The Internet of Everything

The Internet of EverythingHow More Relevant and Valuable Connections Will Change the World

While the Internet is not a cure-all, it is the one technology that has the potential to rectify many of the challenges we face. Already, the Internet has benefited many individuals, businesses, and countries by improving education through the democratization of information, allowing for economic growth through electronic commerce, and improving business innovation by enabling greater collaboration.

So, how will the Internet evolve to continue changing and improving the world?

The Internet of Everything:Connecting the Unconnected

In terms of phases or eras, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes that we are currently experiencing the Internet of Things (IoT), where millions of new devices are regularly being connected to the Internet. As these “things” add capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power, and energy independence, and as more people and new types of information are connected, we will quickly enter the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things that were silent will have a voice.

Cisco defines IoE as bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before — turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.

Network Effects:The Power of Connections and Exponential Growth

As more things, people, and data become connected, the power of the Internet (essentially a network of networks) grows exponentially. This thinking (“Metcalfe’s law”) comes from Robert Metcalfe, well-known technologist and founder of 3Com, who stated that the value of a network increases proportionately to the square of the number of users. In short, 1 + 1 = 3. When there are billions and trillions of “1s,” that equation becomes incredibly powerful. By combining people, process, data, and things, the exponential power of the Internet will allow us to create exponential responses to the extraordinary challenges faced by individuals, businesses, and countries.

IoE TodayTransforming the World’s Largest Cities.

To revitalize the world’s largest cities, City24/7 — a company committed to making public communications more accessible to everyone, everywhere — in collaboration with Cisco IBSG and the City of New York has launched an interactive platform that integrates information from open government programs, local businesses, and citizens to provide meaningful and powerful knowledge anytime, anywhere, on any device. In short, City24/7 delivers the information people need to know, where and when it helps them most.

IoE TomorrowConquering Climate Change.

While it may seem out of reach today (and possibly laughable to some), IoE will eventually allow us to become better stewards of our finite resources by improving how we sense, understand, and even manage our environment. As billions and even trillions of sensors are placed around the globe and in our atmosphere, we will gain the ability to literally hear our world’s “heartbeat.” Indeed, we will know when our planet is healthy or sick. With this intimate understanding, we can begin to eradicate some of our most pressing challenges, including hunger and ensuring the availability of drinkable water.

What Now?

In a world where the rapid pace of change has nearly rendered five-year business plans useless, why consider next steps? Simply stated, the more you can prepare for the future, the better off you will be when it arrives. Here are several thought-provoking questions to get you started:

  • How do I set priorities to match the opportunities that will exist in the connected world of IoE?
  • Given the impact the Internet already has had on my business, what happens when new categories of things are connected at exponential rates?
  • What are the potential benefits and risks of IoE for my business or government organization?
  • How should organizations be structured around information and processes?
  • How will governance, control, and responsibility change in an IoE world?
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