected today (which equals 13B devices connected to the network today and about 50B by 2020), connecting the un-connected has become imperative to turn data into wisdom that can be realized and acted upon.  Thinking “out of the box” and truly embracing technology as an agent of change so we do not become prisoners of our own experiences was clearly recognized as essential.  By doing so, a connected community can be made possible and run on networked information to provide a menu of many citizen services, including healthcare monitoring.  Take the city of Sichuan, China, for example, where the Internet of Everything has enabled healthcare through intelligent networks.  66 healthcare organizations have been technology enabled, 60M resident’s rural cooperative medical insurance records are now managed and 280,000 outpatient visits per month are supported.

Photo Credit: Blue House Photography

How can companies start taking advantage of the power of The Internet of Everything today?  

  • Through visionary leadership by political and key business leaders to visualize a different way to build and operate a city
  • By having open global standards so that it can become a globally interconnected city, technologically and economically
  • Through smart regulation by governments to redefine infrastructure development and city operations
  • Through Public private partnerships with governments and private enterprises and people
  • By having a global ecosystem of partners that include academia, business, and social networks.

I will be speaking at this year’s Internet of Things World Forum on Oct 29th-31st and look forward to sharing more insight on the impact and importance of the Internet of Everything and how it is driving real growth and better experiences and services for users and citizens today.


Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer