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1/11/2014
09:16 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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CES 2014: Cisco's Internet of Everything Vision

Sensor-equipped objects and their networks -- what Cisco calls the Internet of Everything -- will reshape your life, Cisco CEO John Chambers says. Take a closer look.
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Can IoE be trusted with personal data?Actress and comedienne Sarah Silverman made an amusing appearance, both in person and in a video, during Cisco CEO John Chambers' keynote. She sprinkled a few of her trademark obscenities into the presentation; when she dropped an f-bomb  during the video, it was bleeped out, though her other choice four-letter words (as well as a seemingly off-script jab at Hollywood director Michael Bay's stress-induced breakdown during Samsung's CES presentation) ran uncensored. 

But Silverman wasn't at CES just to entertain and shock; she also addressed one of IoE's major questions: Why should we trust companies with all of this personal data?

'[IoE is] measuring how much I poop?' she incredulously asked during the video, in which she conversed with a version of herself from an IoE-enabled future. But when present-day Silverman was told IoE services are less about scatological studies and more about her home automatically choosing movies, temperature, and music based on her mood, she still wasn't convinced.

'Now I'll get spam on my bathroom mirror!' she complained. 'Is this even secure?'

'The network makes it secure, dummy,' her future self replied. 

Chamber did not specifically broach how this security will be implemented, but the video included references to users being able to opt in and out of services, and assurances that they would remain in control thereafter. Chambers reiterated the importance of this transparency, a point other Cisco leaders also have emphasized over the last year. 

'You got balls, Chambers,' an evidently reassured Silverman told the CEO after taking the stage.  'Go out there, do your keynote thingy, and sparkle, peanut.'

Can IoE be trusted with personal data?
Actress and comedienne Sarah Silverman made an amusing appearance, both in person and in a video, during Cisco CEO John Chambers' keynote. She sprinkled a few of her trademark obscenities into the presentation; when she dropped an f-bomb during the video, it was bleeped out, though her other choice four-letter words (as well as a seemingly off-script jab at Hollywood director Michael Bay's stress-induced breakdown during Samsung's CES presentation) ran uncensored.

But Silverman wasn't at CES just to entertain and shock; she also addressed one of IoE's major questions: Why should we trust companies with all of this personal data?

"[IoE is] measuring how much I poop?" she incredulously asked during the video, in which she conversed with a version of herself from an IoE-enabled future. But when present-day Silverman was told IoE services are less about scatological studies and more about her home automatically choosing movies, temperature, and music based on her mood, she still wasn't convinced.

"Now I'll get spam on my bathroom mirror!" she complained. "Is this even secure?"

"The network makes it secure, dummy," her future self replied.

Chamber did not specifically broach how this security will be implemented, but the video included references to users being able to opt in and out of services, and assurances that they would remain in control thereafter. Chambers reiterated the importance of this transparency, a point other Cisco leaders also have emphasized over the last year.

"You got balls, Chambers," an evidently reassured Silverman told the CEO after taking the stage. "Go out there, do your keynote thingy, and sparkle, peanut."

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RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/13/2014 | 11:59:01 AM
Bigger Picture
Cisco has aimed a lot of its marketing at consumers for years, and not because it was pushing Flip phones and Linksys routers. It's the same reason IBM pushes its Smarter Planet messaging to consumers: It wants everyone -- consumers and business people alike -- to equate its brand with the modern technology-based economy and world. It's not a product message.
sukebe
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sukebe,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2014 | 10:38:30 PM
great for Cisco partners
I'm sure all this will make the NSA's job much easier.
captainhurt
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captainhurt,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2014 | 7:18:46 PM
too much talk , not enuff action
People and companies have been talking about sensor webs/nets in building materials for decades. no action. 

People and companies have been talking about bio-monitors, replacing doctor checkups and giving continuous realtime blood indictators for decades. no action.

yawn. its all hawkers and con artists who's mouths are writing checks their companies cannot deliver.
Joe Datacenter
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Joe Datacenter,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2014 | 5:55:55 PM
Re: city or company
Michael, I find the "quantified self" concept scary as well. I am not that keen on IoT in my house or on my body, but I do see huge possibilities for resource management and dealing with some of the very critical problems that face us as humans, rather than for mere convenience. I'd like to see more cities like Barcelona carefully monitoring power and water so there is enough to go around for everybody. I know several power companies offer household energy management tools, but I'm a little afraid of that just yet. Half the time my cable TV doesn't even work right!
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
1/11/2014 | 3:38:40 PM
Re: city or company
Thanks for the catch, epjones. 

I definitely relate to some of your concerns about corporatocracy, and I agree that Cisco will have to be extremely transparent if this technology is going to fulfill Chambers's predictions. The same goes for its partners, who are the ones actually implementing Cisco's stuff for the end user. 

The second slide overviews security and privacy to the extent that Chambers talked about it at CES-- i.e. mostly broad allusions to users being able to opt in or opt out, and to users being "in control." But as I mentioned on the same slide, Chambers didn't elaborate on this attitude, or how it might vary across different products and services-- e.g. how is opting in or out of a television service different from opting in or out of a smart car service?

I actually heard someone at Cisco suggest once that data from the "quantified self" could one day be used to dictate your health care costs in the same way that credit scores are currently used to dictate your loan options. That sounds positively dystopic to me. That said, I've probably talked to Cisco execs a dozen times in the last year about IoE, and the importance of "opt in/ opt out" transparency has been a recurring theme. I was also there early last year when Chambers pitched business and government leaders on the idea of an Internet of Things World Forum, and everyone present appeared appropriately aware of the tech's privacy and security implications.

In the end, if IoE is done right, I think it can be profoundly positive-- but if it's not done right, we could have profound results of another sort.
epjones
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epjones,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2014 | 12:14:15 PM
city or company
In your slide featuring the mayor of barcelona you estimate how much the "company"has saved. An ironic error as technology enables corporatocracy creep. It also highlights the necessity that cisco be held to its promise of transparecy. I do not see a word in here about individual opportunity to opt in our out of, for instance, the snart car features, or any other mention of privacy by design informing cisco's direction here.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2014 | 11:58:07 AM
Security
I am glad Cisco is getting involved with this. One of the reasons why is because I think that security could become a major issue down the road. Fortunately, Cisco is pretty good in that respect. But with all of these new embedded machines becoming part of the internet of things, there will need to be some kind of new technology that allows some sort of software firewall or some sort to block these machines from all getting hacked.

A doomsday scenario, but highly likely. 
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