What an exciting time to be in the tech industry. We are at the beginning of a major transition to the mobile-cloud era. Trends like bring your own device (BYOD), access anywhere, virtualization, and machine-to-machine connections have given way to a new breed of applications.
We estimate that approximately 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. In 2010 alone, more than 350,000 applications were developed with more than 3 million downloads. A 44-fold increase in data creation is predicted from 2010 to 2020, with 34 percent of it in the cloud. All of this leads to a world of intuitive connections between people, processes, data and things on the network - the Internet of Everything.
What does this mean?
It means the trends we've been discussing over the past several years are all having a cumulative effect, and putting new demands on IT.
For example, the mobile consumer is turning the traditional enterprise upside down, forcing IT departments to deliver more robust technologies with stagnant and even decreasing budgets. Employees are looking to consume, create, and share information in business like they do in their personal lives - seamlessly through the cloud.
The onus is on IT to make applications available anytime, anywhere for employees and allow businesses to move with greater agility and speed. The goal is to move to a world of anything delivered "as a service" from the cloud.
The Internet of Everything brings together people, process, data, and things to create a world of new opportunities. Here's one example of how the Internet of Everything will turn information into action, from a recent blog post by David Evans, Cisco's Chief Futurist:
"Imagine what can happen when ATMs have cameras equipped with built-in facial recognition and analytics software, and are tied in to the databases of major crime agencies and credit agencies. When a known or suspected identity thief tries to withdraw cash or sees that the customer is under duress, the machine confiscates the card and alerts the local police or security authority with images taken from the camera to help with a quick and accurate arrest."
The proliferation of connected devices, sensors, and other context-aware "things" results in an explosion of data. Data used to be very static. It resided on your PC in the office or on a server. But today data moves as the user moves. It may be stored in the cloud or elsewhere, available when and where people and businesses need it to make decisions.
IT departments will need to contend with people-to-people, people-to-machine, and machine-to-machine connections. Only those organizations that adapt their business processes in order to analyze all that data and transform it into actionable information will reap the rewards.
It's easy for those of us who live and breathe technology to be captivated by enabling the Internet of Everything, and working out the massive implications on the future of information technology. But it's also important to highlight the human outcomes of this technology phenomenon.
The Internet of Everything has the power to address some of the world's most pressing issues, such as hunger and lack of clean water. It has the potential to benefit people, communities, and the planet. For example, smart sensors located throughout a city's water system will detect leaks and automatically divert water to avoid unnecessary waste. And by being able to better understand and predict long-term weather patterns, farmers will be able to plant crops that have the greatest chance for success.
The true value of Internet of Everything resides in its ability to fuel better, more informed business decisions, create unprecedented economic opportunity, enable richer experiences, and improve lives. While we're seeing an incredible growth in IP-enabled devices, sensors and other context-aware machines, all those connections - even machine-to-machine connections - ultimately serve to benefit humanity.
Learn more about Cisco's Corporate Social Responsibility: csr.cisco.com