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As It Partners with Cisco, IBM Seen Showing the Way Toward the 'Internet of Everything'


By Brett Brune
Editor, Smart Manufacturing

CHICAGO–IBM may be the furthest ahead with the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), which is “a little bit beyond the ‘Internet of Things’ ” (IoT), Mohanbir Sawhney, director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation and of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said today at the 2d Smart Factory World Symposium.

In his talk at the conference, Sawhney made a passing reference to IBM’s Watson IoT business analytics technology but did not note that the tech giant today publicized the fact it is working with Cisco to “provide instant IoT insight at the edge of the network.”

Because of the joint venture, “businesses and organizations in remote and autonomous locations will be able to tap the combined power of IBM’s Watson IoT and business analytics technologies and Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities to more deeply understand and act on critical data on the network edge,” the firms said.Mohanbir Sawhney

The companies noted that “billions of interconnected devices and sensors are gathering vast amounts of real-time data about the physical world” and that hosted-services computing has been offering firms a way to store the data and turn it into “valuable insight.”

“But for businesses without easy access to high-bandwidth connectivity, these capabilities are sometimes out of reach or take too long,” IBM said. “To address the problem, IBM and Cisco have joined forces to offer a new way to produce immediate, actionable insight at the point of data collection. The … approach is designed to target companies operating on the edge of computer networks, such as … factories, … where time is of the essence but bandwidth is often lacking.”

“The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Commerce & Education, said in prepared remarks. “For … a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option. By coming together, IBM and Cisco are taking these powerful IoT technologies the last mile, extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks….”

At the conference here in Chicago, Sawhney described four waves of connectivity that since 1995 have led to the IoE:

When the World Wide Web arrived about 20 years ago, people were tethered to a stationary device—the desktop computer. “That topped out at 200-500 million subscribers worldwide,” he said.

When the iPhone came out in the mid-2000s, “the mobile revolution took off,” and devices went with people. People became connected everywhere and all the time, and because connectivity was markedly cheaper, mobile computing was democratized. That wave will top out at 10 billion subscribers, he said

Now, as the IoT is taking hold, “every device has an IP address”—which can even be seen as getting out of hand. “There’s a [Huggies brand] product called TweetPee. You put a sensor on the diaper of your baby and it tweets when the baby has peed,” he said, drawing chuckles from the crowd gathered for the smart manufacturing conference at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). “Like I needed to know that! But that’s the point: DMDII makes the point that it’s important to instrument and put sensors on legacy machinery. Similarly, you can hardwire and instrument legacy devices.

In the end, the IoT will involve 50 billion subscribers, he said.

“We are starting to organize people, processes, things and data into an infrastructure that becomes a global network system,” he said. “That’s the Internet of Everything (IoE). It’s the maturation of the age of devices.”

The components of the IoE include sensors (to be the eyes and ears to collect data), networks (to connect the information coming from the sensors), processes and people to manage them, and cognitive computing (to add intelligence).

The waves of connectivity are cumulative, Sawhney said. “So we are entering a world where everything will be connected through a broadband network that becomes ubiquitous and has the ability to transforming work, life and business.”

“Imagine you being part of a global nervous system in real time,” he added.


Published Date : 6/2/2016

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