Cisco has revealed how the Internet of Everything (IoE) is actively taking a role in solving some of the UK’s biggest infrastructure and economic challenges. Bringing together a panel of industry experts and IoE “watchers”, Cisco presented a combination of visionary thinking and practical applications at the launch of its new report at the CiscoCREATE Internet of Everything innovation centre in Greenwich.
The report, titled “The Internet of Everything: Bringing the Future to Life”, examines the current realisation of the IoE in the UK today and how this vision will play a key role in fuelling the British economy for years to come. As uptake gathers pace, the IoE will radically transform and shape lives by connecting the unconnected, creating unprecedented value for organisations, individuals, communities, and countries.
From retailers to utility companies, manufacturing firms to healthcare, the IoE represents a huge opportunity for organisations, educators and people across the country. In an era when it’s possible for everything to be given an Internet address and connected to the network, 50 billion “things” will be connected globally by 2020, creating $19 trillion worth of value at stake.
Speaking today at the event, Phil Smith, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “The Internet of Everything provides the platform from which an ever-increasing number of connections will ‘wake-up’ the world around us. With just 1% of the physical world connected at this time, this is just the beginning of an amazing future. As connections become smarter, faster and more insightful, we will only see more imaginative and ambitious applications of the IoE which will quite literally change the world. That is exciting for Cisco because there is no required roadmap, no single path just a platform that offers abundant opportunity and endless possibilities for everyone.”
From better, more sophisticated ways of selling to and engaging with customers, to increasingly efficient and slick supply chains and manufacturing processes, the Internet of Everything is being brought to life in a number of ways in the UK. In the report, Cisco identifies five areas that will see the biggest benefits first: healthcare, retail, transport, energy and manufacturing.
The challenges facing healthcare are plentiful, but in an ever more connected age, so too are the options for tackling them. Different thinking and new operational models are needed to empower medical staff, carers and the patients, no matter who or where they are.
By using reliable and trustworthy communications technology, not only will patients be able to manage their own healthcare conditions, but medical staff will also be able to keep track of recovery remotely and automatically update health care records. In emergency situations, wireless mesh and 4G mobile connections will allow for smarter, more instantaneous decisions on the move.
The fundamental processes of retail are being overhauled to put the Internet at their core. By combining the online and physical realms, the Internet of Everything has the power to bring consumers back to the high street by enabling retailers to connect with customers; to hyper-locally promote and market their business in a time-specific targeted way; and to gather business intelligence about their customers and their behaviour.
As the number of connections continues to increase – with everything from devices to the items that we buy becoming part of a wider web of interconnected “things” – so too does the potential for retailers to revolutionise and tailor the way that they interact with and sell to each individual customer.
Smart cities transformed by connections and the intelligent engineering of railways, stations, vehicles and roads will drastically alter the way the UK thinks about travel, from the daily commute to the transport network as a whole.
From the remote monitoring of infrastructure conditions through digitally connected tracks and roads to the provision of real time data and journey-planning applications for customers to make smart decisions about their travel, the Internet of Everything creates new ways to keep us moving both safely and efficiently.
If the gloomiest of estimates are to be believed, the UK could be facing energy shortfalls approaching 10% by 2015. Different ways of thinking about power and the way that we consume it are needed. The use of smarter devices allows us to be less wasteful through the more measurable use of energy. The networking of everything from our thermostats to the sensors that monitor our homes can help us toward a more productive energy future.
Consumers’ relationships with purchases are being transformed as sensors and monitoring devices are built into not only the production process but also products themselves. “Cradle-to-grave” strategies tracking product lifecycles from the raw materials in the field through to refurbishment and renewal present manufacturers with major opportunities in the face of spiralling costs and dwindling resources.
With the UK poised to – once again – become a hub for manufacturing, there’s a growing necessity for manufacturers to put the same efficiency into the manufacturing process as they do the sales, and seek to make disposable items the renewables of the future.
“UK organisations, in both the public and private sectors, need to take a closer look at their current business models if they want to take advantage of the opportunities generated by the IoE,” said Ian Foddering, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco UKI. “Three factors are key to tapping into these opportunities effectively. Firstly, an ambition and willingness to be open-minded and realise how the IoE applies to the business context. Second, to hire and invest in the right skills to manage connections, and thirdly to explore what new partnerships will allow new ground to be broken for everyone involved to benefit.”
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