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Cisco predicts sensors in everything

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According to Cisco’s Tech Radar report released earlier this week, over 37-billion devices will be connected to the Internet in the near future, generating terabytes of data and changing the way we live our lives.

What will roads, jet-engine parts, shoes, refrigerators, soil, and supermarket shelves have in common in the near future? All of these will have cheap, tiny sensors that generate terabytes of data that can be sifted for key insights, according to Cisco’s Tech Radar Report 2014 released this week.

Based on intelligence gathered by over 70 global technology “scouts”, senior representatives from Cisco in South Africa outlined some of the key technology trends highlighted in the 2014 report that will drive the future of innovation, trends and the technology industry and their impact on everyday society in South Africa.

The Technology Radar is a mechanism by which Cisco avoids the pitfall of the innovator’s dilemma: it identifies and assesses developments and trends in technology independent of current product roadmaps or business unit priorities. The radar group looks within, but also beyond, Cisco’s core markets.

The report’s key trends to watch include Machine-to-Machine Connections, Context Aware Computing, Security, Browser Based Video & Collaboration, Video Mega Trends and Big Data.

Organisations’ IT departments in South Africa will need to create new computing resources to make sense of large volumes and new types of data coming in from devices varying from smartphone applications to information generated a city’s infrastructure,” commented Alpheus Mangale, Managing Director for Cisco in South Africa.

IT organisations need to prepare for the Internet of Everything (IoE), and what we are now seeing is the emergence of an Application Economy where the focus will no longer be simply on the hardware, but also on supporting a larger number of applications on all connected devices,” Mangale continued.

Key Trends to Watch in South Africa

Unsurprisingly, security will be critical for business growth and adaption to the new Internet, with companies likely to ramp up the deployment of scalable, cloud-based mobile device management solutions to protect personal and corporate information. Gartner predicts half of global companies will enact Bring Your Own Device programs by 2017. Cisco also reports that the Middle East and Africa is set to post the world’s strongest mobile data traffic growth for at 77 percent CAGR to 2017 which will also undoubtedly create increased security challenges.

Machine-to-Machine, Person-to-Machine and Person-to-Person Connections Driving Value

Another key observation from the report states that, in the Application Economy, practically everything – roads, jet-engine parts, shoes, refrigerators, soil, and supermarket shelves – will have cheap, tiny sensors that generate terabytes of data that can be sifted for key insights. By 2022, Cisco predicts that person-to-machine and person-to-person combined connections will constitute 55 per cent of the total IoE value at stake, whereas machine-to-machine connections make up the remaining 45 per cent.

Home and Workplace Transformed

One major benefit of new Internet architectures is browser-based video and collaboration, which can enhance employee productivity by integrating audio-visual conferences, text notepads, and whiteboards into a real-time Web-based multimedia space.

Video Mega Trends will similarly transform digital imaging, with ultra HD video, enhancing the viewing experience on televisions, smartphones, augmented reality glasses, tablets, and camera-equipped devices.

Big Data is “the new oil” and needs to be analysed at a rate that matches the speed at which information enters the data warehouse. For example, to improve agriculture efficiencies through better decisions based on sensors monitoring weather conditions and soil conditions, fleet management and crop conditions

2014 and beyond will signify a technology explosion throughout Africa which we have already started to witness. The growth and convergence of processes, data and things on the Internet will make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before, creating unprecedented opportunities for industries, businesses and people. Our CEO, John Chambers, describes part of this architecture as an Application Economy, where the focus will no longer be simply on the hardware, but on supporting a larger number of applications on all connected devices. And many M2M applications will need to deliver and process information in real-time or near-real-time. If we want to change the way people communicate and take it to the next level, we are going to need the simple, ubiquitous and rapid deployment that the web platform can provide. We need the browsers to use new standards, open source strategies and partnerships. At Cisco we changed the communication by driving the evolution of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and we are now changing the web to include interactive collaboration,” said Mangale.

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