Wise Words: Cisco Systems Engineer Howard Morgan Unpacks the Internet of Things

By December 8, 2015Events
Think Big Thursdays Wise Words with Cisco's Howard Morgan

Unpacking the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of “smart” devices that use wireless technology to talk to each other (and to us).  Our IoT world is growing at a breathtaking pace – from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020.  They say that number is conservative, and that’s about 26 smart objects for every human being on Earth.

The next big thing to come out of KC may very well be in IoT.  And why not, we do currently have the largest IoT (aka Smart City) project underway in North America in the KC Smart+Connected Communities project with the city, Cisco, Sprint, Think Big, and others.  

This emergent field revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and an instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.”  Kansas City is one such “smart” city.

Cisco Systems Engineer Howard MorganYou’re going to hear that a lot in the coming years – smart cities.  So let’s get up close and personal with what that means.  In a special holiday edition of Wise Words, we welcome Howard Morgan, Cisco Systems Engineer and project manager of Kansas City’s Smart+Connected Communities initiative, to unpack this industry so we can all get a sense of what that means for the greater Kansas City area, the tech sector, education, and the doers, dreamers and entrepreneurs.

This chat is especially timely since the Internet of Things World Forum just closed.  Howard will share some highlights from the Dubai-hosted, 3rd annual industry event, which included over 20 digital city and connected industry solution deployments made possible by Cisco and the IoT industry — Kansas City among them.  Dubai is often considered one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world, and this year’s expo had double the number of solutions than were featured at the 2014 event in Chicago. Beyond Dubai, projects like Kansas City’s, and others in Adelaide, Australia; Hamburg, Germany and Bangalore, India, were featured for their single digital data platform for managing urban services.

Cities across the globe are jumping on the smart city bandwagon in order to deploy projects that enhance government efficiencies, reduce costs and add all kinds of intelligence to government operations, plus they can give a well-needed boost to citizen engagement.  So much so, that more and more cities are capturing and analyzing a variety of data coming from a myriad of sensors, cameras and mobile devices.  As a result, cities need more innovative tools to analyze data at all points, including new analytics and techniques, like fog or edge computing, where data is captured, processed and analyzed at the “edge” of a network – before ever reaching the cloud or any destination – where key decisions can be made and acted upon in real time.  

As we move into this new digital era, organizations in both the private and public sectors are already beginning to rethink how they will approach the shift in infrastructure, process and outcomes on a grand scale. It is likely to disrupt every area of society and redefine sustainability. Digitization has the potential to create a revolution in how we use resources, how we communicate, how we get work done and what we come to know about communities, ourselves and the world.

What’s possible with these new techniques?  What industries will be disrupted?  What can we expect to see in Kansas City?  How open or integrative will they be?  What should startups and technologists be doing to harness this growing industry?  How are we teaching the next generation to be leaders in emergent and exponential tech?  

Come explore this green field with us Thursday, December 17th at 8:30am at Collisions & Coffee – Wise Words. 

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