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Everything under the sun

Everything under the sun 

Taking a cue from IoT, IoE builds upon IoT by integrating additional connections into the equation. Whereas IoT focuses on connectivity and the sharing of data between certain devices, IoE deals with creating connections between people, processes, data, and objects. It seeks to add network intelligence that allows for convergence, orchestration and visibility in order to bridge the gaps in areas where it was previously impossible to establish connections.

According to Cisco statistics, IoE is a $19 trillion global opportunity that will grow over the next decade. It has the potential to generate $14.4 trillion worth of value for the private sector, while the public sector and governments stand to reap benefits totalling $4.6 trillion. This is welcome news for cities and towns across Canada, as IoE will help to simplify certain processes and provide better interaction with both citizens and businesses.

Cisco has invested heavily in IoE, and as Rick Huijbregts, vice president of Industry Transformation, IoE for Cisco Canada explains, IoE has the potential to propel connectivity to lofty new heights, and help cities and industries to become more digital in the long run.

IT in Canada: What led to the development of the Internet of Everything?
The Internet of Everything is an evolution of the Internet as we know it, which started to be commercially available only 20 years ago. It grew from sending messages around, to e-commerce, to getting social, and we’ve seen the increased capabilities of what the Internet has to offer.

We now live in a world where more things are being connected than people, and these things produce data and allow us to redesign and rethink processes. We are now looking at the intersection of connecting people, processes, data and things, and we have the ultimate building blocks to digitize industries and transform how we do things.

ITIC: Why are more businesses getting on board with IoE today?
I think every business, city or country is seeing tons of pressure (to digitize). They’re seeing economic pressure, environmental pressure (and) finding the right talent to come and work for them. Business leaders are looking for ways to stay competitive, stay ahead, and constantly reinvent themselves at a faster pace than ever seen before.

Technology and innovation are two important tools that will allow them to accelerate this transformation, and the Internet of Everything is providing them with the ingredients to help them get ahead and stay ahead.

ITIC: Transformation is a key aspect of IoE. How is IoE helping businesses to transform themselves?
If we connect the unconnected, along with people, processes and things, it starts to provide us with opportunities to redefine processes, create efficiency and productivity, and allow for businesses to look at new markets and business models. There is also the notion of supporting new consumptions models as a service, and how they interact differently with their (customers).

It really depends on how each industry or customer can apply the lessons learned or the capabilities from the Internet of Everything that will really give them the instruments to do what’s important to them. And that will be different for all kinds of companies.

ITIC: IoE has also facilitated the development of the “connected city.” What led to the rise of this movement?
If we look at global competition happening between cities, such as attracting new businesses or new residents, or retaining the existing population. We have seen cities lose businesses and residents because they have not been able to create the economic or social environment for where people want to live.

At the same time, we’re seeing next-generation citizens come with their smart devices and think differently about technology. Cities are starting to (integrate) new technologies and innovation to create these new experiences, which does a couple of things.

One is enhancing citizen engagement, which is how they interact with their citizens, and how they deliver services to them in a more affordable and higher-quality way that (also) attracts economic development. This entails attracting or retaining businesses and driving economic opportunities for those that are involved.

There is also the issue of efficiency. Cities are still very traditional in terms of how they operate and how they services, so they’re looking for ways to cut costs and drive efficiency. Public safety is also a big topic around the world, and it deals with how to protect citizens and (municipal) assets. (Cities) are starting to look at how technology, video and analytics give them to tools to carry out these functions.

Cities are looking at IT as their next (method) of driving different outcomes and value propositions for all stakeholders.

ITIC: Why are more cities becoming connected cities?
On one hand, we are seeing more mayors getting on board (with this concept). There is a political aspect to this, in terms of electability and being able to speak to their constituents about what they’re trying to do. And as we see cities starting to compete with one another, we’re now starting to compare (them).

A city that takes on smart city concepts is looking at connectivity and is redefining how it interacts with businesses and citizens, versus a city that is not doing this. We’re going to see a bigger gap between the cities that (use smart concepts) and those that don’t.

Every mayor, councillor or city official is trying to understand how they can take advantage of the Internet of Everything and become a smarter city.

ITIC: Will more Canadian cities become connected cities in the future?
Without a doubt. I think all cities are going to be, or have to be. One city may take it to one level, and another may take it to a whole different level, but they all need to figure out how this will drive value for them.

If we look at the smaller communities in Canada that are fighting to (retain) or attract businesses and stay economically relevant. They’re also rallying themselves up and creating a positive hype to (explore) these topics.

ITIC: What does the future hold for IoE?
We still have a long way to go. Only 40 per cent of the world’s population is connected today, so if we look at emerging or remote countries, we still have a long way to go to bring the entire population of the world online.

If we look at connecting things, more than 99 per cent (of devices) are not connected today. We’re seeing massive growth towards making things more intelligent and more connected. We see tons of opportunities with software companies that focus on Big Data, data virtualization and analytics because there is a lot of data coming at us.

We’re already producing 2,500 billion gigabits of data every years, which is more data than some companies produce in a lifetime. It will only move faster if we get more things and people connected. There will be whole industries being formed around the Internet of Everything. This will create more business opportunities, but will also take advantage of IoE and add layers of value, services and experiences.

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