The 2014 World Cup in Brazil kicked off with an impressive nod towards the future when eight paraplegics wearing robotic, brain-controlled exoskeletons walked onto the field, and one of them, a young man with paralyzed legs, made the ceremonial first kick. Without taking away from the many other technical innovations in use at this event, such as encrypted goal-line video sent instantaneously to the referee’s watch, the exoskeleton was by far the most powerful symbol of the fast approaching age of the Internet of Everything (IoE), in which people, processes and technologies are merging more seamlessly than ever, to make life easier and better in uncountable ways all over the world.
(Exoskeleton Image Courtesy: CBSNews)
Meanwhile, deep underground in Bulgaria and Armenia, the mining company Dundee Precious Metals is realizing increased production and decreased costs in part due to IoE technologies that include instant video collaboration between miners and engineers, on-site supervisors, mining experts at their Toronto office. Real-time visibility of miners and an equipment maintenance scheduled based on real-time wireless monitoring, has increased safety in addition to production.
The Internet of Everything differs from the previously recognized concept called the Internet of Things, in that the focus is no longer on high-tech “things” such as computers, but is instead on the connections between devices, people and processes, using sensors and actuators so small they can actually disappear into fabrics, coatings and components, and are able to talk to each other using common frequencies such as WiFi and BlueTooth.
The potential for the range of the Internet of Everything is virtually infinite, with an expectation from some observers that up to 99% of the items people use, in life and business, will be connected within the next few years. Along with such a far reaching vision of usage, comes an equally astronomical assessment of the profit potential for companies that embrace it. Cisco, which sits on the leading edge of the IoE frontier, incorporates this assessment as part of its overall Value Index, and puts its estimate in the form of a Value at Stake of $14.4 trillion worldwide over the next 10 years (2013-2022). That refers to net profit up for grabs.
The Cisco IoE Value Index combines survey data and third-party metrics on business and technology environmental factors to gauge IoE capabilities around the world. The Value at Stake component highlights the potential bottom-line value that can be created, or that will migrate among private-sector companies and industries, based on their ability to harness the Internet of Everything over the next decade. Cisco predicts that this IoE Value at Stake will be $14.4 trillion for companies and industries.
This message speaks not only to those companies that choose to move forward and include IoE in their product/service lines or as part of their own business existence, but it also acts as a wakeup call to those companies contemplating their future, but unwilling to review how IoE might work for them. Cisco identifies five main factors that fuel IoE Value at Stake as: 1) asset utilization (reduced costs) of $2.5 trillion; 2) employee productivity (greater labor efficiencies) of $2.5 trillion; 3) supply chain and logistics (eliminating waste) of $2.7 trillion; 4) customer experience (addition of more customers) of $3.7 trillion; and 5) innovation (reducing time to market) of $3.0 trillion, summarized in a white paper here.
The concept of IoE speaks to a new ideal that business value creation now exists within the power of connections as well as the ability to create intelligence from those connections. Companies. Cisco says, “can no longer rely solely on internal core competencies and the knowledge of their employees; instead, they need to capture intelligence faster, from many external sources.”
Many, for example, imagine IoE to be simply about outlandish and seemingly unnecessary innovations such as a refrigerator that can tell you when you are out of milk, or a car that can talk to your coffee pot. But IoE goes much further than that, very often invisibly.
Hospitals, for example are starting to integrate BYOD for health care professionals in a way that provides access to information anywhere-anytime and offers location sensing, navigation, prescription checking, meal-ordering, dosing information and discharge instructions for patients. Very soon, the hospital gowns themselves will be able to relay a patient’s vitals, and take-home prescription drugs will be able to alert patients and their pharmacists when the medicine’s expiry date draws near.
Intelligent cities, such as Busan, South Korea and Barcelona Spain are factoring IoE into traffic management, mass transit and parking planning, to ease congestion and speed up travel for visitors and residents. With millions of potential uses, and new innovations being released and funded daily, the world is being introduced to a remarkably new approach to like, in which almost everything is connected, for a purpose. Although the Value Index and the Value at Stake estimate focuses on the private sector, the message is the same for the public sector, including governments and schools: connection will to be the next quantum leap forward in human existence, and those who are able to both recognize this and factor it into real strategies, plans and outcomes, will be able to profit, not only financially, necessarily, but in terms of progress and end-user benefit.
By Steve Prentice
Steve is an acclaimed author and professional speaker who delivers timely, relevant, entertaining and informative keynotes dealing with technology, people and productivity in the workplace. As a mentor, he works with executives in one-on-one discussions, delivering answers and guidance to issues dealing with technology, personal time management and other practical skills. In addition, Steve is also a technology writer and consultant for CloudTweaks Media.
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