Cisco urges firms to embrace IoT through digital transformation

Digital transformation requires effective data management and analytics to generate business benefits

Tags: Cisco Systems IncorporatedInternet of ThingsUnited Arab Emirates
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Cisco urges firms to embrace IoT through digital transformation As customers embrace IoE, they must bring together the use of information technology and operational technology in the context of their vertical industry.
By  David Ndichu Published  June 8, 2015

On the eve of the inaugural Internet of Things Expo (IoTX) 2015, taking place in Dubai on the 8th and 9th June 2015, Cisco executives called for Middle East Organizations to embrace the Internet of Everything (IoE) Era by adopting strategies to become fully digitised.

According to Gartner, by 2020, 75% of businesses globally will be a digital business or will be preparing to become one. While many organizations have digital business transformation initiatives planned or underway, Gartner predicts that only 30% of these efforts will be successful due to lack of talent and technical expertise. As countries, cities, industries and businesses become digital they will recognize the tremendous opportunity the next wave of the Internet - the IoE - presents for new revenue streams, better customer and citizen experiences, and new operational models to deliver value and Middle East organizations need to follow suit.

"As customers embrace the Internet of Everything, they must bring together the use of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) in the context of their vertical industry. In the Middle East, we see significant opportunities for the Public Sector, as governments seek to create new sources of revenue, better citizen experiences, and create new jobs. Similarly, we see significant opportunities across Retail, Energy, Financial Services, and Healthcare to help customers transform to embrace the IoE," commented Rabih Dabboussi, General Manager for Cisco in the UAE. 

"Most organizations are not realizing the full value from their digital projects because they fail to recognize that their digital strategy and business strategy are becoming one and the same. Our Cisco Consulting team helps customers develop the right digital strategy to transform their business and win in their industry," Dabboussi continued

According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast 2015, launched last week, annual Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will triple between 2014 and 2019, when it will reach a record 2 zettabytes. Factors expected to drive traffic growth include global increases in Internet users, personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, faster broadband speeds, and the adoption of advanced video services.

According to the forecast in the Middle East and Africa, by 2019:

  1. There will be 218.3 million residential Internet users with fixed access by 2019
  2. M2M will be the largest residential device/connection category with 93 million M2M
  3. Tablets will be the largest residential device category (excluding M2M) with 63.0 million Tablets (Up 25.8% CAGR)
  4. Social Networking will be the most highly penetrated residential Internet service with 176.0 million users (81% of residential Internet users) - Up 10.5% CAGR
  5. There will be 69.0 million digital television households
  6. There will be 4.1 million Video on demand (VoD) users (6% of digital TV households)
  7. There will be 53.6 million business mobile users
  8. The average mobile business user will have 2.3 mobile devices/connections (including M2M)
  9. M2M was the largest business device/connection category with 145.0 million
  10. There will be 3.1 million Desktop Video Conferencing users

In 2015, Cisco Consulting Services conducted a survey across 14 different countries (including the UAE, Nigeria and Turkey) that uncovered the urgency for the oil and gas industry to adopt digital technologies powered by the Internet of Everything (IoE) to stay competitive.

Offshore oil platforms can generate between 1TB and 2TB of data per day, with most of this data is time-sensitive, pertaining to platform production and drilling-platform safety. Satellite communication is the most common link to transmit data from an offshore rig, with data speeds from 64Kbps to 2Mbps. This means it would take over 12 days to move one day's worth of oil-platform data to a central repository. To address this, assessing and moving valuable data is key.

An effective data strategy automatically detects whether the data needs to be sent to the cloud for analysis or if relevant data can be analyzed at the "edge" of the network, where the data is collected (on the sensors, machines, drills, etc). This is called edge computing. These analytics allow O&G companies to gain greater real-time insight, thus providing specific business and operational advantages:

  • "Faster problem resolution" was the No. 1 business benefit of connected technologies (IoE), followed by "better process control" and "improved worker safety."

  • For IoE-driven operational benefits, "improved production efficiency" ranked No. 1, right above "reduced downtime" and "equipment performance optimization."

  • Respondents believe IoE will boost operational efficiencies primarily in the upstream segment of the value chain: naming "production" as the No. 1 beneficiary.


"To be ready for this digital transformation, organizations need to transform their business strategy and IT, connect everything, embrace analytics, and secure their technology and operations. Our survey identified intelligence from data as the key area needed to improve operational efficiency, and data analytics as the No. 1 IoE driver for faster, better decision-making," commented Shukri Eid, Director - Middle East, Africa, Russia, and CIS, Cisco Consulting Services. "Digitisation will also transform the way industries such as Oil & Gas, banking, retail, tourism and manufacturing, to name some, operate today. This in turn will create employment opportunities and contribute to economic growth through innovation".

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